Choose from 25 Fun Things to Do in Bahamas
Get out your eye patch and peg leg and get ready to delve into one of the most infamous and legendary aspects of Caribbean history. During the Golden Age of Piracy, from 1690 to 1720, pirates patrolled the waters of the Caribbean, terrorizing merchant ships and no place played a greater role in illegal pirate operations than Nassau, home base to the world's largest concentration of swashbuckling seafarers.
A trip to Pirates of Nassau takes one back to the Golden Age when pirates ruled the Caribbean. A favorite of both adults and children alike, this museum is one you won't want to miss. It is said that when a pirate slept, he did not dream of heaven, but of returning to Nassau. Come and find out for yourself what made Nassau pirate paradise.
Located in downtown Nassau, the museum is a short distances from most places on the island and easy to access.
- Bring your own beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas.
- Known for its many restaurants lining the shore, Cable Beach is one of Nassau's best dining destinations. Food-loving visitors can plan their Cable Beach stop around a gourmet breakfast or lunch.
- Many hotels along Cable Beach sell day passes that give access to all of their amenities.
- Entry to the library is free.
- Wi-Fi available at the library, as well as computers that visitors can use.
- The library’s basement was once used as a dungeon.
- Don’t miss the veranda on the top floor, which offers great views over Nassau.
The Port Lucaya Marketplace is considered to be the commercial hub of Grand Bahama. With over 80 boutiques, restaurants, and bars, the outdoor market turns shopping, dining, and entertainment into a wonderful experience. As opposed to your typical indoor mall or strip mall, the Bahaman climate makes the marketplace a wonderful place to be.
Centered around Count Basie Square, there is always nighttime entertainment including dancing, music, and street performers. There are tons of family-friendly activities for kiddies, including horse-drawn carriage rides, hair braiding, dance and music lessons, and much more.
The Port Lucaya Marketplace is located just ten minutes out of the airport, and is easily accessible by foot from anywhere within Freeport. The Marketplace website provides a helpful map for getting there and also for getting around.
The Marketplace is extremely safe, and has 24 hour a day security. It is also easily wheelchair and stroller accessible. There is a bank and an ATM on the premises, as well as public restrooms.
- Many Nassau tours include pickup and drop-off at the cruise port, allowing visitors to make the most of their time on the island.
- Although Nassau offers many ocean excursions that typically involve some physical activity, those with mobility difficulties can see marine life on a glass-bottom boat tour without getting wet.
- If you’re in port for a short time, consider a private tour to escape the crowds and catch all the can't-miss attractions without a large group.
- Ardastra Gardens and Zoo is a wonderful stop for families visiting the Bahamas.
- Tickets are discounted for children under 12 and Bahamas residents; children aged 3 and under enter for free.
- The zoo and gardens are accessible to wheelchair users.
- There is an on-site café and gift shop.
- The flamingo show takes place daily at 10:30am, 2:15pm, and 4pm.
- You can hand-feed the lory parrots daily at 11am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm.
One of the traditional crafts of the Bahamas, straw working has become infused into Bahamian culture and industry. Each island has developed its own distinctive plaiting or braiding style to create beautiful straw hats, baskets, etc.
The Straw Market in Nassau serves as the ultimate destination to pick up Bahamian souvenirs. Grab a hat to protect yourself from the sun, or maybe pick up a small wood carving as a trinket to take home to a family member. In addition to the authentic hand-crafted merchandise, the Straw Market also offers many other items. What makes the Straw Market a unique shopping experience is getting to bargain the prices down; just remember to never accept the first offer and have fun seeing how low you can get the price to go!
The Straw Market is located on downtown Bay Street along the northern coast of Nassau.
Peterson Cay, a tiny island off the south shore of Grand Bahama, is home to Peterson Cay National Park, the smallest national park in the Bahamas, covering only 1.5 acres. Small though it may be, the cay is home to one of the most beautiful reefs in the Bahamas, and the gorgeous coral structures are replete with snorkeling and diving opportunities.
Past the initial soft coral near the beach, the main reef is a short swim off the shore, so be sure to go past the initial soft-branch. There is also a wide variety of aquatic life that calls the reef home, so keep your eyes out for tropical fish, and even manta rays and barracuda.
The pristine sandy beaches provide a perfect spot for quiet relaxation and afternoon picnics, and the calm atmosphere of the island is ideal for any Bahaman vacation.
Access to Peterson Cay National Park is by boat only. You can either hire a boat out of Port Lucaya Marina, or take a kayak yourself out of Barbary Beach. Be sure to exercise caution when kayaking up to the cay, avoiding the delicate coral reefs.
As with any Bahaman national park, it is illegal to take shells, vegetation, or pieces of coral off of the island, so be sure to leave it where it lies.
The pastel Georgian-style buildings of the Supreme Court, the Public Library and Museum and the Houses of Parliament surround the square, where a statue honoring Queen Victoria stands. This government center is within walking distance from the main cruise ship ports, as well as numerous shops and restaurants, making it a perfect stop to learn a bit of history while touring the town.
- Be sure to bring everything with you that you’ll need for the day, including sunscreen, bathing suit, towel, and a sun hat.
- Most guided snorkeling tours include use of snorkel gear.
