After being hit hard by Hurricane Dorian, devastating images of the Abacos and Grand Bahama hit the news showing complete demolition in some places. But the Bahamas are made up of over 700 islands and cays and most of these islands were actually unaffected by the hurricane's destructive path.
The Bahamas economy is heavily reliant on tourism and they need that support now more than ever. But getting people to book travel or keep their travel plans to the Bahamas after the hurricane has become a challenge. “One of the best ways that people around the world can show their support and solidarity… is to visit our other islands by air or by cruise ship,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told the Associated Press.
So if you were thinking of canceling your plans to visit, don't! And if you're wondering how you can support the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian, booking a family beach vacation might just be in order. Here are just a few of the many islands that are still open for business, as well as ways that you can help give back.
The islands of the Exumas have made a name for themselves, thanks to the Instagram-friendly swimming pigs. And it's not just the pigs that make the Exumas worthy of a visit: There's a lot to love in the 365 cays and islands of this archipelago that avoided the wrath of Dorian. With their gorgeous resorts and private mansions, the Exuma Cays have become a playground for families in search of blissed-out luxury. Meanwhile, Great Exuma and Little Exuma are more laidback, with little fishing villages and quiet white-sand beaches. Want to have a good time and help support a good cause? Head to Grand Isle Resort & Spa for the fifth annual Exuma Marathon in November, and you can save 35% off weekend rates. You can also visit the famous pigs right now for 25% off.
When people think of the Bahamas, New Providence usually springs to mind, with its white-sand beaches, colorful buildings and rich island culture. The main port, where the cruise ships dock, is in the capital city of Nassau, which is home to candy-colored colonial buildings and old forts. A few miles west of Nassau, you'll find the new Baha Mar, with a trio of properties (Grand Hyatt, Rosewood, SLS Baha Mar) set on the pristine white sands of Cable Beach. Baha Mar is the perfect place for families seeking unique experiences, from creating authentic artwork with a Bahamian artist to paddling around in a clear-bottomed kayak. And you'll feel good staying here: The resort is donating millions to hurricane relief, and the properties at Baha Mar are also asking guests to pack an extra item to donate, including clothing, educational supplies and even stuffed animals to comfort those in need.
Another resort donating millions to hurricane relief is Atlantis, located on Paradise Island right offshore from Nassau. This is the biggest resort in the Caribbean, so whatever you want to do, you can probably experience it here: swimming with dolphins, riding down epic waterslides, learning about marine conservation. Book now through September 16 and you'll enjoy great rates starting from $179 a night, plus up to $300 in resort credits. And when you book a minimum of four consecutive nights, one of those nights is free.
While not an island, per se, Stingray City is a buzzing location just off New Providence island that your kids will never forget. Here in the shallow, crystalline waters, you'll find tons of friendly stingrays who love to swim up and greet visitors. Kids can stand in the knee-high water and feed the rays or put on a mask and snorkel around with these magnificent creatures.
Eleuthera may be one of the Bahamas' most populated islands (population 11,000), but you'd never know it, with its tiny, spread-out villages and endless pink- and white-sand beaches without another soul for for miles. The island — founded in 1648 — has tons of history and is said to be the birthplace of the Bahamas. Another fun fact: Eleuthera is called the "Pineapple Capital Of The World" and has some of the sweetest pineapples you'll ever taste. Where to stay? Check out French Leave Resort, which is part of Marriott's Autograph Collection — a group of properties with plenty of personality and style. The hotel is surrounded by tropical jungle and overlooks the bright-blue waters of Governor's Harbour.
Pink-sand beach? Check. Charming Bahamian cottages? Check. Sophistication in spades? Check. Harbour Island is a slice of perfection where locals ride around in golf carts and the town is filled with chic boutiques and galleries. And while it's close to Abaco, the island was unscathed during Dorian. Check out Pink Sands Resort, which has 25 private luxury beach-side cottages set right on Harbour Island’s legendary pink-sand beach.
Part of the Out Islands of the Bahamas, the narrow, 48-mile-long Cat Island is famously the birthplace of Academy Award-winning actor Sir Sidney Poitier. But when you visit the unspoiled landscapes, endless hiking trails, gorgeous white sands and even an eight-mile pink-sand beach, you'll wonder why Poitier ever left. Want to truly get away from it all? Head to the family-friendly Fernandez Bay Village, with breezy cottages and sprawling villas set on a beautiful white-sand beach.