14 Best Beaches in St Maarten

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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There is a lovely island in the Leewards in the Caribbean that is divided largely east by west; it belongs to two countries.

The French part covering the north is called St. Martin, while the south called St. Maarten belongs to the Netherlands.

The whole island has developed as a popular tourist island, with lovely beaches, warm blue waters, and at the end of the day, a vibrant nightlife.

There is little doubt that the beaches in St. Maarten compare favorably with anything found in the whole of the Caribbean.

They are all easily accessible and if you have a holiday on St. Maarten, you should give as many as possible a try.

Read on and learn more about the Best Beaches in St. Maarten.

1. Cupecoy, South West

Cupecoy BeachSource: BlueOrange Studio / shutterstock
Cupecoy Beach

Cupecoy has a series of small beaches located below ochre-colored cliffs.

The waves are gentle and sunsets especially impressive.

This is the first sand after heading south across the border from Saint Martin.

The facilities are excellent and there are usually few people to enjoy them.

Accommodation here includes lovely villas perched on cliffs that provide wonderful views.

You can sunbathe, snorkel and dive, with caves to explore as well.

Enjoy a stroll, take in the sunset and then enjoy fine dining.

2. Mullet Bay, South West

Mullet BaySource: Photostravellers / shutterstock
Mullet Bay

The lovely sands in this bay run close to a golf course, which is an added attraction for tourists.

The bay is popular with both tourists and locals.

The northerly winds make this a good spot for surfers.

It is never too crowded – even though it is fairly close to urban development – but does tend to get a little more busy at weekends.

The currents are strong at times, so take care.

The local snack bar serves cold drinks and sometimes there are additional mobile vendors.

Take note that there are no restrooms on site.

3. Maho Beach, South West

Maho BeachSource: Sean Pavone / shutterstock
Maho Beach

Maho is right at the end of the runway of Princess Juliana International Airport; crowds gather here to watch planes take off.

Be careful not to leave anything lying around, because it could blow away! When Hurricane Irma struck in autumn 2017, there was considerable damage to the beach and the Sunset Beach Bar behind it.

Happily, things have now largely returned to normal.

The lovely beach and the clear blue sea make Maho a great place to spend the day.

Settle back with a drink at Sunset Beach Bar, watching the planes soar overhead and gazing at the gorgeous ocean.

4. Burgeaux Beach, South West

SurfingSource: peapop / Shutterstock

Burgeaux is a popular spot with surfers.

It is fun to look for shells and sea urchins in this little stony cove, which is just a small strip of sand with palm trees and villas surrounding it.

There has yet to be any hotel development, with the beach largely used by locals.

While the waters are rough, they are shallow, so perfectly safe.

Those wanting a nice beach that is close to urban development should head to Burgeaux.

To reach the beach, just walk down any of the small paths between the villas and cottages.

5. Simpson Bay, South West Coast

Simpson BaySource: jessica.kirsh / shutterstock
Simpson Bay

Simpson Bay runs along the side of Princess Juliana International Airport and a small fishing village.

It goes as far as the ‘’Burgeaux Point’’ Rocks and to date is largely undeveloped.

A causeway was built a few years ago, which increased the attractiveness of the lagoon.

Yachts got access and tourist accommodation and infrastructure developed.

The beach itself is around three kilometers long and the west beach is generally fairly quiet; an ideal place to relax for families wanting to avoid significant crowds.

6. Kim Sha Beach, South West Coast

Kim Sha BeachSource: alljengi / Flickr | CC BY-SA
Kim Sha Beach

It is party time at Kim Sha – day and night, there will always be action.

Beach parties are just part of what is going on when the sun goes down.

By day, visitors to this beach can enjoy the sun’s rays, swim in the lovely water and try out a range of water sports.

It is just a short distance from Simpson Bay, behind the bridge close to the lagoon.

Swimming is fine because a small reef offshore results in fairly calm water.

You will find bars and restaurants nearby, a playground for kids and water sports equipment for hire.

7. Pelican Bay, South West Coast

Pelican BaySource: Multiverse / shutterstock
Pelican Bay

There has been a fair amount of development in this lovely bay which faces across to Simpson Bay.

There are resort hotels, condos, and small houses.

The amenities here are fairly good, supporting a lovely white sandy beach which attracts holidaymakers who want to relax or get involved in water sports.

With nearby fitness centers and sports facilities, it is difficult to do absolutely nothing, but the option is always there.

