St. Barts Beaches - 101
Let me start by saying that (in my opinion) going to the beach in St. Barts is very different than going to the beach here in the United States. There are 22 different beaches on this tiny island, which is only 8 square miles. Each beach is a “small” cove where you can easily walk from one end to the other (and back) without really breaking a sweat.
The first thing we advise our clients is - - - DO NOT OVER PACK FOR THE BEACH! Chances are, you will only be there for an hour or two, and then you will be ready to move on to another activity or check out a different St. Barts beach. If we decide that we want to spend the afternoon on Gouveneur’s (for example), here is what goes into our beach bag:
- 2 beach towels to lay on
- Sunscreen & chapstick
- Big bottle of water that we froze overnight
- Reading material (for her)
- iPod and headphones (for him)
That’s it! No chairs, no coolers. This is the way most people choose to enjoy the beach in St. Barts. It makes it very simple and you are not hauling everything including the kitchen sink to the beach. The more you decide to bring, the more going to the beach seems like work as opposed to vacation. Even with our children, we still fit everything into one beach bag and have them carry their snorkel masks and fins.
Here is a short primer on what to expect at a few of the most popular beaches in St. Barts. I have purposely included personal pictures as opposed to the stock, “beautiful” pictures of the beaches. You can see those under the beaches tab of our website so no need to duplicate those photos here.
St. Jean: This is the most active of all the beaches on St. Barts. Here you will find food & beverages, beach rentals (kayaks and stand up paddle boards). St. Jean is located directly adjacent to the airport. The access is right next to the runway. Perfect for spending the afternoon relaxing and watching the small commuter planes land and depart.
This is a short video of a plane landing over St. Jean beach. At the end
of the video, that is my son Jonathan standing basically at the end of
the runway as the plane lands over his head. He could have stood
there all day.
This a great St. Barts beach if you are looking for somewhere to “play” in the waves. This is a long beach (for St. Barth) that is great for a leisurely stroll and then a quick dip in the sea. Isle de France Hotel is located at the far end of this beach and is a great place to grab lunch and relax in one of their beach chairs for the afternoon.
Gouverneur: One of our favorites! Head toward Lurin and take the turn at Sante Fe Restaurant. From there it is a picturesque drive down to the beach. There is a parking lot adjacent to the beach access and then settle in with a good book and take in the beauty that St. Barts has to offer. Enjoy a quiet morning or afternoon looking out at nothing but blue water.
Saline: This St. Barts beach is one of the most well-known beaches because it has a reputation for being the place where people tend to sunbath “au natural”. Drive past the salt flats and you will find a “parking lot” for Saline. After a short walk up and over the dunes, you pop out to see a very wide and flat beach overlooking the sea. On windy days, blowing sand can sometimes be a problem since the beach is so wide and flat.
Colombier: This beach can only be accessed by boat or by taking a 20 minute hike from Flamand. The hike is one of the most picturesque and exhilarating hikes I have ever been on. For full disclosure – this hike is not treacherous, but also not just a leisurely hike. I have probably taken more pictures while making this hike than any other place on St. Barth. In my opinion, this is an experience not to be missed. Make sure to bring water and some snacks, as this beach is completely undeveloped and beautiful. This is my children’s favorite beach. Due to its location, Colombier does not get much (if any) morning sun. As such, it is best to plan to visit this beach after lunch.
While there are many other beaches on St. Barts you can visit, these are the most popular. Other than St. Jean, expect most beaches to be very quiet and see people simply enjoying a good book or working on their tan. We cannot wait for you to experience each of these beaches and then come back and tell us which was your favorite and why. Have a great week!