A tropical savanna on the Dutch side of the island of Saint Martin, Philipsburg is the capital of the country of Sint Maarten. It is located on the lower half of the island. The upper half is home to the French country of Saint-Martin. Since the entire island spans 34 square miles, it is easy to visit the entire island with a rental car. A popular beach destination for vacation-goers and cruise lines, Philipsburg boasts alluring beaches, duty-free shopping, fine dining restaurants, and exciting attractions.
Whether you are staying for a few days in Philipsburg or only have a quick stopover during a cruise, you shouldn’t miss a stroll along the boardwalk of Great Bay Beach, located in the heart of downtown. Perfect for people watching, dining, or shopping, the lively area is right next to a sparkling stretch of sand along the bay. With ample opportunity for booking a water sports activity, renting a few chairs and umbrellas on the beach, or relaxing at the restaurants and bars, Philipsburg has something to offer for all types of travelers.
If there is one beach to check out, it is Maho Beach. Located right next to the infamous runway of the Princess Juliana International Airport, Maho Beach draws photographers, plane spotters, and curious bystanders. The airport’s runway is literally a few feet away from the beach, where spectators can witness the true power of a gigantic airplane. Planes as large as the Boeing 747’s fly right overhead as they prepare to land and visitors can experience. However, exercise caution while being air-blasted by the jets upon take off.
Visitors seeking a calmer and more laidback experience may wish to peruse the city’s art galleries, casinos, and historic forts, such as Fort Amsterdam. A historic site located a short drive away, Fort Amsterdam overlooks Great Bay and is open to visitors who wish to wander around the grounds with ruins, plaques, and old cannons. Fort Amsterdam was built in the 17th century to protect the marine entrance to Philipsburg. On the French side, Fort Louis protects the capital of Marigot.
Looking for great bargains instead of lounging on the beach all day? Head to Front Street, a mile-long commercial district packed with boutique shops and restaurants. Shoppers will find plenty of duty-free stores selling jewelry, watches, electronics, Cuban cigars, and discount fashion pieces. For fans of Star Wars, be sure to stop by the Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit owned by Nick Maley, one of the artists behind Yoda and other characters from Star Wars. The store has been turned into a museum and its shop sells Star Wars goodies and memorabilia.
For the avid or interested snorkelers, Mullet Bay is the place to discover underwater sea life. This includes sea urchins, crabs, octopus, tropical fish, and more. The bay also has a lovely beach that leads to a rocky coast with whale holes, natural bridges, and interesting rock formations. On the north side of Philipsburg, the St. Maarten Zoo is another popular attraction with hundreds of animals from the Caribbean and beyond.
Make the most of your time on the idyllic Caribbean island of Saint Martin and rent a car with Orbitz to experience all that Philipsburg and its lush surroundings has to offer. We cater to every customer’s needs with guaranteed low rates and a variety of rentals from comfortable SUVs to eco-friendly compact cars.