St. Martin and St. Maarten

We’ve compiled the best of the best in St. Martin and St. Maarten - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Îlet Pinel

    A protected nature reserve, this kid-friendly island is a five-minute ferry ride from French Cul de Sac (about €12 per person round-trip). The ferry runs every half hour from midmorning until 4 pm. The water is clear and shallow, and the shore is sheltered. Snorkelers can swim a trail between both coasts of this pencil-shape speck in the ocean. You can rent equipment on the island. There are two restaurants, Karibuni and Yellow Beach; both offer great service, with cocktail tables in the water. Chairs and umbrellas can be rented for about €25 for two. It can get busy on Sunday. Amenities: food and drink; parking. Best for: snorkeling; sunning; swimming.

    97150, St. Martin
  • 2. Little Bay

    Despite its occasional use by snorkelers, divers, kayakers, and boating enthusiasts, Little Bay isn't usually crowded. It does boast panoramic views of neighboring islands St. Eustatius (Statia) and Saba, and arriving and departing cruise ships. The beach is on the same peninsula as Fort Amsterdam and accessible via the Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, and most beachgoers are hotel guests. Amenities: food and drink at the resort; parking; toilets. Best for: snorkeling; swimming; walking.

    Little Bay Rd., St. Maarten
  • 3. Loterie Farm

    Almost halfway up the road to Pic Paradis is a peaceful 150-acre private nature preserve, opened to the public in 1999 by American expat B. J. Welch. There are trail maps, so you can hike on your own or hire a guide. Marked trails traverse native forest with tamarind, gum, mango, and mahogany trees—the same as it was hundreds of years ago. You might well see some wild vervet monkeys, now rather common here. The Jungle Pool is a lovely tropical garden with a large pool and Jacuzzi area plus lounge chairs, great music, roaming iguanas, and chic tented cabanas with a St. Barth–meets–Wet 'n' Wild atmosphere. A delicious, healthy lunch or dinner can be had poolside, and if you are brave—and over 4 feet 5 inches tall—you can try soaring over trees on one of the longest ziplines in the western hemisphere. (There is a milder version, but people love the more extreme one.) On Sundays you can enjoy music, played by a dj in the tree booth. Called "TreeJ" this wild party by the pool is from 1pm to 5pm on Sundays, and is has more of an adults vibe. If the festive pool area is not your thing, head to the Jungle Room for a tasty lunch, great ambience, tapas, and strong cocktails. 

    103 rte. de Pic du Paradis, 97150, St. Martin

    Sight Details

    Hiking €10, zipline €40–€60, cabanas from €85, and day beds at €25 Rate Includes: Cabana reservation recommended
  • 4. Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit

    This odd-sounding exhibit is actually a nonprofit museum run by Nick Maley, a movie-industry artist who was involved in the creation of Yoda and other icons. You can learn how the artist worked while enjoying the models and memorabilia on display—a must-see for Star Wars fans but of interest to most movie buffs. Maley is often on-hand and is happy to answer questions as time allows, and to autograph souvenirs for sale.

    19a Front St., St. Maarten
  • 5. Baie de Grand Case

    Along this skinny stripe of a beach bordering the culinary village of Grand Case, the old-style gingerbread architecture sometimes peeps out between the bustling restaurants and boutiques. The sea is usually quite calm, and there are tons of fun lunch options from bistros to beachside grills (called lolos). Several of the restaurants rent chairs and umbrellas; some include their use for lunch patrons. The main street, nicknamed "Restaurant Row" is where some of the best restaurants on the island can be found. In between there is a bit of shopping—for beach necessities but also for handicrafts and beach couture. Amenities: food and drink; toilets. Best for: swimming; walking.

    97150, St. Martin
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  • 6. Baie des Pères

    This quiet, occasionally rocky cove close to Marigot has beach grills and bars, with chaises and umbrellas, usually calm waters, and a lovely view of Anguilla. 978 Beach Lounge, open daily for lunch and (weather permitting) dinner, has a cool jazzy vibe. It's the best place to be on the full moon, with music, dancing, and a bonfire, but you can get lunch, beach chairs, and umbrellas anytime. Friar's Bay Beach Café is a French bistro on the sand, open from breakfast to sunset. To get to the beach, take National Road 7 from Marigot, go toward Grand Case to the Morne Valois hill, and turn left on the dead-end road at the sign. Note the last 200 yards of road to the beach is dirt and quite bumpy. Amenities: food and drink; toilets. Best for: partiers; swimming; walking.

    97150, St. Martin
  • 7. Fort Louis

    Though not much remains of the structure itself, Fort Louis, completed by the French in 1789, is great fun if you want to climb the 92 steps to the top for the wonderful views of the island and neighboring Anguilla. On Wednesday and Saturday there is a market in the square at the bottom.

