Beaches

If you plan to spend your day on St. Maarten mostly on the beach, we like to offer two choices: Stay in Philipsburg, which happens to have a very nice beach with plenty of beach bars, lounges and umbrellas. And you are only steps away from fantastic shopping. 
 
Or visit the island's most famous beach, Orient Beach. Here you will experience a perfect tropical beach with upscale beach bars and many water-sport activities available. If you don't want tan lines, go to the more southern end where you can take it all off.
Next to Orient Beach is the Butterfly Farm, an attraction for the whole family.
 
Orient Beach is a 20 minute drive from the cruise ship port. 
 
Recommended tours which include Orient Beach:

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Landmarks and Attractions

Loterie Farm is a magical location in the mountainous center of the island. This private nature reserve is the 'green soul' of St. Martin. Zip lines go through the forest and you can zoom all the way from Pic Paradis (the tallest mountain) into the valley of Loterie Farm. There is also first class hospitality on site.
 
Marigot is the capital of the French side. Above town sits the fortification of Fort Louis, constructed in the mid-18th century. From here, you have a panoramic view over the town and all the way over Simpson Bay Lagoon.
 
YouTube made this location famous: Maho Beach at the beginning of the runway of the Princess Juliana International Airport. The approaching jetliners are passing so close over this beach that first-time visitors duck down. Some brave souls enjoy riding the blast of starting airplanes.
 
We didn't list this attraction as a 'beach', because it really is focused on the amazing experience of seeing huge planes only feet away. The water is beautiful, the sun usually shines, Sunset Bar and Grill and the Driftwood Boat Bar are serving frozen drinks all day long... but if you look for quiet beach time, this is not the place.
 
That said, there is an island tour which starts with some time on Orient Beach and only visits Maho Beach during the arrival of the major airliners - a great compromise!

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And if you such an aviation nut that you only want to see Maho Beach, there is a very affordable offer available as well:

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