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While many of the best places to visit in The Bahamas are beaches, there’s plenty to see and do on the islands, too.

Nassau, for example, is packed with historic interest, from 250-year-old forts to grand houses on tropical estates. You’ll find rum distilleries, museums, a colorful craft market, and even a complex of caves to explore.

Whether you’re simply after fun in the sun, want to learn a new watersport, admire local wildlife, or learn about the islands’ swashbuckling history, there’s endless joy in discovering the best places to go in The Bahamas.

Atlantis Resort, Nassau

Atlantis, one of the best places to visit in the Bahamas

Atlantis Resort, Nassau

The glitzy, palatial Atlantis Resort on Nassau’s Paradise Island is one of the best places to visit in The Bahamas thanks to its spectacular marine habitats and thrilling water park, Aquaventure.

Spend a day here playing on the spectacular water slides, which include the daredevils-only The Abyss, a 200-foot drop that plunges you into a lagoon.

Brave one of the twisting rollercoaster-style slides, or tackle the adrenaline-boosting Leap of Faith, where you’ll drop 60 near-vertical feet from a recreated Mayan temple. You’ll be shot into an underwater tunnel under one of the lagoons.

Aerial view of Atlantis Resort, Nassau

Atlantis Resort, Nassau

The marine habitats at Atlantis are magnificent. You can swim and snorkel in the Ruins Lagoon, populated by 20,000 reef fish, and learn about the legend of Atlantis at The Dig.

Sharks, giant grouper, and sawfish circle in Predator Lagoon, and you can admire them from below as you walk through an underwater tunnel. There’s even a nursery where captive-bred sea creatures are raised.

Read: Where to Go Snorkeling in Nassau

Sapona Shipwreck, Bimini

Aerial view of Sapona Shipwreck, Bimini

Sapona Shipwreck, Bimini

There’s something thrilling about snorkeling over a shipwreck and discovering its secrets. The S.S. Sapona lies in just 15 feet of water, a few miles off Bennett’s Harbour, South Bimini, making it the perfect wreck for snorkeling in The Bahamas.

The ship was originally made from concrete to serve as a transport vessel in the First World War and was built in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Ruins of Sapona Shipwreck, Bimini

Sapona Shipwreck, Bimini

It ended up as a floating warehouse off Bimini used to stash illicit liquor belonging to liquor merchant Bruch Bethell, known as “Bimini’s Rum King,” during the Prohibition Era. The ship ran aground in a hurricane in 1926 and was later used as a bombing target by U.S. fighter planes.

Most of the concrete has been bombed away or eroded, leaving the Sapona’s eerie skeleton to be colonized by corals and marine creatures. You’ll find all manner of vibrantly colored fish here. Experienced free divers will be able to make the dive 40 feet down to the sandy ocean floor.

Pearl Island, Nassau

Pearl Island, one of the best places to visit in the Bahamas

Pearl Island, Nassau

Tiny Pearl Island is a real escape from the bustle of daily life, with beaches of bright white sand, sparkling turquoise water, and plenty of opportunities to splash around, sample Bahamian cuisine, or simply relax.

The island is eight miles east of Nassau, accessed by boat and identifiable by its white lighthouse. It’s surrounded by colorful coral reefs teeming with tropical fish and is perfect for snorkeling.

Aerial view of Pearl Island, Nassau

Pearl Island, Nassau

You’ll find kayaks and paddle boards to use, as well as water trampolines and floating mats. There’s a buffet offering Bahamian specialties, as part of the island’s sustainability commitment to promote local culture. Try BBQ chicken, peas ‘n’ rice, plantains, and tasty fish filets.

Elevate your experience here by renting a dreamy private cabana with unlimited ocean views. Or try something completely different; the island also offers a chance to take a dip with friendly pigs, who love the water as much as humans do.


Cococay, one of the best places to visit in the Bahamas


An exclusive private island, CocoCay packs in the fun, offering beachfront bliss in an unimaginably beautiful setting. For families, couples, or groups of friends, this is one of the best places to visit in The Bahamas.

