6 Best Beaches in St. Martin for Kids

January 21, 2022

Grand Case Saint Martin / Sint Maarten

 

At the end of my second maternity leave, our newly-minted family of 4 braved the voyage to French Saint Martin.  It was our first international trip since COVID, and our first family trip with the new baby. We explored the island by car, on a hunt for the best beaches in St. Martin for kids (and parents!). 

Beautiful St. Martin has 37 beaches – we couldn’t visit them all!  So this list includes our own recommendations for St Martin’s best beaches for kids, along with tips from other family travelers. 

But before you start daydreaming about the best beaches in St. Martin — have you booked your hotel?  If not, consider Hotel L’Esplanade, our recommended boutique hotel for family travel to French Saint Martin. 

Now, let’s get to the beach! 

First Things First: French or Dutch Side? 

We stuck mostly to the French side of the island, and so did the other travelers who contributed to this list. In our experience, that’s where to find the best beaches in St. Martin for kids. French Saint Martin has a more calm and laid-back vibe than the more animated and built-up Dutch side, which we like better for families traveling with young kids.
Pinel Island - Saint Martin
Take the Pinel Island Ferry to experience one of the best St. Martin beaches for kids.

Pinel Island (French side)

I was stunned to find that many lists of the best beaches in Saint Martin leave off this gem. Our day on Pinel Island was hands down one of the best days of on our entire trip, and you should go out of your way to get to it.  Pinel Island is without a doubt one of the best beaches in St. Maarten / St. Martin. 
 
Pinel Island is a tiny cay off the Northeast corner of the French side of St. Martin (see the map at the end of the post). Take the Pinel Island Ferry from Cul-de-Sac to get there.  St. Martin is small enough that the drive to Cul-de-Sac takes a maximum of 35-40 minutes from even the farthest points on the island. The ferry, a small wooden boat that fits about 25 people, leaves every 30 minutes starting at 9:30am. 
 

In five minutes, you’ll be setting up in a lounge chair on Pinel Island.  Plan to get to Pinel Island early because it’s a popular spot. There are two restaurants on the beach, Yellow Beach restaurant and Le Karibuni, and both allow you to reserve beach chairs ahead of time. By doing that – and by arriving on the first ferry – we were able to get front row beach chairs for the entire day. 

The beach juts out in a white sand peninsula amid calm, turquoise waters that have a long, shallow slope, making a great place for kids under five to splash around. Our kids were on the brink of learning to swim, but not fully confident in the water, so this was perfect for us.  The restaurants deliver food and drinks to the beach chairs. 

It’s a full day excursion, but one that should be at the top of your list for a St. Martin family vacation. 

Best St. Martin beaches for kids - Mullet Bay
One of the best beaches in St Martin for kids

Mullet Bay Beach (Dutch Side)

Although Mullet Bay Beach is close to the airport, it feels very peaceful. It was once home to a luxury resort, but it was destroyed by Hurricane Luis in 1995 and never rebuilt. So, these days, this strip of powdery white sand on the island’s south coast feels relatively untouched. Many believe it’s the best beach in Sint Maarten. 

At Mullet Bay, chairs and umbrellas are available for rent.  Da Waterhole restaurant serves cold beach drinks and kid-friendly food; and the cove at the south end of the beach is calm and great for small kids.  For older kids who are stronger swimmers, it’s also a good place to snorkel. This beach feels peaceful, but not secluded, and the chairs will fill up over the course of the day.
 

Airplane Beach (Maho Bay) (Dutch Side)

If Mullet Bay is a slow reggae jam, the dubstep remix is around the corner: the famous Airplane beach. Kids – and maybe airline enthusiast parents – will love watching the airplanes come in just overhead to land at Princess Juliana International Airport. They will have a blast trying to see if they can capture the perfect photo of themselves holding an airplane. (We failed…evidence below…and should have better managed expectations.)  
 
That said, be sure that your trip to Maho Bay Beach is timed right.  Don’t go here for a relaxing beach day, and don’t plan for a full day here either.  The beach itself is busy, wavy, and steep.  Major airlines typically fly in from the US and France in the afternoon, so check the daily arrivals schedule here.  Your best bet is to grab an afternoon cocktail at Sunset Beach bar, get the photo op, and then be on your way.
 
airplane beach sint maarten

Friar’s Bay Beach (French Side)

Friar’s Bay Beach is another of St. Martin’s beaches that is well-protected from winds and large surf.  Because of its calm waters and wide stretches of sands, it’s a prime location for families with young children.  

It’s also a bit more off the beaten path than some of the other choices on this list – we were some of the only people on the beach when we came here.  The beach is down a bumpy dirt path off the island’s main road north of Marigot.  

You can get food, drinks, and beach chairs from Friar’s Bay Beach Café.  It has a reputation for serving great French food.  (That said, when we visited with a big group with lots of kids, the restaurant was empty, and yet they did not seem particularly interested in accommodating us. We ended up leaving the beach at lunchtime.)

Whether you try the restaurant or not, the beach alone is worth the trip here!

Grand Case Beach
Grand Case Beach on the French side of St. Martin is family-friendly with calm waters and lots of great restaurants.

Grand Case Beach (French Side)

The best part of this beach, in my opinion, is its proximity to Grand Case, a small town on the French side of St. Martin. Sometimes referred to as St. Martin’s “restaurant row,” Grand Case has a restaurant for every appetite — from some of the best French food on the island, to casual Caribbean barbeque stands called lolos. The restaurants all run right alongside this beach. 

Like many of the other beaches that made my list of favorites, Grand Case beach has a gradual slope into the sea and calm water.  As such, it’s another safe place for kids to swim or splash around. It is not a sprawling stretch of sand, however – it’s more of an urban beach. Come for an afternoon swim with the whole family, and then finish the day with cocktails and dinner in Grand Case.  

Baie Rouge beach - St Martin
Sunset at Baie Rouge, on the French side of St. Martin

Baie Rouge Beach (French Side)

Baie Rouge is located in Terres Basses, a neighborhood in the south west corner of St. Martin’s French side filled with sprawling vacation homes and rental villas. The beaches are all public but they stay quiet because there are no major waterfront hotels. Baie Rouge is a long stretch of sand with sweeping views of the surrounding hills. 

Baie Rouge beach has no restaurant or beach bar, so you’ll need to bring all your gear, food, and water.  However, it’s great if you are seeking seclusion. It’s a 10-minute drive to nearby Marigot, so stop by Croissant Royal for breakfast before hitting this beach. 
 

Other Saint Martin Beaches To Visit

As I mentioned above, it would be a real challenge to check out all of St. Martin’s 37 beaches!  The ones on the list are the best beaches in St. Martin for kids that have comes across my radar.  But others to consider include Cupecoy Beach, Dawn Beach, and Simpson Bay Beach – we will have to save those for the next trip. 

Anyone else have a favorite Saint Martin beach that should absolutely be on this list?  Help us round out the list in the comments below.  

The map below shows you where to find these kid-friendly beaches around the island –

Want to remember this list for you future Saint Martin vacation? Pin for later – 

St. Martin Best Beaches

5 Responses

  1. Orient Bay has calm shallow waters and good snorkeling.
    Orient Bay is semi-naturist so don’t be surprised if you see kids
    and families going au natural. Orient Bay has great water sports and
    a big view -just beautiful.

  2. Love the Caribbean – grew up there and they have the best beaches, in my opinion. Plus, warm seawater! Looks like you guys had fun.

  3. Oh my goodness what a perfect first trip for travel with your newly enlarged family!! Those beaches all look perfect for kids and the waters are just soooo beautiful!

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