Best Places and things to do in the Bahamas

12 Top Best Places and things to do in the Bahamas

12 Top Best Places and things to do in the Bahamas

When enthusiasts of coastal beauty envision an ideal expanse of silky shorelines embraced by serene shades of azure waters, their dreams often wander to the Bahamas. There is a huge span of the best places and things to do in the Bahamas. Containing 700 islands and over 2,000 smaller cays dispersed amid the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, this tropical haven sits a mere 80 kilometers away from Florida at its nearest point. Bursting with enticements to captivate visitors, the Bahamas boasts an array of attractions to ensure an engaging stay.

The remaining Bahamian islands, affectionately referred to as the Out Islands, assemble in clusters, each bearing its own unique allure and distinct personality. Draped like exquisite pearls across the shallow Bahama Banks, the Abacos and Exumas stand out for offering some of the planet’s most splendid waters for sailing and boating. Tranquil fishing hamlets and secluded coastlines speckle these tranquil islands, accompanied by flourishing coral reefs encircling many of their shores. It’s highly recommended to indulge in snorkeling while exploring these areas.

Other islands within the archipelago cater to the interests of discerning travelers. Bimini beckons with its thrilling big game fishing, while Harbour Island boasts beaches adorned with blush-pink sands. Activities such as bonefishing, regattas, and the allure of unspoiled outer cays contribute to the Bahamas’ irresistible charm. Visitors arriving around the turn of the year should not forgo the opportunity to immerse themselves in the pulsating beats and vibrant costumes of Junkanoo, the nation’s most beloved festival.

For an enriched itinerary and deeper insight into the finest destinations within these paradisiacal islands, our comprehensive guide outlines the top attractions in the Bahamas to help plan an unforgettable journey.

Table of content
1. Grand Bahamas Island
2. Harbour Island
3. Nassau
4. Exuma Cays Land
5. Great Abaco Island
6. Blue Lagoon Island
7. Atlantis Paradise Island
8. Long Island
9. Elbow Cay
10. Andros Island
11. Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama Island
12. Fishing in the Biminis

1. Grand Bahamas Island

Situated as the northernmost gem among the Bahamian archipelago, Grand Bahama Island stands as a favored spot for both packaged tourists and cruise liners. While Freeport holds the distinction of being the second-largest city in the Bahamas, Port Lucaya has taken precedence as the primary tourist center, boasting an array of attractions spanning shopping, dining, and entertainment.

The vibrant Port Lucaya Marketplace serves as a bustling hub for selling jewelry, straw goods, and a myriad of souvenirs, while the marina stands as a social hotspot catering to tourists and boating enthusiasts.

Despite the island’s array of expansive all-inclusive resorts and hotels, there exist sanctuaries to evade the hustle and bustle. Grand Bahama lays claim to one of the globe’s lengthiest underwater cave systems, offering an unparalleled adventure for exploration.

Visitors can also revel in the verdant expanse of the Garden of the Groves, meandering through its lush plantations. Nature enthusiasts have the chance to spot numerous indigenous bird species within the island’s three national parks or partake in an up-close encounter with dolphins.

While the ravages of Hurricane Dorian in 2019 dealt a devastating blow to Grand Bahama as a category 5 storm, the majority of the island’s premier tourist attractions have since recovered and resumed operations.

Grand Bahamas Island

2. Harbour Island

Nestled to the northeast of its larger counterpart, Eleuthera, lies the exquisite Harbour Island, a perennial refuge for the affluent and renowned. Revered locally as “Briland,” it stands as one of the Bahamas’ earliest settlements and notably hosted the inaugural Bahamian parliament.

Dating back to the 1700s, English Loyalists established residence here, adorning Dunmore Town—the island’s sole settlement—with charming pastel-hued cottages that reminisce about a bygone era. Here, the thoroughfare belongs to golf carts navigating the narrow streets.

