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Updated: Apr 24, 2023

Rainbow Beach Review St Croix US Virgin Islands Party Beaches In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog

Rainbow Beach St. Croix

For a fun and relaxing day in St. Croix, there’s nowhere better than Rainbow Beach. They have food, watersport rentals, and most importantly, endlessly flowing rum!


Where is Rainbow Beach?

Rainbow Beach is on the western side of St. Croix, the largest island in the US Virgin Islands. It’s about a mile north of Frederiksted, the major port in St. Croix, which is where big cruise ships dock on the island, like Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas did for us. There is no physical address for the beach, but you can find it on the map below:

How to Get to Rainbow Beach

Public transit isn’t really a thing on the island of St. Croix, although there is a bus that travels from Frederiksted to Christiansted every two hours, but it is notoriously unreliable and isn’t recommended if you have a time commitment like getting back on a cruise ship, so you should plan to travel by car or taxi. Since we would be there for only about 8 hours, we stuck with the taxi option.

We read before visiting the island that haggling for taxis isn’t a thing in St. Croix, but that was definitely wrong. We haggled with a driver to take our group of 12 around all day, which cost the 12 of us around $20 each, taking us from the cruise pier in Frederiksted to the Captain Morgan Distillery, then to Rainbow Beach, and then back to the cruise pier. It was our driver’s idea to take care of us all day and he did!

If you’re just going from the cruise port to Rainbow Beach and back, I don’t think you should be paying more than $5 per person each way, because it’s just over a mile away. Our taxi driver was very friendly, and he actually would drop us off, leave, and come back at a predetermined time to pick us up again, so if you like your driver, just ask them if they’d be willing to come pick you back up later.

Keep in mind that you should always determine the price of your taxi before getting in and specify if it’s total or per person. The taxis are not metered in the USVI, so you can absolutely haggle with the driver and move on to a different one if you get a bad vibe. You’ll have better luck haggling with a large group here, as the taxis are priced per person, and there are plenty of taxis around just off the ship! Ours was a large van that all 12 of us could fit inside.

Rhythms At Rainbow Beach Bar St Croix US Virgin Islands In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog

Amenities, Activities, & Rentals at Rainbow Beach

Rainbow Beach is a public beach with no use fee, but it does have a beach bar/restaurant, plus chairs, umbrellas, and sports equipment for rent. This is a super popular beach, so if you’re looking for somewhere quiet, you’d be better off going somewhere else.

The beach bar at Rainbow Beach is called Rhythms, and they are the life of the party here! It’s a super casual beach bar with indoor and outdoor seating on a deck, so they don’t take reservations. The best part is that they serve an iconic Caribbean drink, rum punch, in plastic cups so you can carry it down to the beach with you, and it’s made with Cruzan rum that’s made right there on the island! They also have the only restrooms at Rainbow Beach, which are for customers only, so buy a drink already! The rum punch is only $7.

Rhythms at Rainbow Beach also serves simple food, such as burgers, fish tacos, and nachos, and they’re open every day starting at 11am, so you’ll have everything you could need there to keep you ready for a fun day at the beach. Rhythms at Rainbow Beach accepts cash and all major Credit Cards.

Rainbow Beach Near Cruise Port In St Croix US Virgin Islands In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog

As far as fun stuff to DO at Rainbow Beach besides sip on rum punch and snack on fish tacos, there is a volleyball net set up on the beach alongside a hut where there are plenty of water sports available for rent:

Beach Chair & Umbrella Rentals at Rainbow Beach

Before we get into any of the water sports, let’s talk about the most popular item to rent: lounge chairs and umbrellas. There isn’t a lot of shade at Rainbow Beach, so you’ll have to either rent an umbrella or sit inside Rhythms for a while to get out of the direct sun. Many of these lounge chairs and umbrellas were already set up when we arrived at the beach, but that doesn’t mean you can just grab one to use; you still need to pay for it. Here are the prices:

  • Full Set, which includes 2 lounge chairs and 1 umbrella, is $40 for the day

  • Umbrella only: $20/day

  • 1 Lounge Chair: $15/day

All of the equipment will be set up and torn down for you, so you don’t have the hassle of carrying it from the beach hut to your spot in the sand. We opted instead to just lay out towels on the sand since we were only there for a couple of hours.

