Top 25 Things To Do in The Bahamas

From pink sand beaches and swimming pigs to vibrant culture and hidden caves, the Bahamas offers a kaleidoscope of tropical adventures.

West Parker
By
West Parker
July 18, 2024

Picture this: you're standing on a beach where the sand is a soft pink hue, the water so clear you can count the shells on the ocean floor, and just offshore, a group of pigs paddle happily in the waves. No, you're not dreaming – you've just arrived in the Bahamas, where the extraordinary is just another Tuesday.

This sun-soaked archipelago of over 700 islands and cays is so much more than a collection of postcard-perfect beaches (though those are pretty spectacular too). It's a place where you can dive into the world's second-deepest blue hole, dance to the rhythms of a colorful Junkanoo parade, and sample conch fritters so fresh, the sea breeze is still clinging to them. From the bustling streets of Nassau to the secluded shores of the Out Islands, the Bahamas serves up a smorgasbord of experiences that'll have you plotting your return trip before you've even dusted the sand off your feet.

So grab your sunscreen, don your most stylish beach hat, and read the25 best things to do in this Caribbean paradise. Trust us, by the end of this list, you'll be looking up flights faster than you can say "another Bahama Mama, please!"

Lounge on Pink Sands Beach

Tourists relaxing on the famous pink sand beach of Harbour Island in the Bahamas
Pinch me, I'm dreaming! The sand really is pink on Harbour Island. It's like nature decided to roll out the red carpet, but in a more tropical shade.

Ever dreamed of lounging on a beach that looks like it's been filtered through Instagram's rosiest lens? Welcome to Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island, where Mother Nature's color palette went a little wild. This three-mile stretch of pale pink sand is the result of tiny red organisms called foraminifera mixing with bits of coral, shells, and calcium carbonate. The result? A beach so pretty, you might be tempted to snap photos all day. But resist the urge to stay behind the camera – this is a place best experienced with your toes in the sand and a fruity drink in hand.

  • Location: Harbour Island, Bahamas
  • Hours: Open 24/7

Why Visit: It's one of the most beautiful and unique beaches in the world, offering a truly Instagram-worthy experience.

Insider Tip: Visit during the golden hour just before sunset for the most vibrant pink hues and breathtaking photo opportunities.

Swim with Pigs at Pig Beach

Pigs swimming in turquoise waters at Pig Beach, Exuma, Bahamas
When pigs fly? Nah, when pigs swim! These little oinkers paddled right up to our boat. Definitely a "pinch me" moment in the Bahamas.

If someone told you there's an island in the Bahamas where pigs swim in crystal-clear waters, you'd probably think they'd had one too many rum cocktails. But Pig Beach on Big Major Cay in the Exumas is 100% real and 200% adorable. These porky paddlers are always ready for visitors, often swimming out to greet boats in hopes of a snack. While the origin of these aquatic oinkers is debated, one thing's for sure – swimming alongside them is an experience you won't soon forget. Just remember, they're wild animals, so respect their space and follow local guidelines.

  • Location: Big Major Cay, Exuma, Bahamas
  • Hours: Daylight hours
  • Price: Tour prices vary, typically $150-$400 per person

Why Visit: It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with friendly pigs in a tropical paradise.

Insider Tip: Book an early morning tour to beat the crowds and catch the pigs at their most active.

Dive into Dean's Blue Hole

Diver descending into the deep blue waters of Dean's Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas
Staring into the abyss at Dean's Blue Hole. At 663 feet deep, it's like nature's own infinity pool. Just don't try to touch the bottom!

Fancy a dip in the world's second-deepest known saltwater blue hole? Dean's Blue Hole on Long Island plunges to a depth of 663 feet, surrounded by a bay of turquoise waters and white sand beaches. Whether you're a seasoned free diver looking to test your limits or a casual snorkeler wanting to peek into the abyss, this natural wonder is a must-visit. The water clarity is out of this world, and the sheer drop-off is both thrilling and slightly terrifying. Don't worry if you're not up for a deep dive – even paddling around the edges of this massive sinkhole is an unforgettable experience.

  • Location: Long Island, Bahamas
  • Hours: Open 24/7

Why Visit: It's a natural marvel that offers both breathtaking views and exciting diving opportunities for all skill levels.

Insider Tip: Visit during calm weather for the best visibility and safest conditions. If you're not a strong swimmer, consider hiring a local guide.