    97150, St. Martin
  • 8. Great Bay

    This bustling white-sand beach curves around Philipsburg just behind Front Street, making it easy to find. Here you'll find boutiques, eateries, a pleasant boardwalk, and rental chairs and umbrellas. Often busy with cruise-ship passengers, the beach is best west of Captain Hodge Pier or around Antoine Restaurant. Amenities: food and drink. Best for: swimming; walking.

    St. Maarten
  • 9. Happy Bay Beach

    Not many people know about this romantic, hidden gem. Happy Bay has powdery sand and stunning views of Anguilla. The snorkeling is also good. To get here, turn onto the rather rutted dead-end road to Baie des Péres (Friar's Bay). The beach itself, which is clothing-optional, is a 10- to 15-minute easy hike from the northernmost beach bar on Friar's Bay. Amenities: food and drink; toilets (only at adjacent Friar's Bay). Best for: snorkeling; solitude; swimming; walking.

    97150, St. Martin
  • 10. Le Gallon

    A coral reef borders this quiet, naturally well-protected beach, part of the French side's nature reserve. The water is calm, clear, and quite shallow, so it's a paradise for young kids. Kiteboarders and windsurfers like the trade winds at the far end of the beach and will find the beach satisfactory if they don't need those "services." On Sunday there still may be some groups picnicking and partying, but during the week Le Galion is a rather desolate place better avoided. Amenities: parking. Best for: small children; swimming; windsurfing.

    97150, St. Martin
  • 11. Rainforest Adventures St. Maarten

    This eco-adventure park, designed so it would minimally impact the island's nature, offers 360-degree views of the island and adrenaline pumping rides. Nose around the Emilio Wilson museum and learn about the island's history before you take the chairlift all the way to the top of Sentry Hill to the sky explorer, a wooden deck from which you can enjoy the most incredible views of the island. Get a cold beverage at the Sky Bar and work up the nerve to go down the hill with either the Sentry Hill zipline, the schooner ride or--if you dare--the famous Flying Dutchman, also known as the steepest zipline in the world. After all the excitement, treat yourself to a nice lunch at Emilio's restaurant located on the property.

    59 L.B. Scott Rd., St. Maarten

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From $52, Closed Fri.
  • 12. St. Maarten Museum

    Hosting rotating cultural exhibits that address the history, industry, geology, and archaeology of the island, the museum contains artifacts ranging from Arawak pottery shards to objects salvaged from the wreck of HMS Proselyte. An interesting exhibit about hurricanes focuses on Hurricane Luis, which devastated the island in 1995. There is a good reference and video library as well.

    7 Front St., Philipsburg, n/a St. Maarten, St. Maarten

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, but donations are welcome
  • 13. St. Maarten Museum

    Hosting rotating cultural exhibits that address the history, industry, geology, and archaeology of the island, the museum contains artifacts ranging from Arawak pottery shards to objects salvaged from the wreck of HMS Proselyte. An interesting exhibit about hurricanes focuses on Hurricane Luis, which devastated the island in 1995. There is a good reference and video library as well.

    7 Front St., St. Maarten

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, but donations are welcome
  • 14. Butterfly Farm

    Closed Permanently

    If you arrive early in the morning when the butterflies first break out of their chrysalis, you can marvel at butterflies and moths from around the world and the host plants with which each evolved. At any given time, some 40 species of butterflies—and as many as 600 individual insects—flutter inside the lush screened garden and hatch on the plants housed there. Butterfly art and knickknacks are for sale in the gift shop. In case you want to come back, your ticket, which includes a guided tour, is good for your entire stay.

    Quartier d'Orléans, n/a St. Martin, 97150, St. Martin

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $12
  • 15. Plantation Mont Vernon

    Museum Village
    Closed Permanently

    Wander past indigenous flora, a renovated 1786 cotton plantation, and an old-fashioned rum distillery at a unique outdoor history and eco-museum. Along the rambling paths of this former wooded estate, with beautiful views of Orient Bay, bilingual signs give detailed explanations of the island's agricultural history when its economy was dependent on salt, rum, coffee, sugar, and indigo. There's a complimentary coffee bar along the way and a delightful gift shop at the entrance.

    Rte. d'Orient-Baie, , St. Martin

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $12 for adults and $7 for children 3-12 years; includes rum and coffee tasting.
  • 16. St. Maarten Zoo

    Closed Permanently

    This somewhat run-down little enclave houses scaly, furry, and feathered friends indigenous to the Caribbean and South America, including multihued parrots, iguanas, peacocks, turtles, monkeys, a few snakes, an alligator, and a capybara. You can feed most of the animals with crackers available at the entrance. There is also a small playground.

    Arch Rd., St. Maarten

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $10 adults, $5 children

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