Fun Beach In St Croix With Jet Skis Rainbow Beach Review In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog

Jet Ski Rentals at Rainbow Beach

This is the biggest water sports draw at Rainbow Beach, but don’t worry about running into the jet skis if you’re just there for a swim; they have their own lane to get away from the beach before they go wild out on the waves.

You can choose to just rent a jet ski and explore on your own with up to 2 people on 1 jet ski for $75 per half hour or $140 per hour. However, they also offer a guided tour that costs $140 per person for 45 minutes or $200 per person for 75 minutes. This tour only allows 1 rider per jet ski and you must have at least 2 people (can be up to 4) for it. They’ll guide you south of Rainbow Beach to see the Sandy Point Wildlife Refuge and then north to Ham’s Bluff where you should encounter some larger waves.

The guided tours must be booked in advance, but for unguided rentals, you can choose to wait until you get there or you can book online in advance to make sure you get a spot. Either way, you must have a credit card and a matching, valid ID to leave with them as a security deposit while you’re on the jet ski. For payment however, they do accept cash.

Snorkel Gear Rentals at Rainbow Beach

Although West End Water Sports was offering these rentals when we visited Rainbow Beach, their website says that these rentals are now handled by Sea Sports St. Croix and it is unclear whether or not you must book your reservation online in advance.

You can expect to pay $25 to rent a full set (goggles, breathing tube, and flippers) for the day, or just $15 for the goggles and breathing tube without the flippers.

With that being said, I don’t think that this is the best place for snorkeling in the Caribbean, or even on the island. Although the water is fairly calm, there wasn’t much to see while snorkeling here. You’d likely be better off trying out Cane Bay Beach, which is a very popular spot for diving.

Water Scooter Rentals at Rainbow Beach

You can rent an underwater scooter for snorkeling while you’re at Rainbow Beach too. They’re designed to make snorkeling easy, as it pulls you through the water at up to 4 mph and all you have to do is hang on and open your eyes to enjoy the views. They cost $40 per 30 minutes and at this time cannot be booked in advance.

Paddle Board Rentals at Rainbow Beach

These are another item that you may be required to book in advance with Sea Sports St. Croix instead of deciding in the moment while you’re at the beach. It looks like it will cost you $65 and up for a full day’s rental, which feels pricey to me, but I’ve never done stand-up paddle boarding. We didn’t see anyone using them, but then again, our cruise ship was the only one in port that day, so I think the beach is usually more crowded than it was for us.

Kayak Rentals at Rainbow Beach

Just like the paddle boards, we didn’t see anyone using kayaks during our day at Rainbow Beach, but they are available. If you definitely want to rent one, reserve it online in advance, because there’s no information online about renting one once you get there. Their website quotes $65 a day for a single kayak or $75 for a double kayak, which will have 2 riders in 1 boat.

Can You Take Your Own Alcohol to Rainbow Beach?

Yes, you can bring your own booze to Rainbow Beach. Drinking in public and on the beaches is totally legal in the US Virgin Islands, as they have no open container laws, just remember to please not take glass on the beach and pick up after yourself!

Rum Punch In St Croix At Rhythms At Rainbow Beach Bar Near Cruise Port In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog Thirsty Thursdays

Our Experience

This was our second port of call on our Caribbean Cruise for my 30th birthday. We visited St. Thomas the day before, which was gorgeous, but we didn’t get to fully appreciate it, due to celebrating a bit too hard on the ship the night before, so we were looking forward to St. Croix.

