The Bahamas are an eternally popular vacation destination for a reason—and that reason is certainly not hard to deduce when the temperature drops up north (and flights remain just as affordable and time-efficient as ever.) But regardless of which season you visit these tropical islands, two things remain consistent: the Bahamian climate remains reliably balmy all year-round, and as a visitor, you’re never at a loss for what to do next.
There’s no shortage of activities and adventures to engage in while visiting this beautiful part of the world, so how to decide which to prioritize? Well, you’re in luck. Learn about the top things to do in the Bahamas—from the nation’s capital on the island of New Providence, to the outer islands as well, we’ve compiled the must-do activities, so you will be well prepared for your next trip.
Attend a Tea Party at the Government House in Nassau
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism hosts a tea party on the last Sunday of every month from January through May and October through November—and trust us, it’s not to be missed. Shuttles collect guests from hotels all over the island, bringing them to the gloriously pink Government House for sandwiches and a fashion show featuring local designers. If you’re visiting during a time of year when the tea parties are no longer available, then be sure to book a People to People experience, another outreach on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism in which visitors are paired with a local family who has offered to host you for a home-cooked meal. The touching (and quite often uproariously entertaining) cultural exchange—the unique experience of meeting complete strangers in the comfort of their own home—more than rivals the delectable Bahamian cuisine, making this a win-win for visitors and residents alike.
Go On a Great Hammerhead Shark Safari in Bimini
Who cares about birding, or really any other wildlife excursion for that matter, when you now have the opportunity to partake in a Great Hammerhead Shark Safari in Bimini this winter? Granted, you need to be a diver to qualify for that particular outing. But Bimini Scuba Center has additional expeditions for the less aquatically-skilled—may we suggest snorkeling with dolphins? And lest you fear this is the less-courageous of the two activities, we would like to remind you that dolphins routinely kill sharks. (They just have better PR managers.)
Visit the Friday Night Fish Fry at Arawak Cay
The tradition of the fish fry celebration is popular throughout the Caribbean, and while each island has their own special flavor (pun intended) regarding the activities, you always know that a reliably good time is ahead. Friday night is the big scene for the fish fry in Arawak Cay, with live music, rum punches, and of course, as much fried fish (or conch) as you could possibly imagine. We recommend beginning your evening at Frankie Gone Bananas, a local favorite (and soon to be a favorite of yours as well.)
Dive at Dean’s Blue Hole off the Coast of Long Island
Long Island has an 80-mile shoreline, and nowhere is the coast more spectacular than the beach overlooking Dean’s Blue Hole. The saltwater sinkhole turns the typically clear blue Bahamian water into a deep shade of cerulean the closer one swims out towards its center. Although the landmark is also accessible to swimmers approaching from the shore, avid divers will take a particular interest in the depths of this underwater sand-fall. Dean’s Blue Hole is the second-deepest of its kind on the planet—the winner is the Dragon Hole, all the way across the world in the South China Sea.
Rum Tasting at John Watling’s Distillery
Sign up for one of the free daily tours of John Watling’s Distillery, and appreciate the delicious rum cocktails you will enjoy afterward at the estate’s bar. Tour the gorgeous (and historic) Buena Vista estate in downtown Nassau to learn a bit more about the history of the small-batch rums and to appreciate the modern-day craftsmanship the production entails. The entire bottling process is handmade, and you won’t help but be impressed by the enthusiasm (and historically appropriate costume) of your tour guide. That's all the better, so when you order a Rum Dum at the end of your tour, you know you will be extra appreciative of all the handiwork that went into the perfect cocktail sitting on the bar before you.
Sunbathe on the Pink Beaches of Harbour Island
This ritzy outer island destination in the Bahamas has grown more popular in recent years, thanks in part to its mention in the sequel to "Crazy Rich Asians." At the beginning of "China Rich Girlfriend," the opening scene takes place at Sip Sip. Now, you don’t need to be crazy or rich to visit Harbour Island, necessarily, and day trips are possible from Nassau, but it will be more expensive than a beach day in New Providence. We recommend staying a few days at Pink Sands Resort to really get a feel for the place. The sand is so pink because of tiny fragments of coral reef, shells, and marine creatures, who have cast the coastline in a warm pink glow. We’re positive you won’t be wanting to leave anytime soon.
Embark on a Bahamian Food Tour in Nassau
If there’s one day tour we can recommend, one that we are convinced will leave you with much more knowledge than you'd imagined you could acquire in an afternoon about Bahamian history and culture, then it would be Tru Bahamian Food Tours. A visit to Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant (pictured) is a highlight, as is a stop in the downtown restaurant, succinctly (and aptly) called Bahamian Cookin' Restaurant and Bar. This food tour in Nassau is wonderful at bringing the past alive in the present, with charming guides who are able to wittily analyze the ingredients of a classic dish or recipe and succinctly reveal the fascinating history and ancestry of its original creator. Additionally, you will be privy to modern-day anecdotes as well that provide a glimpse into the beautiful and fascinating culture that has been flourishing on this island for hundreds of years.
Snorkel at Paradise Cove on Grand Bahama Island
Book a tour with Paradise Watersports to explore the legendary Deadman’s Reef, located just off the idyllic Paradise Cove Beach. Although the reef is only 50 yards off the coast—meaning visitors can opt to just swim out themselves—we recommend booking the Paradise Watersports guides to show you the best spots to explore. This destination is perfect for travelers who want to mix their snorkeling adventure with some alcoholic beverages (courtesy of the Red Bar) and world-class sunbathing (courtesy of the gorgeous Paradise Cove Beach).