Spend your time in Thrill Waterpark flying down Devil’s Peak, the tallest waterslide in North America, or racing friends on the high-speed Splash Speedway. Snap selfies in a hot air balloon, 450 feet above the island, or whizz high over the whole scene on a zip line.

Thrill Waterpark, Cococay, one of the best places to visit in the Bahamas

Thrill Waterpark, CocoCay

There’s a tranquil side to CocoCay, too. Sip cocktails in the shimmering infinity pool at Coco Beach Club, and indulge in Mediterranean and Caribbean-inspired cuisine for lunch. Or perhaps elevate your experience with a private overwater cabana that comes with its own slide for when you want to slip gently into the warm, turquoise water.

Blue Lagoon Island, Nassau

Blue Lagoon Island, one of the best places to visit in the Bahamas

Blue Lagoon Island, Nassau

Also known as Salt Cay, Blue Lagoon Island is a private paradise just three miles northeast of Nassau. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in the Bahamas. You can swim in the limpid lagoon, sunbathe under the coconut palms, snorkel over colorful reefs, and stroll through nature on the lookout for tropical birds.

You’ll find paddle boards, glass-bottomed kayaks, water bikes, underwater scooters, and snorkel gear for rent. There’s an inflatable Aqua Park, too, with slides and trampolines, as well as a chance to swim with dolphins.

Cable Beach, New Providence

Soft sands of Cable Beach, New Providence

Cable Beach, New Providence

Cable Beach is one of the best beaches in the Bahamas for its powdery white sand, all two and a half miles of it. The beach lies on the island’s north coast and is lined with restaurants and watersports concessions.

This is one to choose if you like to have a wide array of amenities close at hand but still enjoy the luxury of space to yourself.

Bask under the shade of an umbrella or try your stand-up paddle boarding. Snorkel in the warm, glass-clear water, and look out for green sea turtles drifting by.

Junkanoo Beach, Nassau

White sands of Junkanoo Beach, Nassau

Junkanoo Beach, Nassau

Beautiful Junkanoo Beach is one of the best beaches in Nassau, walkable from downtown, which makes it a convenient break from sightseeing when you’re ready for a swim.

It can get busy; the alternative name of “Spring Break Beach” might be a clue, but there’s always a happy buzz here.

During actual Junkanoo, between December and January, there are beach parties and celebrations at the rustic Tiki Bikini Hut on the beach, where you can try traditional Bahamian food and rum-laced cocktails.

There’s a Señor Frog’s at one end of the beach, too, for cheery bartenders, tasty burgers and Mexican dishes, and a party atmosphere.

John Watling’s Distillery, Nassau

John Watling’s Distillery, one of the best places to visit in the Bahamas

John Watling’s Distillery, Nassau

Another unmissable thing to do in Nassau for cocktail lovers is to sample the local rum. Dating back to the 18th century, the distillery is located on the historic Buena Vista estate near the harbor in Nassau.

John Watling was a 17th-century privateer admired for his daring feats. His treasure, allegedly stashed on San Salvador Island, has not been found, although his name lives on in rum, dubbed the “Spirit of The Bahamas”.

You can taste it for yourself at the distillery, as well as the vodka and gin that are produced here.

Read: Best Bahamian Drinks

Bahama Barrels, Nassau

Colorful street of Bahama Barrels, Nassau

Bahama Barrels, Nassau

Wine-making may be the last thing you associate with The Bahamas, but at the historic Graycliff, a boutique hotel in Nassau dating back to 1740, you can learn to blend your own wine with an expert.

Wine making in Bahama Barrels, Nassau

Bahama Barrels, Nassau

Bahama Barrels is housed in a former convent next to the old hotel, built in 1937 by the Sisters of Charity. Attend a session here and you will learn all about balance, finish, and acidity from a Californian wine expert. At the end of the session, you’ll be able to blend your own wine to bottle and take away.

While you’re at Graycliff, drop into the Heritage Museum of The Bahamas in the historic Mountbatten House to admire antiques and artifacts that tell the story of The Bahamas from prehistory to the present.