Our entire group of 12 wanted to do the same thing with our day in St. Croix, which included a tasting at the Captain Morgan Distillery (review coming soon!) followed by some relaxing time on the beach. Coming off the ship, we knew we were going to have to hire a taxi, so we had our good friend and designated haggler (deemed so because he loves haggling) find one for us. He ended up getting us a great deal with a very friendly driver who had a big van that all 12 of us could fit in. I know a van sounds kind of sketchy, at least to us Americans who are used to taxis being little yellow cabs, but you have to remember that these Caribbean islands are used to dealing with groups of tourists visiting on cruise ships, so large van taxis are pretty common. Just make sure it’s a legit taxi and not a random person, for your own safety.

Our driver took us to the Captain Morgan Distillery and offered to be our driver for the whole day, so he refused our payment because he said he would be back to take us to the beach afterwards. He left after dropping us off, and sure enough, he was there waiting for us when we were done, so he took us back over to Rainbow Beach, which is just north of the cruise port.

Given the disappointment of the Captain Morgan Distillery ‘tour’, our driver said that Cruzan was better rum anyway, but we knew that their distillery wasn’t offering tours or tastings at that time because of the pandemic, so we asked if he’d stop at a road-side liquor store on the way, which he did, and we bought some Cruzan rum. When he dropped us off at the beach, he suggested what time he should pick us up to make sure we made it back to our cruise ship on time. He was very pleasant and wanted to make sure we had a great time, which was awesome! Where we were dropped off, we were just outside of Rhythms at Rainbow Beach (where we also saw a very sleepy beach dog), so it was essentially door-to-door service. We were mere steps from the beach!

Rhythms Rainbow Beach Arrows Sign St Croix US Virgin Islands In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog

Rainbow Beach is quite beautiful and gave us a great view of the enormity of the cruise ship, which we could clearly see at the Frederiksted Pier a mile away. The beach has fine sand but there are lots of small rocks mixed into it, so make sure you take your water shoes! After spending the afternoon at Magens Bay Beach the day before, we thought we wouldn’t need the water shoes, but I really wish we had brought them to Rainbow Beach.

Of course, we stopped and grabbed a rum punch from Rhythms before claiming a spot on the beach. We got lucky in the fact that our cruise ship was the only one docked at the island that day, so the beach wasn’t nearly as crowded as I think it usually is, so we weren’t in a hurry. The rum punch at Rhythms is made with Cruzan rum, as it is local and made right there on the island, along with “fruit juices”. Every Caribbean island has their own unique rum punch, usually made with rum that’s made on their island, along with juices like pineapple, orange, lemon or lime, and grenadine. It’s a cocktail that the islands take great pride in, as it is usually a signature of their specific island.

Pleased with the drinks, we walked down onto the beach, which really isn’t too large. Since we live in California, we’re used to beaches that go on FOREVER, but it’s a short walk from one end of Rainbow Beach to the other. We walked past the chairs and umbrellas that were already set up and ready for renters, to about halfway down the beach, where we spread out our towels to relax.

Rainbow Beach For Partying In St Croix Stuff To Do In The US Virgin Islands In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog

For those of you who are new here, it’s worth noting that I have a terrible phobia of bodies of water. Why would I want to go on a cruise in the Caribbean then, you ask? Because it’s been on my bucket list since I was a teenager, and I have been actively working towards quelling my panic attacks around water because I don’t want to miss out! The water here is rather still because the island acts as a natural barrier from the Atlantic Ocean, protecting this beach from any large waves, making it the perfect place to go for a swim. It is also worth noting that the water is SO salty here, that it makes it a whole lot easier to float.

As we waded into the water, my younger sibling, 22 at the time, told me that they never learned how to swim. We lived an… interesting… childhood, where we weren’t allowed to do a lot of “normal” things, so no one passed judgment about it. Instead, Adam and I gave them a quick lesson right then and there, reassuring them that the rest of us would not let anything bad happen to them. It made for a precious memory.

