Sint Maarten and Saint Martin (Dutch and French respectively) share the same island with a practically invisible border between them. This destination enjoys the Caribbean Sea on the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east; and offers 37 beaches for your tropical adventures. While the definition of ‘best’ varies with interests, these ten beaches consistently rate at the top of favorites for this port of call.
Maho Bay Beach
You may have heard of this one since you can stand just beneath landing airplanes – and count the rivets under the wings as they fly by. Go for the plane-spotting, and hold onto your hats and towels!
Orient Bay Beach
While some hurricane repairs are still in order, this remains a beautiful and popular spot. Stop by the bars and support the local effort to rebuild.
Cupecoy Bay Beach
Located on the Caribbean side, the three beaches in this area have tranquil waters, harvest yellow limestone cliffs, and caves along the shore. It’s a small area where you will likely have privacy. Also, it boasts some of the best sunsets on the island.
Happy Bay Beach
There are no amenities here, so the crowds are few. You can reach the beach with a short hike, or by boat. It’s the place for snorkeling and solitude. Arrive early to claim a shade tree; and bring your own food and drinks for an authentic tropical picnic.
Friar’s Bay Beach
This beach is good for walking and enjoying local food and drinks at the restaurants and bars. Swimming can be a bit sketchy with strong currents and sharp drop-offs just out from the beach. Come after dark for music and parties.
Grand Case Beach
Strategically located near a local fishing village, this beach is the spot for relaxation and delicious lolos (traditional eateries) cuisine. The people are friendly, and the food fabulous. It is a sheltered bay, and a safe place to swim and dive.
Le Galion Beach
This is crescent-shaped beach on the Atlantic side. Due to the protective reef, swimming is excellent and windsurfing is the top water sport. Other adventures include sea kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, and snorkeling. It’s a popular spot for families; and has food, drinks, and snacks readily available.
Off the northeastern region of the main island is Pinel Island – a small offshore cay in the Nature Reserve that is reached by ferry. The postcard beach facing the big island has shallow waters and good diving. Rent chairs and umbrellas, and enjoy food and drinks right on the beach. On the Atlantic side you’ll find the rocky, rough ocean beach.
If you’re an early riser, the sunrises should be seen at this location. You also have a nice view of St. Barts to the southeast. Nice clean sand, beachside bars, and larger Atlantic waves here.
Mullet Bay Beach
This spot is a warm-water beach with umbrellas and chairs, and the opportunity to wander a few steps away for some privacy. Locals come here on the weekend, and it can get a bit crowded then. The turquoise water is clear, the sands are golden, and the wind perfect for surfing.
Many beaches on the island are clothing optional. Also, keep in mind that some locations are not yet able to accept credit cards. So plenty of cash is always a good idea for shore excursions. For a good map and detailed information on all 37 St. Maarten/St. Martin beaches, visit the Tourist Office site.
Angela is a professional freelance travel writer and published indie author – AngelaMinor.com