Airport near beach: Cheapflight’s Guide To Beaches Near Airports

Cheapflight’s Guide To Beaches Near Airports

It’s finally summer vacation season, and we all want to wring every moment of sun and fun out of it. One of the best ways to stretch your time and money is to turn your travel day into a beach day, too. Whether you’re arriving early, departing late or have a few hours between flights, you can squeeze in some bonus beach time near many popular airports around the world. So pack lightly, check your luggage early or find a friendly bellhop at an airport hotel and get your extra vacation time at these top airports for an added beach escape.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Illinois: Ohio Street Beach

Curt Smith, Ohio Street Beach via Flickr CC BY 2.0

The warm weather beach season in Chicago runs into mid-September, so there’s plenty of time to take advantage of a pit stop on a nice stretch of sand while you’re passing through the city. One good option close to downtown is Ohio Street Beach. Here you’ll find restrooms, a lifeguard station and waterfront restaurant Caffè Oliva. Known as a quieter option than many other Chicago beaches, it offers calm, shallow water by the seawall, making it ideal for distance swimming if you’re in the mood to get some exercise. Ohio Street Beach also puts you in close proximity to Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile.

Getting there: Your best option for getting to Ohio Street Beach from O’Hare is to take the Blue Line to Lake. Exit at Lake and transfer to the Red Line north (Howard). Take the Red Line to Grand for beach access. The trip takes about an hour.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, Florida: Fort Lauderdale Beach Park

You don’t need to go too far after getting off a plane in Fort Lauderdale to hit the beach. One of your best options is to make your way to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, which has plenty to keep beach-goers of all ages happy. Here you’ll find a long stretch of soft sand, volleyball courts, outdoor grills, picnic tables, outdoor showers and a playground for kids. You’ll also find plenty of cafes and restaurants right across from the beach.

Getting there: Fort Lauderdale Beach Park is only about 15 minutes from the airport. The quickest option is to take a taxi.

Cancun International Airport, Mexico: Playa Tortugas

Shinya Suzuki, Playa Tortugas via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Although this beach can get crowded on weekends, the turquoise water and white sand of Cancun make it worth finding your own spot among the throngs of beachgoers. There are lounge chairs here to rent, and the water is clean and shallow making it good for swimming. You can also rent snorkel equipment if you want to check out what’s going on beneath the waves. If you’re feeling really adventurous, brave the on-site bungee tower where jumpers leap into the water below. Restaurants and food vendors abound so there’s plenty to eat and drink, and there are public restrooms nearby. Playa Tortugas is also an access point for the ferry to Isla Mujeres, so you can add in a visit to that charming island if you have enough time. Check out our blog about cheap and free things to do in Cancun for other ideas, too.
Getting there: Playa Tortugas is less than 30 minutes by car from the airport, so we’d recommend taking a taxi.

Tampa International Airport, Florida: Clearwater Beach

The closest beach to Tampa International for your sunbathing pleasure is Clearwater Beach, one of the prettiest stretches of sand in Florida. Cabanas, chairs and sun umbrellas are available for rent, volleyball nets are set up on the sand, restrooms and showers are located on-site and a plethora of restaurants and bars are close by. If you happen to be at the beach close to sunset, head to Pier 60 for the daily festival Sunsets at Pier 60, celebrating the famous sunsets over Clearwater Beach. There are buskers, live entertainment, craft vendors and live music. The fun takes place from two hours before to two hours after sunset.

Getting there: Clearwater Beach is roughly a 35-minute taxi ride from Tampa International.

Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, San Juan, Puerto Rico: Isla Verde Beach

BluEyedA73, Isla Verde Beach via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Isla Verde Beach is the longest and widest one in San Juan and it’s conveniently close to the airport. The calm and clear water makes this a good snorkeling spot, with equipment for rent at several kiosks on the beach. Being a popular resort area, you also won’t have to search long for a place to eat or grab a drink by the water.

Getting there: Isla Verde Beach is only about a 10-minute taxi ride from San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín Airport.

