While Maho Beach is a tourist trap, watching planes arrive directly overhead is something you can’t see anywhere else! Located next to Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side, kids will love the experience and when planes aren’t landing or taking off, the beautiful beach and ocean is fun to play in, too.
When planes are coming in for a landing, they fly directly overhead, sometimes making you feel like you could reach up and touch one. Then when the planes take off, the airplane engines blow sand, ocean water, debris and sometimes people down the beach. This only happens directly behind the plane’s engines, not throughout the entire beach. If it’s something you want to experience, you can, but you can also easily stand back and watch. And it really is something funny and unique to watch!
This is a wonderful place to get rare photos and video, too. Visitors stand camera ready facing the ocean for arrivals and then turn to face the airport for departures. Lounge chairs and umbrellas are available on a first come, first serve basis.
It is easy to forget that this is an actual, very busy airport. Keep that in mind and keep younger kids at a bit of a distance when planes are taking off. The beach is also located next to a small roadway used to enter Maho Beach. Many people stand on the sea wall next to the roadway or hang on to the fence on the other side of the roadway. But it is an active road with many tourists and taxis entering and exiting, so be careful. It can also be very loud when planes land and takeoff and at takeoff, sand is easily blown around directly behind the plane engines.
If the airport is open, visitors will see planes arriving and departing at Maho Beach, so there is never truly a bad time to go. However, larger commercial airlines often land in the afternoons, and weekends can be more crowded at the beach. Kids may enjoy checking the flight schedules online in preparation for an outing to Maho Beach, or you can check the board at Sunset Beach Bar for the day’s airline schedule.
Sunset Beach Bar is the popular beachfront restaurant directly on Maho Beach, but visitors can find other, less crowded and local cafes and restaurants in the parking area, as well.
There is plenty of free parking. Taxis are also easily accessible.