St. Maarten/St. Martin boasts beautiful beaches, but if you’re more of a landlubber, don’t throw in the towel.

You can’t open a guidebook — or this magazine — without realizing that St. Maarten/St. Martin is famous for its beaches. Sure, you’ll want to spend some quality time at any or all of the island’s 37 sugar-sand gateways to the brilliant blue sea.

But there’s so much more to this tropical paradise than sun-soaked shores. Swing a club, lob a tennis ball, ride a bike, go on a hike. Active types will have no trouble enjoying themselves, without ever getting wet. Here are just some of your options.


If you’re more of a pedal pusher, you’ll be happy to discover miles of trails perfect for bikers. Stunning ocean views and spectacular hillside scenery reward those who take on part of or the entire 35-mile-long road that encircles the island. Sign up for a group ride. Coast leisurely through the French flatlands or along seaside trails from Cay Bay to Fort Amsterdam and Mullet Beach. Serious cyclists may want to tackle the Bellevue Trail from Port de Plaisance to Marigot or tighten their hamstrings on a challenging ride to Pic Paradis (Paradise Peak), the island’s highest point. If, on the other hand, you’re more in the mood for a relaxing ride, take your two-wheeler to Simpson Bay Lagoon. Hungry for more? Tri-Sport is more than a bike shop. Rent your ride, take a tour or catch an event.

Horseback Riding

Why wear out your own two legs when you can rent four of the island’s best? Saddling up is one of the best ways to see a different side of St. Maarten/

St. Martin. Picture yourself cantering along a foamy coast on the back of a gentle steed, then climbing gradually on a track through gorse and cactus plants until you reach a plateau 400 feet above an ocean teeming with pleasure boats and cruise ships. Discover hidden coves and pristine waterfalls as you’re horsing around. You can even take a “swim” with your new equine pal in the shallow waters off a scenic beach. You can do all of that and more at Lucky Stables in Seaside Nature Park.


Mullet Bay Golf Course is the island’s only option for full-play action, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging and fun. Grab your clubs and zero in on the 18-hole, par-70 course designed by architect Joseph Lee. It’s sculpted around a lovely lagoon, but don’t be misled into thinking Mullet Bay is just about tranquility. There’s all the action here you could want in a round. Start swinging!


From sedans and scooters to motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), you’ll find plenty of pathways to driving fun, on and off the beaten path. Sign up for a Segway excursion on the Dutch side. Rent a car at Dollar Thrifty and tour the island at your own pace. Or bypass the byways and tackle the terrain on an ATV at Johnny’s Scooter Rental.


Um … we mean football. Both Dutch and French sides of the island support national football teams that compete in cups sponsored by CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football). Catch a match and cheer along with locals.


Several resorts on the island maintain quality courts. The American Tennis Academy, on the French side, is open daily, features two lighted courts and offers structured programs, lessons, clinics and rentals for juniors and adults of every skill level. 


Get fast and furious (in a nature-loving way) at Rainforest Adventures St. Maarten at Rockland Estate, a park dedicated to environmental preservation. Glide to St. Maarten’s highest point on the Sky Explorer, then go flying back down the mountain on the world’s steepest zip line, The Flying Dutchman. Re-ascend and take the Sentry Hill Zip Line over the mountain ridge, enjoying stunning views of beautiful St. Maarten. Then your top-to-bottom tour finishes with the Schooner Ride, sending you surfing down the mountain in an inner tube. Keep the thrills going as you explore the countryside with an ATV or Jeep tour from St. Maarten Nature Island Tours.

A bit more sedate but no less captivating are the educational nature, history and culture excursions from Seagrape Tours. Or simply settle back and savor a sip (or several!) on a tour of Topper’s Rhum Distillery. If you’re looking for a unique island experience, visit Tijon Parfumerie, where you can blend your own scents and take home a mix of balmy breezes, exotic flowers and earthy fragrances.

These options should be enough to keep you busy — for today. Just don’t wear yourself out.  There’s always tomorrow — and the sunny day sure to follow.

Ultimate Adventure

Don’t miss Rainforest Adventures St. Maarten, the hottest attraction in the Caribbean.