Experience the Junkanoo Festival

Vibrant costumes and dancers at the Junkanoo Festival parade in Nassau, Bahamas
Junkanoo is Mardi Gras on steroids! The colors, the music, the energy - it's impossible not to dance along. My feet are still tapping!

Imagine Mardi Gras cranked up to 11, with a distinctly Bahamian flavor – that's Junkanoo for you. This explosion of color, music, and dance takes over the streets of Nassau (and other islands) every Boxing Day and New Year's Day. Costumed revelers spend months crafting elaborate outfits adorned with thousands of crepe paper flowers and feathers. When the music starts – a infectious blend of goatskin drums, cowbells, and brass instruments – you'll find it impossible to stand still. Even if you can't make it for the main events, many hotels and resorts offer Junkanoo-inspired shows year-round.

  • Location: Various locations, primarily Bay Street in Nassau
  • Hours: Parades typically start around 2am and continue until mid-morning

Why Visit: It's the most vibrant expression of Bahamian culture, offering an unforgettable sensory experience.

Insider Tip: Stake out a spot along the parade route early, and bring earplugs if you're sensitive to loud noises – it gets wild!

Splash Around at Aquaventure Water Park

Thrilling Leap of Faith water slide at Aquaventure, Atlantis Resort, Bahamas
Taking the "Leap of Faith" at Aquaventure. Nothing like plummeting through a shark tank to get your heart racing! Don't worry, the sharks can't get you... I think.

Who says water parks are just for kids? At Aquaventure, part of the Atlantis Paradise Island resort, you can unleash your inner child on 141 acres of water-soaked fun. Zoom down the Leap of Faith, a 60-foot near-vertical drop that shoots you through a clear acrylic tunnel in a shark-filled lagoon. Float along the lazy river, or challenge your friends to a race on the side-by-side slides. With 20 swimming areas, 11 pools, and enough thrills to keep your adrenaline pumping all day, you might forget you're in the Bahamas and not some aquatic wonderland. (Spoiler alert: you're in both!)

  • Location: Paradise Island, Bahamas
  • Hours: 10am-5pm daily (hours may vary seasonally)
  • Admission: Included for Atlantis resort guests; day passes available for non-guests (prices vary)

Why Visit: It's one of the largest water parks in the Caribbean, offering thrills for all ages in a stunning tropical setting.

Insider Tip: Visit on a weekday to avoid the crowds, and rent a locker to keep your belongings safe while you splash around.

Snorkel the Andros Barrier Reef

Snorkeler admiring vibrant coral formations at Andros Barrier Reef in the Bahamas
Snorkeling the Andros Barrier Reef is like swimming in a real-life aquarium. The colors down here are so vivid, it makes the world above seem dull in comparison!

Calling all underwater enthusiasts! The Andros Barrier Reef is the third-largest fringing barrier reef in the world, stretching for 190 miles along the east coast of Andros Island. Slip on your mask and fins, and prepare to enter a kaleidoscope of marine life. Swim alongside colorful parrotfish, graceful eagle rays, and maybe even a curious sea turtle or two. The reef's unique structure, with steep walls, blue holes, and countless coral formations, provides endless exploration opportunities. Whether you're a seasoned diver or a first-time snorkeler, the clarity of the water and the abundance of sea life will leave you speechless (which is just as well, since you'll be underwater).

  • Location: Andros Island, Bahamas
  • Hours: Daylight hours, depending on weather conditions
  • Price: Snorkel tours start around $75 per person

Why Visit: It's one of the world's largest and most pristine barrier reefs, offering unparalleled snorkeling and diving experiences.

Insider Tip: Book a tour with a knowledgeable local guide who can show you the best spots and help identify the marine life you encounter.

Climb the Queen's Staircase

Visitors ascending the historic Queen's Staircase surrounded by lush vegetation in Nassau, Bahamas
66 steps to paradise! The Queen's Staircase is a hidden gem in Nassau. Built by slaves in the 18th century, it's a beautiful but sobering reminder of the island's complex history.

Ready for a history lesson with a side of cardio? The Queen's Staircase in Nassau is 66 steps of limestone wonder, hand-carved by slaves in the late 18th century. Named in honor of Queen Victoria, who abolished slavery in the British Empire, these steps offer a poignant reminder of the island's complex past. As you ascend, take note of the lush tropical vegetation surrounding you – it's like climbing through a jungle in the heart of the city. Once you reach the top, catch your breath and enjoy panoramic views of Nassau. Who knew a staircase could be so captivating?

