Affiliate Disclosure: This post on St. Barths with kids contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. All opinions are entirely my own.
As a family, we have been fortunate to travel quiet extensively. On occasion, people have asked us, ”What is your favourite place in the whole wide world?”
That is not an easy question for us to answer because we have fallen in love with so many beautiful spots around the world. But, if that question were a little narrower in focus, such as “What is your favorite island in the world?” – without question, it would be St. Barths.
St. Barths was the place that we day-dreamed about the most, as we rode out what felt like 2 years of winter, staying close to our home in Canada. After having to cancel a trip in 2020, trying again unsuccessfully again in 2021 (during a little window of optimism), I am delighted to stay that I am updating this post from the island, enjoying an ocean breeze, without even so much as a light sweater on.
I really want you to enjoy your family trip to this special island as much as we always have. Please let me share with you all of our favorite things to do on St.Barts including the top family activities, kid-friendly dining options, and the best St. Barts family resorts. Use the following menu to find the information you need quickly.
St. Barts Video
Want a quick peek before you read on? Check out our 3 minute St. Barts vacation video.
About St. Barts
Saint Barthélemy (also known as St. Barts or St. Barths) is a small french island in the Caribbean that is renowned for its gorgeous beaches, lovely french fare, designer boutiques and exclusive hotel properties.
It’s rather expensive and a little difficult to get to (no direct international flights) making it a favorite getaway spot for the world’s rich and famous – who occasionally come down from their private hilltop villas or off their yachts to attend one of St. Barths famous beach parties.
For those preferring a quiet getaway, it can also be ideal. In fact, the Saint Barts that our family loves most is quite a serene affair, involving morning hikes and nature walks, visits to secluded beaches, afternoon charcuterie on our villa patio and sunset swims while watching the planes takeoff and land over St. Jean Beach (one of the shortest commercial runways in the world).
Why St. Barts?
Once we disclose to friends that St. Barts is out favorite island in the world, the next question is inevitably, “What makes it so special?”. I have pondered this question at great length, but it really come down to the following.
What’s to Love
The Beautiful Beaches
St. Barths beaches are stunningly beautiful and pristinely clean, with crystal clear, turquoise water. There is a beach for every mood, whether you are looking for a secluded place to picnic or a lively beach club.
The Amazing Food
The French-Caribbean inspired food is wonderful and something I dream about when I am back at home. Your day can start with a delicious french pastry from one of a number of beautiful patisseries around the island and finish with a perfectly prepared chocolate crèpe (with all kinds of deliciousness in between).
Low Crime Rate
The crime rate on St. Barths is negligible which helps to make a vacation more relaxing. (See this guide to the safest and most dangerous Caribbean islands). While we have never shied away from visiting places with higher crime rates (We love Mexico!), there is something to be said about not feeling like you have to be constantly vigilant in terms of your safety.
Something for Everyone
You can be as introverted or extroverted as you like (great when traveling with a group of people). You can attend a lively beach party or watch the sun set from a nearly deserted beach. The choice is yours.
They speak French! My French is rusty at best but I like making an effort (and encouraging my children to do the same), even if at least half the time the person on the other side of the conversation responds back to me in English.
For people who enjoy seeing wildlife, St. Barths has quite and abundance. Our kids particularly like seeing the island tortoises, feral goats, land crabs and lizards. There are also some excellent snorkeling spots where you can see turtles, rays and more. This is largely due to the fact that the island has been protecting 5 marine areas under the Nature Preserve since 1996.
If you love shopping, the town of Gustavia has all the high end favourites (Hermès, Prada, LV). You can also find some lovely boutiques full of more modestly priced french brands (mostly beachwear), especially in the smaller town of St. Jean. My husband always returns home with a few bottles of Caribbean rum that cannot be found at home.
What’s to Love Less
I try not to do the conversion from euros to dollars (and Canadian dollars at that) when I hand over our credit card. I prefer to endure this shock when the credit card statement arrives about a month later, in the privacy of my own home, where no one can hear me scream.
Those Pesky Mosquitos
A nuisance throughout the Caribbean, these pesky insects can be annoying, but worse, they can also transmit diseases. I always check the CDC Travelers’ Health pages for updates on the island before a trip. I also don’t mess around in the Caribbean, using repellents that contain Picaridin or DEET (I prefer the former). (As a family, we have tried just about every repellent on the market, but our favorites are the Natrapel individually wrapped Picaradin Wipes).
