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
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.
Where to Stay in Nassau
- The Cove at Atlantis – The most prestigious address at the ocean-themed Atlantis Paradise Island, the luxurious Cove at Atlantis greets guests with an idyllic open-air lobby. On top of the resort’s waterpark and 20-plus dining options, guests staying here will have exclusive access to a private white-sand beach and an adults-only pool, complete with private cabanas and DJs spinning the decks. The secluded ocean-facing rooms are the real drawcard here with their contemporary design and French balconies opening onto a view of the turquoise sea.
- Grand Hyatt Baha Mar – One of three hotels in the greater Baha Mar resort overlooking the pure white sands of Cable Beach, the 4-star Grand Hyatt boasts six pools, a lavish spa and wellness center, and a private beach reserved exclusively for its guests. Stay here, and you will have access to the larger resort’s facilities, including a kids’ club, a casino, a signature golf course, and a selection of restaurants, bars, and lounges.
- The Royal at Atlantis – One of the main towers in the sand-colored Atlantis Paradise Island resort complex, the iconic Royal at Atlantis has a unique aquarium lobby surrounded by the largest open-air marine habitat in the world. Guests will have access to the facilities of the larger resort, such as the famous waterpark, 11 landscaped pools, tennis courts, a casino, and a seemingly endless selection of restaurants and bars. Colorful and contemporary rooms come with a French balcony overlooking the harbor or the ocean.
- Comfort Suites Paradise Island – The all-suite Comfort Suites Paradise Island with its pink, L-shaped buildings surrounding a central pool offers superior and spacious accommodation. Perks include a separate living area and a daily full American breakfast buffet with everything from eggs and waffles to fresh fruit. Located alongside Atlantis Paradise Island, guests can enjoy full use of its facilities, such as the waterpark, swimming pools, spa, kids’ club, and private beach. They will also have full signing privileges at any of Atlantis’ restaurants and bars.
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.
Where to Stay in Freeport
- Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach All Inclusive – Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach All Inclusive is set on the soft white sands of a private beach reserved exclusively for its guests. Spread across multiple bungalow-style buildings, it offers a variety of air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom. Leave your wallet at home with the generous All Inclusive package – meals and snacks, unlimited cocktails, nightly live entertainment, themed parties, and unlimited non-motorized sports are included. Pool and beach games (with prizes), Caribbean dance classes, yoga classes, and even a mini disco for the kids will keep everyone entertained.
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.
Where to Stay in George Town
- Island Time Villas – The pastel bougainvillea-clad Island Time Villas offer a little of everything: one or two-bedroom self-catering villas or simple studios with a kitchenette less than 200 meters from the beach. Each villa comes with air-conditioning, free parking, and some have a balcony or terrace overlooking the harbor or lush gardens. Spend your days lounging around the hotel swimming pool and having a BBQ, or take the night off with a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar.
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.
Where to Stay in Harbour Island
- Coral Sands Hotel – Spread across three buildings on a five-kilometer stretch of pink-sand beach, the 3-star Coral Sands Hotel offers a range of bright and airy rooms and suites with a beachy feel. For a little more space, there is also a choice of a bungalow, cottage, or a glamorous private villa. Wherever you stay, spend your days relaxing beside the ocean-facing freshwater pool, playing a game of tennis, or dining at the restaurant or bar. A daily continental breakfast is included for each day of your stay.
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.