  • Location: Nassau, New Providence Island, Bahamas
  • Hours: Open 24/7

Why Visit: It's a powerful historical landmark that offers insight into Bahamian history and stunning city views.

Insider Tip: Visit early in the morning to beat the heat and the crowds, and bring water – those 66 steps can be quite the workout!

Explore Thunderball Grotto

Tourist swimming in the iconic Thunderball Grotto, made famous by James Bond films, in Exuma, Bahamas
Channeling my inner 007 at Thunderball Grotto. No wonder they filmed James Bond here - it's like nature's own secret lair!

Ever wanted to feel like James Bond? Thunderball Grotto, a partially submerged cave system in the Exumas, is your chance. Named after the 1965 Bond film that featured it, this natural wonder is a playground for snorkelers and divers. Swim through one of the underwater entrances (at low tide, please – we don't want any 007 wannabes getting stuck), and you'll emerge into a cathedral-like cave filled with shafts of sunlight and schools of colorful fish. The water is so clear, you might feel like you're flying rather than swimming. Just resist the urge to hum the Bond theme as you explore – your fellow swimmers will thank you.

  • Location: Staniel Cay, Exuma, Bahamas
  • Hours: Best visited at low tide
  • Price: Tour prices vary, typically $150-$300 per person

Why Visit: It's a unique natural wonder with a touch of Hollywood glamour, offering unforgettable snorkeling experiences.

Insider Tip: Check the tide schedules and visit during low tide for easier access and the best underwater visibility.

Shop at the Straw Market

Vibrant display of handcrafted straw goods at the famous Nassau Straw Market in the Bahamas
Straw hats as far as the eye can see! The Nassau Straw Market is a treasure trove of Bahamian crafts. I may have gone a bit overboard with souvenirs...

If you think you can resist the charms of handmade Bahamian crafts, just try walking through the Nassau Straw Market without buying something. This bustling marketplace is a sensory overload in the best possible way – the scent of fresh straw, the chatter of vendors, the rainbow of colorful goods. From intricately woven bags and hats to dolls and wood carvings, it's a treasure trove of authentic Bahamian souvenirs. Sharpen your haggling skills, because bargaining is all part of the fun here. Who knows? You might leave with a new straw hat that makes you look like a tropical influencer (and a story about how you haggled like a pro).

  • Location: Bay Street, Nassau, Bahamas
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 9am-1pm

Why Visit: It's the best place to experience local craftsmanship and bring home authentic Bahamian souvenirs.

Insider Tip: Bring cash, as many vendors don't accept cards, and don't be afraid to negotiate – it's expected!

Discover History at Clifton Heritage National Park

Snorkeler exploring the haunting underwater sculptures at Clifton Heritage National Park, Bahamas
Diving through history at Clifton Heritage Park. These underwater sculptures are hauntingly beautiful and a powerful reminder of the island's past.

Indiana Jones, eat your heart out! Clifton Heritage National Park is where you can channel your inner archaeologist, minus the rolling boulders and snakes. This 208-acre park is a time capsule of Bahamian history, showcasing the legacy of the Lucayans (the islands' original inhabitants), African slaves, and British Loyalists. Hike through lush nature trails, explore ruins of old plantations, and snorkel around the underwater sculpture garden. The Sacred Space, with its haunting stone sculptures representing enslaved Africans, offers a powerful moment for reflection. It's like walking through the pages of a history book, but with better views and a cool sea breeze.

  • Location: New Providence Island, Bahamas
  • Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
  • Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for children

Why Visit: It offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, providing context to the Bahamas' rich heritage.

Insider Tip: Join a guided tour to get the most out of your visit – the local guides bring the park's history to life with fascinating stories and insights.

Try Your Luck at Baha Mar Casino

Excited gamblers around a roulette table at the glamorous Baha Mar Casino in Nassau, Bahamas
Trying my luck at Baha Mar Casino. With over 100,000 square feet of gaming space, it's like Las Vegas took a Caribbean vacation!

