WCW Top Beaches in St. Maarten

In just a few short months I have packed up baby and ventured off to see as much of the island as possible while living here. I can quickly get stir crazy so it’s great fun for me to rent a car for the day and try out a new beach with great friends. I’m a strong believer that a change of scenery can do the mind and body good. With all our mommy & me adventures we have visited over 15 beaches in St. Maarten, so I’m here to rank my tops.

Ilet Pinel Island

  • Top beach, by far! Pinel is so much fun and extremely relaxing! If you’re visiting SXM and can only go to one beach, Pinel is the one. Hold your nose as you park the car and walk to the ferry dock because all of the seaweed makes for a stinky arrival {you’ve been warned}. However, get on the dock, pay your $12 {roundtrip cost, per person, babies free} and take the boat over and you’ll forget all about the stinky seaweed.


    • The hubs always rents a paddle board {$15 for the day} and paddles over to Pinel {takes about 20-30 minutes} then we play on the paddle board the entire day. He will go out and snorkel around the island and I’ll paddle around him with baby girl on the board.


    • You can rent chairs from two vendors – we always opt for Yellow Beach Bar because they allow us to rent chairs but bring our own picnic lunch for the day. $20 for 2 chairs and umbrella. The other vendor is only $10 for the chairs but you must order all food and drinks through them. {We like to save money where we can so we opt to bring all our food and drinks from home.} You can also choose to bring your own chairs, whatever you want. Yellow Beach Bar makes a to die for Pina Colada though, I’m just sayin’ 🙂


Cupecoy Beach


  • This beach is private but also accessible via swim from Mullet Bay. It has gorgeous caves and the exclusivity make it utmost desirable.
  • It is also accessible if you stay at Rainbow Beach Club or Cupecoy Beach Club.

Karacter Beach

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  • I adore this beach. The calm waters and minimal waves set a beautiful scene while enjoying all of Simpson Bay and neighboring islands.
  • Karacter Beach Bar offers free chairs with purchase of food/drink service and the service is wonderful. Food is well priced and I love having a fun mixed drink while lounged out and watching my little one enjoy searching for shells. This beach restaurant has a great, relaxing vibe where you’re waited on at a low rate. Not having to pay for beach chairs is always a win in my book!

Le Galion {when the water is clear}


  • Sadly some points throughout the year the water is a bit cloudy and murky. I’ve found that the winter months are the clearest {January-March}. With glasslike water and no waves it is one of the best beaches for children and dogs to play.
  • There is a surf school on the beach but no beach service {as of late}.

Baie Rouge

  • If you want to see sea life, this is your beach. There hasn’t been a time the beach didn’t have a baby ray or groups of angel fish swimming around. The hubs even saw a {he claims harmless but…} shark while out snorkeling. Very calm water so it is wonderful for the little ones to float about and calm enough to see into the clear water.
  • There are two amazing beaches around the corner {to the right} that you can only access by swim/snorkel. They are engulfed by huge, beautiful cliffs and you can even swim through the Devil’s Hole. {When hubs swam around Devil’s Hole is where he saw the shark, FYI}.
  • There is no longer a beach service or restaurant/bar.

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Philipsburg Boardwalk

  • This is lots of fun for so many reasons! I’ve been here so many times and each trip is a new adventure.
  • I’ve walked around on a ‘non-cruise ship day‘ where it was somewhat of a ghost town – no markets, minimal beach chairs, shops closed and vendors, etc. and it was fun to just wander and walk around.
  • I’ve spent a beach day here, renting chairs, an umbrella, a bucket of drinks and got a massage on the beach. The water is still and perfect for kids to run and splash around without being overtaken by waves. After, we walked down near the cruise ship port and played on the small playground directly at the water – it was an amazing spot.
  • We’ve also spent a day at the splash pad on the far side of the Boardwalk and let the kids play like crazy before naps. I definitely recommend water shoes {it gets extremely slippery for fast moving kiddos!} and a bucket or toy.
  • I’ve never had a bad time here. Be prepared for the vendors to try to walk and talk to you on the Boardwalk.

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Grand Case

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  • This picturesque beach has seen better days {pre-Irma} but the rebuild is coming right along. The locals are friendly and the food is delicious. You will not be disappointed if you are on the snorkeling hunt for sea glass or sea life. The French airport is directly behind the famous beach so enjoy watching planes overhead as they go in for landing.
  • Calm, clear waters are a daydream for kids and make for a relaxing day.
  • Utilize the free, large public parking lot on far end of the one-way road through Grand Case and walk down the sidewalk until you arrive at the beach. You can’t miss it.

Friar’s Bay

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  • Beach chairs, umbrella and 2 beach bars for the win at this beach. The beach chairs are $10 and the food is ‘island expensive’ but expected. Good music and service.
  • The water is really calm and is amazing for little ones to play in and not constantly get swept away in waves. Downside is there are a lot of rocks on portions of this beach, however great for seaglass searching.
  • Possibly *cool factor* for some people – this is the beach with cows that wander. I’ve never actually seen them get into the ocean, more so the little pond behind one of the restaurants.

Maho Beach

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  • Get blown away by jet engines as they take off an land – who wouldn’t love that! The best way to do this beach is to have a cocktail and an appetizer and sit at a table on the water and watch from Sunset Beach Bar. The beach alone wouldn’t even make my ‘must visit list’ but the experience watching all of the planes come in from Sunset Beach Bar is everything. We even did a pool day here when my family was in town and it was super fun. They have a great pool, with swim up tables so you can eat in the pool or lounge out in the super plush chairs. It’s a great way to spend the day.
  • I very much enjoy going to this actual beach in the morning with my little one and watching the small planes come in without threat of huge jet engine blowing us away or blasting sand everywhere.

Kimsha Beach


  • Buccaneer Beach Bar offers beach chairs at a cost and the restaurant directly on the beach with music is a fun atmosphere. There are children’s activities and always some kind of event {workout class, beach movie, band, etc.} so they definitely set the ‘fun, energetic atmosphere’ required of a beach restaurant.
  • There are water activities – paddle board, kayaks, even the occasional ocean trampoline. Lots of fun for the older kids and adults.
  • Calm waters, so it’s great for the little ones to splash around.

Mullet Bay

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  • The left side of the beach is known as the tourist side. It has wonderful snorkeling, beach service and on the weekends, music. Although it is the tourist side it is a popular beach among locals for its calm water and clear visibility. The opposite side of the beach is a common place for the medical school students to hang out and play volleyball or other sand sports.



Other beaches we’ve visited but just didn’t make the list for one reason or another:

Plum Bay

  • Cool factor is that you can beach in front of President Trumps huge estate. Bummer is there are no chair rentals or food. The ocean is also difficult to swim in and there have been lots of sea urchins each time the hubs has tried to snorkel. If you want to just lay out and feel fabulous in front of grand homes, this is the beach to do that.
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Divi Little Bay

  • Secluded, open beach with larger waves and a sand that sticks to you like crazy! Beach service, water sports, shops and food.
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Orient Beach

  • After trying to beach here three times, I’ve thrown in the towel with this {previously famous} beach. I’m not knocking the famous beach, but I just think it was extremely damaged during the hurricane and the rebuild makes it look a bit worse for wear. The vendors walking the parking lots and beach asking you to buy things and the trash everywhere is somewhat bothersome to me personally. As a positive, water sports are available, as well as a few beach restaurants and bars.


I hope you enjoy some of these wonderful beaches, as we have!

-XO, the WCW

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