Picture Paradise in your St. Maarten rental car
For those looking to take a vacation from reality, St. Maarten has everything you need to decompress — white sand beaches, world-class scuba diving, hiking through the Pic du Paradis Mountains and duty-free shopping. In short, welcome to paradise. The island is co-owned by the French and the Dutch, so expect the best of both cultures while taking in the fresh air and cool ocean breezes of this compact, 37-square-mile island. Everything is a nearby drive in your St. Maarten rental car.
Orient Bay Beach
White sand beaches and turquoise water are in abundance at Orient Bay along with the party culture. There is a constant hum of activity — parasailing, windsurfing, live music and more. The “and more” part includes a “clothing optional” section of the beach. Needless to say, families with children probably should drive very quickly past this part in their Thrifty rental car, as it’s not entirely kid friendly. Also, avid swimmers should steer clear as well. Orient Bay is also known for strong undertows and raucous waves. Instead head to Friar’s Bay for calmer seas.
Pic du Paradis Mountains
Drive your St. Maarten rental car up the Pic du Paradis Mountains’ 1,492 feet for one of the most unbelievable views of St. Maarten and all of its surrounding islands (Saba and St. Eustatius). The pathway to the peak is located between the towns of Grand Case and Marigot, about 21 miles from the St. Maarten Airport.
Make sure you take a drive by the Dutch capital in your Thrifty rental car before you leave St. Maarten. The city was first sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and later settled in 1763 by John Phillips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy. In the heart of the city is “Front Street,“ where you’ll find the majority of the arts and crafts stores that cater to tourists. Phillipsburg is also a major cruise port for Celebrity, Crown and Disney Cruise Lines.
Scuba and Snorkeling
With a consistent water temperature in the 80s and 60-foot visibility underwater, both novice and experienced scuba divers and snorkelers drool over the pristine coral reefs and many shipwrecks that surround the island. Dawn Beach is generally known as the best location with the western end of Maho Bay as a close second. Use your St. Maarten rental car to jump from the Dutch to the French side and explore Creole Rock and Grand Case.
Also known as “The French Quarter,” Orleans is the oldest settlement on the island, with many of the West Indian-style houses and native architecture. Be sure to take your Thrifty rental car on the scenic, windy road from Orleans to Oyster Pond. If you are into yachting, Oyster Pond has a lot of them available to rent or just admire along with five-star hotels and restaurants peppered along the horseshoe-shaped bay.