- A Rose Island day trip is a great option for those wishing to escape the bustle and frenetic energy of Nassau.
Opened in 1967, Freeport's International Bazaar has been recognized as a symbol of the Bahamas. Filled with shops, restaurants, and other locally-owned stalls, the Bazaar used to be the light of the town. It was tragically affected by the hurricane season of 2004, and was, for quite some time, considered an abandoned artifact of Bahaman life.
Luckily, life has begun to appear at the Bazaar in full force, as local merchants, restaurateurs, artists, and other business owners rallied together to restore it to its original glory.
Sample the local cuisine, create your own perfume, browse the handmade crafts, and get a taste of a true symbol of Freeport at the International Bazaar.
Located just 6km (4mi) out of central Freeport, the International Bazaar has something for everyone. With hundreds of shops to choose from, the best piece of advice for wandering the stalls is to wear good walking shoes.
The bazaar is stroller and wheelchair accessible, and has plenty of places to relax, eat, and enjoy the sunshine.
This incredible 40-acre park has some of the most spectacular secluded beaches in all of the Bahamas. Filled with mangrove, pine, and palm trees, Lucayan National Park features incredible plants in bloom as well as a plethora of waterbirds and saltwater fish.
Snorkel in the amazing turquoise waters or explore the world's largest underground cavern system. If you're interested in the history of the area, look into a tour of the burial grounds of the indigenous Bahaman people.
Surround yourself with true Bahaman beauty in this lovely national park, and enjoy the protective care that its delicate environment demands.
Before visiting the Lucayan National Park, book your tickets over the phone, or purchase them at the Rand Nature Center.
In order to get to the park, head east on Midshipman Road past Gold Rock, following the signs. If you are without car, look into an organized tour of the grounds leaving out of Freeport.
Be aware that the park closes at about 5pm, so be sure to get there nice and early to ensure the full experience of the beautiful area.
- The Queen’s Staircase is a must-see for all visitors to Nassau.
- The limestone steps of the Queen’s Staircase are steep and a tough climb, suitable only for those with full mobility and proper footwear.
- The staircase can be slick after a rain, so be careful. (The Bahamas’ rainy season is June through November.)
- If the 65-step climb sounds daunting, plan to visit Bennet’s Hill and Fort Fincastle first, then walk down the steps from there.
The Queen’s Staircase is located on the northern end of New Providence Island, on Elizabeth Avenue. Use the staircase as a shortcut to Bennet’s Hill and Fort Fincastle.
- Entry to the fort is via paid ticket.
- The site is equipped with restrooms.
- The fort was built with the same limestone excavated to make the nearby Queen’s Staircase.
- The water tower adjacent to the fort was built in 1928 to help maintain water pressure on the island.
- Entry to the museum is by paid ticket.
- Discounted tickets are available for children.
- Access to the museum is via a flight of stairs, so it may be unsuitable for people with limited mobility.
- Look out for the faces carved into the suits of Spanish armor designed to frighten the opposition armies.
Arawak Cay is a fun stop for an afternoon snack or a delicious local dinner. And since the streets come alive at dusk, this waterfront spot is an ideal destination for a frosty beer or a strong sipping sundowner to round out the night.
- Grilled items such as hot dogs and veggie burgers and drinks such as fruit punch are available on the island, but budget-minded travelers may prefer to pack a picnic.
- Those traveling to the Bahamas on a cruise can book shore excursions to Blue Lagoon Island.
- Don’t forget sun protection such as a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- Amenities such as showers, beach chairs, and changing stations are available at the island’s beach.
Freeport shore excursions from Lucayan Harbour allow travelers to make the most of their stop on Grand Bahama Island. When you get off the cruise ship, take a full or half-day city tour for some Freeport sightseeing that includes duty-free shopping at the famous International Bazaar or Port Lucaya Marketplace, or book a Bahamian Brewery tour for some beer samples. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature while in the Bahamas, you can spend a day kayaking at Turtle Park or tour Lucayan National Park, home to a spectacular underwater cave system and a beautiful hidden beach.
Other Freeport excursion options include relaxing at the popular Taino Beach or all-inclusive Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach; taking a scuba diving or snorkeling tour; and joining in on a beach bonfire party, where you can sip rum cocktails and limbo just like the locals.
- Freeport cruise excursions include pickup and drop-off from the cruise dock.
- Given Grand Bahama Island’s size and Freeport’s central location, it is easy enough to see the top sites in one day.
- Most cruises run to the Bahamas from December to May, when temperatures are typically in the low 80s (F). The hurricane season runs from about June to November.
How to Get to Port Lucaya From the Freeport Cruise Port
While it’s too far to walk from Freeport’s Lucayan Harbour to the downtown area known as Port Lucaya, the cruise ship port is located on the west-central part of the island, and cruisers can take a 10-minute taxi ride to get downtown. Most taxis will offer to make the trip for a flat fee of about $15. Also near the docks are shuttle vans offering rides from the pier to Port Lucaya for about $5 per passenger. The harbor is located just over five miles (nine km) from the International Bazaar.
Grand Bahama Island is a frequented stop on cruise lines arriving from Florida. The tropical island’s close proximity to the United States means that English-speaking travelers are not likely to run into any language or culture snags. Both American and Bahamian dollars are accepted all over Grand Bahama Island.