Featuring over 700 islands and 2000 cays spread out like clouds across the sky blue ocean, the Bahamas is everything you’ve been looking for. Just a short flight from Miami, Florida travelers can bask in the white sand beaches of the Exumas or wander through Nassau in the blink of an eye. But the Bahamas is more than just beauty. With underwater caves, world class diving, and cliff hikes, there is an abundance of outdoor activities to suit all types of travelers.
Whether you want to laze in the sun or see as much of the archipelago as you can, our guide to the best things to do in the Bahamas will help you tick all the boxes.
Our very first trip to the Bahamas was on a Caribbean Cruise and while it was a great introduction, all we really saw was Holland America’s private Half Moon Cay for a bit of fun in the sun and a stop at Nassau. To really enjoy the Bahamas, we suggest spending a week seeing a good chunk of its incredible islands and spectacular scenery. You can book day tours from many of the islands in the Bahamas.
Nassau is the capital city of The Bahamas and is located on New Providence Island. It is a great place to start your vacation and is filled with historical sites, museums, and bustling markets. Some of the must-visit attractions in Nassau include the Queen’s Staircase, the Pirates of Nassau Museum, and Fort Charlotte.
Although it’s one of the biggest cruise ship ports on earth, there are ways to experience local life and escape the tourist traps. Wander down the historic Bay Street, jumping between the same buildings once inhabited by some of the most infamous pirates. Explore the Pirates of Nassau Museum before wandering the aisles of the Straw Market.
For a great introduction to Nassau, book this highlight tour of the city. You’ll see Nassau’s landmarks including Atlantis Resort, the Queen’s Staircase and you’ll visit the Bahamas Rum Cake Factory, John Watling’s Distillery, and the Graycliff Chocolate Factory.
Paradise Island is a small island located just off the coast of Nassau and is one of the top places to visit in the Bahamas. Some of the must-visit attractions on Paradise Island include the Atlantis Resort, the Aquaventure Water Park, and the Marina Village.
The Atlantis is the most famous place to stay in Nassau, check here for rates, availability, and reviews of the Royal at Atlantis. There are different sections of the hotel including The Royal, The Cove, The Coral, and The Reef.
The monumental Atlantis Bahamas Resort, north of Nassau is one of the best tourist attractions in the Bahamas. The Paradise Island Water Park is perfect for couples, families, and thrill-seekers looking for an adrenaline-packed afternoon. Experience dozens of fun waterslides with amazing views of the coast and surrounding sea.
One of the best rides at Paradise Island includes the Leap of Faith, a heart-in-mouth experience that shoots riders through the replica of an Aztec Temple. Non-guests can use the waterpark by purchasing a day pass here.
While it’s hard to escape the action on Paradise Island for a moment’s peace, there are adult-only pools complete with poolside bars. You can also chill on the lazy river or trade the rides for some time on the beautiful local beach. There is a reason everyone recommends Paradise Island as one of the top things to do in the Bahamas. Warwick Paradise Island is an all-inclusive adults-only resort that is a good option for couples looking for quieter options.
Adults will enjoy trying their luck at the Atlantis Paradise Island Casino. It is one of the largest casinos in the Caribbean and is for adults only. You can enjoy your time at the tables while still enjoying the sun with its poolside tables.
If you are staying in Nassau and want to get on the water you can book this highly rated tour. A half day snorkeling tour takes you to two snorkeling sites where you’ll see colorful fish and sea turtles and you’ll enjoy some relaxation on a secluded beach.
The Queen’s Staircase, also known as the 66 Steps up to Fort Fincastle, which offers panoramic views of Nassau, is a historic landmark located in Nassau. The staircase was carved out of solid limestone in the late 18th century and is so named because it is believed to have been built on the orders of Queen Victoria.
The Queen’s Staircase is an important part of Nassau’s history and is considered one of the city’s main tourist attractions. The staircase is also surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, making it a great place to take a walk and admire the natural beauty of The Bahamas.
