Wednesday, June 12, 2024

35 Top Activities & Things to Do

Visiting The Bahamas was like a dream come for me! I mean, who doesn’t love beautiful beaches and a laidback vibe? And now I want to share my favorite picks for the top things to do in this dreamy destination.

With over 700 islands and cays to explore, there’s always something exciting waiting for you here. Whether you want to relax on stunning white sandy beaches, swim with adorable pigs, or uncover hidden treasures, the Bahamas has it all.

So, grab your sunscreen, slip into your flip-flops, and get ready to check off some serious items from your bucket list.

The Best Activities, Attractions & Things to Do in The Bahamas

The Best Activities, Attractions & Things to Do in The Bahamas

1. Snorkel (or Scuba Dive) Andros Great Barrier Reef 

Submerged shipwrecks, underwater blue holes and the third largest barrier reef in the world make the waters around Andros Great Barrier Reef some of the best and most scenic to scuba dive in. The underwater blue holes are home to some of the most colorful trumpetfish, parrotfish and speckled scorpionfish in these seas. Here you will undoubtedly find the most beautiful array of marine life for your amazement.

2. Ride the Leap of Faith Water Slide at the Atlantis

Imagine riding an almost vertical water slide through a shark-infested tank!! Yes, at the 141-acre Atlantis Aquaventure waterpark, you will get to do just that and more. There are several waterslides on premise, but for me it is the sheer drop of the “Leap of Faith” that is the most thrilling.

The Atlantis Leap of Faith

3. Eat the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay

While there are plenty of fine dining opportunities in all the high-end resorts on the islands, if you want to have one of the most authentic culinary experiences then you should really try out the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay, a short walking distance from the Western Esplanade of Nassau.

Here you will find a cluster of shacks that whip up some of the best traditional Bahamian fish fry. I ordered the cracked conch and it was delish!

TIP: If you go on a Sunday the place will be buzzing with locals, and you might get the chance to be entertained by Bahamaian tunes. Don’t forget to bring some cash, since many vendors prefer it over cards.

4. Visit Ardastra Gardens, Zoo, and Conservation Center

Located at the heart of Nassau, the Ardastra Gardens, Zoo, and Conservation Center comprises over four acres of dense tropical gardens home to a spectacular collection of flowers, trees, and animal species (most of which are birds).

It also serves as the breeding ground for Bahama’s national bird (and what the zoo is known for), the Caribbean flamingo.

From hand-feeding parrots to meeting the majestic Bahamian boa constrictor to watching the marching performance from the Caribbean flamingos, it will surely be a breathtaking experience for the whole family!

Flamingos at Ardastra Gardens

5. Get Insight at the Bahamas Historical Society Museum

Every place has a story to tell, and the Bahamas has its fair share of rich history behind it. If you are looking for an enriching experience of the islands’ past, you need not look further than the Bahamas Historical Society Museum!

Lady Arthur, the wife of then-governor Sir Raynor Arthur, founded the museum in 1959. It houses a collection of artifacts, memorabilia, photographs, and art, from different points of the Bahamas history, including ones dating back to the island’s natives: the Lucayan people.

6. Explore Blue Holes National Park

If you are fond of diving, you’ve probably come upon the term ‘blue hole’ at least once, and there is plenty of that in Blue Holes National Park on the island of Andros.

As the name implies, it is known for its many blue holes that contain unique and exotic cavefish and invertebrates within its 40,000-acre area. And as you may have guessed, it is a haven for divers looking to explore these underwater wonders!

Aside from the blue holes and fascinating marine life, pine trees and several species of birds have also made the park their home.

Blue Holes National Park

7. Relax at the Private Blue Lagoon Island (Salt Cay)

When it comes to a relaxing and authentic Bahamian experience, the privately-owned Blue Lagoon Island is the place to be.

From its breathtaking blue waters, hidden lagoons, pristine white sands, beautiful vegetation, and numerous wildlife, which includes dolphins and sea lions, it’s no wonder the island is one of the top tourist attractions in The Bahamas.

So whether you are going on a walking or Segway tour around the island, swimming with dolphins, taking in the many scenic sites around (don’t miss The Tower!), and more, this is one bucket list experience that will not disappoint!

Blue Lagoon Island

8. Walk Along Cable Beach

One of the most popular (if not the most popular) beaches in New Providence Island, Cable Beach is a two-and-a-half-mile stretch of warm white sands lined up by five luxurious resorts and plenty of opportunities to relax and have fun.

Though the waters and the vibe from tourists are certainly inviting, a (quiet) stroll in and around Cable Beach is one activity that is often overlooked.

