Considering the fact that The Bahamas is comprised of over 700 islands, it should be no surprise that the country is one of the Caribbean’s leading beach destinations. The striking contrast between the dark blue deep blue Atlantic waters and the hypnotizing hues of the country’s shallow turquoise seas have even become a treat for astronauts to behold from space.
But don’t worry – you won’t need a rocket ship to experience the gin-clear waters that The Bahamas has become famed for. With multiple islands to choose from, each with its own attractive quirks and qualities, the beaches here are varied and can cater to the wants of any traveler.
1. Surfer’s Beach
When thinking of surfing destinations, The Bahamas probably wouldn’t come to mind in the same way as California or Hawaii. However, with many of The Bahamas’ islands featuring a shoreline directly bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, surfing in The Bahamas is possible and often ideal. Surfer’s Beach, found on Eleuthera, offers a unique surfing experience not typically enjoyed in The Bahamas.
This beach is about two miles south of Gregory Town and is furnished with a charming beach shack that’s been built out of driftwood. Additionally, it features a stretch of powdery white sand shoreline that Caribbean islands are renowned for.
Planning tip: The optimum surfing conditions at Surfer’s Beach are during the months of September through February. The trade winds bring increased gusts during this time of year and increase surf action on the island’s windward coast. Due to the high surf action, usual beach activities like snorkeling aren’t recommended unless it’s done in the protected cove at the northern end of the beach.
2. Junkanoo Beach
What Junkanoo Beach doesn’t offer in privacy and seclusion, it makes up for in convenience and excitement. This stretch of sand is found in the heart of the bustling (at least by Caribbean standards) city of Nassau on the island of New Providence. It’s The Bahamas’ largest island in terms of population and it welcomes more visitors every year than the other Bahamian islands.
The beach itself is just a short five-minute walk west of the city’s cruise port, which is the country’s busiest, and it’s very popular with spring breakers. As you’d expect, this beach can get a little crowded. If isolation is what you’re after, this may not be the beach for you. However, as it attracts more visitors than other beaches, there are more beach activities and amenities available. Junkanoo Beach is also in close proximity to popular bars like Pirate Republic Brewing and Señor Frogs.
Despite the crowds, the clear blue waters at this beach remain a delight to the eyes.
3. Tropic of Cancer Beach
The Exumas are a chain of islands within The Bahamas numbering over 300 – seemingly an island for each day of the year. The largest of these emerald isles are Great and Little Exuma, which are connected by a short bridge. The Tropic of Cancer beach is located on Little Exuma and is actually the island’s longest beach.
This beach, named after the line of latitude that crosses the island at this point, is a spectacular stretch of bleached white sand and brilliant turquoise waters that The Bahamas is famed for. It is easily one of the most attractive beaches within the entire archipelago. The temptation of swimming at the northern border of the earth’s tropical region can’t be avoided.
The short stairway leading to the sand is an ideal spot for photos. While the beach does not offer any amenities, that also has an upside – you’re unlikely to encounter large crowds and the expansive stretch offers a level of peace and privacy that cannot be beaten.
4. Dean’s Blue Hole Beach
Dean’s Blue Hole is a record-setting large marine cavern system found off the shores of Long Island in The Central Bahamas. As the islands are composed of porous limestone rock, many of these sinkholes have formed over the years and the archipelago is now home to a large concentration of blue holes.
Dean’s Blue Hole is the world’s second deepest blue hole and is almost completely surrounded by a naturally occurring limestone rock amphitheater on three sides. Its depths attract free divers from across the earth. However, on one side, it is surrounded by a shallow lagoon and beach which is one of Long Island’s more attractive beaches and one of the best beaches in The Bahamas. The sickle-shaped beach itself is north of Clarence Town, the island’s capital and, like most of the beaches found on The Bahamas’ family islands, does not offer much in the way of amenities.
