So many islands, so few vacation days. When it comes to The Bahamas, the coral archipelago that begins only 50 miles east of Miami and covers an area of roughly 5,300 square miles, the sky really is the limit. But with more than 700 islands to choose from (many of them uninhabited), how do you know which one is right for you? Good news: This sun-drenched Caribbean paradise has an island for every personality type. Just keep reading.
The Beach Bum: Grand Bahama
Okay, you won’t be hard-pressed to find amazing beaches anywhere in the Bahamas, but only a few islands offer amazing beaches within stone’s throw of thriving city life. In Grand Bahama you can join the throngs of tourists at Xanadu Beach, have the ocean to yourself at secluded Gold Rock Beach (near the Lucayan Caverns, the world’s largest surveyed underground cave system) and enjoy resort life at Lucaya Beach—all within manageable distance of Freeport, the second largest Bahamian city and the island’s multi-culti capital.
The Foodie: Nassau/Paradise Island
Man and woman cannot live on bread alone and in The Bahamas they need not. A common point of entry for visitors to The Bahamas are the city of Nassau and nearby Paradise Island and both offer a bounty of culinary delights. Pig out on local dishes like conch, rock lobster, baked macaroni and cheese and Johnny Cakes at the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay, a collection of food stalls and trucks and a local institution. There’s also 10 restaurants at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, 21 restaurants at Atlantis Bahamas plus local favorites like Bahamian Cookin’ Restaurant and Bar. At day’s end, get boozy and woozy at local distillery John Watling’s.
The Gambler: Bimini
Remember how we said The Bahamas begin only 50 miles east of mainland Florida? That would be Bimini, a chain of islands where the stakes are high thanks to Resorts World Bimini. This 750-acre beachfront resort is part of the same family that includes outposts in Singapore and Las Vegas (coming 2020) and includes a 10,000 square-foot gaming floor featuring table games like baccarat, roulette, craps and blackjack, plus more than 160 slot machines, a high-limit salon and panoramic ocean views. Good luck!
The Diver: San Salvador
Remember that guy Christopher Columbus? He purportedly landed at San Salvador on October 12, 1492 kicking off European exploration of the so-called “New World.” But not all boats made it safely to land and San Salvador is home to more than 50 shipwrecks best explored by strapping on scuba gear and jumping in fin first. Thanks to an abundance of shallow-water reefs, snorkeling is another beloved island pastime. Beloved sites include Devil’s Claw, Vicky’s Reef and French Bay.
The Instagrammer: Harbour Island
Forget about the Florida Panhandle’s white sand beaches and the black lava coastline of Hawaii’s Big Island and instead head to Harbour Island to up your social cred via the island’s biggest attraction—Pink Sand Beach. Stretching for several miles along the island’s eastern shore, this famous beach manages to pink outside the box thanks to microscopic coral insects with pink shells that eventually die and mesh with sand and bits of coral to give the beach its gorgeous coloring. As for your Instagram feed? Your followers are gonna love this.
The Golfer: Abacos Islands
It’s par for the course to wanna work on your swing while also working on your tan. Enter The Abacos, a group of islands and cays that form a 120-mile-long chain extending over 650 square miles. Sporting is a big deal here, think boating, sailing and fishing—and golf. At the Abaco Club on Winding Bay, a private golf club community, enthusiasts are treated to a par 72, Scottish-style links course featuring pot bunkers, sloping greens and ocean views. The club also features a world-class practice facility. Take a private lesson or instructional program.
The Animal Lover: The Exumas
What cave have you been hiding out in that you haven’t yet heard of the famous Swimming Pigs of the Exumas? Nobody knows for sure quite how these feral swine ended up inhabiting Big Major Cay, but these sweet piggies are happy to ham it up (get it?) with tourists in exchange for free food at aptly named Pig Beach. Elsewhere in the Exumas, you can feed iguanas on Allen Cay, swim with friendly nurse sharks on Compass Cay and pet sting rays at restaurant Chat ‘N’ Chill Beach Bar on Stocking Island.
The Surfer: Eleuthera
Hanging ten in the Bahamas? Yes, it’s a thing. Remember, The Bahamas are not located in the Caribbean Sea, but rather in the livelier waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Big swells can be found at the aptly named Surfer’s Beach, but Eleuthera’s charms don’t end there. This long, needle-thin island also boasts biking, kayaking and paddleboarding and is also the pineapple capital of the world.Take a pineapple tour and even plant your own crop—without having to go all the way to Hawaii.
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