The Bahamas: Top Attractions

The Bahamas
Snorkeling in the Bahamas  (PhotoDisc)

The Bahamas, a chain of more than 700 islands and 2,000 cays (small islands), stretches for 60 miles in the Atlantic waters southeast of Florida. New Providence Island and its capital city of Nassau, Paradise Island, and Grand Bahama receive the most visitors. Families looking for laid-back vacations geared to scuba or snorkeling should also consider such out-islands as Exuma and Andros.

Outdoor Aquarium at the Atlantis Resort (Paradise Island)
Along with waterslides and beaches, the Atlantis Resort features a 34-acre marine habitat whose 11 exhibit lagoons and pools are home to 200 species. Sharks glide above as you walk through an acrylic tunnel that penetrates their watery habitat. Exhibits showcase giant grouper, scores of piranha, scuttling lobsters, balloon-like jellyfish, regal lionfish, and green eels. At touch tanks, kids can handle starfish, conch, and sea urchins.
Atlantis Resort: 800.ATLANTIS, Atlantis.com

Beaches
Two great beaches on Paradise Island are Cabbage Beach and Paradise Beach. Cabbage Beach, dotted with coconut palms, sea grape, and casuarina trees, stretches for two miles. Anchored by Atlantis Resort, Paradise Beach is another good strip, but it's often hard for non-hotel guests to access. Grand Bahama Island is blessed with beautiful sands, including Xanadu Beach and Lucaya Beach, both lined with resorts, as well as the more pristine Gold Rock Beach in Lucayan National Park.
Additional Info: 800.BAHAMAS, www.bahamas.com

Lucayan National Park Kayak and Cave Tour (Grand Bahama Island)
This natural tour combines triple treats: kayaking, caving, and swimming on one of the island's most beautiful beaches. Paddle down a creek crowned by a canopy of mangrove trees, then picnic at Gold Beach, a wide stretch of dune-bordered coral sands. You'll have time for picnicking and swimming before walking a nature trail and checking out the caves' for stalactites and stalagmites.
Grand Bahama Nature Tours: 866.440.4542, www.grandbahamanaturetours.com

Snorkeling and Diving (Andros Island)
Offshore of Andros the third-largest barrier reef in the world sparkles with more than 100 miles of coral formations abundant with fish. Central Park lures snorkelers and divers with its large stands of elkhorn coral growing in 15 feet of water. Further out where the water plunges to a depth of 100 feet, divers explore blue holes. Small Hope Bay Lodge, a participant in Jean-Michael Cousteau's Out Island snorkeling adventures program, arranges snorkeling trips as well as dive expeditions.
Additional Info: 800.BAHAMAS, www.bahamas.com

Dolphin Encounters (Blue Lagoon Island, Nassau)
It's just a three-mile trip from Nassau to Blue Lagoon Island to encounter the bottlenose beauties at Dolphin Encounters. Swim with them, get kissed in shallow water, or watch from the dock. UNEXSO offers similar programs on Grand Bahama Island, but also takes ages 16 and older out to open water to frolic with the dolphins on their turf.
Dolphin Encounters: 242.363.1003, www.dolphinencounters.com
UNEXSO: 800.992.DIVE, www.unexso.com

Published: 8 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Bahamas

$385-$445
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The Cove Atlantis
$335
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The Reef Atlantis
$220-$269
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Atlantis Royal Towers
$2075-$2975
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One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas

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