“Escape the tourists... and the people that cater to them”
Friar's Bay is a nice, quiet beach. It certainly isn't the largest beach and doesn't have a ton of amenities, but if you want to escape the crowds it is a great place. If you go to the island on a cruise ship (as many people do) you could go the main beach in Philipsburg right by Frontstreet and the boardwalk. It's good for people watching, shopping, watersports activities, etc. If you enjoy sitting in a lounge chair 12 inches away from a stranger that is occupying the adjacent chair while kids run past spraying you with sand and countless people try to sell you everything from bead necklaces to jet ski rides then by all means stay right in downtown Philipsburg. If however you would prefer to throw down a towel on a quiet beach front and sun bathe in peace then Friar's Bay might be a better option. The bay is secluded and the waters are super calm - great for a relaxing swim. You have beautiful views over to the neighboring island of Anguilla and two small restaurants set slightly back from the beach if you want to grab a drink or a bite to eat while you enjoy one of the most crowd-less places that I experienced on St. Martin.
The beach certainly isnt for everyone. If you like to be in the midst of the action - this isnt for you. It also take about 30 minutes to get to from the cruise ship area and the road leading into the beach (like most of the roads in st martin) is... we'll just call it sub par. But if you like getting off the beaten path to find peace and solitude, Friar's Bay could be just what you are looking for.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.