The Most Beautiful Beaches on St Martin, Caribbean
Sandstone cliffs frame Cupecoy Beach on Sint Maarten St Martin Caribbean | © Zoonar / Getty Images
Ranging from tranquil coves to white-sandy strands backed by glitzy casinos and bars or limestone cliffs, St Martins in the Caribbean is home to some 37 beaches – so there’s a lot to choose from. Watersports are available in abundance and all beaches are accessible by yacht. Due to the island being divided into two nations – half-French and half-Dutch – there’s a real cultural mix and amazing cuisine to experience here.
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Little Bay is a small, pretty beach on the south coast of St Martin that’s well protected by an outcrop of land – upon which the historic Fort Amsterdam sits. Rocky beach breaks that jut out into the water provides a calm spot for snorkellers. Two hotels – Bel Air Beach Resort and Divi Little Bay Hotel – use the sandy shore for guests, but it’s also open to the public. Enjoy a barefoot lunch at a local seaside restaurant and stay until you’re sipping fruity sundowners.
Great Bay Beach, Philipsburg
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Great Bay Beach is a 2mi (3.2km) curve of powdery white sand not far from Philipsburg’s cruise port and easily accessible from elsewhere on the island by water taxi. Lively with activity, this beach is backed by buzzy restaurants and beach bars – there’s even a sea-facing casino in case you fancy bay swims and a game of blackjack in one day. Splash out on a beach lounger from a local bar and you’ll get an ice bucket of cold beer or a choice of cocktails included.
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A secluded hideaway and one of the best swimming beaches on St Martin with calm waters and serene vibes. The Grand Case Beach Club is a breezy brunch spot serving Nutella-smothered crêpes and fresh fruit juice. Grand Case is also a quaint fishing village known for its high-end gourmet French restaurants – so order a dozen escargot and the sensational crème brulée at Bistrot Caraibes or the cheese crusted mahi-mahi fillet at La Villa. Be sure to arrive showered, sand-free and polished, though.
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Practically hidden in a discreet cove, this white sandy paradise is accessible by land or sea and yachts can anchor here with optimum privacy. It’s also home to the Anse Marcel Beach Resort which has cordoned off a private section with a picket fence. Sit back and watch the sea changing shades of bluey-green as the day unfolds. The water is shallow and incredibly still here – so it’s an ideal spot for active souls keen to kayak, paddleboard and snorkel.
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A lagoon not a pond, this quiet beach is surrounded by vegetation-covered hills and luxury homes accessible only by steep winding roads. The divide between the island’s French and Dutch sides runs through the middle of Oyster Pond – there’s a friendly community feel with plenty of relaxed bars and restaurants here. With a marina next to it, this is the perfect spot to hire a yacht and explore neighbouring islands such as St Barts island, only 15mi (24km) away.
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With soft white sand and calm emerald-coloured waters, Mullet Bay is everything you want from a Caribbean beach. For lunch, Da Waterhole is a popular beach joint serving fresh lobster, juicy beef burgers and fruity cocktails – or you can stock up at Rosie’s snack bar and enjoy refreshments on a sun-lounger shaded by grape trees. The beach borders the island’s only 18-hole golf course – handy if you like to tee off before a dip in the sea.
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Located on the southwest tip of St Martin, this clean and secluded spot offers three beaches in one. The limestone cliffs that back it has eroded in such a way that they’ve formed a trio of semi-private coves – therefore, families should note clothing is optional at the beach’s northwest end. The sunsets here are the best on the island – so buy a cold beer from a vendor on the sand and enjoy the show. Cupecoy Beach is also noted as an LGBT-friendly beach.
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Located south of the Dutch/French border, Dawn Beach gets its name from its incredible sunrises – so it’s worth getting up early to witness one. The clear, sealife-rich water is perfect for snorkelling right from the beach. The waves can get a little rough – with lots of seaweed – so it’s best suited to more adventurous surfer-types rather than young families. The Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa here offers access to its car park and use of the hotel’s beach chairs, should you need it.
Formerly known as Cay Bay, Indigo is off the beaten tourist track on the Dutch side of St Martin. It’s private, with a scattering of luxury residences and hotels. Indigo Bay Beach restaurant is a highlight here, with its snow-white canopies and bare wooden floors – where staff wholeheartedly encourage a ‘Rosé all day’ approach to holidays. Enjoy seafood dishes with an Asian twist or an old fashioned cheeseburger with glorious sea views.