Saint Martin with kids

What to do on St. Maarten with kids? We wondered that as we flew from the island of Curaçao to St. Maarten. Is it comparable to each other? Is Saint Martin still so Dutch? We visited this beautiful Dutch and French island for no less than 8 days and visited every corner of this island. In this blog, we list the best children’s activities of Saint Martin’s Day.

SInt Maarten with kids
SInt Maarten with kids

General information Saint Martin

Saint Martin consists of two parts. The Dutch part and the French part. The Dutch part is in the south and the French part is in the north. By the way, you can very easily drive from one part of the island to another with a rental car.

Besides, in the Dutch part, you don’t notice much anymore that it is Dutch. They speak mostly English there and you see very few Dutch elements in this part of the island. This is different in the French part, where they just speak French and you also see a lot more French stores and restaurants.

In terms of paying, we made the mistake of assuming (because we slept in the Dutch part) that we would have to withdraw mostly lots of Antillean guilders (this is what they pay with in the Dutch part). That was not smart, since you can only pay with dollars and euros in the French part and we were mainly in the French part (most of the sights in this list are here too). Because you can pay with dollars throughout the island, we would recommend pinning this currency. The Dutch section also always lists the bill in dollars and not in guilders.

To explore the island, you just need a rental car. We rented this car in advance for not too much money through Sunny Cars. The price included all insurance and Sunny Cars is the company where we actually rent all our cars when possible. For more information on car rental in St. Maarten, take a look here.

SInt Maarten with kids
Children's activities SInt Maarten

most beautiful beaches of Sint Maarten

Most tourists who visit St. Maarten do so because of its climate and beautiful beaches. We too visited quite a few beaches when we visited the island. We list the most beautiful family-friendly beaches in St. Maarten below.

#1 Mullet Bay Beach: this beach is located in the Dutch part and is a beautiful spacious beach with white sand. The water of the sea is quite calm and you have a restaurant sitting at this beach where you can eat very well. We ate some vegetarian tapas and a fry here. In addition to this restaurant, there is also a trendy beach club a little further on, where you can go for a snack and a drink.

You can rent chairs and an umbrella on this beach. In addition, you can park your car for free at the beach. By the way, we could park the car for free at all the beaches in this list, so that is a big advantage.

#2 Orient Bay Beach: this beach is located in the French section and has been largely rebuilt since the devastation of the hurricane. Orient Bay Beach is a very long beach with lots of different tents and chair providers. To get to the beach, you drive your car into the grounds of some sort of resort and you can park your car in various places on these grounds just fine. You can already rent chairs on this beach for 5 euros each for a whole day.

The sea was a lot rougher here than at Mullet Bay Beach, though, and unfortunately we could not snorkel well here. We did see turtles with their heads above the sea, only they were difficult to spot underwater. We sat here for an entire morning and also took a tour of the entire beach until we came out at the end of the beach at the official nude beach and turned around. So there is something for everyone here on this beautiful white beach.

Children's activities SInt Maarten
Most beautiful beaches Sint Maarten

#3 Anse Marcel: This beach is on the French side in a super beautiful bay. It does feel a bit decadent when you’re here. You drive up a sort of complex to get there and you can park by the beach. You have a good restaurant attached to this, but it is certainly not cheap. You do have to make reservations here on time, as we were already out of food here and could only get some fries.

There is a hotel on the other side of the beach, but that is an adult hotel and kids are not welcome there. We found this beach to be one of the most beautiful beaches in St. Maarten. The sea was very calm here.

#4 Baie de Grand Case: This beach is also located on the French side on the west side of the island. We found this a very distinctive beach. You have parts of the beach where you can still clearly see the devastation from the storm and where it seems like you are in a war zone, but then again, in the middle of the beach you have some really nice tents sitting with big pillows, a DJ spinning and champagne flowing around. Again, the sea was very calm.

#5 Simpson Bay Beach: this beach is right next to the Princess Juliana airport, so it is on the Dutch side. You have a nice little joint sitting here with the Dutch name Karakter. For us one of the few places where we felt there were quite a few Dutch people (that was partly because there was also a party of some Dutch people).

The beach is quite long, making it quite easy to lay out your towel here. You can also just lie on a chair at, say, Character. If you do some drinking at Karakter, the seats here are free.

Most beautiful beaches Sint Maarten
Most beautiful beaches Sint Maarten

#6 Friar’s Bay Beach: this beach is located in the west of the island on the French side. You have several tents here and you can also get chairs and an umbrella from several vendors. Friar’s Bay Beach is a beautiful beach and there is plenty of room to play. The restaurants around the beach are also accessible and have great prices.

You can perfectly combine this with a visit to #7 Happy Bay Beach, as it is about a 15-minute walk from this beach. On this beach there are no facilities and also no beds, which we then like and because of this we often find a beach more beautiful. However, about 20% of the visitors here were completely nude when we visited the beach.

Disappointing beach: Galion Beach. We read online that this was supposed to be a beautiful beach, but we found this beach to be a big disappointment. You cannot get there easily by car and there are no facilities on this beach (except for a surf club). We also did not find the beach super beautiful and if you have little time you can easily skip this beach. However, it is a very quiet beach. We were almost the only ones on the beach.