In my opinion, there are two St. Barts. There is the quiet, serene and discrete St. Barths and there is the St. Barts where people come to be seen and garishly display their wealth. “It’s for the showoffs.” our waitress replied with a smile when my kids asked what on earth was in the €500 gold cookie on the dessert menu at a renowned beach club. While we prefer the quieter scene, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious and occasionally amused by the latter.
Things to do on St. Barts with Kids
St. Barts Beaches
With 14 beaches to choose from, there is one for sunrise, one for sunset, one for the perfect picnic, one for jumping waves, one for sensational sandcastles…you get the picture. That said, here are our picks for the best beaches on St. Barts for families.
St. Jean Beach
Beautiful turquoise waters, gentle waves and a great view of planes taking off and landing over the water. It also has some fun beach clubs to hang out at while you enjoy all of the above (The Pearl Beach, Lil’Rock and Sand Bar on the west side of the famous Eden Rock Hotel – Nikki Beach and Gyp Sea on the the east side.)
These beach clubs typically rent lounge chairs, umbrellas and towels while also providing food and drink service. Depending on the club, the cost is typically 20-50 euros per chair. It can be great fun, just be prepared for a big budget day.
More affordably, you can also set up your own chairs or picnic blanket along the beach. There is stand right beside the Lil’Rock that rents chairs and umbrellas, as well as a variety of beach toys. Grab a picnic lunch from a bakery en route and enjoy your day. Kiki-é Mo and Eden Rock to Go (both in St. Jean) also have some delicious takeout lunch options.
Although a little rocky, Lorient is very popular with families. There are some nice protected reef pools near the shore that are perfect for toddlers to wade in, as well as some decent snorkeling for older children.
Lorient is also a popular surf beach and lessons can be booked through Surf St. Barths (€120 for a private 1 hr. lesson). While there are no beach clubs or restaurants on Lorient, you can grab a bite from either Jojo Burger or La Petite Colombe bakery across the street from the beach.
Grand Cul de Sac
This beach is nice for families because the waters are very gentle and quite shallow due to the fact that it is a lagoon. It is a perfect place for water sports and for snorkeling with turtles (look for them in the grassy areas).
Ouanalao Dive is located on the beach and offers diving trips (8 years +), snorkeling trips, and water equipment rentals (snorkels, masks, fins and clear bottom kayaks). You may also want to combine a visit to Grand Cul de Sac with a lovely toes-in-the sand lunch at Ti’Corail or at Le Serano hotel’s Al Mare restaurant.
This beach is a little wilder but it is almost never busy. It is great for sandcastle building, boogie boarding and jumping in the waves, although you need to be careful as the waves can get rough.
Note: Grand Saline is a very au naturel kind of beach where you may come across sunbathers fully in the buff. Not your thing? Head to the right, rather than the left when you reach the beach from the path.
Reached by boat or by hiking in, this beach is most ideal in the mornings (with still a bit of shade) or during the golden light of the late afternoon. This is partly due to the fact that if you are hiking in, it can be a pretty toasty walk midday.
The waters are very gentle for swimming and, as part of the marine nature preserve, there is some very lovely snorkeling at the south end of the beach (left as you look at the water).
My kids were particularly interested in the feral goats that roam around on the rocks above the beach. If hiking in, the lower path is your best option with little ones as the upper trail is very steep in places (although it offers great views). For more information, see this excellent post on St. Barths Hiking and Walks from the SBHonline forums.
It is exactly as it sounds – a beach made from shells. The waves can get a little rough in this bay so keep wee ones close. We enjoy tying in a visit to Shell Beach with a late lunch at Shellona restaurant (there is also a more casual beach bar below the restaurant).
St. Barts Beach Tips
Most of the beaches on St. Barths have little to no shade. Some beaches can also get a little windy (turning lightweight sun umbrellas inside out). For this reason, a portable beach tent or canopy with wind venting is a great option.
When our kids were little, we used a lightweight portable beach tent (that we just packed in our suitcase). Following our more recent trip, we bought the Sun Ninja after seeing a number of people using it (and similar models) successfully on some of St. Barthelemy’s windier beaches.
