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, deep-sea fishing, and cliff hikes, there is an abundance of outdoor activities to suit all types of travelers.
Top Things to do in The Bahamas
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.
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 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.
On a clear day, divers can explore the depths of the surrounding waters with visibility well over a hundred feet. For the chance to swim with the famous pigs, finish up at Thunderball Grotto and make your way to Staniel Cay. Want to learn more about the Exumas? Read up on the amazing location here.
Where to Stay in the Exumas
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.Mid-Range – For a quieter stay in the Exumas, choose the locally owned and operated Embrace Resort on Staniel Cay. This will give you the authentic island life feel.
Nassau, New Providence Island
No list of the best things to do in the Bahamas would be complete without mentioning the nation’s capital, Nassau. 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. Before you venture further afield to places like Cable Beach, you must visit John Watling’s Distillery. Founded in 1789, tour the beautiful home where locals have been creating the famed rum for hundreds of years.
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. Stay at 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.
Speaking of James Bond, a filming location for the iconic movie 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. Looking for a place to stay on Staniel Cay, we loved the luxurious and locally owned Embrace Resort.
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. At high tide, you will need to scuba dive through the underwater tunnels in order the reach the open cave.
Treasure Cay Beach
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 Caribbean Sea, 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.
Dive With Sharks
There are several amazing spots to go shark diving in the Bahamas. The warm and tropical waters of the Caribbean attract a variety of marine life but are particularly welcoming to a variety of shark species.
One of the best spots to embark on this hair-raising and unforgettable experience is from Bimini Island. From this island, the closest to mainland USA, divers can swim among great hammerheads. One of the biggest types of hammerheads on earth, the intimidating animals can grow to be 20ft long. Off of New Providence Island, you can dive to the Ray of Hope, a ship sunk to create an artificial reef. The reef and nurse sharks swim around you and it is an experience you won’t soon forget.
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.
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.
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.
Pink Sands Beach
One of the more unique things to do in the Bahamas is to see Pink Sands Beach with your own two eyes. On the eastern edge of Harbour Island, the 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 Caribbean 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.
Port Lucaya Marketplace
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.
Paradise Island Water Park
Among 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 adrenalin-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.
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.
Lucayan National Park
Contrasting to much of the Bahamas, the Lucayan National Park offers a rugged landscape of pine forests and mangrove swamps and ample bird watching, which will delight nature lovers.
Similar to Thunderball Grotto, Lucayan National Park is home to an underwater cave system that is one of the largest on earth. The unique ecosystem supports the local bat population. You will have the chance to gaze into different caverns for a chance to see another side of this natural world.
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.
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.
Harbour Island’s not-so-humble-beginnings has 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.
Diving, snorkeling, and fishing are all popular tourist attractions on Harbour Island, which, as we know, is also home to the revered Pink Sands Beach.
Tiki Bikini Hut
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 palms 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. 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.
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.
Go Deep Sea Fishing
Casting your reel out in the deep Atlantic Ocean is one of the most popular things to do in the Bahamas. 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.
The Gulf Stream brings an array of major fish to your doorstep, including manta rays, sharks, and mahi-mahi. Whatever you land, your captain will help package it up so you can create a local Bahamian fish fry at home.
Blue Lagoon Island
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.
How to get to 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.
Best time to visit 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.
Where to stay in the Bahamas
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.
Budget – With an outdoor pool, right on the beachfront, budget travelers can enjoy decent accommodation in a world class location at Unique Village. On Eleuthera Island, be within steps of the pink Poponi Beach, with an onsite restaurant. Mid-Range – Great for families and couples alike, Sandyport Beach Resort is close to Nassau and comes with three lagoon-style pools. When you aren’t enjoying the poolside bar, make the most of your private beach. Although there are many nearby restaurants, rooms also come with full kitchens. 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.Mid-Range – For a quieter stay in the Exumas, choose the locally owned and operated Embrace Resort on Staniel Cay. This will give you the authentic island life feel.
Now that you’ve got your Bahamas adventure sorted, check out our guide to the beautiful Caribbean islands.