A favorite vacation spot for sun-worshippers and intrepid travelers alike, The Bahamas is an idyllic getaway. Located north of the Caribbean in the Atlantic Ocean, these balmy, windswept isles offer visitors prime snorkeling and scuba diving, a plethora of hotel options and endless views of sparkling turquoise seas.
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More than 700 islands and 2,400 cays, or smaller islands, make up the gorgeous, sunswept archipelago known as The Bahamas. The country became a British Crown colony in 1718 and an Independent Commonwealth in 1973, and still considers Queen Elizabeth II its monarch.
Some of the most famous include Nassau, Paradise Island, Great Exuma and Harbour Island. Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, lies on New Providence Island and is renowned for its pastel-colored colonial buildings and offshore coral reefs.
Connected to Nassau via two bridges over the harbor, Paradise Island is best known for the expansive Atlantis Resort, with its Aquaventure Water Park, lively casinos, and delightful marine habitat.
Just 35 miles southeast of Nassau lies the delightfully secluded archipelago of the Exumas, renowned for their spectacular white-sand beaches, sapphire-blue seas, celebrity clientele, posh resorts, and ecotourism.
Visit nearby Harbour Island’s eye-catching, cotton candy-colored pink-sand beaches.
What To Do
The beaches surrounding Nassau and Paradise Island are not only beautiful, but they also offer as much or as little activity as suits you. Spring break destinations also provide entertainment, fun and a host of activities, as well as a myriad of recreational facilities for kids and adults.
Snorkel in Nassau’s warm, crystal-blue seas. Purchase Bahamian delicacies at local hot spots.
Explore the majestic reefs and the world’s oldest fossils, stromatolites, born some 3.5 billion years ago.
The Exumas offer visitors every sort of adventure. Drive your own ATV and discover the wild side of the Exuma. Visit Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, a 176-square-mile nature preserve between Conch Cut and Wax Cay Cut. On the Exumas, you can even swim alongside friendly pigs.
Find the perfect excursions to match your vacation pace at PleasantActivities.com
What To See
Nearly every island of the Bahamas has its own magical coral reef protecting its shores from rough Atlantic seas, creating the perfect environment for snorkeling or scuba diving.
At Clifton Heritage National Park in Nassau explore the underwater sculpture garden, while on dry land the historical ruins known as the Pirate Steps are worth a visit.
Visit the renowned water-filled blue holes, which open into underground caves.
Discover where Columbus first landed along Cape Santa Maria with a visit to the beaches of Long Island and White Cay in the southernmost point of the Exumas.
Explore Harbour Island’s famous Pink Sand Beach. Over three miles long, this beach is popular for horseback riding, snorkeling and simply watching the sun set over its soft coral sands – the perfect cushion for walking barefoot.
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There’s nothing like finding the perfect souvenir while tropical breezes blow through your hair in a colorful open-air Bahamian market. Small vendors and large retail outlets dot the islands, making shopping in the Bahamas a real pleasure.
Browse Nassau’s famed Straw Market and the boutiques at the exclusive high-end resorts. So much of it, including cameras, jewelry, leather goods and fragrances, is even duty-free! So, shopping for the perfect treasures feels practically guilt-free.
Whether you fancy listening to local music in quaint bars, dancing in trendy nightclubs, or gaming in lively casinos, you’ll find it all on Nassau and Paradise Island.
If watching the moonrise amid a million stars is more your style, toast your good fortune beside family and friends with some rum punch and s’mores beside a seaside bonfire.
Bahamas with Kids
In Nassau, nuzzle with friendly bottlenose dolphins in a private lagoon, perfect for children of all ages.
Take the kids on a Long Island Pirates Discovery Tour near the southernmost point of the Exumas. Show them where Columbus landed, snorkel along a reef, and visit some of the sites where they filmed Pirates of the Caribbean with Hollywood’s favorite pirate, Johnny Depp.
Off the Beaten Path
It’s definitely worth your while to stray off the beaten path in The Bahamas. There are more than 700 sparsely populated Out Islands, or Family Islands, awaiting exploration. No wonder this area is a favorite among honeymooners seeking a secluded, romantic escape.
If you’d like to watch colorful flamingos during your vacation that match the region’s lovely pink sand beaches, visit Lake Rosa on the island of the Great Inaguas, home to 80,000 or so shocking-pink West Indian flamingos.
Food and Drink
Dining in the Bahamas is one of life’s simple pleasures, and one not to be missed. Featuring fresh local ingredients ranging from seafood to tropical fruit Bahamian cuisine combines international flavors with island flair.
Try local conch fried, diced into a tropical salad, or served in a creamy chowder. Taste the fresh local produce at farmers markets, and roadside stands on the larger islands.
Try a Bahama Mama, a delicious concoction of rum, coconut flavoring, grenadine, orange juice, pineapple juice and crushed ice at the only locally owned distillery in The Bahamas, John Watling’s, in downtown Nassau.
Johnnycakes, originally called “journey cakes” by fisherman and settlers, are doughy slices of heaven.
Locals love to spice up their meals with the Bahamian bird pepper, flaky coconut and tropical fruits such as mangoes, papayas, guavas, pineapples and passion fruit.
When to Go
Vacation during the warmer off-season from May through October to beat the crowds on the most popular Bahamian islands. High season runs December through May when temperatures remain in the upper 70s and low 80s F.
Hurricane season starts in June; however, with more than 300 days of sunshine annually, The Bahamas is a great place to visit any time of year.