Jaunt On St. Barth: A Guide To The Island’s Beaches

Find Your Beach


We firmly believe that there is a place for retreats that stand on ceremony: the luau, the safari, the zipline, the dolphin swim. And then there is Saint Barthélemy, a place where you simply surrender, both literally and figuratively, to the ebb and flow of the ocean. Such is the feeling of giving yourself over to the beaches, the center of this island’s universe. Each a distinctive character in your St. Barth story, there is a stripe for every swimmer and a flavor for every palate. The only question is which type of beach adventurer you’d like to be on the day before you. Fortunately, when it comes to this cast of characters, there are no wrong answers.

St. Jean | The Overachiever

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Personality Traits

A lily-white swath through the heart of the island, St. Jean is the popular girl and heavy-hitters like Eden Rock, Nikki Beach and La Plage all want to sit with her. Not one to simply rest on her laurels, St. Jean offers serenity in her secret pathways and hidden swimming coves, and activity in her water sports and proximity to great shopping.

Food + Drink

Eden Rock’s Sand Bar offers up a front row seat on the brilliant blue bay. A Jean-Georges-directed menu and a spotlessly understated terrace out to the sand makes for an experience far beyond your average picnic lunch. And speaking of picnic lunches, casual eatery Kiki e Mo presses the best darn panini on the island and prides itself on serving up ‘simply fresh’ takeaway items. Wash it all down with an ice cold Carib pre- or post-St. Jean beaching. For a bit more revelry, grab a chaise at Nikki Beach and a glass of any one of a refreshing array of bubbles for a very happy hour.

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Colombier | The Adventuress

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Personality Traits

Athletic and remote, the long road to our favorite St. Barth beach is also the most rewarding. (Take it from us: you may consider lacing up your sneaks and stowing your sandals in your bag for later.) A moderate tree-lined hike rich with peekaboo vistas leads you to a kind of ocean Eden, where easy chair currents envelope you in otherworldly relaxation. Come bearing a bag of tricks and plan to drop anchor; this is a place where you’ll want to spend the entire day.

Food + Drink

Just a glimpse of the black and white Maya’s To Go logo is enough to induce pangs of nostalgia (not to mention hunger!) now that we’re back home. The croissants, gourmet sandwiches, roast chickens and vast array of cold salads and wines singlehandedly up the ante on the meaning of ‘grab n’ go’. Stop into this chic St. Jean traiteur en route to Colombier and pack a picnic before you spend a day warm on the sand.

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Shell Beach | The Reveler

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Personality Traits

Strewn with seashells (hence the name) and a stretch perfect for swimming, Shell Beach is all about fun in the sun. Rentable chaises and easy access to the cocktails and cuisine at a beloved local restaurant mean you’ll want to stay awhile, if only to work up the courage for an afternoon cliff dive!

Food + Drink

You can’t talk about Shell Beach without also singing the praises of Do Brazil. A lively scene with picture frame views of the aquamarine sea, the friendly staff and delicious seafood make it a fun (and tasty) place to be. Wander from table to chaise with ease and ask the attendant on duty to keep the rosé coming.

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Gouverneur | The Dreamer

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Personality Traits

Private and understated, Gouverneur bathes its beachgoers in blissful seclusion. Swim out for some light bodysurfing among the locals or revel in the quiet from your place on the sandy shore.

Food + Drink

You’d do well to orient your Gouverneur visit around the pleasures of Santa Fe. Famous for its sunset vantage atop Lurin, we stumbled into this hillside treehouse one afternoon to wait out a brief rain shower. Two hours later, we were full, happy and just not quite ready to tear ourselves away from the top-of-the-world view.

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Saline | The Wanderer

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Personality Traits

Down a tropical, palm-shaded path is Saline, a natural beauty of a beach that caters to a variety of interests. On one end, there is a swimming cove that’s akin to heaven on earth. And on the other, a de facto enclave for nude sunbathing enthusiasts. Whatever your pleasure, Saline conspires to help you hide or seek at will.

Food + Drink

A gourmand’s fantasy beneath swaying palms, Chef Jean Claude Dufour masterminds inventive plates in a romantic setting at L’Esprit. A perfect stop for lunch en route to or from the charms of Saline.

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Grand Cul de Sac | The Thrill-Seeker

Personality Traits

Cul de Sac wastes no time with pleasantries, its gallant fleet of canoes, kayaks, windsurfing and paddle boards clear indicators of what really floats its boat. Ensconced between the plush oases of Le Sereno and Le Guanahani, and home to two of the most quintessential beach bungalow restaurants imaginable, the bay is primed for leisure or activity in equal measure.

Food + Drink

The one-two punch of La Gloriette and O’Corail presents the kind of dining experience you daydream about when picturing lunch on St. Barth. Indulge in simple French fare, cocktails and wines as you bury your toes into the sand beneath your table, the swaying palms shading you overhead. La Gloriette also serves pizza for dinner (not to mention the irresistible rhum vanille we mentioned earlier) which makes it a prime destination for taking in sunsets too.

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Looking for more St. Barth stories? See the full Gather collection.

© Jaunt: The Beaches of St. Barth, St. Barts Beaches.