Officially known as the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, this Atlantic archipelago of 700 islands is set to the north of Cuba and the east of the US state of Florida. The very name ‘Bahamas’ conjures visions of paradise – white sand, palm trees, and turquoise seas – and they are blissfully accurate.
It’s easy to see why privateers and pirates loved these islands during the Golden Age of Piracy. With so many islands, secret coves, thick forests, and plenty of natural harbors, the Bahamas provided them with places to hide and stock up on supplies. To crack down on the pirates who sailed around here, the British government officially made the Bahamas a colony in 1718.
Map of the Bahamas
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Today, there are towns spread throughout the hundreds of islands that make up the Bahamas. Some of them have all the amenities you could ask for, especially with a beach getaway in mind, with dive shops as well as fast-food places making some places the perfect blend of convenience and tropical getaway. Stunning hotels and modern resorts mean never having to lift a finger, too.
But throughout the Bahamas, you’ll find smaller towns and simpler places to stay. Whatever you are looking for in a Bahaman retreat, you are bound to find it. So cast your eyes over some of the most beautiful places to stay in the Bahamas – your slice of paradise awaits!
Nassau is the capital of the island archipelago of the Bahamas. More modern and like an urban center than anywhere else in the Bahamas, there are also historic buildings reflective of the British colonial past. Located on New Providence Island, Nassau is where the majority of international flights land, and where many tourists to the Bahamas start their journeys.
Nassau is where you will find Cable Beach, where you can soak up the sun, snorkel, or splash in the sea. This settlement provides visitors with the ability to do all the usual things you’d associate with a beach holiday, but also be in easy reach of great shopping, restaurants, and bars, as well as golf courses and museums.
When it comes to finding somewhere to stay in Nassau, there is a selection of accommodation options, from high-end resorts to more affordable inns.
Set on the western island of Grand Bahama, in the northeast section of the island commonwealth, Freeport is one of the closest spots to Miami you can get to in the Bahamas. In fact, you will find another airport here – Grand Bahama International Airport – which means getting on and off this island, and to Freeport, is quite simple.
A popular destination in its own right, and the second largest settlement in the Bahamas, Freeport boasts a whole lot of entertainment options. There are nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and casinos to enjoy in this town.
For people who want to get out into the nature that surrounds this Caribbean town, Grand Bahama boasts three national parks. Those on a budget will find a choice of lodgings, from private rentals to bargain hotels and resorts.
George Town is situated on the island of Great Exuma, southeast of New Providence Island, and is the capital of the state of Exuma. It’s a favorite spot for yachters, and major events occur here annually. There’s a pink and white government building which is said to be modeled after the government building in Nassau.
The area has an interesting history, including 17th-century swashbucklers, who used George Town’s natural deep water harbor. There’s also the saltwater lagoon of Lake Victoria, set behind the whitewashed church and dating back to 1802, where you can watch fishermen bring in their latest catch.
Accommodation in George Town is all about its selection of resorts and low-key lodgings. But if you want something all to yourself, there are private rentals available, too.
Set in the north of the state of Eleuthera, consisting of the long island of Eleuthera itself, is the tiny islet of Harbour Island. It’s a very picturesque place to visit, with pink, powdery sand that stretches for three miles, and pastel painted houses edging narrow lanes overflowing with flowers.
Harbour Island is a fashionable place to spend time in the Bahamas; it’s not unusual to spot famous faces – including actors and models – holidaying on this little island. Local life is dominated by families who date back to the island’s first settlement, adding to the smalltown feeling.
There are some incredible hotels to stay at on Harbour Island. Small, yes, but utterly charming. They don’t come cheap, but they certainly provide an experience.
A small town on the island of Great Abaco, Marsh Harbour is actually the commercial center of the Abaco islands and the third largest settlement in the Bahamas. There’s even another international airport to make getting here easier.
The town features all the things you’d expect – ATMs, department stores, fast-food, and local restaurants. In fact, it is often used by yachters, who stop off at the marinas here to gather supplies before continuing with their journeys. There is a selection of affordable lodgings nestled around Bay Street on Marsh Harbour’s waterfront, as well as a few beach resorts and villas.
Marsh Harbour and the surrounding area is also a popular spot for kayaking; from here, you can kayak to The Marls, complete with mangrove flats and plenty of wildlife.
To the north of Great Abaco island on a small peninsula is Treasure Cay. Here, you will find a selection of lovely beaches curving along the cay’s coastline. There is a whole host of amenities, such as the Treasure Cay Golf Course (amongst others), dive shops, car, and scooter rentals, as well as a marina.
This area has been developed somewhat and is home to a community of expats. As such, there is a selection of shops and restaurants to make this a more liveable town and less of an out-and-out resort. Even so, Treasure Cay is home to large resorts for all-inclusive stays, but there are also some smaller accommodations available.
Towards the north end of Treasure Cay, curious visitors may stumble upon the ruins of Carleton, the first settlement of the Abacos.
Eleuthera Island is a long island indeed, stretching from Gregory Town in the north all the way to Bannerman Town – where you will find Lighthouse Beach – in the extreme south. This is the place to come to escape the trappings of everyday life, exchanging stress for powdery pink sand.
Founded in 1648 by a group of British settlers who named the island Eleuthera – meaning ‘Freedom’ in Ancient Greek – these same settlers also gave the Bahamas its constitution!
Relatively undeveloped compared to other areas of the Bahamas, the secluded beaches here are lapped by gentle waters; there are stunning coves to discover, and natural adventures to be had for an amazing time. Hotels and small inns are spread along the length of the island, which is more low-key than other areas and is all about the simple life.