The ideal image of a Caribbean Island…crystal clear blue waters, tranquil palm-fringed coastlines and a powder-fine soft white sand beach. St. Maarten/St. Martin offers a fantastic variety of beaches that will fulfill anyone’s desires. With the Atlantic Ocean to the East, The Caribbean Sea to the West, perfect temperatures all year round, cooled by the gentle breezes of the trade winds, there are a choice of 37 beaches to choose from offering everything from various watersports activities to complete peace and privacy. From soft white sand to dramatic rugged coastlines, St. Maarten / St. Martin’s beaches offer you every type of beach possible.
Since you will be unable to explore all the beaches while you are here, we have compiled a list of some of our favorites.
Dutch Side Beaches
Cupecoy Beach – For real dramatic scenery, check out Cupecoy Beach. Great spot to watch the sunset as well. Adjacent to Mullet Bay, the golden sandstone cliffs divide the coastline up into secluded small coves. This is the ideal spot to get that all-over tan as it is a clothing optional beach. Access involves a bit a walk down to the beach. On the southern end of the beach is the Cliffhanger Bar which offers food, drink and beach chairs.
Dawn Beach – Known for the best Sunrise and for the magnificent colors of its waters. By day, Dawn Beach offers some of the best snorkeling on the island with its inshore coral reef. Enjoy lunch, dinner or a snack with a cool refreshing tropical cocktail at Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar as you look out over the ocean and St. Barths. Beach Chair & Umbrella rentals are available on the beach.
Great Bay – This long beach curves around the Dutch capital of Philipsburg. A brand new boardwalk is perfect for strolling lined with restaurants on the beachside and one can easily access the various shops on Front Street. Insider tip – To avoid any major crowds while shopping, check how many cruise ships are in port before you go to Philipsburg.
Guana Bay – Rugged and secluded beach. It is windy with strong currents. The Atlantic surf can be quite strong on this beach so swimmers must be cautious.
Little Bay – Sheltered by Fort Amsterdam, away from Philipsburg, it is a nice family beach located in a resort, Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. Various watersports activities offered at the hotel.
Mullet Bay – Known for wonderful sunsets. Mullet Bay is one of the island’s most popular beaches. It has everything from calm waters, natural shade, snorkeling, beach chair and umbrella rentals, cold drinks and bar-b-que everyday. This beach is a wonderful setting to watch the sun sink into the ocean.
Maho Beach – A very popular beach by the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino and airport. When the planes land, they fly right over this beach. Sitting on the beach while a 747 is landing is quite an experience…We do recommend that when a big jet is landing; please stand to one side or the other of the runway.
Simpson Bay – Is a long sandy beach just south of the airport on the west end. The sand is soft and the waves are generally not too rough. Shade is limited on this beach.
French Side Beaches
Anse Marcel – A very calm beach, great for swimming. This beach borders the Radisson Hotel and walking through the magnificent tropical gardens to access the beach is a wonderful experience. The horseshow-shaped cove harbors yachts, racing boats and restaurants. It is a nice sheltered beach with shallow waters, ideal for children.
Baie Longue & Plum Bay – Two of the most secluded and calm beaches around the island are located on the extreme Western tip of the island making these two beaches very romantic sunset spots. Baie Longue is the longest beach on the island and one of the most prestigious, being the spot for some of the island’s most exclusive real estate and the location of Orient Express La Samanna Hotel. You will need to bring your own supplies as there are no services.
Baie Rouge – Sits on the north end of Terres Basses on the French side. There are plenty of sandy areas to relax or spread out a towel. There is also a small beach bar that serves sandwiches, drinks and rents out beach chairs & umbrellas.
Friar’s Beach – A special beach with powder white sand on a cove that is accessible through Cripple Creek, Anse de Peres. This beach is one of the “cult” beaches of the island. There is good snorkeling and two restaurants are located on the beach, Kali’s Beach Bar & Friar’s Bay Beach Café, which are favorites of locals. Don’t miss the legendary “Full Moon Party”, at Kali’s every full moon, all night!
Grand Case – Grand Case Beach is a great beach for sunning or strolling. It borders Grand Case, known for the best restaurants on the island. It is a great beach for families because of the gentle slope in the water, easy access to reasonably priced food and parking lots for the car. Lots of great places to eat, from traditional “lolos”, serving spare ribs and Creole dishes to a number of gastronomic restaurants of International reputation. You can relax at any one of the fine beachside restaurants overlooking the fabulous view of the beach and Creole Rock. If you would like to do a bit of underwater sightseeing, take the Seaworld Explorer, a glass-bottom submarine, that does regular trips over to Creole Rock to see some amazing tropical fish.
Grandes Cayes – Opposite Tintamarre island, this long wild beach offering great diving over the coral reef.
Happy Bay – A secluded and peaceful haven just along from Friar’s Bay offering a great view of Anguilla. Enjoy Sea, sand and tranquility.
Orient Beach – St. Martin’s famous clothing-optional beach is the Touristic Beach of St. Martin. Orient Bay is a long stretch of white sandy beach offering plenty of watersports activities including parasailing, water-skiing, jet skis, parasailing, kite surfing, Laser and Hobie Cat sailing, windsurfing and any other water bound activity you can think of. There are many restaurants and bars scattered along the beach as well as many places to rent chairs and umbrellas. There are also a selection of shops on the beach where one can buy everything from beachwear to souvenirs.
Le Galion Beach – Just 5 minutes away from Orient Bay, Le Galion is a great family beach, with shallow protected waters. There is a restaurant on the beach and is popular with the locals.
Petite Plage – This beach is located just behind the Grand Case Beach Club Hotel. This beach is a great hide-away.
Nettle Bay – Just 5 minutes away from Marigot, a long stretch of sand, mostly wild. On the lagoon side, it is a nice little beach behind the hotels.
Pinel Island – A small islet off Orient Beach, a ferry brings you from French Cul de Sac to the private seclusion of Pinel Island in minutes. This is the Caribbean Beach everyone dreams about, beautiful white sandy beach, pristine blue waters and excellent snorkeling. Jet ski rentals are also available. There are two restaurants or pack a picnic lunch for one of the easiest and most relaxing daytrips on St. Maarten. There are also two hidden beaches on the East side.
Tintamarre – A deserted four square mile island off the north side of St. Martin, this is a beautiful destination of many daysail trips. One side of the island is splashed by calm waters and excellent snorkeling can be experienced off the shores. Remnants of an old farmhouse and an old airplane runway can be seen as you walk across the island to see the more savage waters found on the other side. It is also famous for its natural mud-baths for a perfect all over body treatment!