San Diego International Airport, California: Mission Beach

MR MAO PICS, Mission Beach via Flickr CC BY 2. 0

There is plenty to keep you busy on a visit to San Diego’s Mission Beach, whether you’re traveling alone, with kids or as a couple. The beach itself offers the chance to swim, play a game of volleyball on the sand or walk along the adjacent boardwalk. Belmont Park amusement park is nearby if you feel like riding a roller coaster, and Mission Beach is also home to many bars, restaurants and cafes, as well as showers in case you need to rinse off before heading to the airport.

Getting there: The trip from the San Diego airport to Mission Beach takes under 20 minutes and a taxi is your most convenient option.

Miami International Airport, Florida: South Beach

Laurent de Walick, South Beach via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Yes, another Florida option (if you’re not sure which you should choose, check out our quiz to decide which Florida city best suits you). South Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Miami, may not be everyone’s cup of tea what with its party central reputation, but it’s well worth a few hours if you have the time between flights or need something to do before check-in. You’ll be able to do some serious people watching from one of the many bars and restaurants in the area and the crystal-blue water and white sand are also inviting. Depending on where along the beach you are, there will likely be loungers for rent and the water here is known to be fairly calm and ideal for swimming. And if the lights and buzz aren’t for you, there are plenty of lower key cheap and free things to do in Miami, as well. 

Getting there: Get to the beach via Miami-Dade Transit’s Airport Flyer, which offers daily express bus service between Miami International Airport and South Beach. Buses run every 30 minutes, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.

Los Angeles International Airport, California: Marina Del Rey

Glen Bowman, Marina Del Rey Beach via Flickr CC BY 2. 0

Want to make the most of your Los Angeles vacay? Waste no time by heading straight from the airport to the beach. The closest beach to LAX is Marina Del Rey, where you’ll find decent swimming as well as volleyball courts, a long paved bike path, restrooms, showers and a park with a kids’ playground and basketball courts.

Getting there: Get a taxi from the airport to Marina del Rey Beach, which should take 20 to 25 minutes.

Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, Jamaica: Doctor’s Cave Beach

Maybe you’re hoping to squeeze in a few more hours on the sand before your flight home, or want to get a jump on sunbathing before you can check into your room. Either way, if you’re flying into or out of Montego Bay airport, you can spend some quality time in the sun at Doctor’s Cave Beach, one of the most popular beaches in the area. There is an entry fee of USD $6 ($3 for kids under 12), but that gets you a pristine beach and turquoise water; use of restrooms, showers and change rooms; access to beach chair, umbrella and snorkel equipment rentals and proximity to a beach bar and grill.

Getting there: A taxi from the airport will get you to Doctor’s Cave in under 10 minutes.

Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii: Ala Moana Beach Park

Daniel Ramirez, Ala Moana Beach Park via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Known to be a less-crowded beach than Waikiki Beach, Ala Moana Beach Park is a great option for beach-hoppers hoping to get an immediate dose of vitamin D when they land in Honolulu. The well-maintained beach is great for swimming thanks to calm, shallow water protected by an artificial reef. When you’re not swimming, you can take advantage of the near-perfectly flat water and rent a paddle board for some stand-up fun. There are restrooms here as well as concession stands and food trucks.

Getting there: Your best bet for getting to Ala Moana Beach Park is easiest in a taxi from the airport, which should take between 18 and 20 minutes.

Punta Cana International Airport, Dominican Republic: Playa Bavaro

Andrei-Daniel Nicolae, Bavaro Beach sunrise via Flickr CC BY 2.0

White sand? Check. Inviting turquoise water? Check. This palm-fringed beach in Punta Cana is your best bet if you need some swim time before or after the airport. In addition to the inviting water, there’s plenty to keep you busy, from boat rides and kayaking to snorkeling and kite boarding. There are also restaurants here if you get hungry and souvenir shops if you want to grab a few gifts to bring home.

Getting there: The beach is best reached via a 20-minute taxi ride from the airport.

Barcelona–El Prat Airport, Spain: Barceloneta Beach

You might have been wowed by the architecture and smitten with the food, but don’t let a visit to one of Barcelona’s beaches pass you by before you head home. Barceloneta Beach is one of the city’s oldest and best-loved beaches and it’s not hard to see why. Here you’ll have access to sun loungers, umbrellas, changing rooms, showers, restrooms, a children’s play area, restaurants and plenty of beach bars where you can order a glass of sangria and do some beachside people watching.

