St. Croix’s intermittently sandy coastline means beaches are spread out—and best explored by car. If you only visit one, Sandy Point is the island’s largest and most pristine—though, because it’s also a national wildlife refuge, the beach is only open on weekends. On the opposite end of St. Croix, Jack’s and Isaac’s Bay are remote, neighboring stretches, accessible only by foot, but worth the hike if you’re seeking seclusion. Buck Island’s famed white-sand Turtle Beach can only be accessed via boat: Book Captain Llewellyn Westerman’s six-man trimaran (340-773-9027; $75 or $95 per person for four or six hours) and get a local’s take on the islands.
Take a break from the sand and sea in Christiansted, which has an array of boutiques. There are plenty of jewelry stores to choose from, but everyone goes to Sonya Ltd. for Cruzan hook bracelets (from $40). Down the street, Whealan Massicott’s hand-fashioned earrings, necklaces, and rings, made of hammered silver and gold ($60-$2,000), can be found at ib Designs. You can also stock up on blown-glass Christmas ornaments ($12) at Mitchell Larsen Studio.
Tap into the locavore scene with a visit to Ridge to Reef Farm, a permaculture farm in the rain forest that’s been championing the island’s slow-food movement since 2003. The 200-acre campus regularly offers volunteer opportunities and workshops, but try to attend the monthly Slow Down Dinner (suggested $60 donation; BYOB), a six-course meal made only with local ingredients. Past dishes have included Creque Dam greens with honey mango vinaigrette, banana latkes with smoked mahi, and passion fruit tuna seviche.