st. martin and st. maarten beaches
The beaches here are unsurpassed in the Caribbean, offering everything from social to secluded, from modest to nudist. Some may require a ride down an unpaved road, but all are worth the bumps. Here we describe just a few which are located on the map in the grids shown below.
Grand Case Beach (C-9) is a long, narrow beach with calm waters, ideal for swimming. It's also ideal for eating! Little "shacks" line the beach, serving grilled Caribbean lobsters, barbecue, delicious johnny cakes and other local treats.
Orient Bay Beach (D-13) sweeps around a blue cove, whose calm waters are protected by a reef and are home to an underwater marine reserve. There's great snorkeling off nearby Caye Verte, one of the small islands dotting the coast. Watersports equipment and refreshments are available. Swimsuits are optional.
In the west of St. Martin, Baie Rouge (E-4) is often described as "picturesque". It offers a strip of beautiful sandy beach, dotted with boulders offering privacy to beach loungers.
Paralleling Front Street in Philipsburg is Great Bay Beach (I-10), over a mile long, with a wide beach and clear, calm waters. This is a favorite of beach strollers, who can watch the comings and goings of the cruise ships. And around the bend to the west is Little Bay Beach (I-9) where the calm waters make for high underwater visibility and great snorkeling.
By the airport, Simpson Bay Beach (G-6) is a long curve of white sand by a charming fishing village. This is a popular center for beach strolls and watersports. Also try snorkeling here around Pelican Key.
Maho Bay (G-5) has a sparkling beach ringed with seagrapes and shaded by palm trees, with good snorkeling around the rocks to the west. Just west of the airport, Maho Bay has several nice hotels, so it's convenient to restaurants and facilities.
Guana Bay (H-12), although it has no shade, has a surf that makes it surfers' heaven. Between sets, enjoy the view of St. Bart's in the distance. There's no service here, which makes this powdery white beach seem all the more secluded.
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