Though the Out Islands might rightly be described as sleepy, the Abacos will be the first to shake off the snooze. Yachtsmen and divers flock to this glittering crescent of islands and cays – stretching south for 200 miles just east of Grand Bahama – for stellar sailing, spectacular reef diving and sunny ports of call.
The main island is 130-mile-long Great Abaco, with most Abaconians living in bustling Marsh Harbour. Home to the Out Islands’ only stoplight – a lone beacon of either progress or doom depending on who’s got your ear – this marina-crammed community is a prime launching pad for exploring the surrounding cays and reefs. The Loyalist Cays – Elbow, Great Guana, Man O’ War and Green Turtle – beckon offshore just a short ferry ride away. Named after the 18th-century settlers who came here to avoid prosecution during the American Revolution, they’re an inviting collection of clapboard homes, narrow streets and chockablock museums. The Great Abaco Barrier Reef, allegedly the third largest in the world, lures divers and snorkelers, with some of the best snorkeling just a short kick from shore.