Visitors to Nassau can easily reach the Queen’s Staircase by taking a short walk from downtown Nassau. The staircase is open to the public and admission is free.
No trip to a Caribbean Island is complete without visiting a rum distillery and this is a historic rum distillery located in downtown Nassau. The distillery was established in 1789 and is one of the oldest buildings in Nassau. It is named after John Watling, an 18th-century pirate who is said to have hidden his treasure on the site.
Today, John Watling’s Distillery produces a variety of high-quality rums, including its signature sipping rum, Buena Vista. Visitors can tour the distillery to learn about the rum-making process, sample the different varieties of rum, and purchase bottles to take home as souvenirs. The distillery also has a gift shop, a bar, and a restaurant, making it the perfect destination for a fun and educational day out in Nassau.
Meeting at John Watling’s Distillery, you can book this walking and rum tour with a local guide. Taste your way through Nassau with rum and food! Visit a pirate-themed pub and see how Caribbean rum is made at John Watling’s Distillery. You’ll also visit Smugglers Beer Garden to learn about buccaneer history and enjoy chocolate at Graycliff Chocolatier.
While in Nassau, you may want to pop in to see the National Art Gallery. The National Art Gallery was founded in 1984 and is dedicated to showcasing the works of Bahamian artists, both past and present. The museum is housed in a historic building and features a collection of paintings, sculptures, photography, and mixed media works that represent the diverse artistic traditions of The Bahamas.
In addition to its permanent collection, the National Art Gallery also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions, educational programs, and cultural events. The gallery is open to the public and admission is free, making it an accessible and affordable destination for those interested in art and culture.
If you’ve arrived in Nassau and looking for a beach to settle on, look no further than Cable Beach. Located on New Providence Island, it is easily accessible and well-developed, the beach contrasts with some of the more natural scenery found elsewhere but is still one of the more beautiful beaches around. Looking for a place to stay on Cable Beach? Check out the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
The sand is white and soft while the water is as blue as ever. But that’s only a small part of what makes Cable Beach so popular. Along the coast is an array of quality resorts and golf courses, not to mention the exciting nightlife both on and off the sand. Spend your afternoon swimming or kayaking on the crystal clear water before freshening up for an evening of playing James Bond at Crystal Palace Casino.
A happening beach club when the sun is up and a romantic restaurant under the stars, when in Nassau be sure to enjoy a day at Tiki Bikini Hut. Just a brief trip from downtown Nassau, the swaying palm trees and sprawling beach umbrellas will welcome you. Start with your favorite tropical cocktail or fork out for an all-you-can-drink kind of day. Just be sure to balance it with some conch fritters.
Laze on the day beds and enjoy the sights and sounds of the exciting beach. Freshen up with a quick dip or join the crowds around the beach volleyball nets. After sunset, stick around for the perfect dinner for two.
From one end of the spectrum to another, venture from the happening Tiki Bikini Hut to Eleuthera Island. The beauty of the island will quickly sweep you off your feet. The Glass Window Bridge is one of the star attractions on Eleuthera. Glass Window Bridge is a natural arch bridge. It is so named because of the narrow opening in the bridge, which provides a clear view of the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the calm waters of the Caribbean Sea on the other.
One of the best things to do in the Bahamas is to go horse riding along the local beaches. Later, pay a visit to the serene Ten Bay Beach or wax up your board for some surfing around the island. But for those who just love to explore, Eleuthera Island has much to offer. With an abundance of hidden coves and remote beaches, this is one island that you can discover through your own eyes.
Home to the first Bahamian Parliament and one of the original settlements within the archipelago is Harbour Island. Once a hideaway for the well-off, esteemed members of the British Empire settled here in the 18th century. Book this boat tour from Nassau to see Habour Island and its pink sand beaches, Discover Eleuthera, known as Pineapple City, and Current Island’s swimming pigs.
