St Barts beaches exemplify island beauty and offer an incredible experience amid a natural, tropical backdrop. With more than twenty beaches to choose from on this tiny Caribbean island, it seems visitors are pleased with the ample choices and the different atmospheres exhibited on each sandy stretch.
Unless you’re heading straight to your St Bart hotel or villa, you’ll be treated to two excellent beaches within close proximity of Gustavia. St Jean Beach is flooded with a range of people, but mainly the elite. Restaurants, bars, and shops skirt the beach as do plenty of villas and bungalows. This well-established beach is easily the most popular and also famed for great views of the island’s only landing strip and the famous Eden Rock Hotel. Shell Beach is another of the best beaches on St Barts for its central location in Gustavia and variety of activities available, including shell collecting and cliff diving.
Moving onward around the island, there are St Barts topless beaches, well-developed beaches, and totally isolated gems. Views on partial nudity are liberal on St Barts so it’s no surprise to see topless sunbathers around the island. The two main topless beaches include Saline Beach and Governours Beach, two stretches which also commonly have nude sunbathers on them. Both are located on the wilder, southern end of St Barts in two deeply inset bays. These St Barts topless beaches offer more than the ability to lose your clothing—the swimming and snorkeling are both divine.
St Barts is entirely surrounded by a vibrant coral reef, which makes snorkeling one of top things to do. A little farther out, both snorkeling and diving are ideal. Snappers, rays, intensely hued sponges, parrotfish, and more can be seen around the offshore rock formations. In May, lucky visitors will see the migrating whales from several of the best beaches on St Barts while from April to August nesting sea turtles are most popular.
Seclusion is an enviable trait of many St Barts beaches. One of the best beaches for complete privacy is Toiny, a little ways up from Governours Beach on the southeast edge. Toiny is pure and raw and has only one hotel nearby, Le Toiny, an incredibly luxurious hotel with an equally lavish setting. Flamands Beach is an ideal spot that remains relatively crowd-free for most of the year which gives it status as one of the best beaches on St Barts. It houses many seaside and hilltop villas and is the widest of all St Barts beaches. Lorient Beach is another ideal choice for a seclusion. It’s ideal for snorkeling, sunbathing, or just anchoring a boat offshore and taking in the views during lunch or dinner.
Grand Cul de Sac Beach is one of the biggest and most developed of all St Barts beaches and easily the most renowned. It is filled with tourist amenities and is a great place for hiring a yacht charter, arranging a diving trip, or enjoying the backdrop of shopping and restaurants. It comprises a good chunk of the island’s western side. For these reasons it’s one of the best beaches on St Barts and one of very few offering some nightlife.
Most all bays and offshore spots by St Barts beaches are laden with dozens of yachts of all shapes and sizes, as boating is a major pastime. Boating is popular because of the prime island location between two major sailing ports of Antigua and Virgin Islands. The island paths winding around and behind many St Barts beaches are perfect for hiking. Around Colombier Beach, which is accessible by foot only, hiking the headlands will mean views of striking foliage and distant islands. Offshore fishing at Corossol Beach north of Gustavia, surfing and bodysuring on Toiny, and horseback riding on some of the more secluded beaches are great things to do.