Lounge chairs and umbrellas can be rented on St. Jean Beach and Shell Beach (€20-€50 each). Most of these “beach clubs” offer food and beverage service as well as live music or a DJ.
If you are looking to have a picnic instead, french bakeries such as La Petite Colombe and La Boulangerie Choisy are excellent places to pick up provisions such a sandwiches, salads, pastries and drinks (including wine, bien sûr). Just get to them early as they tend to sell out of the good stuff before lunchtime.
St. Barths has some great snorkeling at Colombier Beach, Lorient Beach and Grand Cul de Sac. Even in the perfectly clear waters of St. Jean Bay, my kids have discovered some pretty schools of Palometa fish hanging around right near the shore (with some even better snorkeling around the rocks at the base of the Eden Rock Hotel).
While some of the beach clubs (Sand Bar, for example) have snorkel gear for loan, we have always preferred to bring along our own kids snorkel gear on our Caribbean trips so that we can ensure a good fit beforehand.
Tip: Silicone snorkel masks have a much nicer fit than plastic ones.
Going topless is welcome on St. Barths and you may even encounter sunbathers fully in the buff on Grand Saline or Gouveneur.
I can recall a rather awkward encounter with my son when he was five. We were building a sandcastle on St. Jean Beach as two beautiful women walked towards us – topless. He dropped his shovel and stared them down. As they grew closer, I started to cringe as I was sure he was going to blurt out something slightly embarrassing. Well, he blurted something out alright, but it was not at all what I expected. “Mom! They’re smokers!” (both smoking and going topless being rather rare where we’re from).
St. Barths has a number of beautiful trails and hikes for all fitness levels. We prefer to go out in the morning or in the late afternoon, as it is simply too hot midday. How do we know? Because we once had to turn back on the lower Colombier Beach trail because we thought we might cook our baby (we were new to parenting and had started out way too late in the morning).
Hiking Tips for St. Barths: Be sure to wear a hat, sunscreen and bring along a water bottle and mosquito repellent. The trail heads are sometimes hard to find. Consult this helpful post from the SBHOnline forum on St. Barths Hiking and Walks.
We have spotted a surprising amount of wildlife on St. Barths. Critters including geckos, iguanas, tortoises and even feral goats can be seen in gardens and on hiking trails all over the island.
The snorkeling around St. Barths is quite good (with many protected bays). We have seens many beautiful fish, turtles, rays and more off of Lorient Beach, Colombier Beach, Shell Beach and Grand Cul de Sac.
Beside the ferry dock in Gustavia, there is a fish market. Large fish, many over a meter long (tarpon, I believe) congregate around there waiting to be tossed scraps from the fishermen.
Lunching and Beach Clubs
From toddler stage to teens, we have always found beachside dining to be our best option with kids on St. Barts. When our kids were really little, we would take turns walking them around, or letting them play in the sand in front of us while we waited for our food.
Now with older kids, if lunch runs too long for them, we just send them off for a dip in the ocean or a snorkel. Really, they are there to eat, while my husband and I want to linger over a glass of wine and enjoy an amazing view.
The Beach Clubs
As mentioned earlier in this post, St. Jean Beach has some great options for beachfront dining including Nikki Beach, Gyp Sea, Sand Bar, Lil’ Rock and The Pearl Beach. Each of these has the option of table dining or lounge chair rental, which comes at an additional cost (€20-€50 for the day – more for a beach bed).
To ensure a spot during busy times on the island, be sure to make a reservation ahead of time.
It should also be noted that Nikki Beach has a Sunday beach party that is rather wild (people dancing on tables etc). We have taken the kids to the early sitting (12:30), but things really heat up for the second seating (3pm). On a more recent trip (2022), we visited on a Friday afternoon, which while still lively, was a little more relaxed.
Other places we enjoy for decadent long lunches include the Le Toiny Beach Club (which has a beautiful toes-in-the-sand setting and a lovely pool that you can make use of), Shellona (restaurant and beach bar), and Cheval Blanc’s La Case de l’Ilse. While the latter is above, rather than on the beach, the view is spectacular and it is also one of the few places we have found a kids’ menu (an adorable floating menu, actually).
