Great Bay is a beautiful beach stretching the entire length of Philipsburg (the capital of Dutch St Maarten) from the Fort Amsterdam Peninsula all the way to the neighborhood of Point Blanche.
I've watched this area transform from what was once considered an abandoned beach front to what is known today as one of the Islands top attractions called the board walk. I'll tell you about that in a minute but first a bit of history wont hurt.
This beach has a rich history. The Island changed hands between the Dutch, French, Spanish and the British until the French and Dutch signed The Treaty Of Concordia on March 23rd 1648. The famous partition agreement was signed on Mount des Accords on the French side.
The bay provided a safe harbor for schooners as they awaited the valuable salt that was harvested from the Great Salt Pond. The inhabitants would make their way down to the beach through the alleys that still exist today.
All those talked about battles and trade happened right here at Great Bay. I make it a point to imagine the activity as it happened years ago. Fort Amsterdam which was built in 1632 can be seen from the beach.
Great Bay is known to be a full service beach these days. Located in the heart of Philipsburg, it meets the adventure seeker needs like no other.
Like I told you, I've watch it develop over the years. If you're a long time visitor to the Island you would have seen this too.
It sports a lengthy concrete pavement called the board walk. Hotels restaurants and bars skirt the inner section of the not so long ago constructed promenade.
On the principle end you will find the famous up town fishing village still in operation today. If you're up early enough you can see the activity from your hotel room. Also found here is the 12 meter Regatta Racing crew and Bobby's marina.
Are You visiting Great Bay beach on a Cruise Ship?...
For the most part though, I'd recommend great bay for Cruise passengers. Those on a tight budget would relish the idea of the close proximity to the cruise facility.
Once you land you can catch a ride on one of the water taxis provided at the Cruise facility. Yes, you heard me right. All cruise ships dock right at Great Bay with the exception of a few that go to the French side.
If you like you can take a leisurely 20 minute stroll down to the beach, or alternatively the taxi will take you down to the small Captain Hodge's pier in the heart of Philipsburg where you'll decide what you want to do first.
Available are umbrellas, beach chairs, water sports, food, rest rooms and of course the sand sea and sun.
Conveniently located just a few steps away is Front Street, where the weak hearted can indulge in our well talked about duty free shopping, and casinos.
Great Bay is a great alternative for those cruise visitors who prefer to stay nearby and still get the same amenities.