What To Do in St Maarten for One Day? The Ultimate Guide!

Are you planning a one-day trip to St Maarten and wondering how to make the most of your time? Look no further than this ultimate guide, packed with recommendations for the best activities, attractions, and experiences on the island.

From exploring the vibrant capital of Philipsburg to discovering the charming French side of Marigot, basking in the sun on unforgettable beaches, and indulging in the local cuisine, there’s something for every type of traveler.

Thrill-seekers will love the range of water activities available, and nature lovers can immerse themselves in the island’s stunning natural wonders. For those interested in history and culture, there are museums and heritage sites to explore, as well as ample shopping opportunities for retail therapy.

Whether you’re arriving on a cruise ship or flying in for a day, this guide will help you plan the perfect itinerary to make the most of your time on St Maarten. So pack your sunscreen and sense of adventure – let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • St. Maarten offers a variety of activities for a one-day adventure, including beach visits, water sports, and cultural experiences.
  • Popular activities include visiting Maho Beach, taking a snorkeling tour, and exploring Marigot.
  • Other options include visiting the Butterfly Farm, hiking in Loterie Farm, and taking a sunset cruise.
An aerial view of Great Bay Beach.
Photo by Tomasz Tomal on Unsplash

What To Do in St Maarten for One Day?

St. Maarten offers a variety of activities for a one-day adventure. Visitors can explore the town of Marigot, take a snorkeling tour, or visit Maho Beach for a unique experience. The Butterfly Farm and Loterie Farm also offer opportunities for cultural experiences and outdoor adventures.

For a relaxing end to the day, visitors can take a sunset cruise. With so many options to choose from, St. Maarten is a must-visit destination for a one-day adventure.

Exploring Philipsburg: St Maarten’s Vibrant Capital.

Philipsburg, the capital of St Maarten, is a bustling hub of activity and a must-visit destination for anyone spending one day on the island. With its colorful, lively streets and stunning Great Bay Beach, Philipsburg offers visitors a taste of both local culture and natural beauty.

Exploring Philipsburg Attractions

One of the top attractions in Philipsburg is Front Street, a renowned shopping destination known for its duty-free shops. Visitors can find a wide variety of luxury goods, jewelry, and souvenirs at competitive prices. The vibrant colors and architecture of the street make for a lovely stroll, and visitors can stop for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and cafes.

Another highlight of Philipsburg is Great Bay Beach, a magnificent crescent-shaped expanse of white sand and crystal-clear water. Ideal for swimming, sunbathing, or simply taking in the breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea, Great Bay Beach is a must-visit for anyone looking to relax and unwind.

For those seeking adventure, Philipsburg offers a range of exciting activities. Visitors can go zip-lining or parasailing, for a unique perspective on the island. Jet ski and kayak rentals are also available, providing a thrilling way to explore the coastline.

How to Get to Philipsburg

Philipsburg is easily accessible by car or taxi from most parts of the island, and visitors can drive or take a taxi to the city center. For those arriving by cruise ship, Philipsburg is often included as a port of call, and many cruise lines offer shore excursions to the city and surrounding areas.

Exploring Philipsburg is a fantastic way to experience the best of what St Maarten has to offer. Whether looking for shopping, dining, or outdoor activities, there is something for everyone in this vibrant capital city.

At the beach in Sint Maarten.
Photo by James Thomas on Unsplash

Discovering Marigot: St Maarten’s Charming French Side

While St Maarten is governed by both France and the Netherlands, the French side of the island has a distinct charm that is worth experiencing. Marigot, the capital of the French side, is a charming town known for its unique blend of modernity and tradition.

Marigot Market

The Marigot Market is a must-visit for those looking to experience the local culture. This open-air bazaar is located on the waterfront and is full of vendors selling fresh produce, spices, and handcrafted souvenirs. Visitors can also find local art and jewelry, making it the perfect spot to pick up unique gifts for loved ones.

Marigot Fort Louis

Marigot Fort Louis is a historic monument that dates back to the 18th century. The fort offers stunning views of the marina and the surrounding hills, making it an ideal spot for a photo op. Visitors can explore the fort’s stone walls and cannons while learning about its rich history through informative signage.

Marina Port La Royale

Marina Port La Royale is a picturesque marina that is home to luxury yachts and boats. Visitors can stroll along the marina and admire the beautiful vessels while enjoying a drink or a meal at one of the many restaurants or cafes.

