St. Maarten

Day Trip to St. Martin

My parents have been to the Caribbean before on one single occasion: for our wedding in July. That was their first brush with the Caribbean as a whole and they spent that time solely in Anguilla. This time around, with more time for Scott and I to spend with them, they brought up the idea of doing a day trip to St. Martin to explore another island. Knowing that my mom would love a taste of the local markets, I proposed going on Saturday when Marigot’s markets are in full swing and the island has more going on. We played the rest of the day by ear, stopping at Orient Bay and in Dutch St. Maarten before heading back to Anguilla.

Serafina's, St. Martin

We arrived to a Marigot we had never before experienced: a bustling, busy area with not a single rental car available. We started the morning with a quick walk to Serafina’s for breakfast crepes and requisite macarons. Even if you’re not hungry and not a dessert-lover, these things are a must. The raspberry and lemon are personal favorites.

Rum Tasting in Marigot, St. MartinRum Tasting in Marigot, St. Martin

Following breakfast, we headed into the markets where my mom purchased a colorful summer dress before stumbling upon the infused rum station. Free samples? Yes, please. After testing four infusions, she chose three of her favorites — coconut, pineapple and banana vanilla — to pack up to take back to California.

French St. Martin // Orient Beach

Orient Beach, St. Martin

After meandering around the market, we managed to finagle a rental for the day. In reality, it wasn’t a true rental; it personally belonged to a guy who worked at the rental car station who was gracious enough to rent it to us for the day since there were zero rentals available near the ferry terminal. We buckled up and started our tour of St. Martin on the island’s French side, passing though Grand Case before making our way to our final destination. We arrived at Orient Beach to grab a drink and watch the kite surfers soar across the sea. We walked along the beach to the bars that dot the sand and opted for a more casual bar with toes-in-the-sand seating options. After a round of daiquiris and a bit of people-watching, we headed back to make our way to the island’s Dutch side for a glimpse.

Orient Beach, St. MartinOrient Beach, St. MartinOrient Beach, St. Martin

Dutch St. Maarten // Sunset Beach Bar

Sunset Beach Bar, St. MaartenSunsets, St. MaartenSunsets, St. Maarten

We left Orient Beach and made our way to St. Maarten’s Dutch side to watch the planes arrive from Sunset Bar & Grill. One of the most famous beach bars in the Caribbean, we knew my parents would get a kick out the experience. My mom took countless videos of planes soaring over the beach bar before we finally said our goodbyes to St. Maarten.


We bypassed Philipsburg primarily because Scott and I didn’t want to deal with the traffic but my parents left very fulfilled with a few souvenirs in tow, a bit of a burn and lots of good memories.

How would you spend six hours in St. Maarten/St. Martin?

Shannon Kircher, The Wanderlust Effect

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect, formerly The Traveling Scholar. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. She is a former resident of London and San Francisco and now calls the island of Anguilla home. In addition to The Wanderlust Effect, Shannon is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort and is on the Board of Directors of the Omololu International School in Anguilla.

  • Bethaney

    We’ll be stopping in St Maarten on our cruise in a few weeks. I want to visit both sides. Think that’s doable in a day?

    • Hey Bethany, it’s doable but it will be quick! You’ll probably want to start with the French side since you’ll get off on the Dutch side. Head to Grand Case – super cute little area with great French food + a place called Tijon where you can craft your own fragrance. Then head back to Phillipsburg to check it out. It’ll be fast but you can get a glimpse of each!

      • Bethaney

        Great! Thanks for the ideas.