Getting there: Access the beach from the airport with a 20-minute taxi ride.

Athens International Airport, Greece: Edem Beach

Anyone in Athens looking for some quality beach time should consider a quick trip to Edem Beach, the closest beach to the city center. There’s plenty of space on the sand here and the water is warm and shallow. The beach gets its name from the nearby taverna that’s set right by the water where you can relax with a cold Greek beer and some grilled calamari.

Getting there: A taxi from the airport should take you around 45 minutes. If you’re not in a rush and want to take public transit, you can take the metro from the airport to Syntagma and then board a tram to Edem. The beach is a short walk (less than half a mile) from the tram stop. Taking transit will take approximately an hour and 10 minutes.

Toronto Pearson Airport, Canada: Sunnyside Beach

John Vetterli, Sunnyside Beach via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re arriving or departing from Toronto‘s Pearson Airport and feel like a stop at the beach, Sunnyside is a good option. There’s lots to see and do, including a scenic boardwalk that runs along the water for walkers, as well as the Martin Goodman Trail for anyone on two wheels. Sunnyside Beach is also a great place to do some stand-up paddle boarding thanks to calm waters of Lake Ontario (depending on your experience, rent a board or book a lesson through Toronto Adventures Inc). Those who prefer pools to lake water can take a dip in sprawling Gus Ryder Pool, and when you need to refuel, grab a waterfront table on the patio at Sunnyside Cafe, order a beer or a snack and watch a game of beach volleyball.

Getting there: A taxi from the airport should take around 20 minutes to Sunnyside. If you prefer public transit (and have the time to take it) get the UP Express to Bloor Station, hop on the 504 streetcar going west to Roncesvalles Ave. at Queen St. West and walk 7-10 minutes to Sunnyside. The entire trip should be around 45-50 minutes.


Six Airports With Nearby Beaches

With the arrival of increasingly hospitable spring weather in many places, pilots start looking for ways to boost their flying activity. This often includes making lists of new points of interest and places they have been meaning to visit for years.

As temperatures rise, beach destinations are likely to move to the top of the list. We gathered some of our favorite seaside spots and others from our wish list with the hope of encouraging people to start their travel seasons as soon as possible.

In most cases, the ocean is within easy walking distance of our top picks, but rental cars, electric carts, and bicycles are also available for folks who want to spend less time walking and more relaxing on the shore. Sometimes, you don’t have to walk at all. One of the airports listed below truly is on the beach, with sand forming the runway.

Copalis State Airport (S16), Copalis Washington

Many of us love landing on grass, but have you tried sand lately? More than most airports, Copalis State blends into its natural surroundings. That beach you see down there? That’s Runway 14/32. The airport’s website, which pilots should visit while flight planning, says the designated landing area is “between the mouth of the Copalis River to the south and north to the rocks.” It also mentions that actual runway length varies with beach erosion and that checking tide charts is critical before starting your trip.The airport is within the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Pilots should check the applicable sectional chart for federal guidance for flights over charted National Park, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Forest Service areas.

[Courtesy: Goleta Chamber of Commerce]

Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (KSBA), Santa Barbara, California

Goleta Beach Park is a short walk of about a half-mile from the airport, and the 29-acre park has room to spread out. The park is known for its pier, which is 1,500 feet long and offers dramatic ocean views and is a popular spot for walks, fishing, and launching boats. Kayaks and paddleboards are available for rent and visitors can arrange lessons and tours. Car rentals are available at the airport, though getting around without a car is also a popular pursuit in Santa Barbara, so there are many outlets for renting bicycles, electric bikes, and scooters.

[Courtesy: Alabama Tourism Department]

Gulf Shores International Airport/Jack Edwards Field (KJKA), Gulf Shores, Alabama

Follow the extended centerline of Runway 17 for about three miles and you are on the Gulf Shores Public Beach. The area has no public transit system, but several car services, taxis, ride-shares, and car rental agencies are available at the main terminal. The airport, which just began operating a control tower late last year, opened in 1942 as an outlying field supporting pilot training at Pensacola Naval Air Station. Today, people visiting for business, recreation, and second homes make up most of the traffic. Gulf Shores has more than 90,000 annual flight operations and is Alabama’s second-busiest airport.