During the swim lesson, our friends made their way further out and found a shallow section not too far, where they could practically stand in the water and just tread water as the subtle waves moved in. With their encouragement, my sibling and I gained the confidence to swim out to them together. We all hung out for a while, enjoying the warm water.

Two of our friends wanted to ride jet skis (and we would have too, but thought they were a bit too expensive), so they headed over to the West End Water Sports hut right next to Rhythms and rented one for a half-hour. After a quick lesson, they were off, zooming around off in the distance! They ended up loving it and said it made them feel like James Bond 😆😎 So we may splurge on it the next time we’re in St. Croix.

That hut where they rented the jet ski is also where you should stop to rent the beach chairs and umbrellas. You’ll walk right past it as you exit the Rhythms patio to go down to the beach, so you can’t miss it. Since we were only there for maybe 2 hours, we didn’t feel the need for an umbrella, but there is practically no shade on the beach, so you’ll have to cool off in the water or hang out inside the shaded area of Rhythms to get relief from the sun.

Pro Tip: Cruise ships will usually let you borrow a beach towel to take off the ship for the day, but they may charge you a fee if you fail to return it. It’s a great way to have a fresh beach towel every day, just make sure you weigh them down when you’re not sitting on them so they don’t blow away.

Wear the Right Sunscreen

There's one more thing you need to know before heading to any beach in the US Virgin Islands: there are specific laws about what sunscreen you can wear.

While this may sound like something to roll your eyes at, the laws are actually in place to protect the reefs and underwater life from harmful chemicals that will destroy them over time. When you go into the water, some of your sunscreen washes off, and with how many people visit these beaches every year, those chemicals can really add up.

You've probably seen "Reef-Friendly" or "Reef-Safe" on some sunscreens, but many of those still contain 1 of the 3 ingredients that the US Virgin Islands does not allow. They are known as the "3 Toxic O's":

  1. Oxybenzone

  2. Octinoxate

  3. Octocrylene

If your sunscreen has any of those chemicals, it is NOT USVI compliant, so make sure you check the ingredients list!

A good alternative is mineral sunscreen, and we found this one that we like from Aveeno on Amazon. All mineral sunscreen is going to be thicker and take longer to soak into your skin, so I definitely suggest putting it on first thing in the morning as you're getting dressed instead of waiting to put it on at the beach. It just makes your day easier! I know it seems like a pain, but it's for the environment! This is one big way that you can do your part to help keep the water pristine for many years to come.

Rhythms At Rainbow Beach Cruzan Rum Mural Beach Bar Near Cruise Port In St Croix US Virgin Islands In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog

Our Verdict

We were quite happy with our afternoon at Rainbow Beach, just enjoying time withe calm Caribbean Sea and sipping on the local rum punch. Rhythms kind of makes this beach what it is, so take advantage of it!

Rainbow Beach St Croix Rocky Coastline Wave Receding US Virgin Islands In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog

Quick Reference Guide



How to Get There

Take a taxi, which should cost about $5 each way per person.

Time Commitment

We spent around 2 hours here, but you could spend the whole day here if you wanted! Rhythms opens daily at 11am.


No entry fee to Rainbow Beach. Rhythms at Rainbow Beach offers cocktails from $7-$11, beers (some local) around $5, and food ranging from $9-$17. Cash and all major Credit Cards accepted.

Reservation Info

Rhythms at Rainbow Beach doesn’t take reservations, but you can and should reserve water sports equipment in advance if you want it. See the Rentals section of this article for specifics.

Our Verdict

Rainbow Beach is a lovely beach with a fun vibe! Go there for swimming, jet skis, and to sip on the local rum punch, but don’t forget your water shoes because this beach is rather rocky.

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Woman Travel Writer Phoebe Meador For In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog


In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog Phoebe and Adam at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, Scotland

We’re Phoebe & Adam
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In The Great Wide!

This is our travel lifestyle blog where we not only share stories from our adventures while traveling the world, but also our thorough research of the places we visit & practical advice on how to save money so you can travel more too!

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