St. Croix has only two sizable towns: Christiansted on the northcentral shore and Frederiksted in the southwest. The Henry E. Rohlsen Airport is on the south coast, directly west of the former HOVENSA oil refinery, for many years the island’s main industry (at press time, the refinery was closed and up for sale). No roads circle St. Croix’s coast.
To continue east from Christiansted, take Rte. 82 (also called the E. End Rd.). Route 75 will take you west from Christiansted through the central heartland. Melvin H. Evans Highway, Route 66, runs along the southern part of the island. You can connect with this route in Christiansted and head west all the way to Frederiksted.
The historic district of Christiansted has four main streets leading toward the water: Strand Street, King Street, Company Street, and Queen Street. Because the city is compact, it can easily be explored on foot. All streets start at the harbor and go up slightly sloped hillsides, and each street heads back down the hill to the port so you can’t get lost. The visitor information center is located at 53A Company St. The center of Christiansted can get very congested, and driving around is difficult because of the one-way streets. It’s usually more practical to park your car and cover the small district on foot. You will find open-air parking on both sides of Fort Christiansvaern.
The North Shore
This coastal strip that stretches from Cottongarden Point, the eastern tip of the island, all the way west past Christiansted and up and around Salt River Bay, comes to an end as it reaches the settlement of Northside in the far west. It is the most touristy region of St. Croix, site of the best beaches, the most hotels, and the densest shopping. It is also the takeoff point (at Christiansted Harbor) for excursions to Buck Island, St. Croix’s most popular attraction. Many visitors confine their stay in St. Croix entirely to the north coast. The northern coastline is not only long but also diverse, going from a lush tropical forest that envelops most of the northwest to the eastern sector, which is dry with palm-lined beaches.
The East End
The East End begins immediately east of Christiansted, the capital, taking in Tamarind Reef Beach and Reef Beach before it reaches Teague Bay, coming to an end at Cottongarden Point, the far eastern tip of St. Croix. This section of St. Croix is linked by Rte. 82 (also called E. End Rd.). The Buccaneer, the major resort of St. Croix, is found here, along with the Tamarind Reef Hotel. The area is far less congested than the section immediately to the west of Christiansted, and many visitors prefer the relative isolation and tranquility of the East End. This section of St. Croix is somewhat dry, the landscape a bit arid, but its compensating factor is a number of palm-lined beaches. The best place for a beach picnic is Cramer Park at the far eastern tip, a U.S.V.I. territorial beach popular with islanders.
Little Frederiksted has a storied past. It was established in 1751, but its colonial architecture was destroyed by fire in 1878 during a legendary labor revolt. The town was rebuilt in the Victorian style, and its historic waterfront today has been revitalized, a boon for the big cruise ships that arrive at the town’s deep-water pier weekly. The two major streets, both of which run parallel to the water, are Strand Street and King Street.