A first-time visitor to The Bahamas may be surprised to know there are 700 islands and 2400 cays that make up the island chain. However, only 30 are inhabited. The closest island to the United States is tiny Bimini, a two-hour boat journey from Miami, FL.
With its high-energy casinos and drinking age of 18, three years younger than the US, The Bahamas attracts plenty of holidaymakers.
More than half the travelers who visit The Bahamas each year will go to friendly Nassau on Paradise Island. During cruise season, two to three massive cruise ships are docked at the Nassau cruise port terminal every day.
A variety of land-based resorts are also available to attract vacationers. With high-end resorts like Atlantis and the newer Baha Mar, all-inclusive options like Sandals and plenty of budget accommodations, the islands have something for everyone.
What then is available to do in The Bahamas? The answer is a resounding; there is a lot to do in The Bahamas!
Shopping, golf, gaming, rum-tasting, hiking, waterparks and snorkeling are only a few of the fun things to do in The Bahamas.
Fantastic food and drinks will attract and delight any foodie. Historic forts, artwork, a pirate museum, glorious pink sand beaches, and a friendly group of swimming pigs top the list of great things to see in the Bahamas.
Let’s take a look at the top 30 things to see and do in the Bahamas.
30 Best things to Do in The Bahamas
1. Parliament Square – Nassau
Nassau is the seat of The Bahamas government, and Parliament Square is home to the House of Assembly, the Senate Building and the Supreme Court of The Bahamas buildings.
These pink government buildings are influenced by colonial-style architecture, with a statue of Queen Victoria at the center of the square.
2. Try the Local Bahamian Dishes
Enjoying the local food is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and a memorable thing to do in The Bahamas. Colorful and flavorful describes the top dishes of the local Bahamian culture.
The cuisine is a fusion of spices and ingredients from Europe, West Africa, America and the local indigenous people.
Seafood plays a heavy role, as can be expected for an island nation. You’ll also find lots of tropical fruits like coconuts, bananas, avocado, grapefruit, mango and limes.
Top local dishes to try when you visit The Bahamas include:
- Conch Salad
- Conch Fritters
- Bahamian Fish Stew
- Pigeon Peas and Rice
- Rock Lobster
- Baked Crab
- Rum Cake
Available Tour: Nassau Bites and Sites Food & Cultural Tour
3. Tiki Bars in The Bahamas
Enjoying a fruity little umbrella drink at a fun tiki bar is one of the best things to do in The Bahamas! Tiki bar cocktails tend to be sugar-filled, colorful, rum-based concoctions sure to signal that vacation time has begun.
If you are ready to take ain Instagram selfie with a tropical drink in hand, check out the tiki cocktail menus at these great Bahamas bars.
- Tiki Bikini Hut on Junkanoo Beach in downtown Nassau
- Bon Vivant Bahamas in Nassau, on the north side of the island
- Chop Stix at the Atlantis resort, where drinks are served in tiki cups available for purchase.
4. Aquaventure Water Park – Nassau
For a fun, family-friendly thing to do in The Bahamas, visit the Aquaventure water park.
Aquaventure is a 141-acre water park located at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island. If you are staying at Atlantis, then you will have full access to their Aquaventure Water Park.
If you are staying elsewhere or arriving in Nassau as a port stop on a cruise, you can purchase a one-day pass to enjoy the activities at the water park.
One-day pass prices:
- Adults (13 years and older) $175.00 per person.
- Children (age 4 – 12 years) $75.00 per person
Aquaventure water park includes a river ride with waves and rapids, multiple swimming pools, a Mayan tower with high-speed water slides and a kid’s water play area.
A clear inner-tube slide travels through the Atlantis shark tank, giving riders an up-close predator view. The water park has a “lost city of Atlantis” theme that is nicely done.
5. Mini Blue Miniature Golf – Nassau
Play 18 holes of miniature golf at a course that is perfect for the whole family. Mini Blue at Baha Mar is a smaller version of a professionally landscaped course.
Mini Blue is open Monday through Friday from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm. On weekends, from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Rates are $20 per person plus VAT for Baha Mar resort guests aged six and over. Non-resort guests will pay $25 per person plus VAT.
Open to all ages. Children age 12 and under will need to be accompanied by an adult.
6. Blue Lagoon Island – Nassau
This private island is owned by a local family, offering the oldest dolphin encounter program in Nassau. Guests ride a large double-decker catamaran from Nassau Harbor to Blue Lagoon Island, just 20 minutes away.
