Best Beaches in St Maarten / St Martin
By Kerry Biddle on 4th February, 2020
The beautiful island of St Maarten / St Martin is blessed with 37 pristine beaches. Each with their own charms and activities on offer – from action-packed windsurfing, surfing and scuba diving to just plain lying in the sun regenerating. Here is our guide to the best beaches on St Maarten / St Martin.
Situated on the windy Atlantic side of the island, Orient Bay is Saint Martin’s most popular beach for windsurfing, kiteboarding, paragliding, jet skiing, and a fabulously long stretch of sand to claim for the day. The most popular parts of the beach, including the celebrated nudist section, have some top restaurants either on or very close to, the beach.
The beach at Grand Case runs the length of the village and is lined with some of the island’s finest restaurants and the famous Lolo’s. The water is shallow, but rougher when the swell is up.
On the St Maarten side of Oyster Pond, the very popular Dawn Beach has the Oyster Bay Beach Resort and restaurants in which to grab a meal or an ice-cold drink. Water sports equipment and kayaks are available for rent, with an eye kept on the currents and wind strength, of course.
The Boardwalk in Philipsburg runs the length of Great Bay, where people can take a stroll through the many shops, or pick a spot in the sun for a lazy day watching the cruise ships. The beach is on the protected Caribbean Sea side of the island and can get rather hot, a perfect excuse for seeking refuge in one of the many restaurants lining The Boardwalk.
Kim Sha Beach
On Friday nights, Kim Sha Beach is where it’s at, particularly if you have young children. Belly up with local residents and visitors alike at Buccaneer Beach Bar, and watch the sun go down over the sea, while the kids play or watch a movie on the beach.
Pelican Cay consists of a series of very protected beaches serviced and maintained by the resorts. At the top end in the Simpson Bay Resort and Marina, tickets for the ferry to Saba can be bought.
A long crescent beach stretching all the way from the bridge and following the runway, Simpson Bay Beach is an ideal beach for a long walk or a challenging run. Next to the runway, there are a couple of good beach bars and restaurants to pick up something tasty to eat or drink.
This is the beach you see on all those YouTube videos. A smallish, but busy beach at the end of the Princess Juliana International Airport runway, where people can relax and photograph the planes coming in to land right overhead. Maho, with its many restaurants, is very close by.
A great surfing spot when the swell is running in, otherwise, a popular sunbathing beach and an idyllic place to anchor a boat for a day of swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.
A winding steep road to get there, but a pretty place with easy access to the calm, protected beach and a couple of restaurants to refresh the spirits. The resort provides water sport facilities.
Regular ferries leave for this small island off Cul-de-Sac and it’s a great place to do some shallow water snorkeling. Food and refreshments are available.
There is a beautiful white beach on the island, but no facilities. A ferry services the island on request and quite often charter boats anchor off there for a day of snorkeling or hiking around the island, which is part of the Marine Reserve. Bring food and water.
Often referred to as ‘Baby Beach’ because of the shallowness and calmness of the water, Le Galion is protected from the ocean by a reef. Outside of the reef, though, it is surfer turf with the Windy Reef and Quicksilver Surf School teaching kids and adults alike the art of hanging ten and windsurfing.
This bay is very exposed and is not often frequented by sunbathers, however, it makes a good shallow water snorkeling spot in calm weather, but not one to be visited in rougher conditions.
A rough sea at the best of times and with unpredictable currents, Guana Bay is nonetheless a popular place to windsurf or body surf. Bring a picnic, because there are no facilities.
The beaches are supported by the resorts, which have restaurants and bars to quench the hot and thirsty, but they are very much resort beaches.
A series of small beaches backed by sandstone cliffs and large timeshare and hotel complexes, Cupecoy is usually very calm, but take care when a big swell is running as it can get very rough.
A very long beach lined with private properties and the site of the beautiful Belmond La Samanna with its restaurants and spa. There is easy access to the beach for the public.
Baie aux Prunes
For a short time each year, the ocean swells turn this bay into surfer heaven. For the rest of the time the small beach is a good place to swim even though it is walled by private properties.
Site of a rocky arch that looks majestic on photos, Baie Rouge is a fascinating place to swim and there is a small eatery on the beach to rest out of the sun.
Standing on the strip of land with the lagoon on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other, Nettle Bay has the best of both. Hotels and resorts provide quiet, clean beaches on the calm lagoon side, and on the sea side it is less developed and more natural. Both sides provide for water sports.
In the Simpson Bay Lagoon, close to Mount Fortune, is a small sandy island that is accessible by boat and presents a different place to have a picnic. Water sports centers can arrange transport there and back.
A lovely sheltered beach with beach bars to supply sustenance to the serious sun-worshippers, Friar’s Bay is also host to the famous Full Moon Parties.
A fine beach and a good picnic spot with safe shallow water snorkeling, Grand Cayes has no facilities.
Read more: 9 great activities for kids to do in St. Maarten / St. Martin