Feeling lucky? At the Baha Mar Casino, you can test your fortune in the largest casino in the Caribbean. With over 100,000 square feet of gaming space, it's like Las Vegas decided to take a tropical vacation. Try your hand at baccarat, blackjack, or roulette, or see if the slots are feeling generous. Even if Lady Luck isn't on your side, the people-watching here is top-notch. From high-rollers making big bets to newbies trying to figure out how craps works, it's a slice of glitzy nightlife that perfectly complements the laid-back beach vibes of the Bahamas. Just remember – the house always wins in the end, so gamble responsibly!

  • Location: Cable Beach, Nassau, Bahamas
  • Hours: 24/7

Why Visit: It's the largest and most glamorous casino in the Caribbean, offering world-class gaming in a luxurious tropical setting.

Insider Tip: Sign up for a player's card even if you're not a big gambler – you might get perks like discounted meals or room upgrades.

Kayak Through Mangroves at Lucayan National Park

Tourists kayaking through serene mangrove waterways in Lucayan National Park, Grand Bahama
Kayaking through the mangroves in Lucayan National Park. It's so peaceful here, the only sound is your paddle and the occasional startled fish!

Ready to trade in your beach lounger for a kayak paddle? Lucayan National Park on Grand Bahama Island is calling your name. This 40-acre park is a nature lover's paradise, boasting one of the world's longest underwater cave systems. But don't worry, you don't need to be a cave diver to enjoy it. Hop in a kayak and navigate through the serene mangrove creeks, where the only sound is the gentle splash of your paddle and the occasional bird call. Keep your eyes peeled for colorful fish darting beneath your kayak and maybe even a shy manatee or two. After your paddle, take a short hike to Gold Rock Beach, often called the "welcome mat" of Grand Bahama for its wide, flat shoreline at low tide.

  • Location: Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas
  • Hours: Daily 8:30am-4:30pm
  • Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for children

Why Visit: It offers a unique eco-adventure, combining kayaking, caving, and pristine beaches in one stunning location.

Insider Tip: Time your visit for low tide to fully appreciate the beauty of Gold Rock Beach – it's like nature's own infinity pool.

Sip Rum at John Watling's Distillery

Selection of rum samples ready for tasting at the historic John Watling's Distillery in Nassau, Bahamas
When in Rome... drink rum! Sampling the local spirits at John Watling's Distillery. The rum cake is dangerously delicious - consider yourself warned!

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in the Bahamas, drink rum! And there's no better place to indulge in this island tradition than John Watling's Distillery. Housed in the historic Buena Vista Estate in Nassau, this distillery offers a perfect blend of history and happy hour. Take a free tour to learn about the rum-making process (and yes, there are samples). Then, settle into the Red Turtle Tavern for a rum cocktail or two. Try the Sky Juice, a local favorite made with coconut water, gin, and condensed milk – it's like a tropical vacation in a glass. Just pace yourself, or you might end up thinking you can dance like a Junkanoo performer (spoiler alert: you can't).

  • Location: Delancy Street, Nassau, Bahamas
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am-5pm
  • Price: Free tours, cocktails $8-$12

Why Visit: It offers a taste of Bahamian history and culture through its most famous export – rum.

Insider Tip: Try the rum cake – it's a delicious, boozy souvenir that travels well.

Dive with Sharks at Stuart Cove

Scuba diver encountering multiple Caribbean reef sharks during a dive at Stuart Cove, Bahamas
Face to face with the ocean's apex predators at Stuart Cove. These reef sharks are more curious than threatening, but my heart was still racing!

Think you're brave? How about coming face-to-face with a Caribbean reef shark? At Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas, you can do just that – and live to tell the tale. This world-renowned dive operation offers shark diving experiences that will get your adrenaline pumping faster than a double espresso. Descend into the crystal-clear waters and watch as these magnificent predators glide by, close enough to count their teeth (not that we recommend trying). Don't worry, these sharks are well-fed and more interested in the bait than in you. Still, there's nothing quite like the rush of seeing a shark swim inches from your mask. It's like being in your own personal Shark Week episode!

  • Location: Southwest New Providence Island, Bahamas
  • Hours: Daily, dive times vary
  • Price: Shark dives start at around $160 per person

Why Visit: It offers a thrilling, up-close encounter with sharks in their natural habitat, led by experienced professionals.

Insider Tip: Book the afternoon shark adventure dive for the best visibility and most active sharks.

