Philipsburg is a four-street runway, all less than a mile long, filled with vibrantly colored houses, shops, and restaurants, making the Dutch Side capital easy to explore. Located between the Great Bay Beach and the Great Salt Pond, both contribute to the island’s biodiversity and beauty. At the bayside, the endless horizon and picturesque views of nearby islands and ships and yachts docked in the region’s leading Cruise Port are breathtaking experiences you can’t find anywhere else. On the pondside, is a chain of lush hills and curved slopes that give the capital its iconic backdrop.
The Dutch capital of the island was founded by Englishman, John Philips, who governed the territory for several years under Dutch command. Its wide-open bay and the mineral-rich pond were the motivation Philips needed to start the town. Formally, residents lived on plantations across the country until Philips revived the island’s salt industry and encouraged migration to the island. The economy and the population grew and Philipsburg became the multicultural hub it is today and even as you stroll through the town, visitors can see the remnants of those first settlers.
Don’t worry about getting around, the city has a variety of options for transportation, such as the local bus options, several taxi stations, bicycle-guided tours, and even ATV tours. Whether you’re here for a day or a week, Philipsburg has plenty to offer its visitors. A must-visit is the city’s boardwalk which gives you access to dozens of shops, restaurants, and water sports along the coast. Here, visitors may stumble upon fun events, parties, or live performances that showcase the island’s Caribbean beat. A stroll through town will immerse you in the cool and friendly island lifestyle. And if retail therapy is your preference, you can find plenty of shopping options here in Philipsburg. From Micheal Kors, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger, to high-end jewelry stores, and unique souvenir shops, be sure to make space in your luggage for all you’ll be taking home.
If some time outdoors is what you’re after, be sure to explore the hiking trails nearby that showcase a breathtaking view of the city and the bay. Or get your sea legs! St. Maarten’s award-winning cruise port is located less than 5 minutes away, and the smaller marinas nearby offer visitors accessibility to neighboring islands by ferry or boat charter, perfect for a day trip! Undoubtedly, the main course of your Philipsburg visit will be the fantastic eateries catering to the best moments of your life with rich flavors, gorgeous views, and exceptional service. There are different cuisine options for any mood; be it a classy, family-oriented, tropical vibe or roadside snack bar. From local fare to international delicacies, a meal in St. Maarten is sure to dazzle.
Considered one of the most important sites on the island, Philipsburg’s Courthouse on Front Street is also one of its most emblematic. The town founder’s residence has since served as a fire station, a post office, and even a jail. See the wooden pineapple on top? That’s the symbol for hospitality, so be sure to visit! For a unique sight, visit Walter Plantz Square near the boardwalk and Front Street. The architecture offers a unique St. Maarten flare inspired by traditional gingerbread, which you can spot on the roofs of the eight unique buildings. If you can’t get enough of the gingerbread style, visit the Guavaberry Emporium and learn more about the island’s national liqueur.
Adventure awaits in and around Philipsburg, so what are YOU waiting for?