[Courtesy: Jekyll Island Airport]

Jekyll Island Airport (09J), Jekyll Island, Georgia

While you can walk to beaches from the airport, it might be more convenient—and fun—to rent an electric-powered neighborhood vehicle from Red Bug Motors, which has an office just a few steps from the runway. Having wheels makes self-guided tours of the island easy and allows visitors to sample a number of beaches and other attractions. The Red Bug rental company is named for light electric go-kart-like vehicles initially available as rentals on the island in 1919. 

[Courtesy: Beauford County, South Carolina]

Hilton Head Airport (KHXD), Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Beaches surround this busy airport, which handles a range of aircraft from airliners to ultralights—but mostly general aviation flights. Getting around in a rental car or taxi is a practical approach for visitors who plan to check out more than one beach and browse the many restaurants, recreation areas, and other activities for which the island is known. There are also many bicycle and scooter rental outlets on the island, which has an extensive bike path network.

[File Photo: Adobe Stock]

Block Island State Airport (KBID), Block Island, Rhode Island

The airport is about a mile and a half from the nearest beaches, so walking is feasible, but taxis and bike rentals are available and make sense for those who want to spend time exploring the small island. Among the attractions are lighthouses, hiking and walking trails, nature preserves, and a national wildlife refuge. Block Island is also an ideal trip for pilots taking their first flights over water, as it lies just nine miles from the mainland. It’s busy during the summer but more relaxed than some larger islands and other Northeast seaside destinations. It is also a nice, quiet place to visit in the spring and fall. 

Maho Beach with planes flying overhead

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Do not think that if people fly to the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean, then only for a beach holiday, people are attracted here by Maho Beach, where planes fly overhead so low that it seems you can reach some with your hand!

Saint-Martin Island in the Caribbean is the smallest inhabited island in the world, it is also funny that the island belongs to two different states — the northern part of the island belongs to the French overseas community of Saint-Martin, and the southern part is a self-governing state with significant autonomy included in part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is called Sint Maarten. Only on this island do the borders of France and the Netherlands touch.

In my opinion, this is very funny and unusual, and at the same time very civilized, people live peacefully on the smallest inhabited island in the world of different states according to the Concordia Treaty signed by both parties back in 1839.

One of the main attractions of the island of St. Maarten in the Caribbean, or as the locals call it «Coconut Island», Maho Beach, where planes fly overhead. This is a truly breathtaking sight and the main entertainment for tourists, here even in the bars on the beach there is a landing schedule for planes.

St. Maarten Island has only 87 square meters, the area is very small and apparently there is not enough land, perhaps because it happened that the runway of Princess Juliana Airport is literally a few meters from Maho Beach, where planes forced to sit on the runway at its very beginning, tk. its length is only 2300 meters.

Tourists on Maho Beach are waiting for planes to land and take a photo against the background of a flying plane almost overhead! The shots are amazing, nowhere else in the world this can be possible!

By the way, such entertainment has its own name — Plainspotting, entertainment is quite dangerous about which there are many warnings on the beach. On the plates, tourists are warned that a jet of air from a jet aircraft can be thrown into the sea, injure and even kill. Fortunately for tourists, the sea here is shallow, the bottom is even, and there have been no accidents or plane crashes. However, one can expect a powerful air flow from almost every fourth plane landing, and then there is no talk of beautiful photos, and it makes sense for tourists to be careful.

Princess Juliana Airport is one of the ten most dangerous airports in the world due to the fact that the runway almost closely adjoins the sea and Maho Beach, in connection with which it became known as the beach where planes fly overhead. The airport is named after Princess Juliana, later Queen of the Netherlands.

0009 Where to go for the weekend


Maho Beach and planes overhead. Saint Maarten

This unusual airport is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world. near Maho Beach, and since its length is not very large (only 2300 meters), all planes land at a very low altitude right above the beach.

Gazing and taking breathtaking pictures of low-flying aircraft is perhaps one of the most popular activities for the many tourists who gather on Maho Beach when the aircraft arrive. In many local bars and cafes you can see the schedule of their arrival.

