Best Beach and Water Adventures in Saint Martin

Do you enjoy beach vacations and fun activities in the water? Saint Martin boasts 37 beaches, many of them ranked among the top-rated in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for pristine beaches, a lively nightlife, and plenty of opportunities to have fun in the sea, Saint Martin is a great destination.
The geographic position of Saint Martin on the edge of the Caribbean Islands makes many of its beaches ideal for surfing. The best season for surfing in Saint Martin is November through April, but the Atlantic coastline offers good conditions year-round. Some beaches are ideal for surfers of all abilities, but others are only suitable for experts. Le Galion, south of Orient Bay, has a reef and coral beach that makes it suitable for all surfers. Wilderness is another beach suitable for all surfers. However, it is secluded and offers no services. It is also a 30-minute hike from the parking bay. When you get there, you’ll love the pristine pink sand, and Wilderness boasts the finest conditions for all abilities. Experienced surfers can head to Cupecoy or Mullet Bay. Mullet Bay offers more services.

Many beaches in Saint Martin are suitable for windsurfing. However, most of the locals head to Le Galion. The Le Galion Lagoon is perfect for beginners, and there are nice wave breaks for more experienced surfers on Le Galion Reef.For a unique windsurfing experience, check out Maho Bay. The large jets taking-off from Juliana Airport generate a 40-knot offshore gust for one minute, providing windsurfers with a unique kick! Some of the other great windsurfing beaches include Cove Bay for beginners and Meads Bay and Barnes Bay for more experienced windsurfers.

Kite Surfing
Nettle Bay Lagoon is a wonderful stretch of calm water that is perfect for beginners. On the Caribbean side of Nettle Bay, the trade winds are ideal for more experienced kite surfers.
Orient Beach is the other popular kite surfing site on the island. It offers a flat and clear lagoon, sand bar and waves, and open ocean. There are three kite surfing schools in Saint Martin, two based in Nettle Bay and one in Orient Beach.

The warm, crystal-clear waters around Saint Martin are perfect for snorkeling adventures. Arguably the best snorkeling spot in Saint Martin is around Pinel Island on the French side. You can reach Pinel Island by a short ferry trip from Cul de Sac. What’s great about Pinel Island is that it’s at the heart of a protected Marine Reserve. On the south side of the island, you’ll find the Pinel Island Marine Trail. This is a snorkeling trail marked with white buoys that leads you safely along the reef. The waters here are rich in marine life, including turtles, stingrays, and colorful reef fish. Other popular snorkeling destinations on the Dutch side are Cupecoy Beach, Dawn Beach, and Mullet Bay. And on the French side, there are Baie Rouge and Creole Rock.

Scuba Diving
The coral reefs and crystal-clear waters make Saint Martin a fantastic location for scuba diving. Several equipment hire shops around the island can provide you with diving mask, flippers, and tanks, such as The Scuba Shop in Simpson Bay. However, for me, it’s the seven popular shipwrecks around the island that make the island perfect for scuba diving. For example, HMS Proselyte was a 32-gun frigate serving in the British Royal Navy that hit a reef and sank in 1801. She now lies under 50 feet of water near Philipsburg. Sundry anchors, barrel hoops, ballast bars, and cannons remain scattered around the wreck, encrusted with coral. These features make this ancient warship a popular destination for scuba diving enthusiasts. A less historic but still interesting shipwreck is the Carib Cargo off Cay Bay. She can be found 65 feet under the waves on a sandy patch of the seabed. What’s interesting about this 1996 wreck is that stingrays love it. Because of the abundance of marine life and clear water, the Carib Cargo has become a popular destination for underwater photographers.   

Kayaking and Stand-up Paddleboarding
Lots of visitors to Saint Martin have fun paddling around the bays or lagoons. The calm lagoons are perfect for beginners, while sea kayaking can provide more of a challenge for the adventurous. If you’re confident enough to paddle out to sea, you can reach some of the nearer shipwrecks and look down through the crystal-clear waters to the coral-encrusted ships below. Kayaking is also an interesting way to reach the Marine Reserve at Pinel Island. It takes approximately 25 minutes to paddle from Cul de Sac. The water around the reserve is shallow, so you can look down and see the abundant marine life below. If you’re a nature lover, head over to Galion Beach where the surfers go. At the end of the bay is a wild mangrove. You’ll be delighted at the diversity of water plants, crabs, and birds all around you. And the calm lagoon behind the beach is great for paddling a stand-up paddleboard.

Fine Dining
Visitors who wish to combine their trip to the beach with gourmet food should head on down to Grand Case Bay. This quaint fishing village features a long beach with a selection of gourmet restaurants and small but popular traditional food outlets. The turquoise waters of the bay are clear and calm, and Grand Case is rated the TripAdvisor #3 destination in the Caribbean.

Orient Bay in the northeastern part of the island is not only one of the most popular beaches during the day, but it is also a popular hotspot at night. With a naturist beach to the south of the bay, there is a libertine atmosphere around town. The beach restaurants and bars here are where you’re most likely to spot visiting celebrities. It’s commonly called the Saint Tropez of the Caribbean.

Guest Contribution by Jess at Outside Pursuits, Images by Pixabay

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