Several programs are offered here, including dolphin, shark, sea lion and stingray encounters. Segway tours of the island are also available.
If your party includes people who would prefer to lay in a hammock, swim in the lagoon and enjoy the private beach, beach days are available, starting at $94 per person.
7. Swim With the Pigs – Big Major Cay
Although several theories exist, no one is certain how the pigs first arrived at Big Major Cay. The island is uninhabited, and the pigs are not native to the area.
A few entrepreneurs decided to start a tour business taking tourists out to the island to visit the swimming pigs, and now this is one of the top attractions in The Bahamas.
As the popularity of swimming with the pigs exploded, pigs have been lodged nearby on Rose Island as well. But if you are looking for the original swimming with the pigs’ adventure, be sure to book a tour to Big Major Cay.
Recommended Tour: Nassau: Pig Beach Island Ticket with Hotel Transfer
8. Bahamas Rum Cake Factory – Nassau
Sampling the rum cakes at The Bahamas Rum Cake Factory, a culinary staple of the islands, is a tasty thing to do in The Bahamas. This small shop is in downtown Nassau, a short 10-minute walk from the cruise port.
A variety of flavors are baked, including the original rum cake and specialty flavors like banana, coconut, chocolate, cinnamon and more. With so many flavors to choose from, samples are given to help you choose your favorite.
Cakes purchased at the shop are packaged for cruise ship and airplane travel. They can be carried on the plane as hand luggage or taken into your cruise ship cabin.
9. John Watling’s Distillery – Nassau
All great trips to the Caribbean include a distillery tour! It’s another great adult-only thing to do in The Bahamas. Take a tour of the John Watling’s Distillery in Nassau, and sample some of their high-quality spirits.
Free tours are available daily, except on national holidays, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
John Watling’s colorful red Buena Vista Estate is centrally located in Nassau, a 15-minute walk from the cruise port. If you are staying on Paradise Island, it’s a 15-minute drive.
10. Attend the Junkanoo Festival – Nassau
The popular Junkanoo Festival is an exuberant street parade held multiple times throughout the year. Groups of up to 1000 people spend months preparing entertainment, elaborate costumes, and dance routines.
Junkanoo is celebrated throughout the islands of The Bahamas, but the largest celebration is in downtown Nassau.
The festival takes place on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas), New Year’s Day, and most Saturdays during the summer.
11. Try the Local Beer
If you are the type of person who likes to do as the locals do, and try something you don’t have back home, then step into any bar or restaurant in The Bahamas and order a Kalik beer.
Kalik is brewed by the Commonwealth Brewery in Nassau and available everywhere in the Bahamas. The Commonwealth Brewery is a publicly owned company, with more than 25 percent of the shares proudly held by individuals and organizations in the Bahamas.
The brewery is 150,000 square feet located at the Clifton Pier on the western edge of New Providence Island. In addition to Kalik beer, they produce Heineken, Guinness, Ole Nassau, Vitamalt and Ricardo rums.
MOST POPULAR TOURS IN THE BAHAMAS
12. Chihuly Glass Art – Nassau
Wander through the casino at the Atlantis Resort and see four brilliant works of glass art created by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly.
The Chihuly glass art pieces are:
- The Crystal Gate – A 20-foot-tall piece at the casino entrance.
- Temple of the Moon
- Temple of the Sun
- Atlantis Seaform Chandelier
13. Fort Charlotte – Nassau
Fort Charlotte is the largest fort on New Providence island. It’s set on a hill about a mile from downtown Nassau. The fort is spread over 100 acres and has an impressive view of Nassau Harbor. Walking to the fort from the cruise ship terminal will take about 25 minutes.
There is a small admission fee to enter the fort.
14. Baha Bay Waterpark – Nassau
The newest waterpark in The Bahamas covers 15 tropical beachfront acres at the Baha Mar resort. The park is free to Baha Mar resort guests and available to non-guests with the purchase of a day pass.
Attractions include several heart-pounding slides, a water coaster, a wave pool, a fun-filled action river and a surf simulator.
General admission day passes are $160 per adult and guests over 48 inches tall. Children over age 3 and under 48″ tall are $65. Day passes are limited and must be purchased online before arriving at the water park.
15. Shop at the Straw Market – Nassau
This mostly open-air market is a touristy shopping center in downtown Nassau. Just steps from the cruise ship pier, the straw market can be busy when the ships first arrive.
