St. Croix is the largest island within the U.S. Virgin Islands. With its bright white sand beaches and its colorful Caribbean fish, St. Croix is the perfect destination spot for an unforgettable vacation. Not only is it a beautiful place to relax but St. Croix also has some of the best snorkeling locations where you can encounter beautiful marine life such as sea turtles, blue tangs, and other tropical fish. In some locations, you may even run into some eagle rays!
To help you with your vacation travels, we have gathered all of the best places to go snorkeling in St. Croix! Keep reading and you won’t have to worry about researching the different snorkeling locations because we have already done that for you.
When is the best time to go snorkeling in St Croix?
St Croix has its tourist season from December through May because this is the best time to go snorkeling on the island. This is because the weather is nicer during this time as the temperature can reach highs in the mid-eighties and lows stay in the seventies. The summertime is also a great time to snorkel in this us virgin island spot if you are not afraid of the sun is too warm. In the summer, the weather can reach the lower nineties! You will definitely want to avoid traveling to St. Croix between August and November though as this is the peak hurricane season.
Cruise ships usually dock on this very famous pier that is a great place for snorkeling in St. Croix. The name of it is Frederiksted Pier and it is located on the southeastern side of the St Croix. While this particular St Croix snorkeling spot location requires a bit of planning, the sights you will encounter can be worth the wait. You will need to wait until there are not any cruise ships in the water to be able to snorkel in Frederiksted Pier. Additionally, you may find the cruise ship schedule online if you would like to plan around that.
If you are looking for family-friendly snorkeling spots, though, Frederiksted pier is definitely one of your best options. This is because the waters in this area are usually calm and the view within the water is particularly clear, making it easy to take in the vibrant colors of the Caribbean sea life. While snorkeling at Frederiksted Pier, you may encounter sea horses, sea turtles, lobsters, crabs, corals, barracuda, and of course reef fish species. Frederiksted Pier also has dive shops available should you need answers any of your snorkeling questions.
Another family-friendly area that is one of the best snorkeling sites is Rainbow Beach, which is another beautiful white sand, beach on St. Croix. The waters at this west beach are usually pretty calm, yet clear, therefore making it one of the best snorkeling spots for families with children due to it being one of the safe beaches in the us virgin islands spot.
While you may not be able to observe some of the more astonishing marine life like sting rays, you will still see some green sea turtles and some tropical fish on this snorkeling spot. Additionally, you can easily find snorkeling gear around at this location because it is such a busy area due to its many restaurants and shops.
Another family-friendly St Croix snorkeling location is found on Shoys Beach. Shoys beach is located on the east side of St Croix. The waters at this location are also pretty calm and clear, just like on Rainbow Beach. This particular snorkeling spot though is a little hard to find and can only be accessed through the Buccaneer Hotel.
Contrary to Rainbow Beach, Shoys Beach offers encounters with not only tropical fish but also stingrays, lobsters, and eels! Additionally, due to its calm water, the visibility in this area is incredibly high, making it easy to spot the vibrant marine life.
Isaac Bay is another one of the most unique St Croix snorkeling spots. This is because the beautiful reef and beach are surrounded by mountains! This beautiful spot is located on the east side of St. Croix and while many people think that you need to drive to this spot, that is not always the case. In order to get to Isaac Bay beach, you will need to take three-quarters of a mile hike and be prepared by wearing appropriate close-toed shoes as the road there can be quite rocky and you won’t be able to walk comfortably barefoot or in sandals. This particular area consists of the Isaac Bay Preserve, which is home to thousands of marine life animals that are at risk of endangerment or currently endangered such as sea turtles.
One of the many reasons why Isaac Bay is preserved is because it is home to one of the largest nesting populations of green turtles. So while you are snorkeling in St. Croix at the beautiful Isaac Bay, you will surely observe young sea turtles or even sea turtle eggs! Additionally, this is a good snorkeling location for observing bright-colored fish such as butterfly fish or blue tangs. Don’t be intimidated by the hike to Isaac Bay and know that when you reach your destination, the snorkeling views will be subpar!
Cane Bay is located on the northern shore of St. Croix. The shore of Cane Bay Beach is lined with beautiful palm trees and while the actual beach is not easily accessible when the tide is high, it is still a wonderful place for spotting sea creatures. There are a few dive shops on the beach where you can rent snorkeling gear. The reef is very close to shore, and the drop-off point is less than 200 meters from shore and is referred to as Cane Bay Wall.
You can choose to swim out to Cane Bay Wall yourself from Cane Bay Beach or choose one of the dive tour operators to help, but there are multiple access points to get to Cane Bay Wall. Once you get there though, the marine life is surreal. Be prepared to encounter anything from sea turtles to stingrays and even flounders and lobsters. Additionally, depending on the time of year you may even be able to spot some dolphins or humpback whales out in the deep sea so be sure to keep an eye out!
