Beaches on St. Maarten
St. Maarten/St. Martin – An Island with 37 beaches
The ideal image of a Caribbean Island…crystal clear blue waters, tranquil palm-fringed coastlines and a powder-fine soft white sand beach. 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. From soft white sand to dramatic rugged coastlines, St. Maarten / St. Martin features some of the world’s finest seascapes. Every single one of the island’s beaches is fantastically unique and features the rich diversity of the island itself.
Whether you are here for diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kitesurfing or just relaxing and basking in the sun on the island’s warm golden sands, there is something for everyone in our slice of paradise.
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 – If you want to experience cliff-side, dramatic scenery, check out Cupecoy Beach. 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 of a walk down to the beach. On the southern end of the beach is the Cliffhanger Bar which offers food, drinks and beach chairs. Sunsets are absolutely breathtaking at Cupecoy.
Dawn Beach – Fine sand and coconut trees are the backdrop for this exceptional beach located near the Oyster Pond Marina. 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. If you are an early riser, you will witness the most amazing sunrise from Dawn Beach.
Great Bay – This long beach curves around the Dutch capital, located in the heart of Philipsburg and is lined with bars and restaurants that spill out onto Front Street. The beach is accessed via a promenade that runs most of the way across its length. At the Eastern end of the beach, one can enjoy the view of the cruise ships in port.
Guana Bay – Rugged and secluded beach. The picturesque and unspoiled Guana Bay Beach faces out towards the island of St. Barths and is more of a secluded beach. The beach is popular with water sports fans. Beware of the strong undertow and strong currents in deep waters.
Little Bay – Little Bay is separated from Great Bay Beach by the Fort Amsterdam peninsula, 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, popular with tourists and locals alike. The beautiful fine-sanded Mullet Bay Beach sits on the edge of the golf course. It offers everything from calm waters, natural shade, snorkeling, beach chair and umbrella rentals, cold drinks and bar-b-que everyday. North winds provide fantastic offshore conditions for surfers.
Maho Beach – A world famous beach where this horseshoe shaped beach is just a few short yards away from the runway of the Princess Juliana International Airport. Crowds gather to watch jumbo jets take off and land. Nowhere else in the world can swimmers enjoy a splash in the water and experience the unique thrill of a 747 flying over their heads to land on the runway a short distance away! Don’t leave anything on the beach under the flight path as the jet blast will whip it away. There is a bar located on either end of this beach. Definitely a must see during your stay!
Simpson Bay – Once famous for the families who made their living from fishing, 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 calm. This beach is never crowded and offers a wonderful spot to watch the sunsets.
Simpson Bay Lagoon – Sandwiched between the fishing village and the murmuring sea, the calm waters of the lagoon offer the perfect venue for a variety of watersports including waterskiing.
French Side Beaches
Anse Marcel – A very calm beach, great for swimming. The magnificent Anse Marcel is a sheltered and well-developed beach at the base of the exquisite Port Lonvilliers resort in the northern part of the island. As the bay is protected on both sides, the water here is calm and the beach is popular with families. The horseshoe-shaped cove harbors yachts, racing boats and restaurants. Visitors will enjoy strolling around the marina and its shops.
Baie Longue – Located in the heart of the Low Lands on the western coast of the island, Baie Longue, or Long Bay, is the first beach on French Saint Martin when travelling north from the Dutch side. This beach is one of the longest beaches on the island. It is also one of Saint Martin’s quietest beaches, with only the gentle lapping of the waves to disturb you. The bar at La Samanna’s restaurant is the perfect place to view the sunset that is simply not to be missed. Its turquoise waters, white sands and resident pelicans, places Long Bay as a dreamlike setting.
Plum Bay – Also locoated in the Low Lands area, Baie aux Prunes or Plum Bay is a secluded and rarely visited beach. With golden sands and water in every shade of blue under the sun, Plum Bay is perfect for visitors looking for peace and harmony. This magnificent beach is quite wild and not much frequented, but offers two features: In calmer seas it provides the perfect setting for snorkelling; with a good swell it becomes an adventurous playground for experienced surfers. 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. Taking its name from its slightly coloured sand, Baie Rouge or Red Bay is without a doubt one of the most beautiful beaches on Saint Martin and one of the most popular. Small beach restaurants cater to your dining needs. The beach is lively and has a pleasant atmosphere. Competent swimmers will enjoy swimming through the small rock arch, where a small secluded beach awaits at the base of the cliffs.
