The 5 Best Beaches in Bahamas

When it comes to the sheer variety of beaches, no other place beats these islands

(Courtesy of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation)
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By Tim Johnson

The world is full of beautiful beaches, and you can make an argument for any number of sultry destinations as being the best. But there’s probably no place on earth that can boast the sheer variety and vivid, almost otherworldly wonder of the beaches in the Bahamas.

Here, the water is just bluer, the sand whiter, the greenery a little more verdant. The beers at the beach bar are somehow a bit colder. With 700 islands—only 30 of them inhabited—plus 2,400 smaller cays, the Bahamas are a tropical marvel. The names—Bimini, Abaco, Ragged Island—ring out like a Jimmy Buffett song, spreading out just west of Florida and stretching almost all the way down to Hispaniola.

Come here and you’ll be spoiled for choice. Here’s a guide to some of the finest locales that will provide an unforgettable swim.

Big Major Cay (Pig Beach)

Epoch Times Photo
 

(Courtesy of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation)

These pigs are famous—they’ve been featured prominently on social media and on a reality show. People aren’t quite sure how this family of about 20 porkers ended up on an uninhabited sweep of sand in the Exumas, a group of 365 islands. Legend has it that they’re the ancestors of animals marooned by a long-ago shipwreck. Today, they survive by drinking the water provided by natural springs and chomping down treats—which are plentiful—provided by passing sailors and day-trip visitors. They’ve been a boon for local tourism, with outfitters offering excursions to “Pig Beach,” a trip that usually includes a sandbar picnic, snorkeling in a grotto featured in two different James Bond movies, and a dip with nurse sharks. The grand finale: the pigs, which come—snorting and eager—to meet the boat. Get your camera ready.

Paradise Island (Atlantis)

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(Forest Simon/Unsplash)

No, it’s not a desert island—rather the opposite, in fact. But just a short drive from the capital city of Nassau, the mega-popular Atlantis remains a magnet for sun-seekers across the globe. It all started in the 1990s, when Paradise Island, once a legendary destination, was flagging. A top hotelier transformed this sunny spot into a resort with thousands of rooms, 20 swimming areas, a marina, and waterslides modeled on Mayan temples, plus the world’s largest open-air marine environment—11 million gallons and more than 200 species numbering some 50,000 creatures. It’s possible to visit and never actually dip your toe in the Atlantic, getting sidetracked by the 30,000-foot spa, the golf course, or the casino. But there are three very good beaches totaling five miles in all, from the busy Atlantis Beach to the (relative) quiet of Cove Beach.

Grand Bahama (Gold Rock Beach)

The northernmost island in the chain, just 55 miles east of the Florida coast (reachable even by fast ferry from Fort Lauderdale), Grand Bahama’s unhurried pace feels a long way from the hustle and bustle of Nassau. Hammered by Hurricane Dorian in 2019, the island is rising again. Here, you can find your own stretch of lovely, natural sand, perhaps at a place like Gold Rock Beach, which is part of Lucayan National Park. When the tide rolls out, the width of the sand expands dramatically, forming what locals call Grand Bahama’s “welcome mat.” Swim, snorkel, and paddle around in the calm waters, and when you’re ready for a little more adventure, cross the road to the northern part of the national park and the Lucayan Caverns, the world’s longest surveyed cave system.

Epoch Times Photo
 

(Courtesy of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation

Great Abaco (Green Turtle Cay)

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(pics721/Shutterstock)

Three miles long and just a half-mile wide, Green Turtle Cay is one of the placid “out islands” that sit just off the serpentine coast of Great Abaco. Despite its small size, you’ll find a variety of excellent beaches among the coves and bays, many of them lined with thriving coral gardens. At Gillam Bay, take a walk from the main town (home to just 450 people) and search for shells, and Bita Bay Beach is perfect for those learning to snorkel, with two coral reefs under sheltered waters just a short swim from the sand. And if you’re really up for some serious underwater exploration, join one of the legendary local snorkel or scuba dive guides and immerse yourself for an afternoon.

Nassau (Junkanoo Beach)

Epoch Times Photo
 

(Serge Freeman/Shutterstock)

Sometimes it’s great to be close to the action. Set just steps from downtown Nassau, this beach has a lot going on. While there are plenty of tourists (it’s the closest beach to the cruise port), Junkanoo is also a perfect place to see a local slice of life. Come on a Saturday and join Bahamians as they barbecue the afternoon away, the scent of fresh conch, the national seafood, cooking on the grill. Grab a rum punch at a beach shack, and watch the big ships go by. Then wander over to the streets of the capital city for a little more fun—rum distilleries and food tours, plus 20 blocks of vibrant shops and restaurants in the center of Nassau, all sit just nearby.

Toronto-based writer Tim Johnson is always traveling in search of the next great story. Having visited 140 countries across all seven continents, he’s tracked lions on foot in Botswana, dug for dinosaur bones in Mongolia, and walked among a half-million penguins on South Georgia Island. He contributes to some of North America’s largest publications, including CNN Travel, Bloomberg, and The Globe and Mail.

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