But, despite such a harmless event from the side as the landing of the liner, it can pose a real danger to people standing under it on the beach.

And it’s not even that the liner can fall on people, by the way, in the entire history of the airport (it has been operating since 1942) there have never been such incidents here. The problems are jet streams from landing and taking off liners that can blow you into the water. The authorities constantly warn about this — in addition to the barbed wire on the fence, adopted for those who want to sit on it, there are many corresponding shields along the beaches.

In the entire history of the airport, there have been only 3 incidents, two of them in the vicinity of the early 80s of the last century, and one at the airport itself quite recently — on January 14, 2014.

In 1970, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 passenger plane flying to Sint Maarten from the USA, after several unsuccessful landing attempts at the airport in bad weather, made an emergency landing directly into the Caribbean Sea. 22 of the 57 passengers and one crew member were killed. It turned out that the liner ran out of fuel due to several attempts to land the plane, and most of the people died due to the fact that they were not informed by the crew about the upcoming hard landing on the water, which is why they did not prepare and did not fasten their seat belts.

The second crash occurred on 21 December 1972 with a small twenty-seat De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter. It crashed at night in the ocean near Saint Martin en route from Guadeloupe, killing all 11 passengers on board, along with two pilots.

And the third incident happened a couple of days ago, when the Boenig-747 of the Dutch airline KLM, en route to the parking lot after landing, made a left turn instead of turning right — due to it at least 17 cars parked nearby were damaged his jet stream. Their windows were shattered and their paintwork damaged, but no casualties were reported.

Princess Juliana Airport in the Dutch part of Saint Maarten is one of the largest air hubs in the Caribbean. It is one of the ten most dangerous airports in the world. In the seventeenth century, the conquistadors besieged for a long time, but could not take possession of the island, which was divided between the Netherlands and France according to the oldest treaty of 1648. By the way, the treaty is still de jure in force. In 1942, an airfield was hastily built here, which is now an international airport. Named after the Queen of the Netherlands, who visited here as Crown Princess at 1944, one year after the opening of the airport.

The runway is only 2,180 meters long, barely long enough for large airliners. For heavy aircraft, such as a Boeing 747 or Airbus A340, this is not enough — but there are no other options for landing here. Pilots start the liner to land directly over the famous Maho Beach. That’s why this place is so popular with planespotters. Maho Beach is the perfect place to get a close look at low-flying planes. It is hard to believe in the authenticity of the pictures: giant liners fly at a height of 10-20 meters above the vacationers. Despite the unusual takeoff and landing conditions, not a single accident was recorded here.

Saint-Martin is the smallest piece of land in the world with dual citizenship. The northern part is governed by the French government, while the southern side is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. English is spoken on both sides, Dutch is the official language on the south side, and French respectively on the northern half of the island. The island has two capitals, Marigot and Philipsburg. Saying Saint-Martin, they mean the French part of the island, and Saint-Martin (or Sint Maarten) — the Dutch part. There is also an airport on the French side of the island near Marigot, called Aéroport de Grand Case.


The new four-story building offers all the necessary services on the road. Air-conditioned premises, shops, pharmacies, ATMs, taxi and information desks. Wi-Fi is everywhere in the terminal.

You can land an airplane at this unusual airport in the popular flight simulator game Microsoft Flight Simulator X. In the full version of the program, this mission is called «Caribbean Landing».

How to get there

Rent a car. Here are the following car rental companies:

  • Adventure Car Rental American Car Rentals
  • Avis car rental Best Deal car rental
  • Hertz Car Rental Lucky Car Rental
  • Paradise Island Car rental Safari car rental
  • Sidro United Sunshine Car Rental
  • Thrifty Car Rental

You can ask the price and immediately book a car of any class on the official websites.

Taxis tirelessly ride all over the island. Moving from the airport to the nearest city of Philipsburg will cost about $30.

Airport shuttles run throughout the island. They do not have numbers, the route is written on the bus itself. The island is small, any transport moves freely throughout the territory.

There are also hotel shuttles. Many hotels on the coast have their own shuttle service.