Some locally made crafts are available here, but most of the goods sold at the stalls are cheap souvenirs. You’ll find t-shirts, beach towels, housewares, and beach bags.
Look for local items like straw goods, conch jewelry, rum cake, Junkanoo art, wood carvings and Bahamas cigars. Vendors accept both Bahamian money and US dollars.
16. Pink Sands Beach – Harbour Island
Visitors to Harbor Island looking for a unique thing to see in The Bahamas should visit the impressive Pink Sands Beach.
This wide stretch of sand covers over 3 miles on the island’s Atlantic Ocean eastern side. At some points, the beach is 50 to 100 feet wide.
The lovely pink color comes from dead microscopic coral insets whose tiny hard shells have mixed with the sand and bits of coral, resulting in an expanse of beautiful pink sand.
Don’t worry that the beach will somehow look like tiny crushed insects; everything mixes together and looks like powdery soft pink-hued sand.
Open daily from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.
17. Casinos in The Bahamas
For an adult-only thing to do in The Bahamas, visit one of the many casinos. The casinos offer Las Vegas-style gaming with an adult playground atmosphere.
Casinos in the Nassau Area
The glitzy Atlantis Resort and Casino is 7-minutes from the cruise terminal by car, with 60,000 square feet of gaming casino space.
The newer, upscale Baha Mar resort is the biggest casino in the Caribbean. Baha Mar’s luxury resort complex is home to three high-end hotels: Rosewood, SLS and Grand Hyatt. From the Nassau cruise terminal, it’s 15-minutes west by car.
Crystal Palace Casino at the Wyndham Nassau Resort is one of the older casinos in The Bahamas. If you prefer a smaller casino, Crystal Palace might be for you, at only 10,000 square feet. Close to Baha Mar, it’s 15-minutes from the Nassau cruise terminal.
Casinos on Bimini Island
Tiny Bimini Island is home to Miami, Florida’s closest casino. Resorts World Bimini is a 305-room resort with a 10,000-square-foot casino. Most guests arrive here by yacht from Florida and park at the resort’s dock.
18. Garden of the Groves – Grand Bahama Island
This botanical garden is in Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island. It’s 12 acres of walking trails with a labyrinth, waterfalls, tropical plants, and statues. There is also a small chapel perched on a hill with a view of the garden and waterfalls.
19. Snorkeling in The Bahamas
Marine life enthusiasts will enjoy snorkeling as one of the top water sports in The Bahamas.
Snorkeling can be done from the beach in some locations, or further out in the ocean by boat. Here is our list of top snorkeling locations in The Bahamas.
Best Snorkeling in The Bahamas on Paradise Island
- East of Paradise Island, Rose Island Reef is accessible only by boat. There are two shipwrecks to see here.
- Cay Reefs is a shallow reef 1 mile offshore from Nassau and west also only accessible by boat.
Best Snorkeling in The Bahamas at Grand Bahama Island
- Paradise Cove Beach Resort – Western side of Grand Bahama, 30-minutes from Freeport.
- Peterson Cay National Park – On the southern shore of Grand Bahama Island, 20-minutes from Freeport.
Best Snorkeling in The Bahamas in The Exumas
- Stocking Island is a skinny island off the eastern shore of George Town, Great Exuma Island.
- Jolly Hall Beach on the eastern shore. Snorkel off the beach in the shallow, clear aqua water.
- Duck Cay is a small island off the western shore of Great Exuma, accessible by boat.
Best Snorkeling in The Bahamas on Bimini Island
- Bimini Road on the northwest side of the island is unique with its underwater stone monoliths.
- Sapona includes a concrete ship off the southern coast of Bimini.
Recommended Tour: Pearl Island Beach: Full-day Snorkelling with Lunch
20. Ardastra Gardens & Wildlife Conservation Center – Nassau
The main attraction at this small, boutique-style zoo is the Caribbean flamingo. Visitors can wander the 4-acres of tropical plants and smaller rescue animals. Marching flamingos put on a show daily.
Reservations are mandatory and are made online using a visitor request form. Tickets are $20 per adult and $12 per child, ages 4-12. Children ages 3 years or less are free.
Ardastra Gardens is west of downtown Nassau, 8 minutes by car from the cruise port. If you are staying on Paradise Island, it’s a 15-minute drive.
21. Lucayan National Park – Grand Bahama Island
On Grand Bahama Island, visit the Lucayan National Park, one of the grandest national parks in The Bahamas. The park is 40 acres, including nature trails along the boardwalks and picnic tables on the beach.
