The glamorous island of St Barths is one of the Caribbean's top beach destinations. Ringing the island are immaculate strips of sand and ethereal turquoise waters. The shallow reefs that encircle the island help to protect these renowned beaches, and they also provide excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities. Only adding to the allure of the St Barths beaches is the fact that they are rarely overcrowded, and it certainly doesn't hurt that the island gets more than 300 sunny days a year on average.
St Barths is one of four French overseas territories that help to make up the Leeward Islands. It is one of the most upscale destinations in the area, catering mostly to wealthy travelers. It has an elegant yet casual appeal, and many liken the island to the French Riviera.
Resorts that know how to satisfy their discerning guests are in good supply in St Barts, and as you might expect, the very best are found right on the sand. The island's lodging scene isn't all about the beachfront resorts, however. Villa and apartment rentals are plentiful, and while most are found in the hills as opposed to on the sand, guests are never very far from a world-class strip of sand.
Saline is one of the best-known beaches in St Barths. A bit out of the way, Anse de Grande Saline Beach maintains an undeveloped and isolated appeal that is hard to match. The fact that the ocean bottom is shallow makes for some excellent swimming when the wind and surf are down. On windier days, the surf can get quite rough, and blowing sand can present some issues. There also isn’t much shade to speak of, but the sheer beauty of Anse de Grande Saline is reason enough to drop by. This beach ranks high among the best beaches in the Caribbean, which is testament to its all-around appeal. Nude sunbathing is common at Anse de Grande Saline.
At Gouverneur Beach, scenic cliffs ring the sand, and it’s possible to catch glimpses of St. Kitts in the distance. Snorkeling off the Gouverneur Beach point can be a joy for those who wish to explore the underwater realms, and restaurants that can be found on the road in makes for a great place to grab something to eat or drink on the side. Perhaps a sunset drink or meal will be in order after a fun day at the beach.
If full nudity at the beach isn’t your thing, all of the other beaches in St Barths prohibit the very liberal practice, limiting their policy to topless sunbathing only. St Jean Beach is one such example, and it’s also an example of one of the best beaches in St Barths. Actually two beaches in one, St Jean Beach is split in two by a prominent promontory that is known as Eden Rock. Thanks in part to the resident hotels, there is no lack of watersports activity options at St Jean Beach, and there are restaurants to dine at. Shops are relatively easy to access from St Jean Beach, as is the airport, and overall it is the most popular beach on the island. This results in a lively atmosphere on most days. A lovely villa, Eden Island, is very close to St. Jean Beach
Flamands Beach presents a wide and long swath of sand for beach enthusiasts to enjoy. A few hotels, including the Hotel Saint Barth Isle de France, provide tempting accommodations near the water, as do some enticing villa rentals. As is true of the other St Barths beaches, the water at Flamands Beach is of a stunning turquoise hue, and on most days, the surf is invitingly subdued. There are some shaded areas, and winter is when the surf is usually at its roughest.
Easily one of the best St Barths beaches, Colombier Beach is perhaps best known for its seclusion. The only way to get there is to take a boat or walk approximately 30 minutes along a rather rugged trail. The walking trail is actually a goat path, and it passes Flamands Beach. Those who choose to arrive by way of the path are treated to some stunning views along the way, and the journey is certainly worth it. The usually calm waters result in some good snorkeling conditions, and since there aren’t any services, the beach has a very tranquil appeal. Many visitors bring food and drinks along with them. As a side note, Colombier Beach is also commonly referred to as Rockefeller’s Beach.