Marvel at the Glass Window Bridge

Tourist admiring the dramatic contrast between Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea at Glass Window Bridge, Eleuthera
Standing on the Glass Window Bridge feels like being at the edge of the world. Atlantic on one side, Caribbean on the other - Mother Nature showing off her color palette!

Ever seen a place where you can watch two oceans collide? The Glass Window Bridge on Eleuthera Island is nature's version of a split-screen view. On one side, you've got the deep blue Atlantic Ocean. On the other, the turquoise waters of the Bight of Eleuthera. The contrast is so striking, it looks like someone drew a line down the middle of your view. This narrow strip of rock, barely 30 feet wide, offers one of the most dramatic ocean views you'll ever see. Just hold onto your hat – the winds up here can be fierce enough to blow away your worries (and your hairdo).

  • Location: Queen's Highway, Eleuthera Island, Bahamas
  • Hours: Open 24/7

Why Visit: It offers one of the most unique and dramatic ocean views in the world, showcasing the stark contrast between two bodies of water.

Insider Tip: Visit during rough weather for the most dramatic views, but be cautious – the bridge can sometimes close if conditions are too dangerous.

Feast on Conch at Arawak Cay

Chef preparing traditional Bahamian conch salad at a colorful food stall in Arawak Cay, Nassau
Fresh conch salad at Arawak Cay - a Bahamian rite of passage! It's like ceviche's zestier cousin, and it pairs perfectly with an ice-cold Kalik beer.

If your stomach starts grumbling for some authentic Bahamian grub, point your feet towards Arawak Cay, affectionately known as "The Fish Fry" by locals. This cluster of colorful shacks and casual restaurants is conch central – if it can be done with conch, you'll find it here. Cracked conch, conch salad, conch fritters – you name it. Pull up a chair at one of the open-air eateries, order a cold Kalik beer, and prepare for a feast. The conch salad, made fresh to order with diced conch, peppers, onions, and citrus juice, is a must-try. It's like ceviche's Bahamian cousin, and it pairs perfectly with the salty sea breeze and laid-back vibe of the cay.

  • Location: West Bay Street, Nassau, Bahamas
  • Hours: Most stalls open daily from 11am until late
  • Price: Meals typically $10-$20

Why Visit: It's the best place to sample authentic Bahamian cuisine in a lively, local atmosphere.

Insider Tip: Try Goldie's Conch House for some of the best conch salad on the cay – just be prepared for a kick of spice!

Stroll Through Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve

Visitor exploring the lush flora on raised boardwalk at Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve in Eleuthera, Bahamas
Getting my nature fix at Leon Levy Preserve. Did you know many of these plants have medicinal properties? It's like walking through a living pharmacy!

Need a break from all that sun and sand? (Is that even possible?) Head to the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve on Eleuthera Island for a different kind of Bahamian beauty. This 25-acre sanctuary is like a living museum of Bahamian flora. Stroll along winding trails past medicinal plants, mangrove wetlands, and a recreated Lucayan village. Keep your eyes peeled for colorful birds and butterflies flitting among the greenery. The elevated lookout tower offers panoramic views of the island – on a clear day, you might even spot the Glass Window Bridge in the distance. It's a peaceful oasis that shows there's more to the Bahamas than just beaches (but don't worry, there are plenty of those too).

  • Location: Banks Road, Governor's Harbour, Eleuthera, Bahamas
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm
  • Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for children

Why Visit: It offers a unique look at the Bahamas' diverse plant life and ecosystems, providing a peaceful contrast to the beaches.

Insider Tip: Join a guided tour to learn about traditional bush medicine and the medicinal uses of various plants.

Swim with Nurse Sharks at Compass Cay

Visitors interacting with friendly nurse sharks in the clear waters of Compass Cay Marina, Exuma, Bahamas
Making friends with the locals at Compass Cay! These nurse sharks are like puppies of the sea - they even enjoy a gentle pat. Still, I couldn't help but hum the Jaws theme...

If swimming with pigs wasn't quirky enough for you, how about taking a dip with some nurse sharks? At Compass Cay in the Exumas, you can do just that. These docile bottom-dwellers have been hand-fed for years, making them about as friendly as sharks can get. Wade into the crystal-clear water of the marina, and watch as these gentle giants glide around your feet. They might even bump against you, looking for a scratch (yes, really). Don't worry, nurse sharks are known for their calm demeanor – they're the golden retrievers of the shark world. Still, it's a thrill to be so close to these magnificent creatures. Just remember, no matter how cute they look, resist the urge to try and hug one!

