St. Barths: Where to PLAY

 Beach bar at the Tom Tom Hotel

Beach bar at the Tom Tom Hotel

 Flamands Beach one day........

Flamands Beach one day........

 ......Flamands Beach the next day.

......Flamands Beach the next day.

 The short walk to Saline Beach

The short walk to Saline Beach

 The short walk is worth it.

The short walk is worth it.

 Lookout point Colombier

Lookout point Colombier

 Lorient Beach

Lorient Beach

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 Cold Caribs on St. Jean Beach

Cold Caribs on St. Jean Beach

 The hike to the Secret Pools

The hike to the Secret Pools

 Gustavia

Gustavia

 Shops in Gustavia

Shops in Gustavia


Beaches: St. Barths has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Although the island is tiny compared to some of its counterparts, it has 16 beaches, all of which are very different.

St. Jean: I call St. Jean my ideal afternoon beach. We usually head here after lunch. It is by far the beach with the most action on the island. At the entrance by the runway, there is shade in the afternoon, the perfect spot to grab a beer and watch the planes come and go. Eden Roc, Nikki Beach, and La Plage all dot St. Jean beach. La Plage has a place where you can rent lounge chairs, sail boats, and paddle boards.

Saline: One of the most breathtaking beaches I have even seen. There is a small walk to get there, but once you come to the clearing, you will see the bluest water flanked by two mountains and nothing else in sight. It is the deepest stretch of sand on the island, so it's great for beach walks. There is no shade, so if you burn easily, bring an umbrella.

Gouverneur: This is another beautiful beach with no buildings in sight. It is much smaller than Saline, but there is no walk to get there. There is a little shade when you walk in, where a lot of the locals post up.

Flamands: It can either be relatively calm, or you can get some great waves that are perfect for body surfing. Cheval Blanc, one of the island's nicest hotels, is located on Flamands. It is a great place for a beach drink.

Shell Beach: Just as it sounds, there is no sand, only shells. It is the perfect beach if you are looking for a place with a little action. Shellona, a new restaurant, just opened there in the place of Do Brazil. If you are brave enough, there are some cliffs you can swim to on the left side. Climb the rope and jump off!

Secret Pools: They aren’t so secret anymore, but they are still hard to find. If it's something you want to do, asking a local when you get to the island is your best best. Some trespassing and some climbing down cliffs are involved, but it's worth it. They are pretty spectacular.

Shopping:
Gustavia: St. Barths has by far the best Caribbean town, not a cheesy souvenir shop in sight, which I love. You could spend at least a day looking at all the stores, everything high-end from Prada and Cartier to much smaller boutique stores. Remember the island observes siesta, so most of the stores are open 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and then 4 to 7:30 p.m.

St. Jean: This is the second-largest town in St. Barths. There are a lot of smaller boutique stores here that are worth stopping for. One of my favorites is Lillie Belle. There are also smaller off-shoots of some of the bigger stores in Gustavia. St. Jean stores are a little more liberal with their hours and are open when some of the Gustavia stores aren’t. It’s also a great place to take a break from the sun. You can walk there from St. Jean beach, do a little shopping, and then head back to the beach.

Nightlife: I am not a huge nightlife person, a few cocktails a nice dinner are right up my alley. For those of you that do like to get a little spicy on vacation St. Barths does have some places for you. Nikki Beach is strictly a daytime spot, like an NYC club (think Lavo) but on the sand. Sundays they have theme parties and they go all out with the dress. For nighttime, I would recommend Le Ti, it's a little bit of a drive but the atmosphere is something you have to see at least once. The costumes are outrageous, the bar serves crazy cocktails and the decor is dripping in red velvet. Very much a french burlesque vibe.

I am fully content sitting on the beach with a good book, my dad is NOT. He can't sit still for a second, so that means beach walks, the frequent lacrosse tosses (yes he brings the sticks all the way from home), and how could I forget the football. If you are like him and beach relaxing isn't your thing below are some things to feed your more adventurous side.

Jet Ski Tour: My dad has always wanted to do this but has yet to convince the rest of us. The tour circumnavigates the entire island, stopping along the way at some hidden spots.

Hiking: There are a few hikes on St. Barths and some pretty spectacular lookout points (top of the lighthouse and Colombier). The hike down to Colombier Beach is worth doing once, be aware it is a lot of stairs, which means on the way back you have to climb up them.


Sea-Bobs: We did these one year ago, and they were a blast. St. Jean beach, as well as Flamands, has places to rent these. They are like mini jet skis that you hold onto, you can dive down so they are great for snorkeling.

Scuba Diving: St. Barths is one of my favorite dive spots. It has a bunch of mini rock formations off its coast that are ideal dive spots. Last time we went, the wildlife was amazing, and the spotted eagle rays were so majestic.