Beyond its quaint dwellings and storied past, Harbour Island presents a wealth of attractions. Its scenic pink-sand beaches rank among the Caribbean’s most breathtaking, while its sophisticated resorts allure travelers of discerning tastes from across the globe. Activities abound, from diving and snorkeling to fishing and basking in the sun along the blush-toned shores.

Accessible as a delightful day excursion from Nassau, Harbour Island beckons adventurers aboard the Bahamas Fast Ferries Catamaran, promising a day brimming with charm and coastal splendor.

Harbour Island

3. Nassau

Cable Beach emerges as a crowd-favorite among the Bahamas’ pristine coastlines, and it’s not hard to understand why. Situated on New Providence Island, approximately six miles to the west of Nassau’s downtown, this expansive stretch of luxuriously soft sand beckons to weary travelers seeking solace. For those envisioning a tranquil oceanside day entailing little more than lounging in a beach chair, the scene here is idyllic. Rental options for beach chairs and umbrellas abound, facilitating a day of pure relaxation while observing others revel in the waves.

Yet, for the more spirited and adventurous souls, numerous avenues invite participation. With over two miles of pristine white sands at your disposal, impromptu games of volleyball or competitive sandcastle crafting await. The gentle waves of this locale make it an ideal setting for families, while readily available water sports rentals ensure swift transitions into snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, or kayaking adventures.

Although on-site facilities are absent, a plethora of nearby hotels and restaurants cater to visitors’ needs. Along this coastline, upscale resorts stand as a testament to luxury, offering a convenient and lavish backdrop to the beach experience.

Nassau

4. Exuma Cays Land

The Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park stands as a testament to some of the most mesmerizing seascapes found within the Bahamas. Radiant waters, vivid in electric blue hues, blend seamlessly with powdery white sands, forming a breathtaking canvas ideal for an array of aquatic activities.

Positioned in the secluded eastern expanse of the Bahamas, this park holds the distinction of being a no-take-zone and a sanctuary for marine life—the pioneering endeavor of its kind across the Caribbean. Divers and boaters flock to this area, enticed by its impeccable anchorages, teeming marine biodiversity, and pristine, transparent waters offering visibility exceeding 30 meters on favorable days.

Access to this underwater marvel primarily occurs through private boats or live-aboard dive charters. However, fishing or shell collecting within the park’s boundaries is strictly prohibited to preserve its ecological integrity.

Beyond its natural allure, the Exuma Cays exhibit breathtaking beauty. Some islands serve as residences for celebrities like Johnny Depp and David Copperfield, while others host exclusive resorts. Great Exuma, the largest of the Exumas, along with Little Exuma and Staniel Cay, captivate boating enthusiasts with their convivial dining options.

Explorers shouldn’t overlook the famed attractions of Staniel Cay, notably the renowned swimming pigs and the illustrious Thunderball Cave—a prominent location immortalized in the eponymous James Bond film.

Exuma Cays Land

5. Great Abaco Island

Hugging the eastern coastline of Great Abaco, Treasure Cay Beach consistently earns accolades as one of the planet’s most stunning shorelines. This magnificent expanse boasts flour-soft sands and crystalline aquamarine waters, leaving visitors awe-inspired as they soak in the splendor of its creamy, crescent-shaped shores. Nestled within the upscale resort community of Treasure Cay, this beach serves as the backdrop for one of the Bahamas’ highly acclaimed fishing tournaments.

The devastating impact of Category 5 Hurricane Dorian in 2019 wreaked havoc on Great Abaco Island, including the cherished locale of Treasure Cay. Before planning your visit, it’s advisable to verify the current status of tourist amenities, as the region has faced challenges in recuperating from the aftermath of this calamitous event.

Great Abaco Island

6. Blue Lagoon Island

Encounter playful dolphins, frolic with sea lions, revel in the excitement of inflatable water parks, and bask in the serenity of a stunning white-sand beach – all await your discovery on the captivating Blue Lagoon Island. This privately owned paradise also referred to as Salt Cay, stands out as a must-visit destination for cruise-goers exploring the Bahamas. A mere five kilometers from Nassau by boat, it beckons visitors of all ages, promising an array of attractions.

