Fodor's Expert Review Buck Island Reef National Monument
This national monument has pristine beaches that are just right for sunbathing, but there's also some shade for those who don't want to fry. The snorkeling trail set in the reef allows close-up study of coral formations and tropical fish. Overly warm seawater temperatures have led to a condition called coral bleaching that has killed some of the coral. The reefs are starting to recover, but how long it will take is anyone's guess. There's a hiking trail to the island's highest point (328 feet) and an overlook where you are rewarded for your efforts by spectacular views of St. John. Charter-boat trips leave daily from the Christiansted waterfront or from Green Cay Marina, about 2 miles (3 km) east of Christiansted. Big Beard's Adventure Tours, Caribbean Sea Adventures, and Buck Island Charters offer half- and full-day trips.