Incredible facts

The most incredible airport is located on the island of Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. The strangeness of this airport lies in the fact that planes, landing, fly a few meters above the beach with tourists resting there
, and the runway itself starts very close to the coast.

Looking at the photos of landing Boeings and Airbuses, it may seem that this is just a joke for those who like to play with Photoshop, but the reality is this: the territory of the island is so small, and there are so many people who want to come here that you have to save space.

The slightest pilot error and you can end up in the water.

Planes come in for landing, disturbing the serene rest of vacationers.

The airport was built to serve the island of Sint Maarten. In the eastern part of the Caribbean, this airport is the second busiest.

The airstrip is very small and starts just 12 meters from the beach and is only 2180 meters long.

Fortunately, there have been no reports of any disasters in the area of ​​this dangerous airport.

Those who are afraid of thrills will prefer another, less «nervous» place to stay.

1) Airport on the Caribbean island of Saba.

The runway of this airport is located in a rather strange place: there are cliffs at both ends. However, it costs nothing for an experienced pilot to land the plane in the right place, if there is at least some kind of runway.

A similar situation occurs in Madeira

, where there is a break on one side of the lane. Some time ago, this airport was notorious because it had a too short runway, which was squeezed on one side by mountains, and on the other by the ocean. Later, the strip was expanded and its size was doubled by installing a bridge with columns on one side.

Mountain Airport

2) Courchevel Airport

(France). Courchevel is the name of a ski resort in the French Alps, which is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. The easiest way to get to these places is to take a plane.

Do you think it is impossible to build an airport in the mountains? It is possible, although a little strange. Courchevel Airport has a very short runway — only 525 meters long, and with a slope of 18.5 degrees!

3) Barra Airport

is the only airport in the world where planes land right on the beach. Barra is one of the islands of the Outer Hebrides archipelago, which belong to the UK.

In fact, there is no runway in these places, and planes land right on the beach. Because of the tides, once a day this strange airport is literally submerged under water. Needless to say, it is forbidden to relax on this beach?

Unusual island airport

4) Kansai International Airport

the Japanese city of Osaka occupies an entire island. Since the Japanese cannot boast of large spaces, and every piece of land matters, they had to build an airport before building an island for it.

The artificial island consists of two parts, the length of most of it is 4 kilometers, and the width of the island is 2.5 kilometers. This island is a real masterpiece of engineering. Unfortunately, due to global warming and rising sea levels, this artificial island is in danger of flooding.

Saint Maarten (some use the name Sint Maarten) and its airport are located in the Caribbean Sea, one of the most popular tourist areas in the world. Almost every island that can be reached with comfort has development potential. There are two main ways to solve the delivery of passengers: ship or plane.

At the same time, sea and ocean cruises create a much smaller part of the flow of tourists compared to air transport. But the cost and complexity of the infrastructure of air harbors is much higher and sometimes requires non-standard solutions from engineers and architects.

Saint Martin of the Lesser Antilles archipelago has one of the most interesting airports in the world (in the top 10 in terms of danger rating, according to Reuters). It also plays a large role in the transport provision of nearby territories: St. Eustatius, Saba, St. Barthélemy and Anguilla.

Princess Juliana Airport (full official name) has the ability to receive even large Boeing 747 class aircraft, although the runway, with a normal width of 45 m, is only 2300 m long, which is the maximum allowable value for some types of liners. In this regard, takeoff and landing, taking place on a 3 ° glide path, are considered the most dangerous in the Caribbean region.

The construction of the airport began with the construction of an air force base back in 1942. Although already in 1943, due to the lack of hostilities in the region during the Second World War, it was converted into a civilian one. After 1964, it was reconstructed with a new control tower and terminal. After 1985, it was upgraded, so it began to be able to accept long-haul aircraft classes and fully correspond to the high development of tourism in Sint Maarten.

Air harbor features

Here you can talk about a variety of factors.

The island has a relatively small area — only 87 km², with a predominantly hilly terrain and tropical thickets.

The island is divided by different states: the northern part is the French overseas community of Saint Martin, the southern part is the autonomous entity of Sint Maarten, subordinate to the Dutch crown.