Families will find delight in the abundant offerings here. Children can immerse themselves in the crystal-clear turquoise waters, revel in the thrills of the inflatable water park, and embark on kayaking adventures in the lagoon’s embrace.

For parents seeking tranquility, double hammocks swaying under palm trees offer the perfect escape. Meanwhile, animal enthusiasts can forge unforgettable connections through encounters with enchanting sea lions and dolphins. To complete this day of joy, a delectable grilled lunch paired with tropical drinks awaits, adding the perfect finishing touch to an unforgettable experience.

Blue Lagoon Island

7. Atlantis Paradise Island

Standing majestically against the skyline of Paradise Island, a vibrant salmon-pink resort stands as a living homage to the legendary city of Atlantis. This luxurious complex not only houses a premium hotel but also boasts an entertainment hub, an awe-inspiring aquarium, and an exhilarating water park. Regarded as one of the foremost resorts in the Bahamas, it beckons travelers seeking unparalleled experiences.

Guests staying at this hotel enjoy complimentary access to the renowned 141-acre Aquaventure, a captivating aquatic playground. Spending a day amidst this whimsical wonderland ranks among the most sought-after activities on Paradise Island. Race down exhilarating high-speed slides such as the Leap of Faith, revel in over 20 distinct swimming areas, or simply unwind while leisurely drifting along the Lazy River Ride.

Within the marine habitat at Atlantis Bahamas, majestic hammerhead sharks and graceful swordfish gracefully navigate through shimmering open-air pools. Moreover, an array of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues contribute to the lively atmosphere. The overarching theme of an underwater fantasy world permeates every facet of the Atlantis attractions, enchanting the hearts and minds of visitors, both young and old.

Atlantis  Paradise Island

8. Long Island

Nestled within the southern expanse of the Bahamian archipelago, Long Island emerges as an exquisite gem slightly veiled from the well-trodden tourist paths. Revered as one of the most captivating islands in the region, it beckons those enamored by unspoiled natural wonders, making it an idyllic retreat for couples seeking a romantic escapade.

Spanning almost 130 kilometers in length while maintaining a width of no more than seven kilometers, Long Island is a terrain marked by striking diversity. Its western shores boast stretches of pristine sandy beaches, while the eastern coastline stands adorned with dramatic, rugged cliffs.

This island paradise serves as a sanctuary for fishing aficionados, diving enthusiasts, and sailing aficionados alike. Sunseekers will revel in the splendor of its numerous unspoiled beaches, adorned with powdery pink- and white-sand shores. Notably, Long Island proudly hosts Dean’s Blue Hole, recognized as the deepest saltwater blue hole worldwide, an awe-inspiring natural wonder.

A vibrant highlight on Long Island’s calendar is the summer spectacle of the Long Island Regatta, a lively event held at Salt Pond.

Access to this paradise predominantly relies on air travel or ferry services originating from Nassau, ensuring that Long Island remains a cherished haven for those yearning to discover its untouched beauty.

Long Island

9. Elbow Cay

Elbow Cay, nestled in the Abacos, exudes the quaint allure reminiscent of a picturesque New England-style fishing village. Positioned just across the serene Sea of Abaco from the bustling boating hub of Marsh Harbour, this charming island boasts streets adorned with vibrant, colorful cottages. The main thoroughfare of Hope Town, the island’s primary settlement, is a car-free zone, fostering a serene and laid-back village ambiance.

Renowned for its iconic candy-striped lighthouse, Hope Town is embraced by a vibrant expatriate community drawn to the island’s scenic palm-fringed beaches, proximity to Marsh Harbour (the nation’s third-largest town), and the abundance of excellent boating prospects.