As you explore the charming Marigot, take in the French architecture and enjoy the warm hospitality of the locals. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day out or an immersive cultural experience, Marigot has something for everyone.

Unforgettable Beaches: Sun, Sand, and Serenity.

St. Maarten boasts some of the most beautiful and scenic beaches in the Caribbean. Whether you’re looking to relax, soak up some sun, or indulge in water sports, there’s a beach for everyone. Below are some of the most unforgettable beaches the island has to offer:

Orient BayOrient Bay is a lively and popular beach, featuring white sand and crystal-clear water. It’s perfect for water sports enthusiasts, with activities such as windsurfing and jet skiing available.
Maho BeachMaho Beach is famous for its proximity to the airport, as planes fly low over the beach while landing. It’s also a great spot for swimming and sunbathing.
Mullet Bay BeachMullet Bay Beach is a serene and beautiful beach, featuring calm waters and soft sand. It’s perfect for families with children or those looking for a peaceful day on the beach.
Pinel IslandPinel Island is a secluded and idyllic spot, accessible only by boat. Its pristine, white sand beaches and turquoise waters make it a great destination for a day trip.

Each of these beaches offers its own unique charm and atmosphere. Visitors should be aware of their surroundings and follow safety guidelines when swimming or participating in water sports.

A view of the beach.
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Thrilling Water Activities: Dive into Adventure

St Maarten’s crystal-clear waters offer a plethora of thrilling activities for adventure seekers. From snorkeling to scuba diving, jet skiing to kayaking, visitors can explore the island’s marine life and coastline in various exciting ways. Here are some of the best water activities to try on your St Maarten adventure:

Snorkeling St Maarten

Get up close with St Maarten’s colorful marine life on a snorkeling excursion. The island boasts several excellent snorkeling spots, including Creole Rock and Tintamarre Island. Many snorkeling tours provide equipment and guides, allowing visitors to safely experience the beauty of the underwater world.

Scuba Diving St Maarten

For a more immersive underwater experience, scuba diving is a must-try activity in St Maarten. The island’s warm waters and diverse marine life make it a popular destination for both beginner and experienced divers. Some of the best dive sites include Proselyte Reef and the wreck of the HMS Royal Mail.

Jet Skiing St Maarten

Feel the wind in your hair and the spray of the sea on your face while jet skiing in St Maarten. With several rental companies offering jet skis for hire, visitors can explore the island’s coastline at their own pace. A popular spot to jet ski is around Simpson Bay.

Kayaking St Maarten

For a more tranquil water adventure, kayaking is a great way to explore St Maarten’s mangroves and lagoons. Rent a kayak or join a guided tour to discover the island’s natural beauty while getting a workout in. Popular kayaking spots include Simpson Bay Lagoon and Cupecoy Bay.

Exploring St Maarten’s Natural Wonders

St Maarten is not only known for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, but also for its breathtaking natural wonders. From lush forests to enchanting butterfly farms, there are plenty of ways to explore the island’s unique natural beauty.

Loterie Farm

One of the most popular natural attractions in St Maarten is Loterie Farm, a lush oasis nestled in the heart of the island. Visitors can explore the park’s natural pools, hike through the surrounding hills, or enjoy a canopy tour high above the treetops. The park also features a restaurant and bar, offering delicious food and drinks in a beautiful natural setting.

Butterfly Farm

Another must-see natural attraction in St Maarten is the Butterfly Farm, where visitors can witness the magic of hundreds of butterflies in a serene and colorful environment. This enchanting attraction allows visitors to learn about the life cycle and behavior of these delicate creatures and even witness the butterflies being born.

Simpson Bay Lagoon

The Simpson Bay Lagoon is another natural wonder that is not to be missed. This expansive lagoon is home to an abundance of marine life, including sea turtles, fish, and even dolphins. Visitors can take a boat tour or rent a kayak to explore this beautiful lagoon and get up close and personal with the island’s wildlife.

Hiking St Maarten

For those who love outdoor adventures, hiking in St Maarten is a must. The island offers a variety of hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding landscape. From the challenging Paradise Peak hike to the scenic Sentry Hill trail, there’s something for hikers of all levels.

No matter how you choose to explore St Maarten’s natural wonders, you’re sure to be captivated by the island’s stunning beauty and rich wildlife.