Only after 1994 was the Franco-Dutch border control protocol signed. The landing strip with its end rests on Maho Beach in the west of the Dutch part. Airplanes land and take off directly above the heads of tourists, 10-20 m above the surface.

Spectacular photographs and videos of the aircraft make Princess Juliana incredibly popular among other airports in the world. Nearby there are several cafes and hotels that specialize in the most famous view of the island. A loudspeaker is installed on the beach, which reports about the planes coming in for landing, and broadcasts the conversations of the controllers and the crew.

In the central part of Maho, wind speeds can reach 180 km/h, which can be very dangerous and even deadly for humans, but this does not stop curious tourists who try to take bright photos and make videos with air liners.

In 2012 renowned photographer Josef Hoeflener published black-and-white spotter images of the airport’s surroundings in his book Jetliner: The Complete Works.


The capacity is thus up to 30 flights per hour.

The air traffic control service also provides control over other small airports in this area: Clayton J. Lloyd, L’Espérance, Gustaf III. The 30,500 m² terminal can serve up to 2,500,000 passengers per year. In the entire history of the airport, not a single disaster has been recorded, although this runway is considered one of the most difficult for airline crews and dispatch services.

Photos and videos from Sint Maarten airport

View of the island of Sint Maarten

This is what Princess Juliana airport looks like

In this regard, takeoff and landing, taking place on a 3° glide slope, are considered the most dangerous in the Caribbean.

Princess Juliana airport runway

The runway ends at Maho Beach in the west of the Dutch part. Airplanes land and take off directly above the heads of tourists, 10-20 m above the surface.


The location and topography of the island of Sint Maarten did not imply the construction of a full runway. Therefore, it was decided to build the minimum acceptable length of the strip for long-haul liners (for example, 747). At the same time, the width was increased to 45 m. Radar systems provide a range of up to 460 km.

The capacity is thus up to 30 flights per hour. The dispatch service also provides control over other small airports in this zone: Clayton J. Lloyd, L’Espérance, Gustaf III. The 30,500 m² terminal can serve up to 2,500,000 passengers per year. In the entire history of the airport, not a single disaster has been recorded, although this runway is considered one of the most difficult for airline crews and dispatch services.

Here! I have been wanting to get here for a long time and “grab the plane by the tail”. It’s not «photoshop» — it’s a real place. Cool!

Remember, we have already discussed it…

A lot of interesting facts are connected with the island of St. Martin, located in the Caribbean Sea. Not only is it the smallest inhabited island in the world, it is also ruled by two independent governments, France and the Netherlands, at the same time! However, the main thing that St. Maarten, that when landing, the planes almost touch the beach and the tourists resting on it.

Throughout Caribbean history
Most of them were inhabited by Indians. Saint Martin was no exception. Saint Martin’s Island was the home of the Arawakan Indians. Of course, as history says, the island was discovered by Christopher Columbus, but before European explorers got to St. Martin, Caribbean Indians attacked this island, capturing the local population, many of whom were killed. Most of the Arawakan Indians were taken by the Caribbean as slaves. When the Europeans arrived on the island, it was already under the control of the aggressive Caribbean Indian warriors.

Columbus never visited Saint Martin, but history says that on November 11, 1493, Columbus saw the island and named it after the feast of Saint Martin of Tours.

St. Martin, an island of 37 square miles, is the smallest landmass in the world, divided between two governments. Its dual owners are France and Holland.

And of course the island has two capitals, or administrative centers. This is Marigot — the administrative center of the French side, and the city of Philipsburg, the capital of the part of the island belonging to the Netherlands. These two states have been peacefully sharing a small piece of paradise island for more than 350 years.

St. Martin’s Island is located, about 150 miles east of Puerto Rico
, and belongs to the Netherlands Antilles

French territory, occupies approximately two-thirds of the island, and is considered a European territory and community. The Dutch side belongs to the Netherlands Antilles, and is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and is not considered a European territory. On St. Martin, there are no real borders, just modest monuments and signs.

The island is known for its exotic nature, almost ideal for relaxation. Also its visitors, the island impresses with its beaches and nightlife, and St. Martin’s shops and restaurants, the best in the Caribbean

Saint Martin is an island with a rapidly growing economy, with residents from more than 90 countries.