A visit to the Wyannie Malone Historical Museum is highly recommended, offering insights into the island’s rich heritage. Nearby attractions like Guana Cay and the Tilloo Cay Reserve, an 11-acre haven for diverse bird species, stand as popular day-trip destinations. Notably, Hope Town boasts a well-equipped marina, catering to maritime enthusiasts.

It’s important to note that Elbow Cay bore the impact of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019. Before planning a visit, it’s advisable to verify the current status of attractions and accommodations.

For travelers, a convenient ferry service operates regularly, linking Elbow Cay to Marsh Harbour, ensuring easy access for those eager to explore this charming island enclave.

Elbow Cay

10. Andros Island

Andros, the largest landmass in the Bahamas, stands as a sanctuary for both fishing enthusiasts and avid divers. Renowned for hosting the world’s third largest barrier reef, alongside an array of freshwater blue holes and submerged caves, this island forms an enchanting underwater realm, inviting exploration beneath the sea’s surface. To fully appreciate this spectacle, it’s recommended to bring or rent snorkeling gear for an up-close encounter with this aquatic wonder.

For enthusiasts of fly fishing, Andros holds a prestigious title as the global epicenter for bonefishing, owing to its pristine habitats ideal for this prized catch. The island’s expansive wetlands carve out channels that serve as prime spots for both fishing and boating ventures.

Beyond its aquatic allure, Andros proudly claims the largest protected area across the Bahamas, comprising five national parks. Nature aficionados will revel in the diverse birdlife flourishing amidst the mud flats, mangrove swamps, and verdant forests, complemented by eco-resorts that harmonize with the island’s natural beauty.

If indulging in retail therapy is more your inclination, a visit to the Androsia Hand-Made Batik Factory is a must. Here, vibrant fabrics adorned with bold Bahamian motifs are available for purchase, providing an authentic shopping experience encapsulating the island’s culture and artistry.

Andros Island

11. Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama Island

Lucayan National Park stands out as a unique gem on Grand Bahama Island, among its trio of national parks. Encompassing 40 acres of vibrant greenery, its claim to fame lies in harboring the “world’s longest mapped underwater cave systems,” spanning over six miles of interconnected tunnels.

Within the park, two of its notable caves, Ben’s Cave and Burial Mound Cave, are accessible via wooden walkways and platforms. While swimming isn’t permitted, diving can be arranged with the appropriate permit. Burial Mound Cave holds historical significance, housing remains of the Lucayans, the island’s earliest inhabitants, while also serving as a habitat for various cave-dwelling creatures including bats.

What sets this park apart is the presence of all six Bahamian vegetative zones within its borders. From thriving mangroves to serene palm and pine forests, even extending to stunning coral reefs, it’s a haven for nature enthusiasts. And for those seeking tranquil shores, the pristine and secluded Gold Rock Beach is a must-visit spot within the park’s confines.

Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama Island

12. Fishing in the Biminis

Bimini earns its reputation as the esteemed “Big Game Fishing Capital of The Bahamas,” drawing enthusiasts for various compelling reasons. Its calendar is filled with renowned deep-sea fishing tournaments running from March through September. Nestled close to the inviting warmth of the Gulf Stream, Bimini’s waters teem with an array of marine life, boasting prized catches such as marlin, mahi-mahi, and majestic manta rays. Notably, this haven once captivated Ernest Hemingway, who frequented Bimini over multiple summers, deriving inspiration for his literary masterpieces, including The Old Man and the Sea and Islands in the Stream.

This archipelago, shaped like a fishhook, encompasses North Bimini, South Bimini, and a string of cays extending southward from Pigeon Cay to South Cat Cay. Positioned merely 88 kilometers east of Miami, Florida, Bimini Island holds the distinction of being the closest Bahamian island to the United States.

Bimini’s aquatic riches extend beyond fishing, offering exceptional diving and snorkeling experiences. In addition to sought-after dives like encounters with sharks and dolphins, visitors revel in exploring underwater marvels such as the Rainbow Reef, the historic Sapona Wreck, and the mesmerizing Victory Reef.

Fishing in the Biminis

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