Harbour Island’s not-so-humble beginnings have allowed it to stay relatively exclusive for a long time. But now you can enjoy a less-trodden and welcoming escape from the hustle and bustle of Nassau by exploring Dunmore Town. Here golf carts reign supreme and you can stroll among historic cottages with a stronger connection to old eras than the modern-day.
You can stay on the island and the Coral Sands Hotel is located directly on the beach with an infinity pool, restaurant, and 5 km of sandy beach for snorkeling and fun in the sun.
Diving, snorkeling, and fishing are all popular tourist attractions on Harbour Island, and it is also home to the revered Pink Sands Beach. Located on the eastern edge of the island the pink sand beach gets its name from foraminifera, a tiny organism that paints the sand pink.
Although a sight to behold, Pink Sands Beach offers a quieter Caribbean experience compared to the popular beaches on New Providence Island. The gentle sea rises and falls against the shoreline of Harbour Island with the far-off swell stopped by vibrant coral. Embrace the serenity and the color of the beach, which changes as the sun falls from its peak towards the western horizon.
When planning a Bahamas trip, Exumas Cays will inevitably come up in conversation. Whether it be the swimming pigs or the top-notch visibility, the Exuma Cays is one of the most spectacular regions in the Bahamas. The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park was the first place in the Caribbean to prohibit fishing. Its 112,640 acres cover both land and sea and the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is one of the most successful of its kind in the world.
The electric blue water, softly floating towards the sugar sand, provides the quintessential Bahamian sight. In fact, the Exuma Cays features over 350 cays and islands, some with resorts and others completely untouched, thanks to being the first protected marine area in the Bahamas.
If you aren’t staying in the Exumas, you can book a day trip to see the best of the islands. This highly-rated tour is likely to sell out. It takes you to 7 Cays in one day to see some of the best highlights of the Exuma Cays from Pablo Escobar’s plane crash to meeting the protected Exuma Rock Iguanas swim with pigs at Big Major Cay and swim with nurse sharks at Compass Cay. Details and rates here.
Many people only know of Great Exuma Bahamas, but we loved staying on Staniel Cay. It is close to many of the top Exuma Cays attractions than Great Exuma. About 100 people live on Staniel Cay and it feels like a truly authentic island experience. The only accommodation besides apartment rentals is Embrace Resort and The Yacht Club which has been around since the 1960s.
With its secluded beaches, gin blue waters, and laid-back atmosphere, this i the place to be in the Exuma Cays.
James Bond’s Thunderball cast and crew spent many a night enjoying Kalik (Bahama’s local beer) and cracked conch at its bar in 1964. There are photos of the famous James Bond Film inside plus the other movie stars that have stopped in at Stanial Cay for some fun in the sun. Want to learn more about the Exumas? Read up on the amazing location here.
Speaking of James Bond movies, a filming location for the iconic movie Thunderball can be found right here at Thunderball Grotto. A part of an incredible underwater cave system between Staniel Cay and Pig Island, the inside of the grotto has to be seen to be believed. Read more: Thunderball Grotto – James Bond in the Exuma Cays
After essentially swimming underneath the small island, experience an open amphitheater where pockets of sunlight dive through the clear waters. Inside Thunderball Grotto spot exotic marine life and colorful coral, while trying to figure out how it all came to be. Because of the ever-changing tides, it’s best to arrive with a diving company.
From Nassau, you can book a full-day tour to Thunderball Grotto and other highlights that include, a scenic flight from Nassau, and 7 stops to feed the pigs, see the sharks, the iguanas, Thunderball Grotto and more.
At high tide, you will need to scuba dive through the underwater tunnels in order the reach the open cave. There is PADI-certified diving on Great Exuma and you can book a scuba diving tour from Staniel Cay at Staniel Cay Adventures. Looking for a place to stay on Staniel Cay, we loved the luxurious and locally owned Embrace Resort.
