St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands (and a direct flight from several U.S. hubs), is a cruise-ship destination like so many Caribbean islands. Don't let this scare you: Just flee the port and go to the island's north side to escape the typical tourist hangouts. "The island is provincial, somewhat underdeveloped," says Jill Updyke, co-owner of Virgin Kayak Tours, who visited 19 years ago after graduating from college and never left. "It's definitely for the chill crowd." For a safari-like experience, book a stay in Virgin Kayak's tent cabins, which, for $85 a night, deliver sparse-but-cozy accommodations including a queen-size futon and a camping kitchen under a tropical canopy; from there, it's a five-minute walk to the sugary sands and waters of Cane Bay. While the 84-square-mile island is quiet, there's plenty to do: Play 18 holes at the Buccaneer Hotel golf course; snorkel off Buck Island – a protected national park that features one of only three underwater marked trails in the U.S.; or head west to sip bargain hooch at the Cruzan Rum distillery (daily tours are $5). Nightlife amounts to an evening kayak expedition among glowing dinoflagellates, a type of single-cell plankton that lights up when it moves. "When you jump in the water with them," Updyke says, "it's like swimming in pixie dust."
Credit: Steve Simonsen / Getty Images
Powered By ZergNet
Style & Design 2014
Tech, Tools, Toys & the Hottest New Gear
Plus: When to Say No to Your Doctor
ON NEWSSTANDS NOW
Anthony Bourdain's Life Advice
The NFL's Pot Problem
Sign up to receive the Men’s Journal newsletter and special offers from MJ and its marketing partners.