President Biden, his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and his family members including his daughter, Ashley, and grandchildren, Natalie and Hunter, rang in the 2023 New Year on St Croix in the United States Virgin Islands.
The Bidens have been celebrating New Year’s Eve on St Croix for well over a decade, staying at an oceanfront vacation rental home owned by long-time family friends and St Croix residents, Bill and Connie Neville.
During previous visits, including as Vice-President during the Obama era, the Bidens were known to frequent local restaurants and businesses while greeting customers and graciously taking pictures with anyone who asked. This year, as sitting President, security was much tighter and public sightings rare.
Biden’s presence on the largest of the US Virgin Islands gained global attention via the Washington DC press corps and protective press pool representing major news outlets that travel along with the President. Biden’s Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, and the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, also spent time enjoying the island.
President Joe Biden is the first sitting U.S. President to visit St Croix since President Harry S. Truman visited the big island in February 1948. President Herbert Hoover was the first to visit the island in 1931, just 14 years after the islands were sold to the United States by Denmark in 1917.
Prior to being elected President, John F. Kennedy and other Kennedy family members visited St Croix in the 1950s prompting him to establish the Buck Island Reef National Monument by proclamation in 1961 ensuring its federal protection as a US National Park. Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts continued the Kennedys’ tradition of visiting St Croix with his family spending many Caribbean vacations on the big island over the years.
Former President Jimmy Carter rang in the New Year along with his family at the Comanche Hotel in Christiansted during a 2010 Caribbean vacation. Former President Bill Clinton visited the big island in 2018 while campaigning for his wife, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
It’s no wonder that the beautiful and historic island of St Croix has been a presidential playground. With beautiful white sand beaches and the longest contiguous coral reef in the Caribbean, St Croix provides unlimited opportunities to snorkel, scuba dive, sail, and enjoy other water sports. The rolling green hills and open spaces promote a healthy lifestyle with hiking, biking, exploring, and a full year-round roster of athletic events including endurance races like the St Croix Scenic 50, St Croix Triathlon, and the Coral Reef Swim.
The historic backdrop of classic Danish architecture in Christiansted and Victorian-era architecture in Frederiksted along with over 150 eighteenth-century sugar mills dotting the island prompted Congress to declare the entire island of St Croix a National Heritage Area in 2022.
With vibrant tourist seasons that weathered the pandemic seeing continuous visitors to the Territory and recent renovations of hotels and resorts along with other historic properties, the global buzz around the island of St Croix in the United States Virgin Islands as a result of the President’s visit has it primed for a very successful 2023 season.