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Buck Island Reef National Monument is a 176 acre island with a coral reef surrounding it. The coral reef ecosystem is home to several endangered and threatened species like the brown pelican. The coral reef is an extraordinary site which includes underwater trails that are perfect for snorkeling. Not only does the island offer a coral but it also has white sand beaches visitors can walk on and explore as well as hiking trails through the island. Snorkeling is not the only thing you can do in the water, visitors are more than welcome to leisurely swim if they chose. Buck Island Reef is only a short distance north of Saint Croix, Virgin Islands. This island is a local hot spot for visitors and offers something for everyone to enjoy.

  • View of the Buck Island Coral Reef.
  • Ariel view of Buck Island Reef.
  • Turtle Beach on Buck Island.
Buck Island Reef was first created in 1948 by the United States Government. They established it as a protected area to preserve one of the greatest underwater gardens in the Caribbean Sea. It was named a United States National Monument in 1961 by John F. Kennedy. It continued to expand even in 2001 when Bill Clinton expanded it due to complaints by fisherman. The majority of this monument is dedicated to the underwater coral reef administrated by the National Park Service. The island is only 176 acres but the underwater reef is around 19,000 acres being the main attraction for visitors. At the eastern tip of the island is an underwater marked trail to explore the reef, which is one of three in the United States. 

Throughout the trail are plaques discussing what the plant is and its importance to the ecosystem. These trails are aimed for people who are snorkeling around the island so they can first hand experience what all the reef has to offer. With the coral reef surrounding two thirds of Buck Island it provides a home to over 250 fish and other sea animals like the spotted eagle ray. While the underwater scenery is the attraction for most who visit the island, the actual island itself has many sites to see. Turtle Beach sits on the western side of the island and is home to the Leatherback turtle, Green turtle, and Hawksbill turtle. The Leatherback turtle appear on the beach during spring time while the Green and Hawksbill turtle do not appear until summer. These turtles enjoy the white sand beaches Buck Island has to offer. These white beaches at Turtle Beach were names one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by National Geographic.

Buck Island Reef offers an experience that most islands do not because of its large and unique underwater ecosystem and beaches. Buck Island sees as many as 50,000 visitors annually. Visitors can visit the island for a full or half a day depending on what all they want to explore and if they want guided tours or not. This island has been watched for over twenty years by the National Park Service to make sure its island is being taken care of correctly. Buck Island is one of the view places you can see the Brown Pelican on the Virgin Islands. This island is always a hit with visitors and sometimes the highlight of visitors trips. With a huge coral reef, beautiful white beaches, and rare wildlife sitings Buck Island is a must see for visitors while being at the Virgin Islands.