If you are planning to enjoy a quiet stroll along the seashore, I suggest going early in the morning just as the sun rises. Inland, there’s also a nice little spot of nature along the Baha Mar Boulevard (south of the convention center), complete with wooden pathways that lead to a small lake.

Cable Beach

9. Explore Clifton Heritage Park

Located at the western end of New Providence Island, Clifton Heritage National Park is known for its historical and archaeological sites spanning 208 acres.

Some of the notable sites include the remnants of the Great House, the Sacred Space (also known as Genesis Garden), underwater sculptures, and the James Bond wrecks!

10. Swim with the Nurse Sharks at Compass Cay

Much like the swimming pigs, this will be another unique and interesting wildlife activity to add to your list of life experiences. Nurse sharks aren’t quite as big, or dangerous, as their white shark cousins, and so you get to actually swim in the water with them with no cages or anything separating the two of you! It might sound scary but, I assure you, it’s more thrilling in a positive way than anything!

This is another activity that unless you book a private charter, most tours include many other stops too. Exuma Water Sports offers a full-day day tour that includes the sunken plane wreck, Thunderball grotto and the swimming pigs.

Nurse Sharks at Compass Cay

11. Plunge Into Dean’s Blue Hole

What is a Blue Hole? A “Blue Hole” is a sinkhole that is not only filled with water but has a submerged entrance found beneath the surface. While there are many blue holes in the world, Dean’s Blue Hole stands out because it is the deepest known to man. At 663 feet (202 meters), Dean’s Blue Hole is just west of Clarence Town on Long Island and on good days, the water is so clear that you can see up to 115 feet! It is a wonderful site for divers willing to test their mettle.

You can book a tour to Dean’s Blue Hole through Robert’s Island Adventures.

Dean's Blue Hole

12. Go Deep-Sea Fishing

Being surrounded by large bodies of water, including the Atlantic Ocean, the Bahamas is also a haven for deep-sea fishing. Some of the most popular spots include the Rum Cay and Bimini islands, where you can catch large ocean fish like marlin, wahoo, yellow tuna, and more. Plus, the picturesque backdrop of the islands is simply breathtaking.

So whether you just want to experience the thrill of battling against big game fish or looking for that biggest catch to check off your bucket list, this is one experience you will surely remember for years to come!

13. Eat Conch

Pronounced “conk”, this savory sea snail might seem bizarre to many tourists but it’s actually a local delicacy in the Bahamas (and you can easily get some at Arawak Cay!). The traditional way to eat it is in a “conch salad” where it is served raw with onions, sweet peppers and citrus juices. If, however, you are not too sure about eating raw snail then you can try the “cracked” version that is fried and buttered or the curried version. I ate one straight from the sea!

14. Explore Elbow Cay (Don’t Miss the Elbow Reef Lighthouse!)

Elbow Cay is one of the Bahamas’ hidden gems, located in the Abaco Islands a couple of miles north of Nassau. Even though it is only eight miles long, it doesn’t mean there is not much to see and experience on this charming island.

Starting at the north part of the cay, don’t miss the chance to see one of its iconic landmarks: the red-and-white striped Elbow Reef Lighthouse! You can also enrich yourself with the island’s history at the Wyannie Malone Museum or visit the island’s main village of Hope Town, where you can pay your respects at the Cholera Cemetery.

There is also a popular surfing spot at the island’s center, outside the Abaco Inn. Of course, the stunning beaches around the coastlines are worth a visit, especially Tahiti Beach on the southern part of the cay.

15. See the Glass Window Bridge on Eleuthera Island

Originally a natural arch bridge that has long been destroyed by hurricanes, the now man-made Glass Window Bridge at the island chain of Eleuthera (50 miles east of Nassau) is a sight to behold. With only a width of 30 feet, it is also dubbed as the ‘narrowest place on Earth.’

It got its name from an artwork named ‘Glass Windows, Bahamas’ by Winslow Homer (a landscape artist) in 1885, who was also one of the fortunate people to have seen the original land bridge and put it in painting form.

What makes this place a must-see is that you will get to see a contrast of colors between two bodies of water: the dark-blue color of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the bright-turquoise waters of the Bight of Eleuthera on the other.

There is also a spot under the bridge called the ‘Narrow Passage’ where you will see the two bodies of water come together.

16. Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park

Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park is a stunning stretch of water that is the world’s first land and sea park, as well as an ecological preserve and wildlife refuge known for its magnificent marine environment.