Davis Bay is one of the most beautiful St Croix snorkeling spots. It is one of the most scenic beaches on St Croix island due to the beautiful palm trees lining the white sand beach. The green hills that surround the beach also make it one of the most attractive beaches of them all. This good snorkeling spot is found on the north side of St. Croix and is quite an attraction for tourists due to the 5-star Carambola Beach Resort. Because of its busy surroundings, snorkeling in this particular spot is great for beginners.
At Davis Bay, you will not only find easily accessible beach equipment such as beach chairs and hammocks, but you will also find a dive shop nearby to help you with all of your snorkeling needs. The water at Davis Bay is shallow but you will also encounter some deep spots. You will be on the most amazing snorkeling adventure when you reach the west side of the beach, by the cliffs on Davis Bay. Here, you will be able to see the coral reef and have the opportunity to swim beyond the dive buoy. Proceed with caution as the waters at Davis Bay can be calm most of the time but some days they may get a bit rough with big waves. When you do make it past the dive buoy though, you will be sure to see barracuda, parrot fish, or even stingrays.
Sand Castle is another beautiful white sand beach that sits on the west side of the island. This St. Croix snorkeling location also offers snorkel gear for rent to make it easier for visitors of the island. The waters at this west beach are generally calm, making it a great option if this is your first snorkeling trip. With that being said, the waves may become strong and you have to make sure you are safe while you follow your snorkel adventure.
Once you have your snorkel gear, you are ready to head toward the beautiful reefs that make Sand Castle stand out from the others. This is because of the beautiful, brightly colored reefs that you will find while snorkeling at Sand Castle. Additionally, this is not a beach with only shallow water. You will be able to dive into the water for around twenty feet and still be able to enjoy the beautiful sights underwater. Some of the marine life that you may see on this St. Croix snorkeling spot includes barracuda, stingrays, parrot fish, and of course beautiful sea turtles.
Hams Bay is located on the northwest side of St. Croix. It is a beautiful spot with pretty shallow water. This St. Croix snorkeling spot is one of the safer spots and is great for beginners and children due to its calm and clear waters and of course its shallow water as well. This particular location has large scattered coral around it that is bright in color and while the marine life is not as extravagant as some of the other snorkeling spots, you will still encounter plenty of different species of fish.
Buck Island Reef National Monument
Buck Island Reef National Monument is an uninhabited island that is a total of 176 acres in size. This island is located almost two miles north of St Croix. What makes Buck Island unique is not only the marine life that is found underwater, but this spot has underwater trails.
When snorkeling on the beautiful Buck Island Reef National Monument, the reef surrounds the water, revealing itself as a beautiful lagoon with incredible sea life underneath. This one snorkeling adventure alone has over 250 different species of fish including barracuda, blue tangs, butterfly fish, and of course parrot fish. Additionally, you may even encounter sea turtles, lemon sharks, or even reef sharks while snorkeling on Buck Island! There are plenty of Buck Island Tours that are available for you to have the most amazing experience while snorkeling on this us virgin islands spot. They will ensure you follow the Buck Island snorkel trails in the best way and see the most amazing marine life. They will even make sure that while snorkeling on Buck Island, you stop by Turtle Beach!
Butler Bay Wrecks
Butler Bay is one of the best snorkeling spots not only for its beautiful fish but also due to its amazing shallow shipwreck. It is another west beach located on the west side of St. Croix and has three different shipwrecks that can be explored while snorkeling. For this particular snorkeling trip, you will need to travel by boat to find the shipwrecks due to them being almost 300 yards from the shore or use the artificial reef that is located near the shore.
Once you arrive at the shipwrecks, you will be amazed by how clearly you can see the wrecks as visibility in this area of us virgin islands is clear up to 6o feet! Not only will you have a great encounter with these incredible shipwrecks but you will also observe barracuda and sometimes even reef sharks!
Tamarind Beach Reef
This spot in St. Croix is another snorkeling spot that is incredibly easy to navigate. Tamarind reef is located on the north side of the St. Croix island. It is great for beginners due to its shallow and calm waters. This location also has beach gear rental available to get you started with the best snorkeling you can do!
The snorkel trail is on the west side of the beach at Tamarind Reef. To get there though, you might want to wear water shoes as there are plenty of rocks and sea urchins in the water. Once there, you will encounter live corals of every bright beautiful color imaginable and even encounter some sea life such as tropical fish.
There are plenty of beautiful snorkeling spots on the eight-mile island of St Croix. You have plenty of spots to choose from to have an amazing experience and encounter amazing sea creatures while snorkeling. Additionally, there are plenty of dive shops or tour boats that can help you with your snorkeling goals to make sure you get the most out of your vacation!