Best Secret Beaches on Earth

Picture Contact BV / Alamy

These beach hideaways are understated, unexpected, and—at least for now—under the radar.

Happy Bay, St. Martin

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North of Friar’s Bay Beach on the French side of St. Martin, Happy Bay is a happily underpopulated stretch of vanilla sand. It’s a hike to get there: 10–15 minutes on a well-marked footpath through the underbrush, which requires just enough effort to ensure the kind of privacy that has made it popular for those who prefer to sunbathe au naturel. (Nudity is tolerated, although this is not officially a clothing-optional beach.) Snorkelers are rewarded with tropical fish in the crystal waters, some of the best on the island. Services are virtually nonexistent, so stock up on supplies at one of the bars in Friar’s Bay.

—David A. Keeps

Best Secret Beaches on Earth

Happy Bay, St. Martin

North of Friar’s Bay Beach on the French side of St. Martin, Happy Bay is a happily underpopulated stretch of vanilla sand. It’s a hike to get there: 10–15 minutes on a well-marked footpath through the underbrush, which requires just enough effort to ensure the kind of privacy that has made it popular for those who prefer to sunbathe au naturel. (Nudity is tolerated, although this is not officially a clothing-optional beach.) Snorkelers are rewarded with tropical fish in the crystal waters, some of the best on the island. Services are virtually nonexistent, so stock up on supplies at one of the bars in Friar’s Bay.

—David A. Keeps

Picture Contact BV / Alamy
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