Keep your eyes peeled for some fascinating critters on land, like the rare Bahamian rock iguanas and the native rodent-like hutias. However, the most thrilling part is under the sea, where you get to see different marine life such as angelfish, reef sharks, Nassau groupers, and more.

The different cays that make up the national park offer various activities, with scuba diving and snorkeling being the most popular. Attractions you should not miss out on include the Submerged Plane and Sea Aquarium, and many more.

17. Play a Round at Exuma’s Greg Norman Championship Course

If you are into golfing or want to experience it at least once (or more), why not go for a round or two at the 18-hole championship golf course at the Sandals Emerald Bay Resort & Spa?

Designed by golf legend Greg Norman, the 18-hole golf course offers stunning views of the coastline and is one of the most scenic golf courses in the Caribbean.

For the more experienced golfer, six signature holes will surely test your skills, especially the ones on the rocky part of the peninsula.

18. Be Amongst the Plants at the Garden of the Groves

Garden of the Groves is a botanical garden in Freeport, located at the eastern end of Midshipman Road. It also remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Bahamas.

While the garden is best known for its many native and exotic flora and fauna and cascading waterfalls, you’ll also find quite a few surprises inside its 12-acre area.

One of these is the beautiful hilltop chapel surrounded by nature, which is a favorite place for weddings and, of course, prayer and meditation. There is also the Grand Bahama Labyrinth, which is a replica of an ancient sacred Christian pathway.

19. Go Bonefishing

Try your hand at fly-fishing for the elusive bonefish in the place that is world-renowned for bonefishing. When found, the challenging fish can put up a fight which makes it on every anglers bucket list. You can experience it on a half-day tour with Island Routes or give Bonefish Stevie a call.

20. Try Snuba Diving

Nope, that is not a typo! Snuba diving is said to be a combination of the words snorkeling and scuba diving. It brings the best of both worlds: the freedom of having no heavy equipment to carry around while still getting to breathe oxygen as you swim and dive.

It involves a long hose with which to breathe in connected to air cylinders floating on a raft. Plus, you don’t need to be a great swimmer or even a certification to get started on this unique experience!

Try Snuba Diving

21. Walk the Pink Sands Beach on Harbor Island

You hear people talk of sunbathing on pristine white sandy beaches around the world but have you ever been to a pink sandy beach? In the Bahamas, you have both options. There are the white sand beaches that are very much a dime a dozen here and then there are the rare pink sandy beaches.

The most famous is Pink Sands Beach that can be found on Harbor Island. This is three miles of picture perfect pink sand fading off into aqua blue waters. This phenomenal pink color comes from a microorganism called foraminifera and minuscule pieces of coral and shells that are washed ashore. You really must see it to believe it!

Pink Sands Beach on Harbor Island

22. See Iguanas

Did you know that these Northern Bahamian Rock Iguanas can only be found on Exuma Island? They may not be as fluffy and cute and friendly as our domesticated pet friends, but they’re still endearing to see out and about. Especially as they’re endangered, you may want to put some caution into what you’ll feed them.

PS: this tour from Nassau will take you there: Exuma Swimming Pigs, Sharks and More

23. Do a Tasting at John Watling’s Distillery

A short stroll from Downtown Nassau to the historical 1789 Buena Vista Estate at Delany Street will take you to one of the top (rum) distilleries in the Bahamas, the John Watling’s Distillery.

From tasting their premium-quality rums, cocktails, and other beverages in their English-style tavern to learning about a bit of Bahamian history and the founding of the brand to exploring the estate and its art galleries, it will surely be an immersive experience that you should try in the Bahamas!

A fun fact about the estate is that it was featured at the opening scene of the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig. There is also signage where the actor landed after jumping the estate’s wall.

24. Take the Trails Through Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve

The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve is a national park in Governor’s Harbor at Eleuthera that studies and propagates different plant species native and endemic in The Bahamas.

There are tons of trails you can follow inside the park, which will take you to different plant (and wildlife) species ranging from mangroves to medicinal plants to ornamental plants to edible ones. You can find the trails and the list of plants on each path here.

Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve

25. Explore Lucayan National Park

Lucayan National Park is a little out of place in a land riddled with white sandy beaches (and some pink ones). However, this 40-acre jungle makes for the perfect getaway for birdwatchers who still want to enjoy island life. The wild and beautiful landscape has mangrove swamps, beaches, boardwalks and pine forests that play host to some incredible creatures. It is also home to some of the longest underwater cave systems in the world.

26. Gamble at Atlantis Paradise Island Casino

If you are looking for some fun and thrilling games that will test your skill and luck, then come play at the Atlantis Paradise Island Casino!

