GETTING THERE: American Airlines, Delta and US Airways fly from all three Washington area airports to St. Croix, with connecting service via Miami or Charlotte, N.C. In November, prices ranged from $490 and $916 round trip. Sale fares sometimes drop to about $400 round trip.

WHERE TO STAY: Originally a getaway for the Rockefeller family, Carambola Beach Resort (340-778-3800, www.carambolabeach.com) is well off the beaten path -- meaning you'll face a drive to visit town. Then again, most of what you'll need is on the grounds, including a golf course, two restaurants, a beach, swimming pools, tennis and a dive shop. Rates begin at about $109 per night double. Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino (25 Estate Turner Hole, 877-773-9700, www.divicarina.com) has a good beach and gambling. Prices begin at about $150. The Buccaneer (7 Estate Shays, Christiansted, 800-255-3881, www.thebuccaneer.com), a short drive from downtown Christiansted, offers luxury on a manicured property that ends at the beach. It has cottages as well as hotel rooms; doubles start at about $240.

WHERE TO EAT: Water's Edge (North Shore Road at Cane Bay Beach, 340-778-4771), which serves great sandwiches, drinks and other bar fare at outdoor picnic tables along the beach, promises the best sunsets in the Virgin Islands. Lunch or dinner begins at about $9.

For elegant dining in downtown Christiansted's historic district, try the fresh fish and pasta dishes at Kendrick's (King Cross Street, 340-773-9199). Dinner entrees range from $21 to $28.

Savant (4C Hospital St., 340-713-8666) serves an interesting fusion of Caribbean and Thai; entrees range from $14 to $30.

WHAT TO DO:

* For details on diving packages for St. Croix dive operators, visit www.diversevirgin.com.

* Paul and Jill's Equestrian Stables (2 Estate Sprat Hall, Frederiksted, 340-772-2880, www.paulandjills.com) offers horseback riding. The 90-minute ride through the rain forest and along beach and tropical trails costs $60.

* The St. Croix Landmarks Society (52 Estate Whim, www.stcroixlandmarks.com) has details on historic attractions.

* Golf courses include an 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., at Carambola Beach Resort (see details above). The Buccanner (see above) also has a highly acclaimed 18-hole course. The Reef Golf Course (340-773-8844) offers a driving range and nine-hole course along Teague Bay.

* For sailboat tours to Buck Island National Monument, consider Big Beard's Adventure (340-773-4482, www.stcroixscuba.com/bigbeard.htm). Cost is $75 for a full-day trip, $50 for a half-day tour.

INFORMATION: U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, 800-372-USVI, www.usvitourism.vi.

-- Cindy Loose