When it comes to beaches, Nassau has everything you’d expect from a tropical island. The best beaches in Nassau and the surrounding islands range from wide-open stretches of sand where there’s always room for everyone to rocky beaches with incredible snorkeling opportunities.
Here are some of the best beaches in Nassau to visit for the day.
Best for a Classic Bahamas Beach Day: Cable Beach
Cable Beach used to be the epicenter of the island’s tourism industry, back when travel to The Bahamas was reserved for the rich and famous. Its name comes from its history of being home to the first underwater telegraph cable from the U.S. that connected to the island.
Today, Cable Beach is one of the best beaches in Nassau, thanks to its long stretch of soft white sand and a long, shallow drop-off. The water here is swimming-pool teal and some of the clearest you’ll ever see.
Cable Beach is a public beach, so you can rent a chair, make use of the beach amenities, and unwind on the sand. Beach bars line the long stretch of sand, so you can take a break from the sunshine by grabbing a cocktail and snack from a local restaurant (the shrimp crunch wrap from the Tropics on Bay bar makes for a light and tasty lunch). This beach is also the starting point for many of the island’s sunset cruises and sailing tours.
Read: Gorgeous White-Sand Beaches to Visit
Best for Relaxed Elegance: Balmoral Island Beach
Just off the coast of Cable Beach are the beaches of Balmoral Island. While it takes a little more effort to get there, it’s well worth the trip—plus, taking a sailboat to a tropical island isn’t a bad way to spend half an hour.
Balmoral Island is a private escape in the Bahamas designed to offer an authentic Bahamian experience. You won’t find waterslides or costumed performers, but you will find a wide beach with loungers and umbrellas, fresh food and drinks, and one of the best places to go snorkeling near Nassau. You can even get in the water with stingrays or dolphins (and a marine biologist) to learn about the animals and their roles in the ocean’s ecosystem.
Balmoral Island Beach is one of the best beaches in Nassau if you want luxurious amenities without the crowds. If you want to be more active, you can rent kayaks, join in on a game of beach volleyball, or play in the shallow water.
The beach itself is expansive, so you’re unlikely to feel overcrowded here. It’s one of the best beaches in the Bahamas for an elegant, relaxing day out in the sunshine.
Best Mix of Adventure and Nature: Blue Lagoon Island
The beach at Blue Lagoon isn’t just one of the best beaches in Nassau—it’s one of the best beaches in The Bahamas. Officially called Salt Cay, the island just off the mainland has plenty of bars, restaurants, and activities. And while the lagoon may look like an artificial lazy river from a waterpark, it’s not: the lagoon (and the whole island) were built entirely by nature.
You’ll arrive at Blue Lagoon Island after a quick boat ride from the mainland, and from there, it’s up to you. One end of the island has undeveloped beaches with little more than palm trees for shade, so if you want a relaxed experience, you’ll find it there. It’s mostly untouched by human development, aside from the occasional restroom.
If you’re looking for adventure, Blue Lagoon has that, too. You can take snorkeling or paddling tours, act like a kid on the all-ages inflatable playground, or rent a water bike or underwater scooter. The central lagoon is one of the best beaches in The Bahamas for kids since it’s shallow and has no waves—it’s like being in a big tropical swimming pool.
Aside from its pristine sands and fun-filled activities, you can also experience Blue Lagoon Island on naturalist-led eco-tours that venture to tidal zones. Search for native plants and animals, and learn about The Bahamas’ ecology and history.
The island is owned by a local family that cares for the island, so only a small number of guests is allowed into some of these protected zones per day. Be sure to sign up in advance if you’re interested in exploring the beach’s less-visited shores.
Best for Snorkeling: Green Turtle Cay Beach
Green Turtle Cay, one of The Bahamas’ barrier islands, is one of the top beaches near Nassau to go snorkeling. The island has seen little development, leaving the reefs very close to their natural state. They’re quite healthy, having not felt the effects of much human interaction.
There are dozens of snorkel sites around the island, ranging from Coral Condos, which is teeming with colorful fish, to sandy-bottom sites frequented by sharks and stingrays. You can snorkel from the beaches or take a boat tour to visit multiple locales. Those tours usually include an underwater guide, a fresh-grilled lunch, and a rum punch or two.
Best for Play: The Atlantis Resort
Atlantis Resort is one of the best beach destinations in Nassau, both for its actual beaches and for the stunning variety of activities offered. The resort has not one but three natural beaches, each of which could be its own entry on a list of the best beaches in Nassau. They total nearly five miles in length, and all three have soft sand and shallow water.
Cove Beach is the further of the three and the most remote, so plan to spend most of your time there if you’re not interested in most of the resort’s other activities. The other two beaches, Atlantis and Paradise, are closer to the other amenities at the resort.
Once you’ve had your fill of the beach, head to the resort to snorkel in the world’s largest open-air marine habitat, play at the Atlantis-themed waterpark, or stroll through the massive aquarium and research center.
It’s a family-friendly destination, but there’s a large adults-only section, and you’ll see guests of all ages waiting in line to ride the waterslide through the shark tank. The sprawling resort never feels crowded, though you can reserve a private beach cabana in advance if you know you’re going to want a dedicated space for the day.
Best for Learning to Surf: Surfer’s Beach
In Nassau, you’ll generally find gentle, calm waves, which is why nearly all the beaches are perfect for swimming and paddling. However, there are a few places where the waves get a few feet tall, and one of them is the aptly named Surfer’s Beach.
It’s one of the best beaches to try surfing, as the break is close to the shore, so you don’t have to do too much paddling. The waves are reliably small, and you won’t need to worry about getting caught in a surf too big for your ability level. It’s an easy and pressure-free place to learn the basics of standing on a surfboard.
Best Sustainable Beach: Pearl Island
If you’re concerned about your carbon footprint while traveling, you’ll be happy to know that Pearl Island goes above and beyond to offer a sustainable beachgoing experience. Here, you’ll also find creature comforts like well-spaced beach chairs and seaside cabanas, small-group snorkeling and paddleboard tours, and two restaurants serving fresh, locally made Bahamian food.
Both the owners and staff have made a commitment to sustainability for the surrounding communities and environment. They run reef protection programs and recycle water to reduce their overall usage. They also sell locally made products, hire local employees familiar with the region, and run the resort on solar power. The operators even do a yearly check-in to evaluate their eco-footprint. If you’re a traveler who wants to make sure you’re supporting causes that care for both the earth and local communities, plan to spend your time on Pearl Island’s beaches.
Read: Best Places to Paddle Board in the World
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