Great Bay

Photo credit: © Phil Comeau
 

Great Bay, located on the southern end of the island and in the heart of the capital, features a two mile long beach filled with lush white sand and beautiful palms. An extended boardwalk adds a party atmosphere to the beach.

Set near the center of Philipsburg, Great Bay is on the North coast of the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten. You might think about stopping by whether or not you're staying in the vicinity. If you can't wait to escape the stresses of city life, you'll appreciate that the majority of beaches in St. Martin are known for their privacy and seclusion. This atmosphere is not for everyone, though. If you seek a fun and active spot, you're better off visiting Great Bay, one of the few beaches that draws a significant crowd.

How to Access The Beach
Great Bay is easily accessible from Little Bay Road. Taxis and buses also travel throughout the area.

Amenities and Ambiance

It is impossible to walk down the Great Bay beach without noticing the lengthy boardwalk, which has recently become center for shopping and fun. The long strip of beach itself is well maintained, with soft white sand and shallow, clear water. As the beach sits in the center of the capital city, the surrounding area gives the feel of a vacation hotspot rather than a secluded nature getaway.

There is also a restaurant right on the water, so if you don't want to leave Great Bay at all, it's worth a try. St. Martin has plenty of fantastic eateries around town, but don't think that tables, chairs, and waiters are prerequisites for a great meal. Some vacationers have lunch right on their towels in the sand. Ask your hotel about picnic lunches, as some hotels offer to pack snacks for their guests' day trips. Or, you could find just what you need from cafes and street vendors en route to the beach.

Many visitors find themselves ordering a drink or snack from the concessions here, even if they move off-site for lunch.

Restrooms are available at Great Bay. You will also be pleased to find umbrellas and chairs here, so guests hoping for a place to relax in the shade will not be disappointed.

Keep in mind that the area right around Great Bay is visited by quite a number of tourists, so the availability of certain facilities is likely to be affected.

What's Nearby

Attractions

Visitors will find this beach on the North coast of the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten. It is near some interesting sites like Great Bay Boardwalk West, which is not very far away, so visitors have the option to walk or to take a cab, and it is one of a number of popular spots in the area.

If you want to discover more interesting facts about the history of St. Martin, you won't have to look hard to find sites boasting the colorful history of the nation. The nearest historical attraction is The Courthouse, which is a half mile to the east.

The beach is one type of attraction you can visit, but there will be more options available in St. Martin. The following chart includes some other attractions close-by.

Activities and Attractions Near Great Bay
Attraction Type Distance Direction Island
Great Bay Boardwalk West Scenic Trail 0.1 mi. E the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Golden Casino Casino 0.2 mi. W the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Lb Scott Sports Auditorium Sporting Event Venue 0.3 mi. NNW the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
The Courthouse Historical Site 0.4 mi. E the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Wathey Square Park 0.5 mi. E the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Fort Willem I Historical Site 0.5 mi. W the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Nanette Bearden Fine Arts Gallery Art Gallery 0.5 mi. E the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
The Salt Pickers Monument 0.5 mi. E the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit Museum 0.6 mi. NE the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
St. Maarten Museum Museum 0.7 mi. ESE the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Diamond Casino Casino 0.7 mi. ESE the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Sucker Garden Salt Factory Ruins Historical Site 1.6 mi. NE the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten

Cities and Towns

Great Bay is very close to Philipsburg, so walking the city is a definite option. Not far away you'll find Philipsburg, a city which is not an overly urbanized area, but still has its fair share of things to do. From the shore, Philipsburg is a fairly short distance away, maybe a quarter mile (a half kilometer).

Hotels

Whether or not you encounter many other people will depend on how many hotel guests decide to make the trip as well. You can generally expect to share the sand with more than a few other guests who are staying close by.

Vacationers will find a nice variety of accommodations to choose from near the beach. The closest of which can be seen below.

Accommodations near Great Bay
Hotel Distance Direction Type
Sea Palace Resort 0.2 mi. E Hotel
Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel 0.2 mi. W Resort
Seaview Beach Hotel 0.3 mi. E Hotel
Horizon View Beach Hotel 0.5 mi. E Hotel
Holland House Beach Hotel 0.5 mi. E Hotel
Ernest Hotel -- -- Hotel
Midtown Motel -- -- Motel
Monte Oro Hotel -- -- Motel
Paula's Country Inn -- -- Hotel
Divi Little Bay Beach & Racquet Club 0.7 mi. SW Resort

Food

One of the best ways to round off a laid-back trek to the beach is to walk to a nearby restaurant, where you'll be able to sample the local chefs' favorite dishes, without having to stray too far. One of the nearest places to eat is Antoine Restaurant. This restaurant serves both French and Italian menu items. They are also known for serving seafood.

Restaurants closest to this beach are listed in the following table.

Restaurants near Great Bay
Restaurant Name Phone Cuisine Style Distance Direction
Antoine Restaurant (721) 542-2964 French, Italian Fine Dining 0.0 mi. ENE
Bay View Restaurant (721) 542-2446 Eclectic Very Casual 0.2 mi. W
Molasses Restaurant (721) 542-2446 International Informal 0.2 mi. W
The Waterfront Café & Pizzeria (721) 542-2446 Italian, Mediterranean Informal 0.2 mi. W
L'Escargot (721) 542-2483 French Informal 0.3 mi. E
Roasted Rooster Restaurant -- -- -- 0.3 mi. E
Air Lekkerbek Bar & Restaurant -- -- -- 0.4 mi. NNW
Bigwood Grill (721) 580-1191 American, Caribbean Very Casual 0.4 mi. E
Burger King Philipsburg (721) 543-2515 American Very Casual 0.4 mi. E
Caribbean Blend (721) 520-9669 Caribbean Very Casual 0.4 mi. E
Firehouse Bar and Restaurant (721) 580-2629 International Very Casual 0.4 mi. E
Front Street Cafe (721) 542-0342 Mediterranean Very Casual 0.4 mi. E

Other Beaches

There are multiple beaches to discover on the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten, of course, so Great Bay is not your only option.

You may also want to try Back Bay, which is generally a pretty popular beach. It is located a mile and a half to the east-southeast. However, if you're looking to enjoy a quieter scene, Simpson Bay Beach is an area removed from some more heavily-traveled spots. It is located a quick car or cab ride away.

Another sun-drenched spot to consider is Indigo Bay Beach, located within a short distance. Enjoy exciting watersports, or explore interesting historical sites while visiting Little Bay Beach.

St. Martin has a lot to offer its visitors, but a trip to Great Bay could end up a family favorite.

 

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