The allure of being able to sit on the edge of the world’s second deepest blue hole while feet away from the shore is this beach's true attraction. True thrill seekers can climb to one of the three jump spots along the amphitheater’s cliff and dive into the depths below.
Local tip: The road leading to Dean’s Blue Hole Beach is just off Queen’s Highway, which stretches for almost the complete length of the island. It is unpaved, so traveling along it would be best done in a 4WD. Additionally, unless visitors are strong swimmers, it’s not advised to swim near the edge of the blue hole itself – stick to the southern portion of the beach’s cove where the water remains shallow.
5. Fortune Beach
A quiet tract of white sandy beach, Fortune Beach is found in the city of Freeport on Grand Bahama. It’s rumored that a million-dollar shipwreck was found off the island’s coast near this beach – hence the name. Its location between two channels makes it ideal for beach activities like kite surfing.
This true appeal of this beach is found at low tide when a sand bar appears just feet from the shore and allows visitors to sunbathe on their own small private island, if only for a short while.
6. Pink Sands Beach
While powdery white sand beaches are ubiquitous in The Bahamas, a less common, but even more enticing, phenomena are pink sand beaches. The most renowned of them is Pink Sands Beach on Harbour Island’s Atlantic coast. One of the best beaches in The Bahamas, it captivatingly stretches for about three uninterrupted miles and offers visitors a unique experience that is, without a doubt, exceptional.
The turquoise Bahamian seas meet the speckled-pink sand to create a distinctive occurrence that arguably makes it one of the country’s most iconic beaches. Horseback riding along the shores of the beach is available, which enhances its unique appeal.
Planning Tip: Harbour Island is a five-minute ferry ride from North Eleuthera at the Three Island Dock. During the months of November through March, Harbour Island can be quite busy. If you’d prefer to dodge the crowds, it’s best to avoid Pink Sands Beach during this time.
7. Gordon’s Beach
Another one of the best beaches in The Bahamas is found at the southern end of Long Island. Gordon’s Beach is located at the end of Queen’s Highway and is a short trek through salt pans – reminders of the island’s once prosperous natural salt production industry.
The way the sky gracefully kisses the ocean on the horizon at this beach is mesmerizing. While it is far from most resorts, the drive south along Queen’s Highway to Gordon’s Beach is the ultimate reward. This remote and breathtaking stretch of sand offers a true feeling of heaven on earth.
Planning tip: Most hotels and resorts are hours away. When visiting Gordon’s Beach, factor in several hours that includes driving to the beach, spending a decent amount of time there, and returning to accommodations. Fill your gas tank before you go and, while an SUV is not required, walking shoes are recommended to traverse the short dirt road which connects the highway to the beach.
8. Gaulding Cay Beach
A stroll along this beach, no matter the time of day, offers peace of mind that is peerless. Remote and quaint, along the shores of the Bight of Eleuthera, it is a calm alternative to any beach found on Eleuthera’s rugged Atlantic coast.
Just south of Eleuthera’s Glass Window Bridge in Gregory Town, the beach is divine. The best time to visit is at low tide when visitors can walk to the small island that gave the beach its name.
Typical of beaches found on the family islands of The Bahamas, there are no amenities, but the popular beach bar Daddy Joe’s is found nearby.
9. Long Bay Beach
San Salvador Island’s Long Bay Beach is the perfect marriage of picturesque enchantment and historical significance. This beach is found in the town of Long Bay – both the town and the beach are named after the long boats that Christopher Columbus and his crew came ashore in. Historians believe that Long Bay Beach was the site of Columbus’ first landing in the “New World”.
The beach site, also called Landfall Park, is furnished with numerous monuments to commemorate the Columbus landing. Offshore, snorkelers can also treat themselves to an undersea monument which is believed to be the exact spot where Columbus’ ship dropped anchor. Also featured on the beach is a monument erected by the International Olympic Committee that housed the Olympic torch on its way from Greece to Mexico for the 1968 Summer Olympic Games.