Saint Martin has it all: immaculate beaches, French, Caribbean and fusion cuisine, designer shopping, history and plenty of nightlife. The island features 37 distinct beaches and secluded coves on its 37 square miles of land, so you can walk from one beach to another, experiencing something new each time. Get ready for some serious time away from metropolitan life, it’s way out towards the Atlantic, located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea together with the Dutch constituent country Sint Maarten.
Here are five unique beaches you must visit on your trip to Saint Martin.
Maho Bay Beach, Sint Maarten
There aren’t many places in the world where a jet passes as close over your head as on Maho Bay Beach—touchdown is about 40 to 100 yards behind the beach. The beach’s close proximity to Princess Juliana International Airport’s runway is a big reason for its attraction and subsequent amazing YouTube clips. Planes fly so closely over the beach that you feel hot air from the propellers and sand blowing around.
Once you’ve had your fill of places and sunshine, try out the excellent New York and Caribbean-style sushi at Bamboo Bernie’s. Or, munch on an appropriately named “Lay Over Pizza” at the Sunset Beach Bar—it has an airplane-themed menu and even features a schedule of arriving and departing airplanes!
Orient Bay Beach, Saint Martin
This two-mile-long stretch of sand on the northeastern side of St. Martin is known as the “Saint Tropez of the Caribbean”. Its celebrity sightings and beautiful views make it a beach with something for everyone.
Orient Bay Beach has a gradual slope perfect for wading in the water and its reef protects the cove from the harsh Atlantic surf. In addition to amazing snorkeling on the protected reef, you can book jetskiing, sailing and paragliding adventures. The beach was severely hit by Hurricane Irma, so you may notice that the vegetation is still recovering.
The center of the beach offers a hotspot of bars and restaurants. Relax and sip a mudslide at the Perch Bar & Grill or head over to Alamanda Kitchen for breakfast, lunch, snacks and pool parties! The north part of the island offers less crowds and more serenity. The main attraction is the nudist beach for naturist travelers, with Club Orient (a nudist club) right around the corner.
Where to stay? Consider Esmeralda Resort’s luxurious villa accommodations or the colonially inspired Alamanda Resort. If you don’t mind traveling a few extra miles, you’ll love the famous Oyster Bay Beach Resort, which has a grand pool snaking across the shoreline. What could be better than ending your day relaxing in a pool while looking over the ocean?
Mullet Bay Beach, Sint Maarten
For those who prefer a quieter vacation, consider the serenity of Mullet Bay Beach on the island’s southern side. Mullet Bay is known for its soft sand and remarkably clear blue and calm waters, although it has strong rip currents at times. There are fewer facilities here than at the bustling Orient Bay Beach, but the nearby Sapphire Beach Club Resort offers comfortable suites and villas after a long day in the sun! Also consider the award-winning boutique hotel Azure Hotels & Art Studio a mile away, which houses its very own Organic Food restaurant.
On the left side of the beach, you’ll find a few “Lolo’s” (snack bars) for food and drinks and the many shaded areas offer a perfect spot for cover or a nice picnic. There’s also volleyball, live music and parties over the weekend.
Mullet Bay Beach offers some of St. Martin’s most unforgettable sunsets. On a clear day, you can even see the nearby island of Saba!
Guana Bay Beach, Sint Maarten
As you travel the island, don’t forget to visit Guana Bay Beach on Dutch Sint Maarten near the town of Philipsburg. Guana Bay is a secluded, wide bay that is so quiet that a few visitors wandering along the beach would constitute a busy day. The surf gets a bit stronger on windy days, as the beach faces the Atlantic, making it perfect for bodyboarding and surfing. Like to snorkel? Gorgeous rocks and numerous reefs line the beach, making for a great underwater experience.
For those who love to stay away from the currents, the natural pools are a delight. This beach is so secluded that there are no bars or Lolo’s around, so be sure to bring your own provisions like a beach umbrella and cooler. For a place to stay, consider GetAways at Guana Bay Beach—a guest favorite just a couple of minutes from the beach. Each apartment features a kitchen, balcony and full amenities, so you feel right at home! If you happen to explore Philipsburg while visiting, be sure to take a trip to the Guavaberry Emporium and taste some of Sint Maarten’s legendary folk liqueur: Guavaberry rum.
Lover’s Beach, Saint Martin
Hidden somewhere between Galisbay and Friar’s Bay on the northwest coast of French St. Martin is the elusive, rocky Lover’s Beach. It’s difficult to find, but the privacy makes it worth it. Sometimes the tide gets so high that the beach gets completely covered, so be sure to check the surf and tides before setting out.
The beach itself has no facilities, but the area around Lover’s Beach offers amenities and fun. For those interested in St. Martin’s rich colonial history, there is the Musée de Saint-Martin nearby, with numerous Arawak and European relics and some of the oldest clay figurines discovered in the Antilles. Or if you like more of an up-close-and-personal approach to history, consider visiting the area’s local landmarks, like the historic Durat Bridge just a mile away. If you wander a bit further, you can also see the historical Fort Louis and Spring Sugar Mill—it produced rum and sugar in the early 1900s.
Lover’s Beach might be hidden, but it’s still relatively popular so there are plenty of small hotels nearby. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the O Plongeoir Restaurant about a mile away from the beach for Asian, Creole and French cuisine—and don’t worry about the dress code, it’s casual!