Great Bay Beach – The Beach of St Maarten Capital Philipsburg

Great Bay Beach might not be photographed as much as St Maarten’s famed Airport / Maho Beach, but it receives just as much visitors. Great Bay Beach, and its famed boardwalk alongside it, stretch for miles along the Capital of St Maarten, Philipsburg. Thanks to the presence of Great Bay Beach, it is a Fun Fact that St. Maarten has the unique position in the world of having a beachside capital!

This combination makes Great Bay Beach one of St Maarten / St Martin’s most lively and cosmopolitan beaches.


Great Bay Beach Impression

History of Great Bay Beach

In colonial times Great Bay was an important port for salt. This salt was picked at the Great Salt Pond on the other side of Philipsburg. In 1631 Fort Amsterdam was built, strategically commanding the entry to the harbor and its salt trade. The fort and Great Bay saw heavy fighting between the Dutch and its arch enemy Spain. In an attempt to reconquer the fort on the Spanish, Dutch official Peter Stuyvesant lost his leg. When Stuyvesant later became governor of the “New Netherlands” (roughly the New York area) , this accident resulted in his American nickname “pegleg Pete”.

Things To Do at Great Bay Beach

Of course, a beach with pristine white sand along a capital has a lot of things to do on offer next to swimming. Great Bay Beach is the closest beach to the St. Maarten cruise port, adding to its liveliness. Some suggestions for great things to do around Great Bay Beach:


Shopping at Front Street

Right behind the boardwalk runs the most famed shopping street of the Caribbean. Front Street in Philipsburg is an ideal shopping location with well known jewelry houses like Ballerinas, Dazzling Gems, Joe’s Jewelry, Zhaveri and Diamonds International. Specialized stores Amasterdam and Le Dutch provide unique souvenirs.

Excursions at Great Bay Beach

There are various activities that can be done at or around the Great Bay Beach boardwalk. A 15 minute walk to Fort Amsterdam will appeal to the history buff, as well as nature fans enjoying St. Maartens national bird the Brown Pelican nesting here. The Rusty Parrot is a multimedia pirate park teaching kids a lot about how the era of piracy (really) was. Eagle Tours provides half day (and full day) sailing tours from Bobby’s Marina. You can do a unique puzzle challenge at the Caribbeans only Escape Rooms at Dutch Blonde Beach Bar. A Philipsburg wall painting tour starts right off the boardwalk. Scenic Walter Plantz Square gives a great view of typical St. Maarten houses.

Bars & Restaurants on Great Bay Beach

The beach is well stocked with bars and restaurants. Some recommendations are Aziana for asian fusion, cocktail experts St. Rose Beach Bar and adjacent Austrian Schnitzelhouse, high end Ocean Lounge, fun beach bar Big Bastards, poolside and cool Seaview and Walter Plantz squares’ The Pier.



Where To Find Great Bay Beach

Great Bay Beach is in a 10 minute walking distance from the cruise port. For visitors by car, it is recommended to park in Bobby’s Marina towards the Cruise Port, or at the Pondfill Boulevard.


Find Great Bay Beach and other Beaches of St Maarten / St Martin on our Interactive Map or see the 360° video of the beach above!

Back to Beaches Menu of Visit St Maarten / St Martin


Back to Main Page of Visit St Maarten / St Martin