The impressive collection spans everything from Columbus to slavery and piracy to the frequent visits to Graycliff by British royals.

The Caves, New Providence

View inside the Caves, New Providence

The Caves, New Providence

Hollowed out of the natural limestone by the elements, this series of caves near Cable Beach has historical significance. The Lucayan people, the original inhabitants of The Bahamas, used them for shelter, and for storing food in the cool, dark caverns.

Later, pirates would stash their loot here. Evidence of both has been found, which adds a frisson of excitement to your visit.

Don’t expect dazzling stalactites and stalagmites; Nassau’s caves are more of cultural interest. You’ll descend a flight of steps to get in, so bring suitable footwear. Bats inhabit the caves, an added attraction to animal lovers.

Queen’s Staircase, Nassau

Historic Queen's Staircase, Nassau

Queen’s Staircase, Nassau

Downtown Nassau is peppered with historic buildings and structures. One of the best places to go in The Bahamas is the 66 steps known as the Queen’s Staircase.

These limestone stairs were cut by 600 slaves in a lengthy project that began in 1793. They provide a direct escape route from Fort Fincastle, built atop Bennet’s Hill, to the urban area below.

The fort was built by the British to protect the island from pirates and other marauding invaders and its inhabitants needed a quick exit in the event of a raid.

The stairs ascend through a leafy grotto to the old fort and are still used as a thoroughfare. The staircase was named for Queen Victoria, who played an essential role in banishing slavery within the British Empire.

Honeymoon Harbour Beach, Bimini

Stingray spotted in Honeymoon Harbor Beach in Bimini, Bahamas

Honeymoon Harbour Beach, Bimini

Honeymoon Harbour Beach is located at Gun Cay, a speck of an island to the south of Bimini, only reachable by boat.

There’s a real desert island feeling as you lie on the soft sand, gazing out at the sparkling aquamarine water. But there are thrills to be had at Honeymoon Harbour, too, thanks to the abundance of stingrays that congregate here.

The rays have become accustomed to humans and will mill around, waiting for treats. They are docile and gentle, and observing them close up is a wonderful chance to learn more about these graceful creatures.

Dolphin House, Bimini

Exterior of Dolphin House, Bimini

Dolphin House, Bimini Photo by Carolan Ross on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

While you’re in Bimini, take time away from the beach to visit the enchanting Dolphin House in Alice Town.

Work on this unusual structure was started in 1993 by local historian Ashley Saunders using items recovered from the sea, from shells to sea fans and beach glass. It’s adorned by images of dolphins, which inspired the design.

Mr. Saunders himself will give guided tours of the house. He’s an author and historian born and raised in The Bahamas, so you’ll learn all sorts of fascinating facts about life on Bimini.

The Straw Market, Nassau

Wood carvings inside Straw Market, Nassau

The Straw Market, Nassau

Nassau’s famous Straw Market is a great place to pick up souvenirs made by local artisans. You’ll find everything here from bags to hats, mats, straw dolls, and colorful beach wear and jewelry. You can see the artists at work, braiding and plaiting straw with impressive skill.

In fact, straw weaving has been an important craft since the 1940s, when locals would make sturdy baskets for carrying fruit and fishing traps. It was only when tourism to The Bahamas took off that straw items began to be sold as souvenirs.

Arawak Cay, Nassau

Bahamian food on a plate

Bahamian food

Also known as The Fish Fry, this cluster of authentic Bahamian restaurants is on Nassau’s West Bay Street. This is one of the best places to visit in The Bahamas to try local cuisine, and you’ll see locals eating here as well as tourists.

Try conch while you’re here, a real local specialty. Conch comes “cracked”—battered and deep fried—or “scorched”, which means it’s served with lime, peppers, and onions.

Other delicacies to look out for include juicy grilled shrimp, lobster tails, and cornbread. Wash it all down with a chilled Kalik, the local beer, or a Bahama Mama, which consists of juice, two types of rum, and grenadine blended with ice.

Nassau, one of the best places to visit in the Bahamas


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