For the chance to swim with the famous swimming pigs of the Bahamas make your way to Big Major Cay to see the resident pigs at Pig Beach. The swimming pigs are descendants of early settlers and pirates and have called this island home for more than 100 years. These friendly creatures are located in Exuma, and visitors can swim and interact with them in their natural habitat.
Leftover from colonial days, this group of pigs now run wild in the woods off the beach and come out daily for a dip in the sea. Don’t worry, these little guys love to swim.
Several years ago, they were isolated and left to fend for themselves, but when boaters started coming to the islands, the pigs got very excited and swam out to meet them. People bring cabbage to feed them and you can get in the water to swim with them. But don’t get too close, they’ll nip you if they think you have food.
When we first visited, the swimming pigs were a new phenomenon, but today, copycat tours have sprung up and people have brought in pigs to different islands and beaches. To make sure you are going to the authentic pig island, book through Staniel Cay. However, if you are staying in Nassau, you can book a half-day excursion to swim with pigs here. These pigs are located on Rose Island. Just 25 minutes from Nassau you can swim with pigs and enjoy the white sandy beach.
If you want to swim with the famous and friendly nurse sharks of the Bahamas, make your way to Compass Cay. Compass Cay is located in the Exuma Cays and visitors can swim and interact with the island’s friendly and docile Nurse sharks. It’s also a great place for scuba diving with vibrant coral reefs and a variety of exotic fish and sea creatures.
Another reason to visit Compass Cay is its serene and peaceful atmosphere. The island is relatively untouched and free from the crowds and commercialization found on other Bahamian islands. This makes it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life and relax in a truly natural setting.
Additionally, Compass Cay is surrounded by miles of shallow, turquoise waters, making it a popular spot for water sports such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and boating. The island also offers several options for beach activities, including sunbathing, fishing, and beachcombing.
Mid-Range – For a quiet stay in the Exumas, choose the locally owned and operated Embrace Resort on Staniel Cay. This will give you an authentic island life feel. We stayed here and absolutely loved our time
Luxury – In the Exuma Cays, the Grand Isle Resort has your extravagant Bahamas vacation covered. With a laid-back vibe, guests can enjoy the serenity of Great Exuma with direct access to the beach. There is an onsite spa along with a golf course while many rooms come with expansive views of the Caribbean Sea.
The warm and tropical waters of the Caribbean attract a variety of marine life but are particularly welcoming to a variety of reef sharks and shark species. One of the best spots to embark on this hair-raising and unforgettable experience is the Bimini Islands at Bimini Island.
Bimini Island is the closest island to the mainland USA, divers can swim among “great hammerheads.” One of the biggest types of hammerheads on earth, they congregates off the coast during the month of February. The intimidating animals can grow to be 20ft long. If you are in Miami, you can book a day trip to Bimini Island
There is more to Bimini than shark diving, the island is home to several world-class dive sites, including the Bimini Road, an underwater formation of rocks and coral that is believed to be a remnant of the legendary lost city of Atlantis.including shipwrecks, walls, and shallow coral reefs. From Nassau, you can book a flexible tour of the Bimini Islands.
Along the east coast of Great Abaco Island, Treasure Cay Beach is rated as one of the most stunning beaches on the planet. A crescent beach with sand as soft as a marshmallow awaits visitors who will immediately be impressed by the picturesque waters.
As you gaze upon the turquoise waters grab yourself a beach umbrella and set up shop for what promises to be a delightful beach experience. Within the high-end Treasure Cay resort community, enjoy onsite amenities as no day here would be complete without a couple of tropical drinks.
Away from the sandy beaches, find out why Treasure Cay Beach hosts one of the biggest fishing tournaments in the region. With the help of a local charter, venture out and try to land a prized catch.
Contrasting to much of the Bahamas, the Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama Island offers a rugged landscape of pine forests and mangrove swamps and ample bird watching, which will delight nature lovers. Covering 40 acres, it’s one of the quieter national parks in the Bahamas offering the perfect chance to explore the marine habitat and forests in peace along the coastal hike.
