The Dutch side of St. Martin is beloved for all the characteristics that make an island getaway so fun: an easy, welcoming atmosphere, family-friendly beaches, and bustling nightlife.
St. Maarten’s capital Phillipsburg is a popular cruise port, which has led to a more Americanized feel than on the island’s French side; in fact, St. Maarten’s official currency is USD. While some travelers may prefer the more European flair of French (and Euro-wielding) St. Martin, St. Maarten is a wonderful destination for groups of friends or families with children. The atmosphere is a bit more rambunctious (and thus more forgiving of noise), grocery stores sell American staples, and beachgoers tend to be more covered up (beachwear is less of a guarantee on the French side).
The Dutch side of the island is also home to all of the island’s casinos (over a dozen!) and the famous Maho Beach near the airport runway, where incoming planes fly exhilaratingly close to wide-eyed sunbathers.
“Phillipsburg’s boardwalk is a beautiful place to stroll, but if you’re planning to get some shopping done, check the port schedule first. Make sure to go when a cruise ship isn’t docked, and you’ll avoid the crowds.” ―Marilyn, Condé Nast Traveler Villa Rental Specialist
“The new bridge across Simpson Bay makes traveling across the island even more convenient, but take note that it is a drawbridge. We’ll provide you with the bridge schedule, so make sure to check that the bridge is down before making plans.” ―Linda, St. Martin Villa Rental Specialist