On our most recent trip to St. Barts, the Seabob (basically, an underwater scooter) seemed to be all the rage. Seabob St. Barths is based on St. Jean Beach beside the Gyp Sea Beach Club. They will also deliver to several beaches on the island. (Seabobs are suitable for children 10 years+ with parental permission.)
You can also rent surf boards, boogie boards, paddle boards, windsurfers, and beach toys at Carib Waterplay on St. Jean Beach (beside The Pearl Beach Hotel) and on Grand Cul de Sac from Ouanalao Dive.
Watching Planes Land
One of the things we enjoy most on St. Barths is watching the planes take off and land over St. Jean Beach. As one person said to me “I could see the colour of the pilot’s eyes as he flew over!” It is truly quite a sight to behold.
We like to go at about 4pm, when it is starting to cool off (the planes only fly during daylight hours and stop at around 6pm). The Pearl Beach Bar is the perfect place to enjoy them from, or you can just pop a beach towel down on the sand and watch the show!
Another very cool spot to watch the planes land is at the top of the roundabout above the airport. Just be careful where you pull over as it can be a bit of a zoo. This is my favourite Instagram reel from our most recent trip (click here or image to view).
St. Barths has a number of good beaches for surfing (including St. Jean, Toiny and Lorient). Surf board can be rented on St. Jean Beach at Carib Waterplay (beside the Pearl Beach Hotel) and at nearby Hoopkipa Surf Shop.
You can also rent boards or book surf lessons through Surf St Barths at either Lorient Beach or Toiny Beach.
Tip: The surf club on Lorient Beach sometimes hosts outdoor movie nights. Check the free Weekend Menu paper (found outside many grocery stores etc.) for upcoming shows.
Do you have a child who can’t wait to try scuba diving? Both Serial Divers St. Barths and Ouanalao Dive offer a variety of dive classes for kids as young as 8 years old, and certification courses for children from 10 years and up. See reviews for scuba diving companies on St. Barts on Tripadvisor.
The Yellow Submarine
I have only been on one of these things once in Barbados. My son was 2 and I was dying to show him what beauty lay beneath the surface of the water. It turned out to be a very murky day and we didn’t really see anything. I also discovered that I am mildly claustrophobic (Aren’t we always learning things about ourselves?)
To be fair though, perhaps this is something you may enjoy. In fact, in this photo (taken in 2019), the St. Barths Yellow Submarine seemed to be rather popular.
As always on this website, I would like to encourage you to read reviews before booking so that you can make sure those expectations are in check. See reviews for the St. Barths Yellow Submarine on Tripadvisor.
St. Barts Boat Rentals
Our recent St. Barths family vacations have coincided with the Bucket Regatta – an impressive 3 day boat race and island celebration in March. To be honest, I know very little about sailing, but I sure do love an event. To get closer to the action on one island visit, we booked a day trip to chase the Bucket with Top Loc Rentals on their 45′ Wayayaï catamaran.
Jicky Marine also offers private and small group boating day trips to popular spots such as Colombier Beach and Fourchue Island.
If you have a teen, they may enjoy a visit to one of the island’s many gorgeous spas. You may even want to call the spa directly as some of them offer packages that can include lunch, a beach lounger, or a pool visit. (The Christopher, Cheval Blanc, and Le Barthelemy to name a few.) These packages are more likely to be available in shoulder or low season.
My daughter and I have had the pleasure of visiting the Guerlain Spa at the Cheval Blanc and it fully exceeded our expectations. See their full spa offerings here.
Sometimes you just need to get out of the sun (or on very rare occasions on St. Barths…the rain). Blue Gecko Pottery is located in St. Jean on the road just above the Nikki Beach Club. Kids choose from a selection of individually priced unglazed pottery pieces and create their masterpiece.
When planning your visit, ask when the pottery will be fired as this is not done every day. For hours and availability, you can reach out to owner Anne on Facebook (she responded to me very promptly).
St. Barts Playground
There is a lovely children’s playground in St. Jean, near the airport and beside the sports stadium. Plan to visit in the morning or the early evening so you can take advantage of some shade and don’t forget mosquito repellent.
