European Flavors & Beach Relaxation in Saint Martin

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Advisor - Ana Santos
Curated By

Ana Santos

  • St. Martin

  • Beaches

  • Food & Wine

  • International Travel

  • Tropical Vacations

  • Island

  • Relaxation

  • Romance

An aerial view of Saint Martin with crystal blue water and a white dock.
Curator’s statement

If you’re in search of a relaxing Caribbean vacation with a European flavor, look no further than Sint Maarten (aka Saint Martin). This tiny dual-country island has so much to offer: endless sandy beaches, tropical hikes, decadent French cuisine and a laid back “island time” vibe that’s easy to get used to.

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Where to stay in Saint Martin

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Things to do in Saint Martin

A tan sandy beach with two boats ashore and and blue water ocean in Saint Martin.


There is no shortage of beautiful beaches in Saint Martin, regardless of which side you’re staying on. Take your rental car for a spin and visit some of the top beaches on the island.

Baie Rouge Beach is located on the French side near Marigot and worth the visit. The parking lot is fairly small, so plan to be early in the morning or later in the afternoon for an easier time finding a spot. Beyond the lot you’ll find a scenic, mostly uncrowded beach graced by gentle waves and soft white sand. Perfection.

Grand Case Beach deserves a mention because it is equally beautiful and calm, but comes with an array of incredible restaurants. Kick back at a beach bar in the afternoon and wait for nighttime when all the restaurants open their doors and the entire town smells positively divine.

Dawn Beach is located on the Dutch side and gets its name because it’s a great place to catch the sunrise. Photographers might want to hit it up early to take in the views. Otherwise, the beach is mostly uncrowded for those traveling introverts.

Mullet Bay Beach is perhaps my favorite on this list. It’s popular with both tourists and locals, has a beach bar and plenty of room to spread out. It’s also an outstanding spot to watch the sunset in the evening.

Maho Beach gets an honorary mention for the spectacle of watching planes land across the road at Princess Juliana Airport. They come in so low, it looks as if you can reach up and touch them.


Charter a sailing tour and see the island from the sea. Most companies offer half-day tours that include lunch as well as opportunities for swimming and snorkeling. 

Rent an ATV

If you’re feeling adventurous, rent an ATV and follow your guide around Saint Martin’s windy roads. With multiple stops at popular destinations, I guarantee that you’ll get to know the Dutch part of the island in just one day.

Shopping in Philipsburg

Popular for its duty-free shopping, Philipsburg comes alive whenever a cruise ship sails into town. It’s a charming town even without all the hustle, with a pristine beach and spacious boardwalk lined with restaurants, beach bars and shops. 

Hike Pic Paradis

For a gorgeous panoramic view of the island, hike up Saint Martin’s highest point. With three options of hikes, the difficulty level will cater to everyone. But if you’re not much of a hiker, you can also drive up the narrow road and take in the sights without the extra work. Also in the area is Loterie Farm, where you can take an adrenaline-fueled soar across a zipline through the rainforest.

Day Trips

Take a quick 25 minute ferry out of Marigot and visit Anguilla. Known for its white sandy beaches and coral reefs, it’s a popular snorkeling destination. If you’re into water sports, you’ll find a ton of options like paddleboarding, windsurfing or kiteboarding. Not to mention, like its neighbor, it is most definitely a foodie destination.

Advisor - Ana Santos

A note from Ana

It's worth noting that Saint Martin is the most LGBTQ+ friendly destination in the Caribbean.

Eat & drink in Saint Martin

A brown and white pier with crystal blue waters and an orange roofed building in Saint Martin.

Bistrot Caraibes, Grand Case

Classic French gourmet cuisine, cheeses, decadent desserts and a good choice of drinks make this a highly popular spot for dinner in Grand Case. Reservations are definitely recommended.

Blue Martini, Grand Case

If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, follow the live music into the Blue Martini and give their varied menu a try. 

Bar Code, Cupecoy

This restaurant and cocktail lounge is so good, we went two nights in a row. Their cocktails are something else, and the food menu literally has something for everyone. Their burgers were particularly good.

The Palms, Simpson Bay

Cute little Caribbean style restaurant chock full of atmosphere. Come hungry for homestyle meals and delicious drinks. 

Honestly, there are just so many incredible restaurants on the island. All you have to do is follow your nose, but if you want some spots where to start, head on over to Grand Case, Maho Beach, Simpson Bay or Phillipsburg.

Need to Know

Looking for adventure instead of beach time? Check out my 'Outdoor Adventure and Dining in Iceland' guide!

Advisor - Ana Santos

Travel Advisor

Ana Santos

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