What to See and Do in Philipsburg, St. Maarten

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Whether arriving by cruise ship or spending time on the island on St. Maarten/St. Martin,
Philipsburg, the capital of Dutch St. Maarten, offers a ton of fun things to see and do, most within view of the gorgeous blue water of Great Bay.

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Philipsburg is an area of only a few streets sandwiched between the Salt Pond and beautiful Great Bay. There are many shops, bars, restaurants and musicians lining the streets. Do you like to shop? You can find a lot of items in Philipsburg from inexpensive souvenirs to diamonds and watches. Want to find something to eat? There are a variety of options ranging from very casual to elegant and tony. Any good bars? Well, of course! The boardwalk especially is dotted with bars with a wide variety of great tropical concoctions.

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With the ability to dock 6+ large cruise liners and the addition in recent years of a wonderful boardwalk that is about 50 ft. wide and nearly as long as the waterfront of Great Bay, Philipsburg really caters to it’s visitors. From the cruise ships you can either walk down a lovely palm lined path or take a short water taxi ride to town. If staying on island, there are several fairly large parking lots.

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Looking for a few ideas of what to see and do while visiting Philipsburg? These are a few things that we’ve enjoyed during our visits there.

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1. The Beach

Although it can be just as busy as many of the other beautiful beaches in St. Maarten/St.Martin, Great Bay has gorgeous blue water, a calm surf and a variety of places to rent beach chairs and umbrellas. Plus you’re really close to some good bars, restaurants and shops when you need a break from the sun.

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The turquoise blue water of Great Bay.

2. Eat & Drink

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The majority of bars and restaurants line the boardwalk and offer a great view of the beach, surrounding hills and cruise ships. Each have their own tropical specialties.

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Boardwalk Breeze at the Blue Bitch Bar

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Pizza at Taloula Mango’s

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Grab a $.99 beer at the Barefoot Bar to enjoy while walking the Boardwalk. The Barefoot Restaurant also serves up some excellent roti – mmm…roti…

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Enjoy some good food and drink at Big Wood Grill on the Boardwalk, but don’t ask for a BBD if you are easily offended!

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Walk through Big Wood Grill to get to Juggie’s Place, The Smallest Bar in the World!

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Juggie’s Place on Front Street behind Big Wood Grill

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Casual dining right on the beach at Chez Delphine

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Stop, buy a cold drink and chat with some of the local vendors on the Boardwalk.

3. Shop

Front street and the connecting streets between the Boardwalk, Front and Back street have a large variety of shops carrying local crafts, souvenirs, liquor and more expensive items.

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There are several liquor stores that carry a good selection of rums that we can’t find at home, so we usually buy a bottle or two to bring back with us.

And of course, be sure to stop at the Guavaberry Emporium on Front Street to sample different guavaberry rums, liquors and hot sauces. Be sure to try a Guavaberry Colada – so refreshing!

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Direction sign next to the Guavaberry Emporium

So there you have it. Some of the things we’ve experienced and enjoyed during our visits to Philpsburg – so far. What have you enjoyed there?

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Find Philipsburg on our St. Maarten/St. Martin Map


To see more posts on St. Maarten/St. Martin and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory


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