While shopping isn’t something that most kids enjoy, if you are looking for some french fashion for your little one, you will find several kids clothing boutiques in Gustavia including Petit Bateau, Junior (designer brands such as Chloe and Givenchy) as well as a number of stores that carry kids swim or resort clothing (Poupette and Kiwi).
Personally, we prefer poking around the shops in St. Jean’s Villa Creole Centre where you will find a very decent toy store and a number of boutiques selling clothing, jewelry and crafts. Parents may be interested in popping into the nearby Island Pharmacie as it has an excellent selection of French skincare products.
Ice Cream and Gelato
Our family vacations generally involve a daily does of sorbet, ice cream or frozen yogurt. We find that a quick stop at a shop that offers takeout is easier (and faster) with kids than dragging out a meal with dessert (unless there is a must-have like profiteroles on the menu).
In Gustavia, we have enjoyed crepes and ice cream at The Creperie and gelato from Les Deauvilles. On our most recent trip, we discovered Fostok frozen yogurt at the far end of St. Jean (on the way up the hill towards Lorient) which we proceeded to visit for an embarrassing 5 days in a row.
Note: My great regret is that we have yet to visit Natural Delights in Gustavia which some people swear has the best gelato on St. Barts. Next trip…
St. Barts Family Accommodation
St. Barts Family Resorts
It can be a little challenging to find St. Barts hotels for families as many properties cater first and foremost to the romantic getaway. That said, having researched this topic extensively over the years, I share with you here my top 3 St. Barths family resorts.
As you probably already know, St. Barts is enormously expensive, so please understand that when I use a term like “the budget pick”, it is a relative term.
Note: If you opt to rent a villa instead of a hotel (as many families do), it is still worth visiting some of these hotel properties for lunch or a spa treatment. The Cheval Blanc, for instance, has a great kids’ menu.
The Budget Pick: Hotel Le Village St. Barths
We stayed at Le Village with our son when he was a baby. Nestled in the heart of a 10-acre tropical garden with fantastic views of St. Jean Bay, the hotel is a short (but steep) walk to many shops, great restaurants and St Jean Beach.
You will get your daily exercise walking up the steep hill to the resort, but the location right above St. Jean Beach is hard to beat. This beach is one of the best for kids, with lots of amenities nearby and very gentle waves. My son actually learned to swim in about 30 minutes on St. Jean at the age of 5 after 2 painfully unsuccessful years of swim lessons.
The resort has several accommodation options for people traveling to St. Barts with children including their Junior Family Suites and their Family Villa.
Read reviews on Tripadvisor or learn more at levillagestbarth.com.
The Value Pick: Hotel Christopher St Barths
This 42 room, luxury property is located at the secluded tip of Pointe Milou and is often cited by guests as one of the best values on the island. The accommodation options at Hotel Christopher include a number of suites that are suitable for families (up to 4 in a room).
This property also gets top marks for its gorgeous pool and sunset views. While it is located at the ocean’s edge, the Christopher does not have its own beach. That said, there are many nice beaches nearby and a car can be rented right from the hotel property.
Read reviews on Tripadvisor or check rates on Booking.com. (Look for packages that include breakfast.)
Cheval Blanc St-Barths Isle de France
If you are looking for the crème-de-la-crème of luxury family hotels in St. Barths, this is it. Not only is it stunningly beautiful, but it also offers absolutely wonderful programming for kids.
Accommodation choices for those with children in tow include a variety of one and two bedroom suite options – either tucked into the gorgeous gardens or directly on the beach.
For those traveling with a baby or toddler, rooms come kitted out with exclusive French baby furniture and linens as well as a selection of toys for the perfect family beach holiday.
Older children will also love Chevel Blanc’s activity-filled days with signature experiences that include family yoga, treasure hunts, art classes, snorkeling trips, surfing lessons and more. See Cheval Blanc family programming.
Read reviews from previous guests on Tripadvisor or learn more at chevalblanc.com.
Family Villa Rentals St. Barts
For a family, and especially if you are on a multi-generational St. Barts family holiday, a vacation rental can make both economical and logistical sense. The offerings on St. Barths run the full range from simple Caribbean self-catering cottages to glamorous, fully-staffed villas with infinity pools and panoramic island views.
