Great Bay (Philipsburg)
Philipsburg is great for the shopping (especially jewelry and electronics), casinos, and restaurants, but there is also a long beach that runs all the way along the boardwalk in the bay. There are plenty of beach bars, restaurants and facilities all along the beach with chairs and umbrellas for rent.
After St Maarten dredged the harbor for the new cruise ship pier and terminal, much of the sand was used to replenish the beach. Thus, it is one of the longest and widest beaches on the island. The boardwalk is a great place to hang out and party right beside an idyllic tropical beach, if that is what you want, check it out. Great bay is also adjacent to Front Street where you can shop TAX free and still feel like you are in the Caribbean!
Right next door to Great Bay is Little Bay with the Divi Peninsula separating the two. The Belair Hotel is situated on this beach. Snorkeling here is good. Bars and restaurants are here so you can easily take a break between tanning sessions for a Presidente or Maragarita!
This is the far eastern end of Simpson Bay Beach, on the eastern end of the channel into the lagoon. Many of the boat trips start from this area, as it is located just outside the lagoon. There has been quite a bit of construction here, so access is limited, but there are beach bars. This is more of an evening hang out beach especially with the Buccaneer Beach Bar having fire ball nights, great fun for the kids. It isn’t so great for snorkeling, but fun for happy hour.
Simpson Bay Beach
This is one of the longest and nicest beaches on the island. Lots of sand and small waves. There are great views of Saba and on good days, Statia, and on really clear days St Kitts and Nevis. There are a few beach bars and usually this is a very quiet and relaxing beach. The Horny Toad Guest House is nearby and a great place to stay. The beach overlooks some of St. Maartens Dive sites, so while your partner is Scuba Diving with us you may be able to see them.
This is a little beach at the end of the Juliana Airport runway next to big hotels. The Sunset Bar is the main attraction here with awesome food and one of the best Bars on St. Maarten / St. Martin. Ladies, drink topless and your drinks are free!! On a north swell the waves here can be pretty big and snorkeling is okay off of the far, rocky side of the beach. The Beach has great sunset views, but watch out for low-flying aircraft!! Princess Juliana the main International airport in St. Martin / St. Maarten has one of the shortest commercial airports in the Caribbean and maybe the world. This means the Aircraft fly in extremely low which is an awesome sight but just watch out as they take off, the jet blast will knock you off your feet. You may find yourself 50 feet away from a 747 as it lands. Maho (which is right next door) also hosts some great restaurants, such as Brother Jimmy’s, Bamboo Bernies, and our favorite Bajatzu.
This was crowded when the Mullet Resort was in operation, but now it is a very pretty beach with sunset views. It is usually calm on this side of the island so great if you have small children. There are a couple shacks here selling drinks and food. Here is you would like a beach chair with an umbrella, just sit down. The beach boys will come on over and for $10 you get two chairs and an umbrella. If you don’t want to pay, then just bring your own chairs or blanket and set up camp on the far side of the beach, you will find some shade here too! It is the quintessential Caribbean beach with lots of white sand, palm trees along the fringe of the beach, and volcanic mountains in the distance.
Here beautiful sandstone cliffs make for a picturesque background to the beach, producing beautiful coves and caves, and as it faces SW, there are beautiful sunsets and it is usually quiet.
This is a pretty beach that is fairly well protected. It is enclosed by the Westin and the Coral Bay Beach Club. There is good snorkeling, but only in extremely calm weather. If the surf is up then please be careful as it can be dangerous here. Follow the signs to Mr Busby’s Beach Bar to find the northern end. Another Favorite of ours is the All you can eat buffet at the Westin on a Sunday starting at 12 noon, be sure to make a reservation! It’s $50 per person and includes champagne along with the food. It is well worth it! Then hang out in their jacuzzi with a rum and coke to help digest all that food!
Octopus Diving is always seeking out new dive sites as many of our regular customers are aware of. We also know of a few hidden beaches. Two are only accessible by boat and one is only accessible on foot. For more information please Contact Us and we can help. We don’t want the world to know our Caribbean secrets!!!