  • Location: Compass Cay, Exuma, Bahamas
  • Hours: Daylight hours
  • Price: Marina fee around $10 per person, often included in tour packages

Why Visit: It offers a unique, safe opportunity to interact with sharks in their natural environment.

Insider Tip: Wear water shoes to protect your feet from the rough marina bottom, and bring an underwater camera to capture the moment.

Climb the Elbow Reef Lighthouse

Iconic candy-striped Elbow Reef Lighthouse standing tall in Hope Town, Abaco Islands, Bahamas
Climb to the top of Elbow Reef Lighthouse for panoramic views of Hope Town. Fun fact: it's one of the last manual lighthouses in the world. Talk about a workout with a view!

Channel your inner lighthouse keeper at the candy-striped Elbow Reef Lighthouse in Hope Town, Abaco. This 89-foot tall beacon has been guiding ships safely through the waters since 1864, and it's one of the last manual lighthouses in the world. Climb the 101 steps to the top for panoramic views of the surrounding turquoise waters and picturesque Hope Town harbor. If you're lucky (and charming), you might even get to help the lighthouse keeper wind up the mechanism that rotates the light. It's like stepping back in time, but with much better views. Just don't get any ideas about becoming a permanent lighthouse keeper – that job's taken!

  • Location: Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Abaco, Bahamas
  • Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
  • Admission: $5 suggested donation

Why Visit: It offers a unique piece of maritime history and stunning panoramic views of the Abacos.

Insider Tip: Visit in the late afternoon to catch the sunset from the top – it's a view you won't forget.

Free Dive at Dean's Blue Hole

Free diver exploring the depths of the famous Dean's Blue Hole on Long Island, Bahamas
Free diving at Dean's Blue Hole - it's like peering into the eye of the ocean. At 663 feet deep, it's both thrilling and slightly terrifying. Don't worry, I didn't try to touch the bottom!

Ready to channel your inner mermaid (or merman)? Dean's Blue Hole on Long Island is calling your name. This natural wonder is the world's second deepest blue hole, plunging to a depth of 663 feet. The surface is a serene 80-foot wide circle of blue, but as you swim towards the center, the bottom seems to disappear into an abyss. It's both thrilling and slightly unnerving – like peering into the eye of the ocean. Whether you're a seasoned free diver looking to test your limits or just want to float on the surface and peer into the depths, Dean's Blue Hole is a must-visit. Just resist the urge to try and touch the bottom – unless you've secretly grown gills, that is.

  • Location: Clarence Town, Long Island, Bahamas
  • Hours: Open 24/7

Why Visit: It's a unique natural phenomenon offering everything from casual swimming to world-class free diving.

Insider Tip: For the best visibility, visit on a calm, sunny day, preferably in the morning before the wind picks up.

Watch the Flamingo Show at Ardastra Gardens

Flock of pink flamingos performing their famous march at Ardastra Gardens and Conservation Centre, Nassau
Who knew flamingos could march? The flamingo show at Ardastra Gardens is equal parts hilarious and impressive. These pink divas have some serious star power!

Think flamingos are just pretty pink birds that stand on one leg? Think again! At Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre in Nassau, you can watch these fabulous feathered friends strut their stuff in a choreographed marching show. Yes, you read that right – marching flamingos. These Caribbean flamingos, the national bird of the Bahamas, follow commands and perform intricate routines that would put some human dance troupes to shame. It's equal parts hilarious and impressive. Between shows, explore the lush gardens and meet other native Bahamian animals. Who knew flamingos had such star power?

  • Location: Nassau, New Providence Island, Bahamas
  • Hours: Daily 9am-5pm
  • Admission: Adults $18.90, Children (4-12) $9.45

Why Visit: It offers a unique and entertaining wildlife experience, showcasing the Bahamas' national bird in a fun and educational way.

Insider Tip: The flamingo shows happen three times daily – plan your visit around these times for the full experience.

Sail Through the Exuma Cays

Sailboat moored in crystal clear waters near a secluded beach in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas
Sailing through the Exuma Cays is like navigating through a screensaver. With 365 islands, you could explore a new one every day for a year!