A yellow towel on the beach sand with sunglasses and flip-flops beside it.
Photo by Alexandra Tran on Unsplash

Indulge in St Maarten’s Culinary Delights

St Maarten is a food lover’s paradise, with a diverse culinary scene that reflects the island’s cultural mix. From street food to fine dining, visitors can find delicious options to suit every taste and budget.

Local cuisine in St Maarten is strongly influenced by its Dutch and French heritage, resulting in a fusion of Caribbean, European, and African flavors. Don’t leave without trying some of the island’s signature dishes, such as conch fritters, goat stew, and johnnycakes.

Culinary Experiences in St Maarten

For a truly memorable dining experience, consider a culinary tour or cooking class. These experiences offer hands-on learning opportunities that allow you to discover the secrets behind St Maarten’s delicious cuisine.

There are also plenty of fine dining options in St Maarten, with restaurants serving up creative dishes with a Caribbean twist. Many establishments boast stunning ocean views and romantic atmospheres, making them perfect for a special occasion or romantic evening out.

Local Food in St Maarten

The best way to experience the local food in St Maarten is to seek out the street vendors and local eateries. From jerk chicken to fish tacos, there’s no shortage of mouth-watering options to choose from.

The Marigot Market is a great place to sample local fruits, vegetables, and spices. Pick up some fresh ingredients to cook your own island-inspired meal or try some of the ready-to-eat local favorites like Johnny Cakes or saltfish.

Fine Dining in St Maarten

If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, St Maarten has plenty of options to choose from. Some of the island’s top-rated restaurants include Le Pressoir in Grand Case, which has been serving up French cuisine for over 40 years, and Temptation in Philipsburg, which offers a modern take on Caribbean fusion.

Many of these establishments offer prix fixe menus and wine pairings for an indulgent dining experience.

St Maarten’s Historical and Cultural Gems

St Maarten’s rich history and diverse culture are reflected in the many museums and heritage sites scattered throughout the island.

The St Maarten Museum

The St Maarten Museum is the perfect place to start your exploration of the island’s history. Located in Philipsburg, it offers a fascinating insight into the island’s past, from its indigenous inhabitants to its colonial history and modern-day developments.

The Old Street Museum

The Old Street Museum, also located in Philipsburg, is housed in a restored 18th-century house and offers a glimpse into the daily life of the island’s early settlers. The displays include vintage photographs, antiques, and artifacts that detail the island’s cultural heritage.

The Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit

The Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit, located in Simpson Bay, showcases the work of renowned special effects artist Nick Maley. It features props, costumes, and other memorabilia from the Star Wars movies, as well as Maley’s own creations for other films.

The French Heritage Museum

The French Heritage Museum, located in Marigot, delves into the island’s French history and culture, highlighting the unique blend of French and Caribbean influences that make St Maarten such an intriguing destination.

Fort Amsterdam

Fort Amsterdam, located on the Dutch side of the island, was built in the late 1700s to protect Philipsburg from attack. Today, it offers visitors an opportunity to explore the history of the island’s Dutch colonial past, with displays and exhibits that detail its military history and daily life.

Bonus: Emilio Wilson Museum

If you have time, the Emilio Wilson Museum is a must-visit attraction. It is dedicated to the life and legacy of Emilio Wilson, a local hero who dedicated his life to preserving St Maarten’s cultural and natural heritage. The museum is located on his former estate, and features exhibits and displays that highlight his contributions to the island.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about the island’s cultural heritage, St Maarten has plenty of museums and heritage sites to explore.

People enjoying the water in Sint Maarten.

Shopping Paradise: Retail Therapy in St Maarten

For those looking to engage in some retail therapy during their one-day adventure in St Maarten, the island has plenty of options to choose from. Whether you’re in the market for duty-free goods or unique boutique finds, St Maarten has something for everyone.

Duty-Free Shopping in St Maarten

St Maarten is known for its extensive duty-free shopping options, offering visitors the chance to shop for high-end items at a discounted price. One of the best places to indulge in duty-free shopping is the Philipsburg Boardwalk. Here, shoppers can choose from an array of jewelry, watches, electronics, and luxury goods from top brands.

Notable Duty-Free Shops in PhilipsburgAddress
Little Switzerland59 Front Street, Philipsburg
Ballahoo67 Front Street, Philipsburg
A.H. Riise Mall44 Front Street, Philipsburg

Boutique Shopping in St Maarten

For shoppers who prefer smaller, unique boutiques, Marigot is the place to be. This French-influenced town offers a range of boutiques selling everything from high-end fashion and homeware to local handicrafts.

