While on a recent trip, I made my way to visit each beach close to our St Martin villas and while all of them are beautiful – each has its own charm and character.
The island caters for all tastes whether you want a beach that has waves to challenge the surfer in you or the nice calm beach that is perfect for families with young kids.
St Martin has it all so I am going to go through the best beaches in St Martin and explain what they are like.
Dutch Side Beaches
This is a world-famous beach because of it being located at the end of the Airport in St Martin. Crowds gather to watch the planes pass over the beach when preparing to land.
It is actually quite dangerous as people standing on the beach can be blown into the water because of the jet blast from the aircraft taking off and can result in serious injury or death. This is signposted from entry to the beach and throughout.
You must bring a camera as you won’t experience a Boeing 747 pass over your head as close as on Maho Beach. It is definitely a nerve-racking experience but definitely a great one to tick off the bucket list.
The beach itself is great for sun worshipers as there is no natural shade so it is a great place to top up on your tan.
The beach is extremely busy with lots of people gathering for the plane arrivals and departures plus the beach has many resorts, hotels and beach bars/restaurants so it isn’t the peaceful relaxing type of beach but I would highly recommend checking it out if you are strolling around Maho which is a very busy spot but be careful if you have very young children as this is a dangerous beach all the same.
The best way to describe Cupecoy Beach is little pockets of beach along a rocky shoreline.
The beach is a lot smaller than you would think and it wouldn’t be the best beach for swimming however it faces South West so is a great place to watch the sunsets so I highly recommend this beach for couples. The beach has beautiful soft sand and a lot of character with the pretty rocks. This beach is located on the Dutch side of the island very close to the border so is a very close drive to the airport and Maho.
French Side Beaches
Moving across the border to the French side, I also went to visit the three beaches in Terres Basses which consist of Bay Longue, Bay Rouge and Plum Bay which are located in close proximity to each other and within a 24 hour gated community. Terres Basses is an exclusive gated community of over 300 residential lots of at least 2 acres containing some of the most spectacular properties in the Caribbean. We also have villa rentals near Friar’s Beach and Happy Bay beach which are located further up towards the North West of the island.
This is a very beautiful sandy beach that has the longest stretch of beach on the island and it is also known to be one of the quietest beaches and great for sun worshipers.
An important note is it is quite rocky towards the middle of the beach which is close to the access. This beach is home to the La Samanna Hotel however only guests staying at this complex can access the hotel by the beach which is important to know as some guests think you can just walk in which is not the case, unfortunately.
It is a great spot for celebrity-spotting too with the famous hotel being on this stretch of beach. You will have to bring your own supplies to this beach as there are no vendors, no water amenities so you can truly enjoy the privacy and beauty of the turquoise waters – it’s one of the best romantic sunset spots on the islands so ideal for honeymooners.
This beach is just beside Longue Bay and is great for surfers as it is rocky and a bit rough. This beach also has great sunsets as it faces west so another great romantic beach. The beach has lots of sand and great snorkelling spots but watches out for the corals just off the beach when stepping into the water.
This beach also has no amenities so make sure to bring your own supplies and umbrella. The beach is usually very quiet during the week but can get busier at the weekends.
Baie Rouge which is one of my favourite beaches and which is named after the sands pinkish shade is a great beach with bird cliffs to the west. We consider Baie Rouge to one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
On the entrance, you have Gus Beach bar where you can pick up some refreshments and local BBQ food.
I love the fact that Baie Rouge has calmer waters as it is not exposed to the open Atlantic which makes it great for swimming. You can also rent chairs umbrellas and snorkelling gear from Gus beach bar if you didn’t bring your own.
There is plenty of sand to lie on here and sunbathe. The beach can be tough to walk on when it is so sandy so I found walking along the sand closer to the ocean a lot easier unless you would like a good workout for your legs!
Friar’s Bay Beach
This is a great family friendly beach located on the North West of the island.
The waters at this beach are very calm so it is perfect for families with kids with swimmable waves. The beach has lovely sand and beautiful seashells to collect. The beach has two beach bar restaurants Friars Bay Beach Café and Kali’s Beach Bar so it is great, you can spend the day at the beach and don’t have to think of bringing food/drink supplies. Kali’s Beach bar is well known for the Full Moon parties and there is live music every Sunday from 6-9pm.
They also have beach chairs for rent and serve Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This beach is very scenic and I always recommend for families as you can watch your kids play from the beach bars/restaurants so everyone has a great time.
Happy Bay Beach
This is a beautiful secluded beach which is only accessible by boat, a 10-minute hike or by continuing to walk to the end of Friars Beach which will bring you to a dirt trail that will lead you the beach. It is a very quiet beach due to being that bit more difficult to get to so the beach has an authentic and untouched charm.
This is a great beach, however, I would recommend leaving before evening sets as there are no amenities on the beach so there isn’t any help around if you run into a problem so it is best to head back to Friar Beach later and party at the beach bars.
Happy Bay is one of my favourite beaches as you can just sit back and relax and enjoy the beach with no other disturbances, just the sun, sea and sand. Another tip: don’t forget to bring some water and food supplies with you if you staying here for the day.
It truly is a gorgeous beach and a must-visit in my opinion.
About Niamh McCarthy
Niamh is our Caribbean Travel Specialist and has an in-depth knowledge of all of the islands in the Caribbean. Niamh's qualifications are in the area of Business Management and Marketing with a Bachelor degree in Business Management and a Masters degree in Public Relations. Niamh has worked for over 10 years in the travel industry and has also spent time working in the United States.