Lucayan National Park has one of the world’s largest underwater cave systems. Two caves are open to the public, but require a permit for diving. Swimming in the caves is prohibited.
There is a $5 fee for adults to enter the park, with kids under 12 getting in free. Freeport would be a 25-30 minute drive to the park.
22. Glass Window – Eleuthera
There was originally a natural stone bridge here that separated the Atlantic Ocean on one side from the Bight of Eleuthera bay on the other side. That original stone bridge was damaged by a hurricane and replaced by the current man-made bridge.
The bridge acts as a window between the rugged dark blue water of the Atlantic Ocean and the calm turquoise water of the Bight of Eleuthera bay, fed by the Caribbean Sea.
23. Pirates of Nassau Museum – Nassau
Take a self-guided tour of this wax museum to learn about the history of pirates and their role in The Bahamas from 1690 to 1720. The museum is a great family-friendly thing to see in The Bahamas. Plan to spend 1-2 hours.
The Pirates of Nassau Museum is centrally located in downtown Nassau and a 7-minute walk from the cruise port. From Paradise Island, it’s 11-minutes by car.
Admission is $13.50 per adult, $6.75 per child, ages 4-17.
24. Visit the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas
Located in New Providence island on West and West Hill Streets, this museum is housed in the historic Villa Doyle mansion.
The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas focuses on Bahamian artists showcasing artwork ranging from traditional to contemporary.
The collection includes ceramics, paintings, photographs, sculptures, and textiles.
25. Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve – Governor’s Harbor Eleuthera
Visitors to the island of Eleuthera can visit the 30-acre Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve botanical garden.
This impressive garden showcases native Bahamian plants in Eleuthera’s only national park. Exotic plants here include orchids, bromeliads, medicinal plants, a mangrove forest and more.
Admission is $10 per adult, $8 per senior over 60, and $6 for children ages 3-12. Guided tours are available for an additional $5 per person and are highly recommended.
Plan to spend 1-2 hours visiting the garden.
26. Climb the Queen’s Staircase | The 66 Steps – Nassau
Carved in limestone by 600 enslaved people in the early 1790s, the Queen’s Staircase is at Fort Fincastle Historic Complex in Nassau. The staircase is 66 steps and it was built to provide an escape route from Fort Fincastle at the top.
The staircase has been named in honor of Queen Victoria. Lord Dunmore originally requisitioned Fort Fincastle in 1793 and was governed by Viscount John Murray to protect Nassau from marauding pirates.
There is no fee to climb the staircase, however, there is a fee to enter the fort at the top of the stairs.
27. Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation – Nassau
This small museum is housed in the original auction house where enslaved people were sold. It’s a sobering thing to see in The Bahamas.
The name Pompey honors an enslaved person named Pompey who lived on an Exuma estate called Rolle Plantation. Pompey organized a group of 43 enslaved persons from the estate to rebel against their master in 1830.
The rebellion helped to stop the transfer of 77 people that would have separated men, women and children from their families.
Visit the Pompey Museum in Nassau, and if your trip also takes you to Great Exuma, you can see the memorial statue of Pompey in the town of Steventon.
The Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. They are closed on Sundays and public holidays.
28. Rawson Square – Nassau
Rawson Square is one of the first things cruise ship passengers see in The Bahamas. Directly in front of the Nassau cruise port, the square is named for Sir Rawson W. Rawson, a former governor of The Bahamas.
A fountain in the square is named for Sir Stafford Sands, the first minister of tourism for The Bahamas. A bronze bust of Sir Milo Butler, the first Governor-General of an independent Bahamas, is also located in Rawson Square.
29. Fort Montagu – Nassau
This is the oldest fort to see in The Bahamas, built in 1741-1742. It’s a small fort located on the eastern side of New Providence Island, across from Paradise island. Most notably, the fort served as the site of the first military action by the United States Marine Corps.
Eight ships carried the Marines on a mission to capture a supply of gunpowder that was supposed to be there. It turned out the gunpowder was not there, but the fort still fell, unopposed, to the Marine Corps.
There is a small admission fee to enter the fort. Tours are conducted Monday through Sunday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.
30. Versailles Gardens and the Cloisters
Located on Paradise Island at the Ocean Club you can visit the remnants of a 14th-century French Augustine Monastery surrounded by exquisite gardens inspired by the grandeur of Versailles.
It’s one of the most unique and romantic places you’ll see in the Bahamas so try not to miss it. The Versailles Gardens are a public park and so entry is free.