The Best Beaches on St. Barths
The island of St Barths (aka St Barts, St Barth or St Bart) is famous for its pristine, unspoiled beaches. In fact, three of St Barths best beaches (Saline Beach, Gouverneur Beach and Colombier Beach) do not have a single hotel, restaurant or house along their shores - paradise! When visiting those beaches, you'll need to bring your own food and beverages - a small price to pay for a serene day on the beach. For those seeking more action, head to St Jean beach where popular beach bars like Nikki Beach, Pearl Beach and The Sand Bar offer an exciting range of foods and beverages, along with people-watching opportunities.
For more information on St Barths beaches, see the descriptions of each below. To reserve a villa on the beach, visit our St Barths Beach Villa collection.
Gouverneur Beach in Lurin
The drive down a steep hill to Gouverneur Beach from the hills of Lurin offers one of the most spectacular views on the island: a glimpse of the emerald bay far below, and golden sands. Gouverneur is one of the quieter beaches on the island and lies on the southern shore of St Barths. One enters through a lush green tunnel of trees and emerges to a view of a cliff-face descending into the water on the left, defining that end of the beach. To the right, the beach stretches for a quarter mile, backed by dense sea grass and Gaiac tress, with bright blue waters great for snorkeling and swimming. This beach has relatively few visitors and possesses exquisite views of other islands. Waves on the eastern end of the beach may occasionally be strong, but, if one walks to the other end of the beach, gentle surf prevails. Russian oligarch and owner of the Chelsea Football Club, Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich owns property just behind the dunes.
St Jean Beach in St Jean
St Jean Beach is St Barths' most popular beach. The iconic Eden Rock Peninsula, home to Eden Rock Hotel, juts out into St Jean Bay, dividing the beach in two. The smaller eastern side is calm and sheltered, and one can often spot sea turtles there. It is a great spot for young children to play in the sand and snorkel. This part of the beach is also home to Nikki Beach – a rollicking beach bar open from 11am to 7pm seven days a week. The larger western side of St Jean Beach is home to four small hotels with a total of less than 100 rooms in all – Eden Rock, Emmeraude Plage, Pearl Beach and Les Islets de La Plage. Here one can sit in the sand at one of three beach bars and watch the small prop planes take off and land at the nearby Gustav III airport. Two watersports huts rent out jet skis, wind surfers, catamarans, standing surfboards, and kite boards.
Shell Beach in Gustavia
Easily accessible by foot, Shell Beach is unique in that it is the only beach "in town," just a short walk from the heart of Gustavia, the capital city of St Barths. Framed by dramatic cliffs and towering mountains, Shell Beach is visually spectacular. Its “sand” is made up of mainly small sea shells that were originally dredged up from Gustavia Harbor when it was deepened, and they help to define the unique nature of this beach. It is a protected beach with gentle surf, making it an ideal beach to take young children. There is good snorkeling along both sides of the bay, and there is a popular jumping rock on the left side. A well regarded restaurant named Shellona is located right on the beach, serving lunch and dinner. It often features a live acoustic guitar set at sunset. The combination of a protected bay and a great restaurant on the beach make this a favorite anchorage for sailors and yachts visiting St Barths.
Saline Beach in Gouverneur
Saline Beach lies on the southern shore of St Barths. To reach it one drives along the salt pond of the same name, passing popular local restaurants L'Esprit and Grain de Sel, ending up in a small parking lot set back in the dunes. From there it is a gentle 5-minute walk through the woods, stepping between two large sand dunes then down to the secluded and totally undeveloped Saline beach. Enjoy the sweet sound of silence here, with not a home or hotel or restaurant in sight. There is a coral out-cropping straight off the beach on the left side, ideal for snorkeling. There aren't any services here, so pack in your own food and beverages.
Since it is one of the more secluded beaches in St Barths, you won't be surprised to hear that Saline beach is popular with nudists. Upon arriving, the more modest of you should head to the left side as the right side is popular with those who prefer to shed their clothes. This is also one of the more popular beaches for gay couples and topless sun-bathing; however it's all quite unobtrusive and tasteful.
