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Happy Bay: The Happiest SXM Beach

Happy Bay: The Happiest SXM Beach

Happy Bay in Saint Martin isn’t easy to find, but it’s worth it. If fact, you can hit two beaches and take a short hike all in one day when you go to Happy Bay! Once you arrive, it’s like paradise on earth.

friars bay

My friend Stacey, who sadly has moved back to the States at this point, told me once that she appreciated how consistently I share my photos of our adventures together. Looking back on our trip to Happy Bay, I realized that I never actually shared them, since I’m stingy with my photos until after I post a blog! So here’s the blog and the very late photos– sorry Stacey!

Why to go. Stacey and I went to Happy Bay with Andrea and Lala, two other spouses from American University of the Caribbean. We were all hoping to add another beach to our list of “been there” beaches. I’m hoping to hit all 37 SXM beaches before I move in April, and Happy Bay was number 21! Even if you’re not counting down beaches, Happy Bay’s a nice place to spend an afternoon. It’s perfect for sunbathing in the soft sand, far away from traffic and the distractions of commercialism.

Happy Bay

How to get there. To get to Happy Bay, you have to drive to Friar’s Bay. This beach is on the French side of the island on the western coast. If you drive north through Marigot, you’ll see signs to a turnoff on your left. After a short drive through a neighborhood (short provided the cows do not block the road), you’ll end up at the beach. Friar’s Bay is a nice family-friendly beach with calm water, which I’ll write about another day. You have to walk north on the beach, past all the great-smelling food places on the beach. You’ll find a little trail heading up the hill. If you can’t find it, the employees at the restaurants will be happy to point you in the right direction. Take the hike until the shaded path spills out into the sandy sunshine of Happy Bay.

Hiking view to Happy Bay
View of reef from the hiking trail

The hike is short, but beautiful. I want to say it’s somewhere between a quarter mile and half a mile. We managed in our slippers (flip-flops, for all you mainlanders), but close-toed shoes would have been nice. On the way, I spotted little rocky beaches with gorgeous live reef glistening beneath the surface of the clear water. I was pretty much drooling with anticipation of coming back to snorkel there someday. Still haven’t done it, but it’s on the island to-do list.

Happy Bay Beach

The beach is standard length for the island, but the sand goes back quite a ways. There’s no development to ruin the beach and surrounding forest, although there are a couple of abandoned houses that took Hurricane Louis pretty darn hard. Some of my friends have explored around them, although I have not. The water is nice, but not particularly good for snorkeling. There are a lot of boats and jet skis that use the bay and stir up the water. If you just like sunbathing, though, this is a good place to do it!

This donkey and his iguana buddy were just chilling near Friar’s Bay

Watch out for sea urchins in the rocks and men hiding in the bushes. No, not kidding. Unfortunately, we’ve often run into issues with creepy men in bushes at beaches here. We’ve never heard of them doing anything harmful, but they like to watch girls on the beach. It is very weird. In other words, I won’t be back to Happy Bay unless Ben comes with me.

As far as Saint Martin beaches go, I’ll give Happy Bay a 4 out of 5. It’s nice to look around and see nothing but nature (aside from the people and boats in the bay). It also has a spectacular view of Anguilla and feels just like what you imagined a Caribbean beach would be like. Definitely Istagram-worthy.

P.S. Why not pin this image on your Pinterest and add a little “happy” to your boards?

happy bay


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