Friar’s Bay Beach – Known in French as “Anse des Pères”, this scenic beach is a sheltered, family friendly beach in the northwest side of the island. There is good snorkeling and the beach is famous for its two well-known beach restaurants to include Friars Bay Beach Café and Kali’s Beach Bar. By day, visitors relax by the calm waters of the Caribbean sea, but when the sun goes down, Friar’s Bay Beach moves to the sounds of rock and reggae. If you are here during a Full Moon, don’t miss the legendary Full Moon parties at Kali’s Beach Bar.
Grand Case – Grand Case Beach is a great beach for sunning or strolling. Located right in the heart of this picturesque fishing village is a long white sandy beach bordered by celebrated gourmet restaurants and smaller renown traditional eateries, known at “Lolos”, serving spare ribs, fresh catch of the day and Creole dishes. 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. If you would like to do a bit of underwater sightseeing, divers enjoy exploring the famous Creole Rock or take the Seaworld Explorer, a glass-bottom submarine, that does regular trips over to Creole Rock to see some amazing tropical fish.
Grandes Cayes – A traditional site frequented by St. Martin families for barbeques. A large beach facing Tintamarre, it is a superb location for coral reef diving.
Happy Bay – A quintessential tropical beach in a paradise setting. Accessible only by a 10-minute hike through the hills, Happy Bay is one of the island’s most beautiful, secluded and peaceful havens that has preserved its authentic and untouched charm located just along from Friar’s Bay offering a great view of Anguilla. Enjoy sea, sand and tranquility. Ideal spot for a picnic on the beach.
Orient Bay – Known as the “Saint Tropez of the Caribbean”, Orient Bay Beach (Baie Orientale), situated in the north-eastern part of the island, is one of the island’s largest and most popular beaches. The beach offers a full range of tourist amenities, including beach restaurants, bars, hotels, shops, rentals of beach chairs/umbrellas and a large array of motorized and non-motorized watersports. Orient Bay is a favorite celebrity and jetsetter hotspot. A naturist beach can be found to the extreme south of the bay.
Le Galion Beach – Just 5 minutes away from Orient Bay, Le Galion is the ultimate family beach and is one of the favorite spots for local families during island festivities. This beach is a surfer’s and windsurfer’s paradise. At the same time, it is a great beach to take your children to as it is well sheltered and protected from the ocean swells by its coral reef. Here, you can also practice snorkeling, sea kayaking, stand up paddle and Hawaiian canoe. There is a restaurant on the beach and is popular with the locals.
Petite Plage – Located opposite Creole Rock at the northern end of Grand Case Bay is Little Beach or Petite Plage. This beach is practically untouched and is the perfect place to soak in the sun, relax under the shade of the sea grape trees and take a swim in the calm turquoise waters.
Nettle Bay – Just 5 minutes away from the French capital of Marigot, a long stretch of sand, mostly wild. Caribbean side – This long stretch of sand is home to a number of resort hotels. Rocks, stones and strong currents mean that this is not the ideal swimming location but the gentle breeze of the trade winds make this beach a pleasant place to visit. Lagoon side – These pretty beaches, shaded by palm trees benefit from the amenities of the hotels along the edge of Simpson Bay Lagoon, to include “Mercure St Martin et Marina” and “Le Flamboyant Hotel”.
Pinel Island – Located at the heart of the Nature Preserve, this small paradise island lies just off the east coast of St. Martin. Two breathtaking beaches await visitors. The first, facing St. Martin is a very sheltered sandy strip with shallow waters. Ideal for children, the beach is postcard perfect that everyone dreams about, beautiful white sandy beach, pristine turquoise waters and excellent snorkeling. There are two beachside restaurants here and the area is a superb shallow-water dive spot. The second beach, which is stony and exposed to the forces of nature, is a 10-minute walk away on the other side of the island. To get to Pinel Island, take a traditional boat known as a “Saintoise” from the pontoon at Fench Cul-de-Sac. The 10-minute boat ride costs around $6. Jet ski rentals are also available.
Tintamarre – A wonderful sanctuary of peace and greenery covering 100 hectares located 4 km off the northeast coast of St. Martin. A wonderful destination for many daysail trips. Taking a walk around this uninhabited island, you will find the remains of an air strip, a small rail track and a cotton plantation. The most accessible bay is “Baie Blanche” situated on the west coast facing St. Martin and offers a wonderful beach for sunbathing and swimming. Another beach is located on the eastern part of the island, just a few minutes away from the main one where everybody arrives. Wild and rocky, it is not the best spot to take a swim but it remains as the perfect nursery for many fish species. Do note that there is nowhere to buy food or drinks/water as it is an uninhabited island, so come well prepared. It is also famous for its natural mud-baths for a perfect all over body treatment!