Location is important with a St. Barths villa rental. My preference for a family vacation is something on, or near a nice swimmable beach and within walking distance of restaurants and stores. While having a car to get around on St. Barths is pretty necessary, it is also nice to not have to use it every time you go out. For me, that ideally means renting a villa on or near one of the best beaches on the island. (St. Jean Beach is my number one pick – Lorient Beach is my second.)
There are numerous villa rental companies on the island such as WIMCO and St. Barths Properties that offer handy additional services (restaurant reservations, villa provisioning etc.)
Sites like VRBO also have hundreds of villa rental options on the island.
Family Friendly Restaurants
We have always felt comfortable eating out on St. Barths with kids. That said, there are a few things that have helped.
- We have always found beachside dining to be the easiest.
- Many of the nicer restaurants on Saint Barths have two sittings. We have always chosen the early and more family-friendly sitting (roughly 12pm for lunch and 7pm for dinner).
- Unless the restaurant is very casual, we have always made reservations (as it typically expected on the island).
- Meals can run long on St. Barts. When our kids were little, we would always bring along a backup bag of tricks to keep them amused and allow others to continue to enjoy their dining experience in peace.
St. Barts Family Restaurants
- Le Bouchon (Lorient)- pizza, burgers
- Jojo Burger (Lorient) – burgers, salads, paninis
- L’isoletta (Gustavia) – pizza and pasta
- Black Ginger (Gustavia) – Thai food
- Le Select (Gustavia) – burgers
- Eddy’s (Gustavia) – Caribbean fare, seafood
- Les Bananiers (Gustavia) – French fare and pizza (also delivers)
- Le Crêperie (Gustavia) – crêpes, salads, ice cream
- Le Repaire (Gustavia) – French fare, burgers, salads, pasta, sandwiches
Although some of these places are quite fancy, because they are all on the beach, it just makes it so much easier with little ones. If they get too fidgety, you can just go take a little beach break. You can also opt to go for lunch rather than dinner, which always seems trickier with kids.
- Pearl Beach (St. Jean)
- Gyp Sea (St. Jean)
- Lil’Rock (St. Jean)
- Nikki Beach (St. Jean )
- Sand Bar at Eden Rock (St. Jean Beach)
- Shellona (Shell Beach)
- Le Toiny Beach Club (Le Toiny)
Higher End Dining
- Le Tamarin (Grand Saline) – Garden setting with kids playhouse, foosball table and pingpong.
- Santa Fe (Lurin) – Interesting lobster tank, iced tea digestif for kids (rum vanille for adults).
- Isola (Gustavia) – No kids’ menu, but has pasta and pizza options.
When we are looking for a nicer meal with kids, we have often found hotels to be the best option since they are used to catering to families (and often have a kids’ menu). Here are some good options on the island.
- La Case de L’Ilse – Cheval Blanc St. Barth (Flamands)
- Rivyera – The Christopher Hotel (Pointe Milou)
- Sand Bar – Eden Rock Hotel (St. Jean Beach)
- Pearl Beach – Pearl Beach Hotel (St. Jean Beach)
- Le Toiny Beach Club – Le Toiny Hotel
Take Out Options
Sometimes a restaurant just isn’t going to work. Here are some great St. Barts takeout options.
- Kiki-é Mo (St. Jean) – sandwiches, salads
- Eden Rock to Go (St. Jean) – salads, french fare
- L’isoletta (Gustavia) – pizza and pasta
- La Petitie Colombe (Lorient and Colombier) – sandwiches, salads, pastries
- La Boulangerie Choisy (Lorient and Gustavia) – sandwiches, salads, pastries
- Jojo Burger (Lorient) – burgers, salads, sandwiches
- Le Bouchon (Lorient) – pizza and burgers
- Les Bananiers (Gustavia) – pizza
Frequently Asked Questions
Is St. Barts a good place to visit with kids?
We find that there is quite a lot to do on St. Barths with kids, but the holiday is very self-directed (we set the pace). It is definitely not like a family holiday at Aulani or Atlantis (no water parks, no interactive character breakfast etc.) Without the distraction of kids’ clubs and lounges, however, we find that the island really gives us time to connect with our kids.
Where is St. Barts located in the Caribbean?
