Parts of the Bahamas—namely Grand Bahama Island and the Abacos—were devastated by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. But did you know most of the islands are operating as normal? If you’ve been thinking about a Bahamas family vacation, now is the time to go; not only will your vacation do some good for the family, but it’ll do a lot of good for the Bahamas.
And while Nassau/Paradise Island and its mega resorts, Atlantis and Baha Mar, are an obvious choice for families, you might be surprised to learn what some of the other islands have to offer. These are the best Bahamas family vacations.
Note: The Abaco Islands have been excluded from this list while recovery efforts remain underway.
1. Grand Bahama Island
Grand Bahama Island took a heavy hit from Hurricane Dorian. But it’s made a comeback; 84 percent of the island’s hotels and restaurants have reopened, and 75 percent of the tours and 55 percent of the attractions and water sports are operating as of January 2020.
Freeport, the hub of the island and a major cruise port, offers dining and shopping, plus beautiful beaches—many of them found within Lucayan National Park. And in terms of family-friendly resorts, Lighthouse Pointe at Grande Lucayan Resort is a great choice. One of the best all-inclusive Caribbean family resorts, it offers complimentary water sports, an Instagram-worthy infinity pool, and four onsite dining options.
Recommended Hotel: Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan Resort
2. The Exumas
The Exumas—comprised of Great Exuma, Little Exuma, and the Exuma Cays—make for a memorable family vacation in the Bahamas. Most families base themselves on Great Exuma, either at Grand Isle Resort & Spa (located next to the adults-only Sandals Emerald Bay) or a vacation rental, with day trips to explore the other islands.
Dozens of tour operators take travelers to visit rare rock iguanas on Allen Cay, nurse sharks on Compass Cay, and wild pigs on Big Major Cay. You can also ride ATVs and—an absolute must—relax at Chat ‘N’ Chill on Stocking Island, where you can lie in a hammock, hang from a rope swing, play beach games, swim with stingrays and grab a bite to eat.
Recommended Hotel: Grand Isle Resort & Spa
Slow down and stay awhile in Eleuthera, famous for its New England-style architecture and diversity of beaches—from surfing beaches to reef-protected beaches, and even pink-sand beaches on Harbor Island. When the kids need to burn off some extra energy, explore one of the blue holes; Sapphire Blue Hole is a favorite. Be sure to enjoy some fresh pineapple, too; Eleuthera is the Pineapple Capital of the World, with some of the sweetest pineapple you’ll ever taste.
Recommended Hotel: The Dunmore Hotel & Residences
4. Nassau/Paradise Island
There’s plenty to do in Nassau, whether you’re in port for the day on a cruise vacation, or staying at a hotel or vacation rental in town. Many of the activities and attractions in Nassau are cheap or even free, including the The Pirates of Nassau Museum and Nassau Straw Market.
But across the bridge from Nassau, Paradise Island steals the show, with Atlantis and Baha Mar offering just about everything you could imagine: luxury hotels, restaurants, shopping, a casino, kids’ clubs, water sports, beaches, and best of all, Aquaventure Waterpark.
Recommended Hotel: The Reef Atlantis, Autograph Collection
5. Andros Islands
Bahamians refer to Andros as the “sleeping giant.” That’s because even though the island of North Andros is the largest in the Bahamas, it’s also one of the quietest. Here you’ll find national parks, water sports (including excellent diving), and little else. If your family is content to be in the water for the duration of your trip, add the Andros Islands to your shortlist of Bahamas family vacations.
Recommended Hotel: Small Hope Bay Lodge
6. Bimini Islands
Did you know you can take a ferry to the Bimini Islands? They’re that close! The Bimini Fast Ferry provides service between Fort Lauderdale and Bimini, making it easy to reach the islands’ beautiful beaches and luxury beach resorts. (Of course, you can also fly to the islands.) The two islands—North Bimini and South Bimini—are known for their water-based adventures, which include big-game fishing charters. They’re also known for their sweet Bimini bread. Yum!
Recommended Hotel: Bimini Big Game Club Resort and Marina