Make sure you enjoy the lovely seafood when you visit one of the local restaurants.

8. Cay Bay, South Coast

Aerial view of Cay BaySource: FredP / shutterstock
Aerial view of Cay Bay

This remote cove is tranquil due to its remoteness.

It is popular with horse trekkers, mountain bikers and walkers, while the underwater landscape is enjoyed by snorkelers and divers.

The nature park on the eastern edge of the bay is certainly worth exploring.

The lush vegetation provides a lovely contrast with the hues of the sand, sea and the marine life below.

There are also a couple of shipwrecks to investigate.

Access to the beach is fairly easy but please note there are no restrooms.

9. Great Bay, South Coast

Great BaySource: Multiverse / shutterstock
Great Bay

This beach is right in the heart of Philipsburg.

As a result, it is close to numerous bars and restaurants.

A promenade runs along its whole length and at the eastern end there are cruise ship berths.

You will see plenty of places to shop and have fun along the length of the promenade.

Once on the beach, you will see how clean and well-maintained the sands are.

Great Bay is separated from Little Bay by Fort Amsterdam Peninsula, which is becoming an important haven for birdlife thanks to replanting by the Nature Foundation.

10. Little Bay, South Coast

Little BaySource: Reimar / shutterstock
Little Bay

Around the bend from Great Bay, you will come across Little Bay.

The beach is almost perfect, with powdery white sand, but at high tide the shore becomes narrow.

Its proximity to Philipsburg means it is popular with day trippers.

Cruise passengers also appear here at times, as well as locals at weekends.

The water is fairly calm, making it good for swimmers.

Snorkelers explore under the water, while jet skiers, paddle boats and parasailers all add to the activities available here.

There are bars and restaurants close to the beach.

11. Indigo Beach Bay, South Coast

Indigo Beach BaySource: IrinaLux / shutterstock
Indigo Beach Bay

Those in search of calm waters and soft, white sand should head to the south of St. Maarten in search of this beach.

It is popular, but not to the extent that it detracts from your enjoyment.

Water sports are particularly in demand here.

Snorkelers and scuba divers happily search under the waves for marine life in the numerous coral reefs.

If you want to stay above the waves, you will definitely enjoy kayaking.

Whatever your choice, you are certain to enjoy your time at Indigo Bay.

12. Geneve Bay, East Coast

Geneve BaySource: Ninette Neuteboom / shutterstock
Geneve Bay

It takes an hour’s hike to reach Geneve Bay but swimmers are rewarded with excellent waves for surfing and decent waters for swimming – when shelter is afforded against the Atlantic.

The sand is strikingly black and the beach is deliciously secluded; it is certainly a place where you will be able to relax.

The environment is fairly rugged, with hills behind the coastline.

There are no restrooms at the beach but there may be facilities at nearby businesses.

13. Guana Bay, East Coast

Guana BaySource: Reimar / shutterstock
Guana Bay

This Bay looks across to St. Barths Island – another in the Leewards.

It is rarely crowded and is a great hit for those interested in water sports.

The currents and undertow are fairly strong, so swimmers should take care; the waters become more dangerous later in the day.

Guana has no shade, so it is advisable to bring umbrellas for shade and a picnic.

Hurricane Irma had little effect on the area and there is accommodation available locally.

It is an easy drive from Philipsburg and well sign-posted.

14. Dawn Beach, East Coast

Oyster Pond and Dawn BeachSource: Multiverse / shutterstock
Oyster Pond and Dawn Beach

Dawn Beach faces the Atlantic.

It’s a lovely little beach close to Oyster Pond Marina.

Development is slowly starting but it has had no negative effect on this pretty area of sand.

Hurricane Irma last autumn had an impact on the beach, with a lot of seaweed needing to be cleared.

As the name suggests, sunrise is a lovely time here looking across to St. Barths.

The coral reef offshore attracts divers and snorkelers, but the waters are a challenge to young children or poor swimmers.

14 Best Beaches in St Maarten:

  • Cupecoy, South West
  • Mullet Bay, South West
  • Maho Beach, South West
  • Burgeaux Beach, South West
  • Simpson Bay, South West Coast
  • Kim Sha Beach, South West Coast
  • Pelican Bay, South West Coast
  • Cay Bay, South Coast
  • Great Bay, South Coast
  • Little Bay, South Coast
  • Indigo Beach Bay, South Coast
  • Geneve Bay, East Coast
  • Guana Bay, East Coast
  • Dawn Beach, East Coast