St. Martin’s Island is rich in beaches, there are 37 of them on the island, all of which are open to the general public.

The island will appeal to everyone. And lovers of scuba diving, and those who love to travel on a yacht and those who just love to sunbathe. But we must remember that the rays of the Caribbean sun burn the skin of the body very much, and therefore, doctors of the island strongly do not recommend sunbathing without sunscreen.

Also, if you are going to the island of St. Martin to relax with children, then you need to carefully choose the beach, given that some of the island’s beaches are nudist. One of these official beaches is Cupecoy Beach, located on the Dutch side of St. Martin.

On the Dutch side, there are beautiful, long beaches with golden sand and green mountains, where you can sunbathe, play ball or Frisbee.

Down Beach is one of the best beaches for snorkeling. Even swimming not far from the shore, you can see beautiful exotic fish swimming calmly near the coral reefs.

Guano Bay is a beach that is perfect for guys who love to surf, as well as for strong swimmers who love a hard kickback.

Bay Long, located on the French side, is a beach for the rich and famous. Two-mile beach with the most expensive real estate. Multi-million dollar homes overlook scenic white sand beaches.

It is worth remembering that all tourists arriving on St. Martin’s Island must have a return ticket. Also, if a citizen arriving on the island has more than $ 11,000 with him, then this must be reported to the customs service and a declaration must be filled out. If you intend to bring a dog or cat or any other animal to the island, then you must have a veterinary certificate with you, not older than 6 months.

St. Martin, is located in the zone of Atlantic time, which is 4 hours GMT (GMT-4).

Any foreigner wishing to work on St. Martin must have a work permit before arriving on the island. This must be arranged by the employer wishing to hire a foreigner.

Princess Juliana Airport
is one of the largest transportation hubs in the Caribbean. It is one of the ten most dangerous airports in the world. Located on the island of Saint Martin. During World War II, an airfield was built on the island, which is now Princess Juliana International Airport. Takeoff / landing of medium or high difficulty for the pilot, depending on weather conditions.

The end of the airport runway is located right on the seashore, close to Maho Beach, so that aircraft, when landing, fly at a height of 10-20 meters above the heads of tourists resting on the beach behind the end of the runway. The place is known as «Spotter’s Paradise».

There is an international airport on the island. In 1942, during World War II, an airstrip was built on the island. In 1944, Crown Princess Juliana of the Netherlands visited the island, landing on this runway. A year later, the Dutch authorities opened a small airport on this site, which later grew into an international one.

Princess Juliana Airport, also known as Saint Martin International Airport, serves the Dutch side of Saint Martin. In 2007, the airport served almost 1.7 million passengers and 104 thousand aircraft, which is still its record to this day.

The airport serves as the hub for the Windward Islands’ air routes and is the main gateway to the smaller Leeward Islands, including Anguilla, Saba, St. Bartholomew and St. Eustatius.

Princess Juliana Airport is one of the most dangerous airports in the world, with a high landing difficulty. He received such fame because of the very low altitude when landing on the runway, and also that the Maho beach and the sea are almost adjacent to the runway. History Channel ranked it as the 4th most dangerous airport in the world.

Despite the fact that Princess Juliana Airport has a high landing difficulty, there have been two accidents in its history. The first happened on May 2, 1970, Flight 980 McDonnell Douglas DC-9CF crashed into the sea near the beach. 22 out of 57 people died. The weather at that time did not allow us to land the first time, the pilots decided to make a few more attempts, but, alas, the fuel ran out. The second — on December 21, 1972, the Air France De Havilland Canada Twin Otter flight took off from Guadeloupe, but fell into the sea on approach, killing all 11 passengers on board, along with both pilots.

It can be said that the island of Saint Martin is more popular among photo tourists than among beach lovers. Almost everyone arriving at the Princess Juliana airport, after leaving the airport, does not go to the hotel, but goes straight to the beach to take a picture of themselves against the backdrop of a landing plane that flies overhead.

And here is the airport itself:

Saint-Martin has only one airport, which annually receives tens of thousands of tourists from all over the world. The only feature of this airport is its short runway — only 2130 meters, which is not enough for landing wide-body Boeing-747 aircraft.

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