Located on the historic Emilio Wilson Estate, Rainforest Adventures is an eco-adventure park that offers visitors a unique and memorable experience inspired by the local island culture and its breathtaking natural surroundings. 

Your adventure starts at the Emilio Wilson Museum, a restored plantation house that dates back to the 1700s. Visitors will see what it was like to live on a plantation and learn all about Trace Wilson, who was born into slavery in 1818, and her direct descendant, Emilio Wilson. 

The main attraction at Rockland Estate is, of course, The Flying Dutchman, the world’s steepest zip line. Harnessed in a chair, guests are launched down the mountain dropping 1,050 feet in elevation over a 2,800-foot span. It’s the thrill of a lifetime! So amazing, in fact, that The Flying Dutchman received the prestigious 2018 Seatrade Cruise Award for “Innovative Shorex of the Year.” This award recognizes companies or individuals who have introduced the most innovative shore excursion during the past year.

For the most stunning island views, head to the top of Sentry Hill, one of St. Maarten’s highest points at 1,125 feet. Walkways and platforms on the mountaintop provide 360-degree views. Be sure to bring your camera or smartphone to the top of Sentry Hill because you’ll want to snap an Insta-worthy selfie. Look around and see if you can spot our friendly neighbors: Saba, St. Barths, Statia and Anguilla. 

Another popular experience is the Sentry Hill Zip Line, which combines mild hiking with a zip line. This is a more traditional zip line with a 1,640-foot, four-span line that traverses the mountain ridge. The Schooner Ride is also a favorite because visitors can speed down the mountain in large inner tubes on a specially designed 657-foot track.

Before you leave, check out Rockland Estate’s Gift Shop, where you’ll find unique local treasures and beautiful handcrafted jewelry.


The Flying Dutchman zip line received the prestigious 2018 Sea-trade Cruise Award for “Innovative Shorex of the Year.”

Natural Selections

Eco-adventures abound on St. Maarten/St. Martin.

If you’ve visited even one of the 37 spectacular beaches on St. Maarten/St. Martin, you know this popular holiday destination well deserves its reputation as an island rich in natural beauty. But this Dutch-French jewel of the Caribbean offers more than sandy shores, so be sure to get out and explore your surroundings.

Beyond the beaches are wetlands, forested hills, rugged coastline and vibrant flora and fauna. You’ll see tree lizards scurrying about if you follow any of 17 hiking trails crisscrossing the hills. Birds twitter, butterflies flutter and the views of the ocean through the trees are amazing.

Speaking of views, set your sights on forested Pic Paradis (Paradise Peak), the island’s highest hill. Pick up a trail map — or zip-line down its slope at Loterie Farm. For a guided hike, contact Seagrape Tours. But wait, there’s more! After the hike, Seagrape will take you snorkeling to see the colorful marine life. If you’re more into feathers than fish, Seagrape also offers an informative Birding Tour.

The island as well boasts about a dozen wetlands teeming with wildlife. Mangroves are home to crabs, egrets and iguanas. Freshwater ponds beckon to ducks and herons, and salt marshes provide a haven for migratory birds.

Take a guided kayak tour with Tri-Sport and build up your paddling stamina to support local conservation efforts. EPIC (Environmental Protection in the Caribbean) sponsors fundraising kayak treks through the mangroves.

Despite its abundance of sparkling beaches, not all of the island’s shores are sandy. The stretches of rugged, pristine coastline on the Atlantic side are impressive. Coastal hiking here will introduce you to a wide variety of plants and shrubs, including the Pope’s Head Cactus, with its bright red “cap.”

Tri-Sport will take you on a guided coastal hike from Guana Bay to Pointe Blanche. Along the way, you’re apt to encounter more goats than folks. EPIC and its volunteers are also happy to show you one of the 10 Dutch hiking trails they maintain, or search for St. Maarten on to discover these trails by yourself.

Feel like taking it easy but still want to discover local wildlife? Explore the open-air Amuseum Naturalis on the French side and learn about the island’s special creatures without breaking into a sweat.