Take your pick on any of its games and casinos: from the state-of-the-art Atlantis Casino to an adults-only poolscape (exclusive for guests of The Cove) to enjoying a drink or two while playing at the Sea Glass.

There are also other activities to enjoy, like seeing and interacting with dolphins and sea lions at Dolphin Cay, pampering yourself at the Mandara Spa, and so much more!

27. Shop at Port Lucaya Marketplace

When visiting Freeport in the Grand Bahama Island, don’t miss the Port Lucaya Marketplace. Also known as “The Jewel of Grand Bahama Island,” this open-air marketplace is a haven for shoppers of all kinds.

Whether you are hunting for items such as clothes or souvenirs, exciting your taste buds at one of their restaurants, or even dancing to the sound of music during a night of partying, you will have a great time at Port Lucaya Marketplace!

28. Walk Up (& Down) Queen’s Staircase

Also known as the 66 steps, it is a notable landmark located in the Fort Fincastle Historic Complex near Bennet’s Hill in Downtown Nassau. Between 1793 and 1794, slaves hewed out the limestone rock to make the stairs, with water cascading down from the sides to a pool below.

The steps were named in honor of Queen Victoria during the 19th century, who ended slavery in the British Empire. Coincidentally, the number of steps in the stairs was equal to the number of years Queen Victoria reigned.

29. Eat Rum Cake

Who doesn’t love a good cake every now and then? At Mom’s Bakery the cake is not just good, it’s spectacular! And while they have a couple of options to choose from, why not go Caribbean style and get the to-die-for rum cake that crumbles to the touch and melts in your mouth? I can promise that you won’t be disappointed by its incredible flavors.

For added memories, if mama herself is there, get a selfie together (I did!). FYI: Mom’s Bakery is right next door to Santana’s. 

Rum Cake bought at Mom's Bakery

30. Spend the Afternoon on Stocking Island

Stocking Island is a five-minute ferry ride from Nassau, and even though the island is lightly inhabited, it is home to some fascinating places and experiences in The Bahamas.

If you are looking to spend an afternoon here, the perfect place to visit is the Chat ‘N’ Chill Bar & Restaurant, located at a sandbar beach called the Spit. Their Sunday Pig Roast is definitely a must-try!

Opposite the Chat ‘N’ Chill, there is also an inlet known as the Hurricane Hole, which features a blue hole that is perfect for snorkelers and divers.

Spend the Afternoon on Stocking Island

31. See the Swimming Pigs

Somewhere out there in the Outer Exuma Islands is Big Major Cay, a small island ruled by pigs—that’s right, actual pigs! It is in fact one of the biggest attractions on this island. The pigs will swim out to your boat as you approach the island and depending on how friendly they are on the day they will hang around, swim with you guys and have some of your lunch as well.

If you are pressed for time, there is a closer piggy island called White Bay. I booked the half-day tour there with Exuma Water Sports and it was GREAT! You can read about is here: Pig Beach: The Bahama’s Swimming Pigs of Exuma Island. For the full day tour that includes a nurse shark swim check out this tour (FYI it starts from Nassau): Famous Swimming Pigs Tour Bahamas or From Nassau: Exuma Swimming Pigs, Sharks and More

32. See Versailles Gardens & The Cloisters

The Versailles Terraced Gardens is one of the highlights of The Ocean Club resort at Paradise Island, stretching over 75 feet wide in a multi-terraced landscape set in a rectangular design.

Serving as the centerpiece of the gardens is the French Cloister. It is a 14th-century Augustinian monastery that has been dismantled and imported from Europe and then reassembled stone by stone here.

Not only is the whole landscape Instagrammable, but it is also perfect for occasions such as weddings and galas!

33. Go on a Stingray Adventure

If you are looking for something more different other than swimming with dolphins or nurse sharks, then you should try going on a stingray adventure instead!

On the Great Harbour Cay, The Berry Islands, you will find the private island called Stingray City. Here, you will get to learn a lot about (Bahamian) stingrays and how to handle them, as well as a chance to swim, pet, and even feed them.


Stingray Adventure

34. Explore Thunderball Grotto

Having received its name from a James Bond movie, and having been the filming location to a selection of Hollywood movies, Thunderball Grotto is a gorgeous spot in the waters of Exuma Islands. It may not be a looker from the outside, but you really shouldn’t judge the whole thing by its covers. Once you reach the inside area of the quirky island, you’ll see for yourself just how special it is. There are caves, holes, and underwater areas to swim through, and not only will there be spots where you’ll be greeted by beaming sun rays, you’ll also find yourself surrounded by hundreds of colorful fishes.