Notable Boutiques in MarigotAddress
La Boutique D’Angele67 Rue de la Republique, Marigot
Bijoux Terner37 Rue de la Republique, Marigot
Pink Flamingo53 Rue de la Republique, Marigot

Whether you’re looking to indulge in duty-free shopping or browse through unique local boutiques, St Maarten’s shopping scene has something for everyone. From Philipsburg to Marigot, visitors are sure to find a special treasure or two to take home with them.

St Maarten’s Nightlife: Dance the Night Away

St Maarten is not just a destination for sun and sand, it also offers a vibrant nightlife scene. Whether you’re in the mood for a cozy bar, a lively club, or some live music, St Maarten has it all.


For a laid-back evening out, head to one of St Maarten’s many bars. At Lee’s Roadside Grill, located on Bush Road in Philipsburg, you can enjoy live music while sipping on a tropical cocktail. Another popular spot is Topper’s Rhum Distillery and Bar in Simpson Bay, which offers a variety of delicious rum drinks.


For those who want to dance the night away, St Maarten has several clubs to choose from. Tantra Nightclub in Maho is known for its energetic dance floor and live DJs. Sint Maarten Yacht Club in Simpson Bay also attracts a lively crowd with its waterfront location and outdoor dance floor.

Live Music

If you prefer live music, head to Danny’s Beach Bar on Great Bay Beach in Philipsburg. This beachfront bar often features local musicians and offers a relaxed atmosphere for enjoying the music and the ocean breeze.

Whether you’re looking for a night out on the town or a low-key evening with some live music, St Maarten’s nightlife scene has something for everyone.


St. Maarten is a great destination for a one-day adventure, with a range of activities to suit all interests. Visitors can explore the town of Marigot, take a snorkeling tour, or visit Maho Beach for a unique experience.

The Butterfly Farm and Loterie Farm also offer opportunities for cultural experiences and outdoor adventures. For a relaxing end to the day, visitors can take a sunset cruise. With so many options to choose from, St. Maarten is a must-visit destination for a one-day adventure.

Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, Philipsburg, Sint-Maarten
Photo by Vinita Babani on Unsplash

FAQs About St Maarten for One Day

Planning a one-day adventure in St Maarten can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time visiting. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you make the most of your time on this beautiful island:

What should I include in my St Maarten one day itinerary?

Your itinerary will depend on your interests and preferences, but some must-see attractions include Philipsburg, Marigot, and the island’s stunning beaches. You may also want to engage in water activities such as snorkeling or jet skiing, explore St Maarten’s natural wonders or indulge in its local cuisine.

What is the best way to get around St Maarten for one day?

One popular option is to take a guided island tour, which allows you to see many of the top attractions in a short amount of time. Taxis are also readily available, and many attractions are within walking distance of each other.

Are there any cultural or historical sites worth visiting in St Maarten?

Absolutely! The island is rich in history and culture, and some must-see sites include the St Maarten Museum, Fort Louis in Marigot, and the Emilio Wilson Park. You may also want to explore the vibrant art scene in Philipsburg.

What are some good options for dining in St Maarten?

St Maarten has a diverse culinary scene, and options range from local street food to high-end fine dining. Some popular choices include seafood at the Grand Case Beach Club, Caribbean cuisine at Lee’s Roadside Grill, or BBQ ribs at The Smoke Shack.

Can I go duty-free shopping in St Maarten?

Yes! Both Philipsburg and Marigot have a variety of duty-free shops, making it the perfect place to pick up souvenirs or luxury items. Just make sure to check the customs regulations in your home country before making any purchases.

What is the currency used in St Maarten?

Both the US dollar and the Euro are widely accepted in St Maarten, so you won’t need to worry about exchanging currency for a short one-day visit.

Is it safe to explore St Maarten on my own?

While St Maarten is generally a safe destination, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Stick to well-lit areas at night, and avoid carrying large sums of cash or valuable items with you.

With a little planning and preparation, a one-day adventure in St Maarten can be an unforgettable experience. Follow these tips and enjoy all that this beautiful island has to offer!


  • Karin K

    Meet Karin, the passionate author and founder of StMaartenAdventure.com. My love affair with St. Maarten began in 1994 during a memorable trip. The island's allure was so captivating that I decided to make it my permanent home. Since then, I've been committed to sharing the beauty and wonders of St. Maarten through my adventures and insights. Join me on this incredible journey!