Sprawling beaches, pristine waters and more than 700 islands full of tropical playgrounds make the Bahamas a very family friendly getaway.
From all-inclusive resorts to more boutique options, kids clubs and young explorer programs abound in the Bahamas. Modern resorts on most main islands have evolved to incorporate activities for children to experience this island paradise with — or without — their parents. Island-hoppers benefit from short flight times, and car rental services and shuttles provide hassle-free transport for families, making vacations in the Bahamas top notch, whether you want waterslides, waterfalls or underwater adventures. And there isn't really a bad time to visit.
Narrowing down which islands to go to can be a challenge, but there are some that stand out for family travelers. Just off the coast of New Providence a short distance from Nassau is Paradise Island, with the one-two punch of Atlantis and Baha Mar resorts making it the top destination in the Bahamas for kids. Freeport in Grand Bahama offers an easily accessible alternative to New Providence that comes with a more do-it-yourself attitude for the kids. While families won’t be fully remote here, attractions like Coral Vita and Gold Rock Beach offer ready-made adventures for families of explorers. Chances are older children will appreciate the idyllic hamlet of Harbour Island just east of Eleuthera, which is completely navigable by golf cart. Here, pink sand beaches blend with the tranquil confines of Dunmore Town for a destination that offers flawless fun.
Here are the best things to do with children in the Bahamas.
1. Float away at Aquaventure Water Park on Paradise Island
Aquaventure, located on Paradise Island, is a 141-acre water park offering a Disney-like atmosphere that puts visitors inside a fantasy world built to evoke the lost city of Atlantis. Attractions include water slides themed on Mayan pyramids and jungles — including one slide that transports riders through an underwater tunnel surrounded by sharks.
2. Learn about smugglers at Pirates of Nassau Museum
Just a short ride from Aquaventure, get face-to-face with replica pirate ships and the legacy of pirate lore in the Bahamas at Pirates of Nassau Museum. Historically, the Bahamas played host to a rogue’s gallery of infamous smugglers including a pirate republic dominated by the likes of “Black” Sam Bellamy, “Blackbeard” Edward Teach, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.
3. Gaze out to sea from Fort Montagu
This 18th-century limestone fortress peers out over the eastern end of Nassau Harbor. Fort Montagu is the oldest remaining fort still standing on New Providence, and played a role in the American Revolutionary War, becoming the location of the first ever successful amphibious assault by United States Marines.
4. Lucayan National Park has activities for all age groups
Kayaking, off-road tours and beaches are highlights of Grand Bahama’s Lucayan National Park, a playground for all ages. Located near Freeport, this sprawling jungle landscape allows families to load up for a paddle through mangrove forests or pile into a 4WD for a Jurassic Park-like tour of the rainforest.
5. Study climate change and the oceans at Coral Vita
One of the world’s pre-eminent coral farms, Coral Vita is located on Grand Bahama. Here, researchers are working to understand the ways warming oceans are impacting coral and engineering methods for coral to adapt to climate change. Coral Vita offers guided tours for visitors who want an in-depth look at the biology taking place beneath the waves.
6. Pet animals at Ardastra Gardens and Wildlife Conservation Center
This Nassau garden is home to more than 130 species of animals in a four-acre complex that’s perfect for toddlers. Families can feed birds and interact with mammals at the petting zoo. Swans, macaws, peafowls and lory parrots flutter and walk about here under the shade of mangos and coconut palms.
7. Feed marine creatures with Sea Squirts
Atlantis Paradise Island hosts this program designed specifically for children ages three to six years old. Sea Squirts is a one-hour, interactive marine program that allows children to hand feed fish and baby stingrays and includes a swim shirt as a keepsake.
8. See local wildlife at BEACH Sanctuary
The Baha Mar Ecological Aquatic Conservation Habitat is home to a variety of sea turtles, rays and sharks. Inside this New Providence sanctuary, guests can participate in daily animal feedings, wade into tidal pools and meet flamingos. BEACH Sanctuary also features a kids club program.