My husband and I are not interested in participating in the clothing optional thing. However last time we went to a beach in St. Maarten was to Dawn's Beach, which was ok but we are hearing that Orient Beach has more restaurants and beach bars. Our question is, will we be out of place? Are most people dressed? Is it a pretty beach? Does anyone have any other suggestions in St. Maarten that has nice beach bars and pretty scenery other than the boardwalk at the pier?
Only part of Orient Beach is nude (the far end), however there are folks that stroll down the beach from the nude end to the dress optional end. We have been there twice (with standard American swim attire) and never felt out of place. My wife kind of enjoyed seeing the random nude stroller walking by (they all really needed swim suits!). There are restuarants in the area; our tour included a meal at one of them; much better than expected.
If you cannot handle a pure non-nude beach then you will have to stay on the Dutch side of the island. I cannot name any specific one, but I am sure that there are some. That said, the French side is the place to go.
We were to Orient Beach in 2008. We were dropped off at a point we were told was the midpoint, nude beach on the right and bathing suits to the left. In the area everyone seemed pretty flexible. I think the further you went towards either end would be more true to it's definition.
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Its true, the nude part of the beach is on one side. I actually loved Orient beach, lots of water activities, huge beach with tons of lounge chairs, restaurants and bars there too. There are some really beautiful rock formations out that way.
The nude people pretty much just stay on their side, once in a great while you may see some walking by, very rare, most people are like us Americans, in our swim suits...
Its also easy to get a cab there and there are cabs waiting there to take you back to the pier...
as the others have told you only the far section of Orient is clothing optional, its a great beach. IF you are looking for something "else" that includes beach may i suggest booking the Golden Eagle Catamaran sail. We loved this excursion and would do it again in a heartbeat. You sail on this really nice catamarn over to a private beach, where you can swim, snorkel, or just veg on the beach, excursion provides lunch and drinks(both alcoholic and non)
Kuki and I, and, our spouses visited Orient Beach, and trust me we were clothed I am in the minority, but I thought this beach was nothing great. So many prettier beaches in the Caribbean to visit...also, didn't see many food options either. There were signs at the time, about taking pictures, so beware I was glad we all had sunglasses on, because our eyes had to have been wide as saucers
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For me, when we beach it, we prefer the private islands of the cruise lines...one cruise, our tablemates went to Dawn Beach and loved it..they arranged for a cab to drop them off and come back a at pre arranged time. This is a common practice, and works well..They raved about it at dinner, and by looking at this site, it appears it's getting better...
Sally, if you decided to take the Golden Eagle excursion you will sail over to Tintamar which is a nature preserve, it is beautiful and so peaceful, the snorkeling is good, as they feed the fish, the sand is silkly volcanic mud, so take the spa treatment, its a blast! the boat provides liquor, soda and sandwiches, no liquor served until after you have snorkled, champagne toast when you sail into the harbor to toast a successfull cruise