It’s a beach bonanza in the Bahamas with 700 coral islands scattered over 100,000 square miles of ocean the color of a Tiffany gift box. Whether you’re a sun worshiper or a sea lover, there’s a sandy swath for every kind of beach buff.
Here are seven of the best.
Tahiti Beach, Elbow Cay, the Abacos
Why it's special: Never crowded because it is accessible only by foot, bike or boat, palm tree-lined Tahiti Beach boasts a long walkable sand bar that appears during low tide and shallow water that won’t reach past your knees. Collectors will find a treasure trove of sea glass and seashells where the water licks the sand.
Amenities: Hotels, shops and restaurants front the beach but the real fun is bellying up to the floating restaurant called Thirsty Cuda for an icy Kalik beer and a guava-glazed fish burger.
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French Leave Beach, Eleuthera
Why it's special: This mile-long carpet of blush-tinted sand is the go-to for day-trippers and boaters. Shady spots dot the beach courtesy of the coconut palms that keep a beat with the breeze. And protective coral reefs make sure the water is sleeping-baby calm. Turning into a theater at sundown, the night sky above the beach puts on a spectacular show of bright stars.
Amenities: Without food options on the beach, your best bet is 1648 Bar & Grille at the French Leave Resort about a mile away.
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Pink Sand Beach, Harbour Island
Why it's special: If you like Nantucket, you’ll love Harbour Island with its pastel-painted cottages and white picket fences. Where A-listers and regular Joes draw a line in the sand is the three-mile-long beach, a world-renowned magnet for those staying at 10 nearby hotels. The water is idyllic for casual swimming and the soft pink sand (no need for rose-colored glasses!) is cool enough for a high-noon stroll with bare feet.
Amenities: For a nibble and nosh, best bets are the food vendors on the beach and the Coral Sands Beach Bar, island-famous for their addictive conch fritters.
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Cabbage Beach, Paradise Island, Nassau
Why it's special: With no shortage of hotels, like megaresort Atlantis, water-sport kiosks, restaurants, bars and souvenir sellers, the two-mile-long lively beach on prime Paradise Island real estate is more than just a pretty face. Popular with an eclectic crowd, the beach buzzes with water skiers, swimmers, people watchers, sandcastle builders and those topping off their tan on a sun lounge. To escape the crowds, make a beeline to the northwest tip and snag a quieter spot on the sand.
Amenities: Coconut-water vendors and beach chair and umbrella rentals cluster on the western end. But despite its popularity, there are no public restrooms unless you’re lunching at one of the beachfront hotels, bars or restaurants. Ample parking is available for those not staying at the nearby hotels.
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Long Bay Beach, San Salvador
Why it's special: Named for Christopher Columbus’s longboats that came ashore on Oct. 12, 1492, the beach oozes peace and quiet below and above the water. Hitting the bull's-eye for snorkelers, the reefs, including one with a 40-foot drop-off, are home to a kaleidoscope of colorful critters. The waves are gentle enough for a morning dip and the sand soft enough for an afternoon siesta.
Amenities: Bring your own sips and snacks for lunch on the sand. Restrooms are available in nearby businesses.
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Three Sisters Beach, Great Exuma
Why it's special: According to local lore, three sisters smitten with the same philandering English captain swam out to sea to follow his ship. The waves were rough, so the story goes, and all three perished pursuing the love of their lives. Believed to have formed where the trio drowned, Three Sisters Beach is known as a place of romance and, strangely enough, also of good luck. It ticks all the beach boxes: The water is perfect for snorkeling, especially around the Three Sisters rock formations, and the fine sand so soft you’ll be tempted to forgo the sun lounger in favor of a towel spread out by the water’s edge.
Amenities: Parking is available, although blink and you’ll miss it, as the entrance hides behind thick brush. The only hotel on the beach, Exuma Palms, is open for breakfast and dinner and offers free Wi-Fi.
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Love Beaches, Long Island
Why it's special: You’ll fall in love all over again on the Love Beaches, which, if you’re counting, are really four breezy strands sitting pretty along one stretch. Catnip for privacy seekers, they enable you to sample a different beach each day and not run into anyone else. Close to historic Dunmore Town, where you’ll find centuries-old churches, the tranquil beaches are the go-to for getting lost in a novel or taking five on the sand.
Amenities: There’s Erna’s Natural Pool (a rock-sheltered swimming hole), hammocks, beach chairs, cabanas and a children’s playground for those with grandkids in tow.