What to do on SInt Maarten
What to do on SInt Maarten

#8 The island of Pinel

We received a tip from a follower of our Instagram channel to go to the island of Pinel. We ourselves already had the island on our list, because we read everywhere that this is one of the highlights of St. Maarten. We found it a bit disappointing ourselves, so hesitated whether to include it in this list. We also did not have super good weather which also definitely played into our experience of the beach.

You can get here for 10 euros per person round trip on a boat that takes about 10 minutes. We did not have to pay for our 8-year-old daughter. This boat leaves every half hour and the first boat leaves at 9:30 in the morning. We were on the first boat of the day, so we had the whole island to ourselves at the beginning of the day.

You arrive on the uninhabited island and there are actually two beach bars that have filled the entire beach with beach beds. As a result, there is not as much beach left. We went right around the island and especially liked the secluded little beach in the north of the island. On the route to this beach, we also came across a land tortoise and several iguanas (they are everywhere on St. Maarten).

We paid 25 euros for two chairs and an umbrella. We read that you could snorkel well on the island but it was disappointing. The water was very murky and we only saw a large manta ray. We snorkeled in many places, but in the end we saw several turtles at the yellow buoy that is a bit off the island (unfortunately, that was precisely not the place where we snorkeled). We finally sailed back to the mainland around 1 o’clock in the afternoon.

Island Pinel Saint Martin
Island Pinel Saint Martin

#9 Loterie Farm

We found Loterie Farm to be a really fun day out with our daughter on the island of St. Maarten. Loterie Farm’s website says it’s really a kind of beach club in the middle of the jungle especially for adults. Still, kids may visit during the week (not on weekends, so keep this in mind).

For adults, you pay 25 euros per seat, and for kids, you can choose to pay only a pool ticket of 10 euros. Then officially they don’t have a chair, but there were plenty of chairs at the beach club. You have several pools here and the place is very photogenic.

You also have a Jacuzzi at the very top that you can get into if it’s not rented out. There is also a playground at this beach club (entrance for kids is 20 euros, so we skipped it) and also a climbing park with ziplines. We found it to be a wonderful day of relaxation in a beautiful setting, so we definitely recommend it for families with kids. You can also eat delicious (healthy) food here.

Loterie Farm Saint Martin
Loterie Farm Saint Martin

#10 The ascent to Pic Paradis

If you are a parent looking for a fun mountain hike on the island of St. Maarten, then the climb to Pic Paradis is a really fun hike. You can combine this with a visit a the Loterie Farm. So the kids (and one of the parents) can relax at the Loterie Farm and the other parent can make the approximately 2-hour (there and back) climb.

The climb is quite tough and therefore not really suitable for young kids. You climb for almost an hour straight up the mountain and at the top you have a beautiful view. The route is well marked with arrows, only at the top it takes some searching. You have two viewpoints worth seeing. At the TV station you can pass the fence on the left and have a nice view and the other view is on the other side of the mountain.

So when you get to the top you can go to the TV station on the left and on the right is the second viewpoint. The latter is also the official viewpoint. Along the way in the last part of the route there are also monkeys you can spot. Unfortunately, on my climb, these were a little too high up in the trees to get a great photo. You pay 10 euros per person at Loterie Farm to walk the route. You will also be given a small map.

Pic Paradis Saint Martin
Pic Paradis Saint Martin

#11 Maho Beach

One of the beaches we name separately in our list of family-friendly activities on St. Maarten is Maho Beach. This is one of the most famous beaches in the world because of the fly-rucks that fly right over the beach. Therefore, it is not really a beach where you go to relax or a sea where you go swimming, but you are here purely for the experience.

Check in advance on a website such as flightradar24 to see which planes are arriving at Princess Juliana Airport, because it is obviously more spectacular when a large Air France plane lands than a small local plane. Basically, you’ve seen it here too after a few planes.

There are quite a few planes arriving, so you won’t spend more than an hour on this. What is also spectacular is when a plane takes off. There are many people standing by the fence watching as a plane takes off, and in many of these people the hat or cap flew off. We actually thought that might be the most fun.

You can park the car for $5 at The Morgan Resort, but it is also possible to park the car a little further along the fence from the airport. At the beach there are also several tents where you can have a snack and a drink, and there is also a small playground, but it is not super much.

Maho Beach SInt Maarten
Maho Beach SInt Maarten

#12 Philipsburg

Philipsburg is the big city in the Dutch section and definitely fun to take a tour of the city. The street where basically everything takes place is Front Street. Here you can also see some Dutch elements such as a large clog and the letters of Iamsterdam. This street runs parallel to the Great Bay Beach promenade and this promenade is also fun to walk around.

Philipsburg is overrun during the day by day-trippers coming off cruise ships, so it can be very crowded. On the promenade of Great Bay Beach there is also a Dutch restaurant in the shape of a big mill (you can hardly miss it) where you can eat poffertjes and pancakes with the kids.

We parked the car on a side street just off Front Street (for free). We had read that there would also be a lot of street art in the center, but we found that a bit disappointing. Still, you do have some works of art, where it is fun to take a picture. We spent a few hours in Philipsburg.

Philipburg SInt Maarten
Philipburg SInt Maarten

Family-friendly hotel Sint Maarten

You have plenty of family-friendly hotels on St. Maarten. Basically, it does not matter that much where you stay on the island, since the distances on the island are not super great. We ourselves were near the airport in the Dutch section in a very spacious two-story apartment.

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