Best Beaches The Bahamas

Tropic of Cancer Beach

The Tropic of Cancer beach straddles the Tropic of Cancer circle of latitude (23 26N 75 35W). There is actually a painted line, marked with the coordinates, and it provides a great photo opportunity. Feel no shame if you can’t recall the significance of this coordinate system, which you probably learned about in high school geography. Just know, if you straddle the line, you’ll be standing in the tropics and the subtropics at the same time. A little beach shack and a nifty weather vane crowned with a metal crab points to the landmark. There are no amenities on this long stretch of beach and very little shade, so come equipped with a cooler full of ice and an umbrella if you plan to lounge on the sand. The water is usually very calm and great for swimming.

Address: Little Exuma, The Exumas
Who goes? couples, families, first timers

Goodman’s Bay Beach

Goodman’s Bay Beach is a popular public beach access point at Cable Beach. This recreational beach and its bordering park are used by locals for a range of fitness activities, including jogging and flag football, a modified version of American football. Many watersports operators use the ramp at Goodman’s Bay for boat access, so you can find jet skis, banana boats and parasailing. The sand is coarser than other beaches in Nassau, but the water is just as refreshing and clear. There are no restaurants, but at busy times you may find vendors selling hot dogs and soft drinks, and there are shady trees for a beach picnic – local church and other community groups often have picnics on Goodman’s Bay

Address: Cable Beach, Nassau, New Providence
Who goes? groups, first timers

Pink Sands Beach

Many people flock to Harbour Island to set eyes on the famous Pink Sands Beach. A unique mix of coral, broken shells, miniature rocks and calcium carbonate speckles the sand with pink fragments. However, notwithstanding the need to temper your expectations, Harbour Island’s stretch of beach is beautiful – and depending on how the sun falls, the entire beach can glow pink. Long and broad, the beach is cooled by a constant breeze and lapped by calm waters, and is also spacious enough to accommodate a range of activities, including weddings, yoga, beach football and kite flying.

Address: Harbour Island
Who goes? couples, families, groups, first timers, old hands

Junkanoo Beach

Junkanoo Beach is the only beach in The Bahamas you can characterize as a full-time party beach. It is a small but lively area with music, restrooms, showers and local vendors renting chairs and umbrellas and selling souvenirs. The Tiki Bikini Hut restaurant, which sits on this beach, serves cocktails in the shells of fresh coconuts. Next door is Fat Tuesday, which specializes in alcoholic frozen drinks. In walking distance of Downtown Nassau, the beach is popular primarily because of its proximity to the cruise port: you have a front row view of the cruise ships, sailboats and pleasure yachts which head through Nassau Harbor. The water is just as beautiful as most Bahamian beaches, but the sand has a lot of rocks; it is not as soft and supple as other beaches in Nassau. Just 50 meters west of Junkanoo Beach is Long Wharf Beach, which has a similar atmosphere but less of a crowd.

Address: West Bay Street, Nassau, New Providence
Who goes? groups, first timers

Shroud Cay

The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is one of the most spectacular attractions in the entire Bahamas because it has been a protected zone for more than 30 years. It was the first national park in a network of 26, and its natural habitats have been able to thrive unimpeded by development. Shroud Cay is an uninhabited island lying inside the park with a river-like network of mangrove creeks filled with nursing conch, lobster, turtles and other fish. The adventure of getting to Shroud Cay’s Camp Driftwood Beach is much of its appeal. You have to navigate through the winding creek system and cut across the island. The cut where the creek enters the ocean provides great amusement when the tide is coming in. You can ease off the ocean side of the beach and allow the current to wash you around the point on to the creek side of the beach. This spin cycle is addictive, especially for children, who will want to do it again and again.

Address: Exuma Cays
Who goes? families, groups, old hands

Gold Rock Beach

Gold Rock Beach lies inside the protected Lucayan National Park, about 40 minutes' drive from Grand Bahama’s city center. What makes Gold Rock special is how its beach turns into a massive sandbar at low tide with tiny rippling sand dunes. This is not a beach for lounging; it’s a beach for playing. Like an infinite paddling pool, Gold Rock Beach is fun to splash around in while searching for sand dollars, starfish, sea biscuits and the occasional stingray. The shallow waters make it ideal for young children to romp and play, but not so great for snorkeling. There are picnic tables and benches on the beach, but no beach chairs or hammocks to lounge on – or food and beverage vendors. You have to trek across a scenic mangrove trail to reach the beach. The boardwalk may feel never ending, but just wait for the beach to reveal itself.

Address: Grand Bahama Island
Who goes? families, first timers, old hands

Pipe Creek Sandbar

The sandbar beach is a special trait of The Bahamas’ shallow banks. During every tidal cycle, islands of soft, supple sand emerge from beneath the sea and then disappear in a watery tomb. The Pipe Creek Sandbar is a spectacular sandbar in the Northern Exuma Cays. The sand on this sandbar is particularly soft; your footprints can have six inches of depth. This can throw you off balance, so take your first steps carefully. If you go shelling you might find sand dollars and other fully formed shells.

Address: Northern Exuma Cays, The Exumas
Who goes? couples, families, groups, first timers, old hands

Colins Beach

Inagua is not a well-known beach destination: its top attractions are wild birds and deep sea fishing, and jagged rocks run along much of its coastline. However, at Colins Beach you will find a long stretch of sandy coastline for your private pleasure. Except on a Bahamian public holiday, you can expect absolute tranquility. The drive is out of the way from Matthew Town, the lone settlement on Inagua, but that is a perk. At the beach you'll find ample shade, along with a gazebo as an extra measure, and wooden picnic tables, so plan for a day out. Have a leisurely sway on a tree swing hung on the borderline between the trees and the sand, and pack snorkeling gear: there are large coral heads and beautiful underwater seascapes a stone’s throw from the beach.

Address: Coconut Grove, Great Inagua, Inagua
Who goes? couples, families, groups, first timers, old hands

Treasure Cay Beach

The heart of this beach is an active area with restaurants and hotels, lined with beach chairs, picnic tables and thatched shades. The watersports are mainly non-motorized; beach sports include volleyball and an inflatable waterslide. But despite the full range of amenities available at Treasure Cay, this is not your typical resort beach. The atmosphere is very chilled, and the beach is over three miles long, with the resort area taking up only a small portion in the center. There is a golf course in walking distance to the beach, and about 15 minutes' drive away there is a blue hole nestled inside a pine forest. Most visitors fly into Marsh Harbour and drive to Treasure Cay, which takes about 30 minutes. There are direct flights from some US cities to Treasure Cay.

Address: Great Abaco, The Abacos
Who goes? couples, families, groups, first timers

Joulter Cay Beach

Andros is not usually considered a beach destination, but the off-the-grid Joulter Cays easily win a top spot among the best beaches in The Bahamas. This little-known cluster of uninhabited islands off the northern point of Andros is an awe-inspiring place, a serene refuge for birds, turtles and other marine life. Take care of this well-kept secret when you visit, as the cays are designated an Important Bird Area, in keeping with Andros’ appeal as an ecotourism destination. Keep a day free to picnic by the cays' shallow flats and tidal creeks, but tread lightly; these lands hold ecological secrets in their ancient grains of sugar-sized oolitic sand. To explore the Joulter Cays, you need to charter a boat: the closest place on Andros is Nicholls Town, a 40-minute boat ride to the cays

Address: Andros
Who goes? families, groups, old hands

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