Lucayan National Park is just a boat ride away from Freeport and is a popular place for a day trip. Similar to Thunderball Grotto, Lucayan National Park is home to an underwater cave system that is one of the largest on earth. You can dive into this cave system if you have experience or you can swim and snorkel just like the Cenotes of Mexico.
On Grand Bahama Island, the Port Lucaya Marketplace is the place to go to scratch that shopping itch. A colorful entrance awaits visitors with the building covered in pinks, greens, blues, and yellows.
Just steps from the edge of the harbor in Freeport, peruse the goods of over 40 vendors selling anything from hand-crafted gifts to local art. One of the top attractions in the Bahamas, the Port Lucaya Marketplace in Grand Bahama, is also a magnificent spot to try many local eats under one roof from conch fritters to fish fry.
As the sun falls behind the horizon, stick around as the market becomes party central. Experience some of the best nightlife in Grand Bahama.
The caves of Lucayan National Park that supports the local bat population. When you explore Lucayan National Park, you will have the chance to gaze into different caverns for a chance to see another side of this natural world. The park is not only home to a stunning cave system but mangrove swamps, and miles of white-sand beaches.
Garden of the Groves is a tropical oasis located in Grand Bahama. This beautiful garden is a must-visit for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful escape. The garden features lush vegetation, exotic birds, natural waterfalls, and a Memorial Wall and Chapel dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the island.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, bird watching, and having a picnic. The nature trail offers a guided tour through the gardens, showcasing the diverse plants and wildlife. There is also a gift shop and dining options for visitors to enjoy. Whether you are traveling solo, with family, or as a couple, Garden of the Groves offers something for everyone to enjoy and is the perfect destination for a peaceful and rejuvenating day trip.
Ideal for all ages: The garden is perfect for families, couples, and solo travelers of all ages, as there is something for everyone to enjoy.
While at Lucayan National Park make sure to visit the secluded Gold Rock Beach. Like most beaches in the Bahamas, Gold Rock Beach is known for its crystal clear turquoise waters and fine golden sand, hence the name “Gold Rock”.
Visitors should visit this beach because of its stunning natural beauty, offering a peaceful escape from the busy tourist areas. The park is a critical nesting site for several species of sea turtles, making it a unique destination for wildlife viewing.
The entire Bahamas is famed for its exquisite diving, but there may be no better place to dip beneath the surface than off of Andros Island. Enveloped by the third-largest reef on earth, Andros Island provides divers with a vibrant marine life backed by a slew of exotic colors. It boasts a barrier reef with underwater blue holes filled with colorful fish,
As the sun dances through the water, prepare to be amazed by the surrounding beauty featuring shipwrecks and blue holes where colorful fish roam in large numbers.
Blue Holes National Park is a protected area that is known for its unique underwater sinkholes, or “blue holes.” Located on Andros Island, which is the largest of The Bahamas’ islands.
There are 50 blue holes on the island which are formed when the roof of a limestone cave collapses, creating a circular opening that descends into the depths of the ocean.
Visitors to Blue Holes National Park can experience the beauty of the blue holes by taking a snorkeling or diving excursion, or by simply admiring the stunning views from the shore. The park is also a popular spot for kayaking, fishing, and bird-watching. With its unique landscapes and diverse wildlife, Blue Holes National Park is a must-visit for anyone visiting The Bahamas.
One of the most famous blue holes in The Bahamas is Dean’s Blue Hole, which is the world’s deepest known blue hole at over 620 feet deep. The clear waters of the blue holes allow divers to see an abundance of marine life, including colorful fish, dolphins, and even occasional shark sightings.
Located in the southern portion of the Bahamas, Long Island is primed for a day trip. Long but thin, this island remains an untouched paradise of powder sand beaches and jagged soaring cliffs.