If you've ever dreamed of sailing through a screensaver, the Exuma Cays are your chance to live that dream. This string of 365 islands and cays (one for every day of the year – coincidence? We think not!) offers some of the most spectacular sailing in the world. Rent a boat or join a tour to island-hop through this aquatic playground. Drop anchor at secluded beaches only accessible by boat, snorkel in gin-clear waters, and maybe even spot Johnny Depp's private island (no, really, he owns one here). From the famous swimming pigs of Big Major Cay to the pristine beauty of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, each day brings a new adventure. Just be warned – after sailing here, your standards for beautiful beaches will be forever skewed.

  • Location: Exuma, Bahamas
  • Hours: Daylight hours, tour times vary
  • Price: Full-day sailing tours start around $200 per person

Why Visit: It offers unparalleled sailing and island-hopping experiences in some of the most beautiful waters in the world.

Insider Tip: Pack a waterproof bag for your belongings – you'll want to jump in the water at every stop!

Travel Back in Time at Pirates of Nassau Museum

Visitor interacting with lifelike pirate exhibit aboard replica ship at Pirates of Nassau Museum
Unleashing my inner buccaneer at the Pirates of Nassau Museum. Did you know Anne Bonny, one of the most famous female pirates, operated in these waters? Arrrr you ready for some history?

Ahoy, matey! Ready to unleash your inner buccaneer? Swashbuckle your way into the Pirates of Nassau Museum for a glimpse into the golden age of piracy. Step aboard a replica of the pirate ship "Revenge" and explore interactive exhibits that bring the swashbuckling days of yore to life. Learn about infamous pirates like Blackbeard and Anne Bonny, who once roamed these waters. The museum does a great job of balancing the romantic myths of piracy with the harsh realities of life on the high seas. By the end, you'll be saying "Arrr" like a pro and possibly eyeing your rum with a newfound appreciation. Just resist the urge to commandeer a ship on your way out – modern laws frown on that sort of thing.

  • Location: King and George Street, Nassau, Bahamas
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday 9am-12pm
  • Admission: Adults $13.50, Children (4-17) $6.75

Why Visit: It offers an entertaining and educational look at the Bahamas' pirate history, perfect for both kids and adults.

Insider Tip: Ask about the "Pirates Passport" - it's a fun way for kids (and kids at heart) to engage with the exhibits.

Relax on Blue Lagoon Island

Tourists lounging in beach hammocks on the idyllic Blue Lagoon Island, near Nassau, Bahamas
Found my slice of paradise on Blue Lagoon Island. Between the dolphin encounters and these beach hammocks, I might have just earned my PhD in Relaxation!

Need a break from the hustle and bustle of Nassau? Hop on a boat to Blue Lagoon Island, a private island oasis just a short ride from the capital. This slice of paradise offers everything you'd expect from a Bahamian beach day – powdery white sand, crystal-clear water, and plenty of palm trees for shade. But the real stars here are the animal encounters. Swim with friendly dolphins, meet sea lions, or even get up close with stingrays. If you prefer your wildlife a bit less... wild, rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the calm lagoon. With beach hammocks aplenty, it's the perfect spot to work on your professional relaxation skills. Who knows? You might even qualify for a PhD in Chilling Out by the end of the day.

  • Location: Salt Cay, near Nassau, Bahamas
  • Hours: Daily, times vary by season
  • Price: Beach day passes start at $59 for adults, animal encounters extra

Why Visit: It offers a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure, with beautiful beaches and unique animal encounters.

Insider Tip: Book the earliest departure to the island to enjoy some quiet time before the crowds arrive.

Explore Fort Charlotte

Tourist admiring the panoramic view of Nassau Harbor from a cannon at historic Fort Charlotte
Defending Nassau from Fort Charlotte (well, pretending to). Fun fact: despite its imposing size, this fort never fired a shot in battle. Talk about all bark and no bite!

Attention history buffs and cannon enthusiasts! Fort Charlotte, perched high above Nassau, is calling your name. This massive fortress, built in the late 18th century, never actually fired a shot in battle. But don't let that fool you – it's still an impressive sight. Wander through underground passages, peer into dank dungeons, and imagine life as a British soldier stationed in paradise (tough gig, right?). Climb to the fort's highest point for panoramic views of Nassau Harbor and Paradise Island. And if you're feeling brave, check out the old-school bathrooms – let's just say plumbing has come a long way since then. It's a great spot to escape the heat and soak up some history, all while pretending you're defending the island from marauding pirates.

