Millions of people visit The Bahamas each year and its capital city, Nassau, is generally the top destination. Nassau is located on the island of New Providence and blends the best of a metropolitan area with the beauty and serenity of a tropical paradise. So, it’s no small wonder multitudes of vacationers choose the capital city as a top spot to visit.
The uniqueness that is Nassau creates the opportunity to do see and do so many amazing things. Hopefully, you’ve planned enough time to be in the area to experience all that is Nassau. If you need a place to start, here are seven of the top things to do while here.
1. Hit the Beaches of Nassau
The islands of the Bahamas are known for beautiful beaches and serene blue water. Here are some of the more popular beaches in Nassau:
Western Esplanade Beach – Located just a short walk from the Margaritaville Beach Resort at The Pointe under development and frequented by locals, Western Esplanade Beach offers beautiful white sands and waters, with tropical trees when you need a little shade. Snorkeling, swimming, and soaking up the sun's rays are all popular pursuits among visitors to this less crowded beach.
Junkanoo Beach – Located right next to Western Esplanade Beach, Junkanoo Beach is at the other end of the spectrum in terms of noise, people, and activities. If you are interested in the full high-energy experience in Nassau, Junkanoo Beach is definitely the place to be. Outdoor showers and changing rooms make it easy to go directly from museum to swimming on this beautiful and popular white-sand beach.
Cable Beach – Located just a bit west of Nassau, the ever-popular Cable Beach is well-known for its sand and beautiful waters. There is no shortage of activities in the area, including plenty of water sports.
Paradise Island - Only a short ferry boat ride away, Paradise Island offers an easy alternative for those looking for something a little different. Situated directly across the harbour from the developing Margaritaville Beach Resort at The Pointe, Paradise Island provides one more day of carefree adventure for visitors and residents alike in Nassau.
2. Blue Lagoon Island
For more adventurous travelers, Blue Lagoon Island is a short boat ride from the Nassau harbor. Activities include beach lounging and swimming as well as shopping and dining. The real appeal of Blue Lagoon Island, however, is the range of up-close-and-personal experiences available through various local companies and guides.
At Blue Lagoon Island, you and your group get the chance to swim with trained dolphins, sea lions, or stingrays in a safe and supervised marine environment. The Dolphin Encounters excursion is especially popular and includes the chance to experience dolphin surfing for yourself. These once-in-a-lifetime encounters might be the highlight of your entire trip to Nassau.
3. The Clifton Heritage National Park
History buffs will find plenty to see and do at the Clifton Heritage National Park, which comprises 208 acres and includes an extensive range of exhibits that depict the lives and lifestyles of the Lucayans. These Amerindians are believed to be the original inhabitants of the Bahamas.
One highlight of the park is the replica village designed to look just like the ones the Lucayans lived in more than six centuries ago. The worker’s quarters of the Whylly Plantation are also preserved in the Clifton Heritage National Park and provide a unique look at the history and culture of a bygone era in Bahamian history.
This park is also the home of the largest underwater sculpture in the world. "Ocean Atlas" stands 18 feet tall and weighs 60 tons. This sizable work of art was created by Jason deCaires Taylor and serves as the centerpiece for the Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden.
Check out this short video to see “Ocean Atlas” and find out a bit more about the artist.
Other sculptures in this underwater attraction include "Virtuoso Man" by Willicey Tynes and "Lucayan Faces" by Andret John. Snorkel trips to this exclusive underwater sculpture garden are available on a regular basis and allow observation of local marine life along with the chance to see these unique artworks in an up close and personal way.
4. The Pirates of Nassau Museum
Nassau and the surrounding islands were used as bases for pirates and privateers who patrolled the Caribbean Sea during the late 17th century into the early part of the 18th century. Blackbeard, Henry Avery, Benjamin Hornigold, and Charles Vane were among the most famous and feared denizens of Nassau and acquired a well-earned reputation for violence and plundering among the ships that sailed in this area.
The Pirates of Nassau museum features a re-creation of an actual pirate ship. Dubbed “Revenge,” this frigate offers an interactive experience for children and adults alike. Exhibits focus on the challenges that faced pirates, the lives of women pirates and, of course, the infamous Edward Teach. Pirates of Nassau is an ideal attraction for those interested in learning more about the golden age of piracy in Nassau and the surrounding areas.
5. Bahamian Cookin' Restaurant
When you get hungry and want to try some authentic Bahamian food, head to Bahamian Cookin’ Restaurant. Billed as the oldest Bahamian restaurant in Nassau, Bahamian Cookin' is a family affair that features traditional foods from this island paradise. Conch is featured in several of the signature dishes on the menu and is available in chowder or fritters to suit just about any preference.
Located just off Market Street in scenic Downton Trinity Place, Bahamian Cookin' is open for breakfast and lunch, Monday-Saturday. Dinner service is available for restaurant buyouts that can include parties, wedding rehearsals, group meetings, and more.
You might want to stop in during off hours, however, to avoid the crowds of locals and tourists who swarm this popular eating establishment during peak hours of operation. Be sure to ask about conch dishes and johnnycake, both of which are traditional elements of Bahamian cuisine.
6. The Extreme Shark Adventure
If swimming with sharks is a lifelong dream of yours, planning a trip to Stuart Cove’s Shark Adventure™ could make this dream come true. You’ll explore some of the beautiful reefs of the Caribbean and come face-to-face with these majestic creatures.
You must be a Certified Diver or Jr. Diver to participate in the dives offered by Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas. If you haven’t participated in a dive in the last three years, you’ll need to complete a refresher program before booking the Shark Adventure.
Shark Adventure is a two-tank dive trip that takes place either at the “Shark Wall” and “The Arena” locations or at “The Runway” and “Shark Wall North” locations. These sites offer the best opportunities for you to see a gathering of reef sharks.
The initial diving experience will allow you to swim directly with the sharks, while the second part of the trip features a professional shark feeder who will provide bait for the sharks. This activity allows you to see numerous Caribbean reef sharks at one time in their natural setting.
7. Nassau Rum and Food Walking Tour
You definitely can’t make a trip to The Bahamas without having a little rum! The Nassau Rum and Food Walking Tour allows you to taste some of the best Bahamian rums and foods.
With the help of a local tour guide, you’ll visit several of the top spots in Nassau including the Pirate Republic Brewing Company, Smuggler’s Beer Garden, Graycliff Chocolatier, and John Watling’s Distillery. Here are a few highlights you’ll enjoy:
- Rum tastings
- Specialty cocktails
- Bahamian seafood fritters
- Rum-infused chocolates and desserts
The tour offers you the opportunity to explore some of the streets of Downtown Nassau as your guide regales you with stories of rum runners, buccaneers, and educates you about the making of rum.
Groups are limited to 10 people to ensure you get a more personal experience.
Make the Most of Your Time in Nassau
Here’s a Nassau pedestrian map that highlights several of the locations we overviewed, plus some other top spots to check out while you’re in the area.
You will find there is no shortage of things to do in Nassau. There truly is something for everyone to enjoy. That’s why so many come back again and again. In fact, some people visit so much that they choose to purchase a residence here as a second home or an investment.
If you want to purchase a piece of paradise in The Bahamas, look no further than One Particular Harbour by Margaritaville at The Pointe. These breathtaking residences will offer you an unobstructed view of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, plus all the amenities you would expect of an idyllic island paradise.
Find out more about these distinctive luxury residences today.