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Buck Island

Buck Island Reef National Monument

Pristine, untouched and unforgettable: There's no other way to describe this natural park just off the northeast coast of St. Croix. Walking trails crisscross the expanse through frangipani and tamarind trees and cacti to beautiful beaches. Turtle Bay, on the western side, wows with its magnificent snorkeling; the protected waters and massive coral reef are home to more than 250 kinds of fish. Admission numbers are limited each day; advance booking is required.

Bathing, Beers and Beautiful Buck Island
What’s one of my favorite things to do when I go home to St. Croix? Literally beg one of my friends with a boat to have a Buck Island lime. There’s no better way to spend the day than casting off, heading north for a few minutes, and weighing anchor at this protected paradise. The water is warm and crystal clear. You can even go for a short hike if you get bored, but really this is just about limin’ strong. Knocking back some Greenies, floating around, reminiscing and letting the hours pass blissfully by.

Set Sail to Buck Island and Beyond with Captain Carl
As cool as the Caribbean sun is hot, Captain Carl Punzenburger can usually be found sailing from St. Croix to the Buck Island Reef National Monument just off the northern coast. I took this shot on a recent Saturday sailing trip with Carl and I can safely say: there are few better ways to spend a Saturday in the islands than limin' and snorkeling by Buck Island.

Sail Over to the VI’s “Other” Buck Island
The Buck Island I grew up with in St. Croix has a close cousin with the same name just south of St. Thomas. Like its St. Croix counterpart, St. Thomas’ Buck Island is a popular spot for full- and half-day sailing charters. Among the big attractions here, Turtle Cove is, as its name implies, the place to snorkel and swim with green sea turtles. They simply abound here, making for magical undersea interactions.

Snorkel the Underwater Trail at Buck Island
It’s not what it used to be as years of coral bleaching have taken a toll, but the experience of snorkeling the underwater trail at Buck Island is still rewarding. One of only three underwater trails in the entire U.S. National Park System, this unique snorkel experience can be enjoyed just off the eastern tip of the island.