  • Location: West Bay Street, Nassau, Bahamas
  • Hours: Daily 8am-4pm
  • Admission: Adults $5, Children under 12 free

Why Visit: It offers a fascinating glimpse into colonial history with stunning views of Nassau and the harbor.

Insider Tip: Time your visit for the cannon firing demonstration – it's loud, smoky, and totally awesome.

Structuring Your Bahamas Adventure: A 7-Day Itinerary

Ready to turn all these amazing experiences into an unforgettable Bahamas vacation? Here's a 7-day itinerary to help you make the most of your time in paradise. Remember, this is just a suggestion – feel free to mix and match based on your interests and energy levels. After all, sometimes the best island experiences happen when you least expect them!

Days 1-2: Nassau and Paradise Island

  • Start your trip in Nassau, the vibrant capital city
  • Explore downtown Nassau, including the Queen's Staircase and Parliament Square
  • Visit the Pirates of Nassau Museum
  • Enjoy dinner and try your luck at Baha Mar Casino
  • Spend a day at Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, enjoying Aquaventure Water Park
  • End the day with a sunset cocktail at John Watling's Distillery

Travel Tip: Use the local jitney buses to get around Nassau – they're cheap and give you a taste of local life.

Days 3-4: Exuma Adventures

  • Take a day trip to the Exuma Cays
  • Swim with the famous pigs at Big Major Cay
  • Snorkel in Thunderball Grotto
  • Visit Compass Cay to swim with nurse sharks
  • Spend a day sailing and island-hopping in the Exumas
  • Enjoy fresh seafood at a local restaurant back in Nassau

Travel Tip: Book your Exuma tours in advance, especially during peak season – they can fill up quickly!

Day 5: Nature and History Day

  • Visit Ardastra Gardens to see the marching flamingos
  • Explore Fort Charlotte
  • Spend the afternoon at Clifton Heritage National Park
  • End the day with dinner at Arawak Cay Fish Fry

Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes – you'll be doing a lot of walking today!

Day 6: Beach and Water Adventures

  • Take a morning trip to Blue Lagoon Island
  • Enjoy water sports or animal encounters
  • Return to Nassau for an afternoon shark diving experience with Stuart Cove
  • Relax with a sunset dinner cruise

Travel Tip: Don't forget your underwater camera – today will be full of photo opportunities!

Day 7: Relaxation or More Adventure

Option 1: Relaxation

  • Spend a lazy day at Cable Beach
  • Indulge in a spa treatment at one of the resorts
  • Do some souvenir shopping at the Straw Market
  • Enjoy a farewell dinner at a fine dining restaurant

Option 2: More Adventure

  • Take a day trip to Harbour Island to see the pink sand beaches
  • Visit the Glass Window Bridge on Eleuthera
  • Return to Nassau for a final night of Bahamian cuisine and music

Travel Tip: For the adventure option, book your ferry tickets to Harbour Island in advance.

Remember, this itinerary just scratches the surface of what the Bahamas has to offer. Don't be afraid to ask locals for recommendations – they often know the best hidden gems. And always leave some room for spontaneity – sometimes the unplanned moments become the best memories!

Whether you stick to this itinerary or chart your own course through the islands, one thing's for sure – your Bahamas adventure will leave you with a treasure trove of memories (and probably a strong desire to extend your stay indefinitely). From pink sand beaches to swimming pigs, from pirate lore to pristine coral reefs, the Bahamas offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. So pack your sunscreen, bring your sense of wonder, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through this Caribbean paradise. Who knows? You might even find yourself planning your return trip before your tan has faded!

West Parker
West Parker
Article updated:
July 18, 2024 8:19 AM

West Parker, a Cornell University School of Hotel Administration graduate, has spent two decades as the secret weapon of the jet-set elite, crafting bespoke adventures that redefine luxury travel. Now a resident writer for Town & Tourist, this 45-year-old "Architect of Extraordinary Journeys" combines razor-sharp insights with unparalleled industry connections to deliver experiences that even the most discerning globetrotters can't help but rave about. West's expertise spans from exclusive real estate to fine dining, making him the go-to strategist for those who demand nothing but the extraordinary in their travels.

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