Saint Barts Island is part of the French West Indies in the northeastern part of the Caribbean. You will find an interactive Google map of the island further on in this post.
When is the best time to visit St. Barts?
The most popular times on the island are New Year’s, Carnaval (February/March), the Bucket Regatta (March), Easter and U.S. Thanksgiving. My favorite time to visit St. Barths, however, is the beginning of December – without crowds, when the weather is typically nice (hurricane season is over) and hotel and villa rates are more reasonable.
How do you get to St. Barts?
Travelers can reach Gustaf lll airport on St. Barts (SBH) by taking a small propeller plane from St. Maarten (SXM), San Juan (SJU) and Guadeloupe (PTP) – unless of course, you are lucky enough to fly in on your own private plane. A small plane of maximum 20 passengers is all that is allowed to land on St. Barts. Service is provided by Winair, Air Antilles, St. Barths Commuter, and Tradewind Aviation.
There are also ferries that run between St. Barts and St. Maarten (Dutch side) or St. Martin (French side). As we have both flown and taken the ferry, I would highly recommend flying, as the ferry ride can be a little bumpy. It does, however, make for a viable option if planes are full or if you are not a fan of small planes.
Should you rent a car on St. Barts?
Personally, I think that one of the best things to do on St. Barths is to explore the beautiful beaches, making a car very helpful. Often a car rental is offered through your hotel or villa rental packages. Alternatively, you can rent a car for Saint Barthélemy at the airport.
The Mini Moke is a popular pick for St. Barths, but keep in mind that they are open (you can’t safely leave stuff in them) and they do not have air conditioning. A great alternative is a convertible Mini Cooper.
Important Insider Tip
The SBHOnline forum community (part of the Insiders’ Vacation Guide to St. Barts Island website), can be really helpful in planning your trip. I have used it for everything from finding the best spots for a beach picnic, to planning a day cruise on a catamaran.
I also highly recommend it for restaurant recommendations as there are quite a number of foodie forum members who are really passionate about their island dining.
St Barts Map
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need to get my geography straight before I visit a new place. Clicking on the image below will take you to an interactive St. Barts map (Google Maps).
Share Your Thoughts !
Do you have a question, comment or suggestion? Please share it in the comment section below.
We’re heading there in a few days with our 3 year old, but are weary of having a stranger watching him for a few evenings – do you have a recommendation for a babysitting service?
Any ideas on getting around the island with 4 kids ages 2-11? We went to St Barths 13 years ago for our honeymoon and have always wanted to take our kids, but I didn’t know if there were car rentals that would accommodate our kids and their car seats.
Hi Micah, It does get trickier with 4 kids, doesn’t it. I see that Turbé rental has an 8px skinny little van? 🙂
Best post ever!!! Also Canadian heading there with my two kiddos who are 1 and 2!! Ah!! This made me feel so much better!!!! Can’t wait!! Thank you for all the dining tips!
Sorry for the delayed reply. For some reasons my comments stopped coming to my email inbox and I have been missing them. I hope you have the most wonderful trip (if you have not been already). 🙂
I have to agree with you that St. Barts is by far the most amazing island probably in the world. Many islands have beautiful water/landscapes but none have the combination of spectacular scenery, amazing food, upbeat vibe, great shopping, classy nightlife and good looking people… well maybe the Greek isles but no comparison in regards to natural beauty. This post was superb and on point and although my wife and I have travelled there as a couple we are yet to travel with our 4 kids…. we stayed at Eden Rock but will explore some of your recommendations for villas and resorts for the family, soon hopefully! Thanks
It is so amazing. As we hadn’t been back for 10 years we were worried that it would disappoint, but it was just as wonderful as we had remembered. In fact, we are heading back this coming March for a few days (we will also be checking out Terre-de-Haut – a tiny island off of Guadeloupe).
I hope your kids get to enjoy St. Barts some time with you…a villa being the way to go with a big family, for sure. Happy travels and thank you for commenting. Please feel free to reach out anytime.
We are regular visitors to St. Barts but are going this summer for the first time with all our kids and bringing our 18 month old granddaughter! This was a great post!
How lucky they all are to be going with you. I’m sure you will have a most wonderful family trip. Thank you for taking the time to comment Leslie. I know this is a huge post to get through…but I love to be thorough. 🙂