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PHOTO BY: BlueOrangeStudio / Alamy Stock Photo,BlueOrangeStudio / Alamy Stock P
See Nassau — and Beyond
While Nassau is a popular vacation destination in the Bahamas, there’s much more to see than just the capital. The Bahamas is made up of 700 islands that span 100,000 square miles of ocean. To find out which destination would be best for you, based on your interests, try this handy island finder tool.
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PHOTO BY: National Geographic Creative / Alamy,National Geographic Creative / A
Find the Right Beach
You can’t visit the Bahamas without setting foot on sand. From family-friendly spots to secluded stretches — and resort-style areas— there are plenty of beaches to choose from. Two convenient to downtown Nassau are Cabbage Beach and Paradise Beach. As you’re searching for the right one, do some extra research about public amenities, as many don't offer simple things like restrooms.
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PHOTO BY: Richard Cummins/Getty Images
Shop Till You Drop
Even if you aren’t in need of anything, you’re bound to buy a few things when you visit the Bahamas. From clothing and jewelry stores to Nassau’s famous Straw Market, there's plenty to peruse. Some of the popular spots: Festival Place by the cruise ship dock, Bay Street in downtown Nassau, and Marina Village and Crystal Court Shops on Paradise Island. Duty-free shops are an added bonus and will help stretch your dollar.
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PHOTO BY: Getty Images
Try Some Bahamian Food
While you’ll find traditional American food throughout the islands, sample (or eat a lot) of the local food. Homemade conch salad and fritters are two tasty treats you might want to try. There are a variety of restaurants, and casual clothes are perfectly fine to wear. A local hangout that also gets more than its fair share of tourists is Bahama Mama (that’s also the name of a popular local drink). For dessert (or a snack), stop by Graycliff Chocolatier, another popular stop for tourists.
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PHOTO BY: Sergi Reboredo / Alamy
Fly, Boat, Ride, Walk …
There are several transportation options for getting to — and around — the Bahamas. The most popular airport is Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport. From there, you can hop to different islands by a boat or a local airline. There are also plenty of options for tours around your island and neighboring ones. Taxis are also available. The main drag in Nassau is walkable, not hilly, and bordered by places to stop for a little break or to grab a bite to eat.
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PHOTO BY: Juliet Coombe/Getty Images
Visit a Tourist Attraction
The Bahamas is a tourist area, so there are a lot of excursion options, but you can plan out your day (or days) on the island yourself. There are a number of museums to visit, including Pirates Museum of Nassau, which offers a glimpse of the islands’ culture. Several other museums in downtown Nassau offer unique perspectives into that culture.
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PHOTO BY: JOHN KELLERMAN / Alamy Stock Photo,JOHN KELLERMAN / Alamy Stock Pho
Discover a Best-Kept Secret
While it’s not hidden, you might not know everything Atlantis offers. The mega resort on Paradise Island has the world's largest open-air marine habitat, a casino, a 141-acre water park and much more. For those not wanting to stay at the resort, Atlantis has partnered with some hotels and cruise lines to allow those vacationers to buy day passes. If you're only going for a day, comparison shop to see if it’s cheaper to book a hotel room or buy passes for everyone in your group, including the kids and grandkids. Another mega resort to consider: Baha Mar, home to the largest casino in the Caribbean.
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PHOTO BY: James L. Stanfield/Getty Images
Learn About Local History
If you can’t make it to San Salvador Island, you should probably know this about the historic area. The Bahamian island is where, in 1492, Christopher Columbus made landfall in the New World. A monument marks the spot. Inspired by the surrounding shallow sea, Columbus described the islands as those of the “baja mar” (shallow sea), which have become the islands of the Bahamas.
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PHOTO BY: BlueOrangeStudio / Alamy
Hit the Links
There is no shortage of golf courses in the Bahamas. A number of resorts have their own courses, and there are many others to choose from to see if your swing is up to par. Beyond many of the greens is the Atlantic, making courses both beautiful and challenging. When arranging a tee time, be sure to ask for a discount; some places offer reduced rates for those over 60.
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PHOTO BY: iStock
Join, or Avoid, Cruise Travelers
Downtown Nassau is home to a major cruise port. On any given day, usually at least one ship docks, but some days there are several. You can try to gauge the crowd by checking the schedule to see what ships are in port on certain days. If you’re a cruise visitor, don’t let the crowds deter you from getting off the ship. Just plan in advance and consider booking reservations for excursions, or stop by a restaurant early to see if it takes reservations.
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