We Took a taxi at $10 pp to Saffhire Beach. It is close to Red Hook and the ferry to St John's They rent snorkel eqipment for $5/hr or $10/day. Beers were $3 and strong rum punch was $4. Chair rental was $7 (too high) but the large trees provided good free shade. When I mentioned to the owner about the chair rental fee, he gave us a free rum punch.
I had read a review about excessive seaweed on the beach. There was some seaweed on the beach but the hotel there had a crew out every day for cleanup. You cannot control the ocean!
Everyone swam, snorkeled and floated with a beverage while laughing and talking. It was a great beach day.
My Motto is, "Life is a Beach. Now go out and enjoy it."
The BoatYard is close to the cruise terminal. It had a $12 cover fee that included entry to the beach for the day, a drink, free cab back to the ship, chairs, umbrellas, water trampolines, dive platform and rope swing off the pier. The sand was white and the the water was crystal clear. The food was slightly costly but with all you get on the ship it isn't necessary. The I would definitely recommend this beach bar.
We hooked up with two wonderful fun couples from Colorado that had a reservation at the Rendezvous. They let us join them. The cab was $5pp. This place is a couples all inclusive resort. The price was $60 pp for the day. We had unbelievable service with all you could drink and eat. The food was on a veranda with a spectacular view...5 star dining with wine of your choice served. We were given beach flags and when raised, your private cabana boy waited on you. We took out Catamarans for sailing multiple times. We used the kayaks. Our beach chairs were like beds and we had soft pale cream colored gossamer canopy tops. We drank way too much, played hard, laughed, swam ate and everything for one low price. There was also ski boats and we watched people skiing, wake boarding, tubing and more...all included.
Word of advice, without the reservation the cabbies will not take you there. Also, they keep it very exclusive and only allow a small amount of people on their beach. We are seriously contemplating a week there!
The Shipwreck Beach Bar and Grill at South Friars beach is a great stop. This was out third time to South Friars. The snorkeling is best here than many other islands and the view of St Nevis is breathtaking. The cab ride was $4pp and there is no cover charge. Two beach chairs with a palm frond hut top was $10. Beers are $15 for a bucket of 6 and you can mix up your choices. They have monkeys and mongoose to photo if you want and massages where $20 but they did not work for the Shipwreck. I didn't get one but many people did and seemed to enjoy it. This is a great beach break with no reservations needed.
This was my 5th time to St Maarten/St Martin. We opted to stay in Philipsburg on the beach at Great Bay on Front street. We bought the all day water taxi for $6 each. When you get to Front Street right off the water taxis, go left and don't stop at any of the first few bars you see. Resellers will try to hock you to the place you are going as they get commission but the deal is sweeter if you go yourself. Head down to "Lizzy's". There you will get two chairs, an umbrella, two Red Stripe beers, two shots of something, a beach float, free WiFi and all for only $12 for the two of you! There is also an ocean trampoline there and you can jet ski if you want to pay. There is no better deal in all of the Caribbean. Remember to just say,"No Thank you" to all the helpful people as you walk down the beach street and find Lizzy's yourself. There is also an ally there that will take you one street over from the beach to shopping. The only negative thing is there are too many beach sellers. When I first got there I had to say no to a dozen pushy people. After that, they left me alone to enjoy the beach and the water.