Divided between the French and the Dutch, this tiny island is either St. Martin or Sint Maarten depending on whether you're standing north or south of the border. White sand beaches powder both sides, and seas rimming the island stay a steady bright blue, so don't expect to get culture shock crossing from St. Maarten to Sint Maarten.
Cruise ships glide into port Marigot on the French side. Wander the crumbled remains of Fort Louis for views of St. Martin before perusing the Archaeological Museum and stocking up on island souvenirs around town. Make your way to Grand Case, north of Marigot, for fine dining and local specialties. Stop on the way to make the main island hike up to the top of Pic Paradis for splendid panoramas. Roads lead from Grand Case either to the east coast or back to Marigot; take the road east for more sandy stretches and the Butterfly Farm.
If you're winging this whole tour, steer on south across the boarder to Dutch Sint Maarten for a look at quaint buildings in capital, Phillipsburg, Snorkellers can cruise waters to the south while certified divers can submerge and explore the island's scuba sites.
Choose from 37 palm-shaded beaches when you are ready to settle down for a day on the sand and in the sea. Head over to the shores of Sint Maarten's south coast for more conservative swimsuit standards. Light packers can enjoy the Caribbean in ought but their birthday suit on the French side. For relative solitude, no matter your attire, join a sailing tour out to undeveloped beaches on offshore islands like Ilet Pine.
St. Martin is over 100 miles east of the US Virgin Islands.