One of the longest beaches in St. Barts, Flamands beach is defined by two popular hotels on its eastern end – Cheval Blanc Isle de France hotel and Hotel Taiwana. Both offer lunch on the beach service and a chaise lounge rental program, making it an ideal place to hang out after a long lazy lunch. Flamands beach is also known as “Billionaire beach” as there are several private villas on the beach owned by people on the Forbes 500 list. The surf here tends to be on the rougher side, idea for boogie boarding, but not for toddlers. A third hotel Baie des Anges, anchors the western end of the beach, and its La Langouste restaurant is a good value. For the more adventurous, drive past Flamands beach to the end of the road, then hike 20 minutes out to Colombier beach (see description below)
This beach lies in the center of the northern shore of the island. There is a large reef that protects much of the beach, making it ideal for small children. You'll find good snorkeling all along the eastern end, and it's not uncommon to spot a sea turtle or two. The far western end of the beach has long breaking waves, perfect for surfing. At the entrance of the beach you'll spot the Lorient beach club, a colorful surf shack made famous when it showed up on the cover of Jimmy Buffet's “Take the weather with you” album. There are two fun eateries across the street from Lorient beach, JoJo Burger, and La Petite Colombe a patisserie offering delicious croissants, baguettes, café au lait and prepared sandwiches. French musician Johnny Hallyday is buried at the nearby cemetery. If you look to the western end of the beach you'll see the ruins of the infamous Au Tour de Rocher hotel and nightclub. This legendary bar was a favorite celebrity hangout in the 70s and 80's until it burned down in 1981. The land on which Au Tour de Rocker sits is now owned by David Letterman.
It's not uncommon to meet frequent visitors to St Barths who have never been to or even heard of Colombier beach. The reason is that this beach has been in private hands for over 60 years, and no road was ever built out to it. Colombier beach is only accessible by foot via a rocky mile-long path from the far end of Flamands. Park your car on the side of the road and 20 minutes later you'll crest a hill and look down on an idyllic crescent shaped beach with not a single hotel, house or restaurant in sight. This beach and the surrounding lands were once owned by David Rockefeller. He sold the property in 1983, but you can still see the ruins of his former residence on the peninsula that runs along the western side of the beach. The bay in front of the beach is a popular mooring for sailors as it is protected and shallow. This makes for ideal snorkeling conditions.
Grand Cul de Sac Beach
This wide and shallow bay is home to two separate beaches, and is the favorite playground of kite boarders and jet skiiers. On the western end of the bay you'll find the Guanahani Hotel. It has a private beach with dozens of open-air tiki-style sheds lining the waterfront providing shade for its guests. The hotel provides food and drink service for those renting a chaise lounge on the beach, or you can step up into its Indigo restaurant for a more formal meal.
The main part of Grand cul de Sac beach is home to Le Sereno hotel on the left, and Hotel Le Barthelemy on the right. Both offer chaise lounge rental programs, and attentive food and beverage service on the beach. In between lie two casual beach bars – O'Corial and La Gloriette – and a jet ski rental hut that is also home to a dive shop. There are no shortage of things to do on Grand cul de Sac beach, however take note that the bay is no deeper than 4 feet in any one place.
Petit Cul de Sac Beach in Toiny
A favorite of locals. Undiscovered by most tourists, this beach is hidden away off a dead-end road at the far northeast corner of the island. It sits at the end of a calm bay and its waters are part of a marine sanctuary. This beach has tranquil waters, beautiful white sandy beaches, and is good for snorkeling. You'll spot large conch along the sea bottom, and sea turtles.
Located on the southeast side of the island, this relatively untouched beach has always been popular with surfers. In 2016, the nearby Le Toiny Hotel opened a beach bar called the Toiny Beach Club, which now draws an appreciate crowd looking for a relaxed, yet refined lunch. A sign is posted there warning of occasional rip tides, so be sure to check the conditions before you go swimming.
This narrow beach lies in front of the tiny fishing village of Corossol. The calm waters make it an ideal beach for families with young children. It lies across the bay from Gustavia, affording one a view of scores of sailboats and yachts moored there.
Marigot Bay Beach
Marigot Bay Beach is a narrow beach within a small cove and is exceptional for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is seldom busy because it is rarely visited by tourists, but visitors can catch a break from the hot sun in the towering palm trees that line the narrow beach. The bay is a protected marine sanctuary so you may spot sea turtles and conch.
While the beaches of St Barths are lightly developed, and it is rare to see homes located directly on the beach, WIMCO represents several St Barths villas on the beach which are available to rent by the week. Ask your villa specialist for details.