You could spend all day by the turquoise waters that lap the shoreline of Long Island. Enjoy the lack of crowds and noise while simply shutting off from the world. But if you’re up for an adventure, Long Island is home to the second deepest saltwater blue hole on earth. Dean’s Blue Hole falls over 650ft into the Caribbean Sea, offering some of the best diving in the Bahamas.
The Abaco Islands are a group of islands both inhabited and uninhabited islands in the northern Bahamas. Konwn as the boating capital of the Bahamas, Visitors to the Abaco Islands can enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, snorkeling, and beach-combing on some of the most stunning beaches in the world.
In addition to its beautiful beaches, the Abaco Islands are also a nature lover’s paradise, with several parks and reserves that offer opportunities for bird-watching, hiking, and wildlife viewing.
The islands are also home to the popular Hopetown and Marsh Harbour, offering a range of dining, shopping, and entertainment options.
From taking a scenic sunset cruise to chartering a boat to cast your reel out in the deep Atlantic Ocean, getting on the water is a must when visiting the Bahamas. If you are into fishing, from all major Bahamian islands, you’ll have the opportunity to jump on a charter and try your luck at any of the many fishing hot spots.
However, a popular spot for deep-sea fishing in the Bahamas is off of Bimini. Known as the “Capital of Big Game Fishing”, Bimini is home to a range of renowned tournaments from March until September. You can catch and release or the captain will clean your catch to create a local Bahamian fish fry at home.
A part of the Exumas, Stocking Island, protects the islands from the trade winds that surge in from the west. Beautiful but not as refined as many islands in the Bahamas, Stocking Island features an immense selection of cliff faces.
Coastal hikes are the thing to do here, with views from the precipice allowing you to see the entire island from above. Along your trek, discover hidden beaches for a private escape or jump on a boat and cruise from one end of the island to another.
While one of the most popular things to do at Blue Lagoon Island is to swim with the dolphins and sea lions, we do not recommend this activity as these are captive dolphins. We don’t condone or suggest any activity that takes advantage of any animal that should be in the wild but wanted to mention this island because it is always at the top of people’s lists of things to do in the Bahamas. It is certainly worth seeing, but please choose to enjoy the beach or one of the other activities on the island instead.
Blue Lagoon Island is located three miles away from Nassau. The stunningly blue waters surrounding the island have created a palm-lined paradise. This island spot is perfect to go to for beautiful parks and the Bahamas’ famous white sand beaches.
The private island also known as Salt Cay was discovered by pirates in the 1800s where they came to cull salt. Visiting Blue Lagoon Island is one of the top things to do in the Bahamas with kids. The calm turquoise waters are inviting, while the entire family can enjoy the inflatable water park or meander through the lagoon on kayaks.
With the best things to do in the Bahamas covered, what else should you know to plan the perfect vacation? Get up to speed with our travel tips for the Bahamas.
You will find a variety of flights that cover different parts of the Bahamas. However, the primary service will be to the nation’s capital, Nassau. The most populous city receives direct flights from the USA, with Miami being the major hub.
For those traveling from Europe, there are direct flights from major hubs, including Heathrow in London. From Nassau, you’ll enjoy a brief and easy flight to various destinations.
Cruise ships are another common way to arrive, with Nassau being one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. You can also jump on a shuttle boat or ferry from Miami or Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas.
Although the temperature remains warm to hot all year long, the best time to visit the Bahamas is from December to April. Through this period, the weather is at its optimal with minimal rain, clear skies and the handy Trade Winds mitigating the heat.
Often avoiding high room rates and peak tourist season is recommended, but the looming threat of hurricanes and tropical storms means travelers should avoid visiting between June and November. But if you are booking last minute, there are sometimes windows of opportunity, where the weather opens up long enough for a worthwhile vacation.
The Bahamas may be a paradise, but that doesn’t make the archipelago a place purely for the rich and famous. While not crazy cheap, there is something for travelers on all budgets with the opportunity to be close by to all the best things to do in the Bahamas.
Now that you’ve got your Bahamas adventure sorted, check out our guide to the beautiful Caribbean islands.
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