Unless you book a private charter, most tours to Thunderball Grotto include many other stops too (bonus!). Exuma Water Sports offers a full-day day tour that includes the sunken plane wreck, swimming pigs, a sand bar and nurse sharks.

35. Tiki Bikini Hut

There are plenty of spectacular bars to go around in The Bahamas, and Tiki Bikini Hut is one of them.

Located at Junkanoo Beach, close to Downtown Nassau and the cruise line docks, you can enjoy the upbeat atmosphere while having some drinks and food (try the conch fritters!) after a long day of adventuring. And since the seats extend out to the beach, you can enjoy the views of the ocean and the cruise ships as well.

36. Wyannie Malone Historical Museum

The Wyannie Malone Historical Museum is another must-see place in Elbow Cay, where you will have an enriching experience about the Bahamas’ heritage through historical photos, manuscripts, artifacts, and many other antique items.

During the month of March, the museum sponsors Heritage Day for the community, which highlights events of the Bahamas’ history through skits, songs, and dance.

37. Ride in a Personal Underwater Sub

Apart from the 700 islands, the Bahamas has about 2,400 cays (coral reefs). These reefs are home to some of the most colorful and spectacular marine life known to man. One of the most unique ways to explore some of these reefs is in a personal underwater Sub, which looks like a moped with a helmet.

Your underwater experience will begin with a quick lesson on how to pilot a submarine. You will then head out to one of the amazing coral reefs to feed the fish, explore the living coral and take beautiful pictures/videos of the underwater world of the Bahamas. You can book your underwater SUB here and don’t forget to bring your GoPro so you can get photos like these:

38. Stay at Club Med on Columbus Isle

If you are looking for pure luxury, pristine white sand beaches and world-class scuba diving, Club Med Columbus Isle definitely delivers. The secluded, all-inclusive resort is tucked away on the island of San Salvador far from the bustle of tourists.

Here are just a few reasons why you should strongly consider holidays in the Bahamas with Club Med on Columbus Isle:

  • It has a gorgeous white sand beach that stretches along Bonefish Bay
  • The bungalows are each painted a different color of the rainbow and have quaint wraparound porches
  • The superior Spa is absolutely rejuvenating with many services to choose from

From the service to the cuisine and even the setting at Club Med on Columbus Isle…everything is just world class. It will make your Bahamas visit absolutely relaxing and luxurious.

The Bahamas is indeed one of every tourist and travelers’ dream destinations, with its picturesque beauty, rich history, and fun, relaxing vibe. If the white sands of its many beaches or its crystal-like turquoise waters are not enough to draw you in, the many unique experiences and things to do in the Bahamas certainly will.

So keep those adventures coming and start making memories through your bucket list, one checkmark at a time!

Essential Tips for Visiting The Bahamas

Getting There: Nassau Airport is a major hub and most airlines will fly into it. You can easily check for the best fare deals at Skyscanner, which also has the option to choose ‘cheapest month’ as the departure to find the lowest priced dates to fly to your destination. From the airport to the city center, you can use the take a bus, taxi or rent a car.

Where to Stay in The Bahamas: It’s best to stay near the city center, public transportation or the area that you will be spending the most time in. Club Med Columbus Isle is a great choice in the Cockburn Town district. For something on the less expensive side, try Pelican Bay Hotel located in Freeport. For a hotel with a little more extravagance, book a room at the The Cove Eleuthera. Or search some great deals on hotels of your choice at Booking.com. If you’re looking for more of a home atmosphere (or are traveling with a group of people), head over to VRBO that has houses, apartments and even just a room for rent in every price range. 

Getting Around: Driving in a new destination can be a bit of a challenge, but if you choose to rent a car, RentalCars.com has great deals. If you are not renting a car, there are plenty of other options. Taxis are available all over the city. For a more budget friendly option, you can take the jitney buses which are available for some of the islands but renting a car is the most convenient and the most budget friendly option. 

Best Tours in The Bahamas: You can find some of the top tours at Get Your Guide or Viator, and here are some of the top ones. tours:

Insurance: It’s always a good idea to travel fully insured so you are protected in case of trip cancellations or medical emergencies. You can check out pricing at Travelex Insurance

Universal Adapter: Your American plugged equipment will need an adapter. I use the Celtic Universal Adapter, which has brought me around the world with no problems.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I earn a commission that helps to keep this blog running—at no extra cost to you. For more information read my full disclosure.

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