Saint Martin (also known as Sint Maarten or St. Martin) is an amazing island full of beauty, culture, and adventure. It’s only natural to have the desire to see and experience it all. I stayed for a week on this island and was able to accomplish everything on this list. Below you will find my list of the best things to see and do in Saint Martin.
Saint Martin's Beaches
This activity is pretty obvious for an island in the Caribbean, isn’t it? If you are going to Saint Martin you will definitely be headed to the beach! I went to almost all the public beaches in Saint Martin (it’s a small island after all!) and below I have shared my four favorites that you should absolutely check out during your visit.
Mullet Bay Beach
Mullet Bay Beach is, without a doubt, number one on this list. For me, the other beaches don’t even compare! Mullet Bay is quiet and relaxed, not to mention beautiful! There were only a handful of visitors on this large stretch of sand. Not all the beaches in Saint Martin have a restaurant, bar, or restrooms, however, this one does! Additionally, chairs and umbrellas available for rent. As a last note, should you decide to watch the sunset on a beach, Mullet Bay Beach is the place to go!
Maho Beach is the most well-known beach in Saint Martin, and possibly the entire Caribbean. You may not know it by name, but you would at once recognize it upon seeing a picture (such as the one above). Yes, this is in fact that beach right next to the airport runway. It’s pretty spectacular to see these airplanes fly so close to the ground while you are laying out or swimming around. Be careful though, because the planes taking off in the opposite direction can cause quite an air blast.
Happy Bay Beach
Happy Bay Beach is a little different than the other three listed in this post. Why? Well first of all, you can’t access it via car. It’s quite secluded and you have to either hike or swim to it. As a result, there were less than half a dozen people present on this tiny beach. Second, it’s clothing optional. I personally kept my swimsuit on, as did most other visitors, though there were a few exceptions. Regardless of your choice to be nude (or not), this little stretch of land is gorgeous, complete with a modern-day sculpture with ancient-like appearances.
Orient Bay Beach
I would imagine Orient Bay Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. I say imagine because unfortunately, between May and November, it’s considered “seaweed season” on the eastern side of many Caribbean islands. Orient Bay Beach is located on the east of Saint Martin, and when I visited the area in June, the seaweed build-up had already started. The black seaweed covered much of the sand and water, making it near impossible to swim. It also had quite a potent smell. Despite all this, as you can see from the photo above, there is still plenty of beauty to be seen here. I’m sure it would be between lovely December and April!
Shop & Explore in Saint Martin
Sometimes you need a break from the beach while on a Caribbean vacation to shop for souvenirs for yourself or to bring home to friends and family. The places below were my favorite to explore in Saint Martin, whether you are looking to shop or perhaps grab a bite to eat and take some nice photos for your insta page!
Front Street in Philipsburg, Saint Martin
Front Street in Philipsburg is quite picturesque. Aside from the amazing beaches in Saint Martin, this is probably the most “instagrammable” place on the island. Palm trees line the cobblestone streets in front of colorful buildings with murals painted on the walls. If you want to buy any kind of souvenir to take home, this is the place to purchase it! Philipsburg is the port where most of the cruise ships come in to visit the island. I visited soon after the island re-opened to visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, so there were only two ships and it was very quiet. I would be willing to bet it normally gets pretty crowded on a regular basis.
The Boardwalk in Philipsburg, Saint Martin
Philipsburg Boardwalk is parallel to Front Street and runs along Great Bay Beach. There are many bars and restaurants along the boardwalk. It appeared to me that the COVID-19 Pandemic caused many of these places to shut down. However, there was a lot of completed new construction and ongoing construction projects, suggesting it’s up and coming once again, preparing for the revival of tourism in the country of Saint Martin.
Orient Bay, Saint Martin
The Orient Bay area was one of my favorite areas to explore in Saint Martin. The restaurants and shops around Orient Bay Beach are some of the most beautifully decorated buildings(?) – I put a question mark because everything was mostly situated outside – I have seen. You at least need to come over to this area of Saint Martin to have a bite to eat! You will not be disappointed!
Grand Case, Saint Martin
The Grand Case area does not feel as touristy as Philipsburg or Orient Bay. At times, the town looks a bit run-down. However, it’s quite colorful and makes for some amazing photos! The restaurants are anything but classy, however, they are authentic and delicious. The beach area is also more than beautiful. If it’s even possible, the water on this side of Saint Martin is clearer and bluer than anywhere else on the island.
Adventure in Saint Martin
Believe it or not, there is more to do on a Caribbean island than lay on the beach, eat, drink, and shop. In Saint Martin, there are two adventures in particular, that I highly recommend for you participate in.
On my fifth day in Saint Martin, it was overcast and rainy, a perfect day for a non-beach related activity. My travel companion and I decided to visit Rainforest Adventures located on Rockland Estate on the dutch side of Saint Martin. Famous for the steepest zipline in the world, “The Flying Dutchman,” Rainforest Adventures also hosts tubing, a canopy tour, a chair lift ride, a “sky bar,” a viewing deck, as well as a restaurant and museum. Unfortunately, the dutchman was under construction during our visit, so we settled for the canopy tour (a smaller zipline course) and the chair lift (which led to the sky bar and viewing deck). It was a lot of fun and absolutely worth the cost (between USD 45-140 for visitors) to see the island from above. You can find out more information on Rainforest Adventures and book your tickets in advance on their website, which can be found here.
Aqua Mania Adventures
We took an all-day catamaran adventure around Saint Martin with Aqua Mania Adventures on our last day. An open bar and snacks were included with the sail on our catamaran, “Tango.” Also included were stops for lunch, snorkeling, and swimming in the most beautiful of places in Saint Martin. Several of which are shared above, including Grand Case and Happy Bay Beach. To top it all off the staff were amazing and went above and beyond for us. In fact, I dropped my phone in the ocean and the captain of our catamaran dove down to retrieve it! If that’s not good service, I don’t know what is! You can find more information on Aqua Mania Adventures and book tickets on their website, which can be found here.
So here is my comprehensive list of all the amazing things to do in Saint Martin! I hope you enjoyed it. Stay tuned for future posts, as part of my Saint Martin mini-series, which will all be available for your reading pleasure here. If you liked this post, please comment below or share it on social media with your friends! I would greatly appreciate it.