Family Vacations to the Bahamas

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Bahamas – Family Vacation Guide

Imagine a Caribbean vacation and it’s almost always the Bahamas that springs to mind first. Grab the kids and get ready for the getaway like no other. A gorgeous archipelago of 700 islands and over 2,000 scattered sandy keys that evoke paradise perfectly. And the reality seldom disappoints.

Beaches have the whitest sand, washed by green-blue transparent seas under cloudless, sunny skies. The Bahamas are warm almost all year and are always easy-going and friendly. It’s a wonderful introduction to the Caribbean.

Why Go

  • Weather

    Average temperatures in December are around 80˚F, rising to 90˚F in July and August. June to September is rainy season with the highest chance of hurricanes.

  • Kid-Friendly

    Grand Bahama, Nassau and Paradise Island are the most active islands for kids.

  • Nature

    There are 23 National Parks across the islands including heavily protected Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, Abaco National Park and Nassau’s Primeval Forest, Bonefish Pond and Harold & Wilson Ponds National Park.

  • Festivals

    Christmas and New Years are great times to visit. There are celebrations on every island and the annual Junkanoo Festival is spectacular.

  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites

    The 11 Lighthouses of the Bahamas, built by the British Imperial Lighthouse Service between 1836 and 1887, are on UNESCO’s tentative World Heritage list. The famous Elbow Reef Lighthouse on Elbow Cay is still operational today.

Where to Go

Paradise Island

Just off the northeast coast of Nassau, Paradise Island is dominated by the Atlantis resort. With everything from its own shopping malls to beaches, waterparks, vast aquariums, dolphin reserves, golf courses and every type of water sport imaginable, this is the zenith of all-inclusive Caribbean family holidays. In terms of heritage, culture and character, all the Bahamas adds here is gorgeous weather. The island is only 3 miles from lively Downtown Nassau and there’s plenty of local color to be had there.

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The Bahamas’ capital and biggest city, Nassau is perennially charming. Pretty ice-cream-colored colonial buildings, happening Bay Street, the general fun of Downtown, cute street markets and lush gardens more than make up for a cruise ship packed harbor and the hordes of tourists. The beaches here are big, broad and beautiful – not quiet coves, but good for activities, sun-loungers and on-tap service. If you want an easy, barefoot peace, catching a boat to Blue Lagoon from Nassau, at least once, is must-do.

  • Nassau has a selection of international resorts, beach hotels and apartments. Most family accommodation now includes day passes or access to Atlantis Paradise Island.
  • Don’t miss: Bay Street and Downtown, Cable Beach, boat trips to Blue Lagoon Island, Ardastra Zoo, the Queen’s Staircase and the Pirates of Nassau Museum.
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Grand Bahama

Grand Bahama is popular for family holidays. It’s also the closest island to Florida’s coast with fast, frequent flights from Miami. The capital, Freeport, is the second largest city in the Bahamas, famous for beaches, super-yachts in the marina and enormous resort hotels. Make sure to escape the crowds around Freeport and visit any one of the three national parks, sail around for the day or delve deep into its amazing underwater caves.

  • This is the heartland of all-inclusive Bahamas and the beaches around Freeport have the best choice of family resorts and hotels.
  • Don’t miss: Port Lucaya Marketplace, Lucayan National Park, water sports on Lucaya Beach, family barbecues on Taino Beach, horse riding on William’s Town Beach and themed island bicycle tours.
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What to Do

  • Junkanoo Festival
    The traditional annual Caribbean carnival is a spectacularly colorful New Year event which is now so popular it’s held during summer too. The Junior Junkanoo involves local kids, mini-parades and outrageous dress-up.
  • National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, Nassau
    This dynamic museum has a constantly evolving permanent collection celebrating and supporting new and traditional national art.
  • Atlantis Aquaventure, Paradise Island
    You don’t have to be a guest at the enormous Atlantis Resort to take complete advantage of the biggest waterpark in the Bahamas.
  • Pirates of Nassau Museum, Nassau
    An interactive experience of life aboard a typical pirate ship, looting, buccaneering and boldly rampaging about the 18th century Caribbean islands.
  • Ardastra Zoo, Nassau
    If the self-consciously glamorous hordes strutting around Nassau aren’t theatre enough for kids, take them to see the marching flamingos of Ardastra.
  • Lucayan National Park, Grand Bahama
    Spending a day in this fabulous national park is a Grand Bahama must-do. It’s great for picnics, but the big draw is the world’s largest underwater cave system.
  • Glass Bottom Boat Tours, Grand Bahama
    Grand Bahama is an iconic diving destination, but kids too young to scuba or snorkel can see almost as much underwater action on an island boat tour.
  • Grand Bahama Eco-Tours
    Island hopping, heritage exploring and beachcombing are just a few of the guided experiences on an eco-tour.
  • Harbour Island
    If you’re staying on Nassau or Paradise Island and the man-made fun gets too much, take the kids sailing for the day to quaint and historic Harbour Island.
  • Island Hopping
    The Bahamas has 700 islands and over 2,000 cays, so hopping near and far by air or sea is the best type of adventure.

Educational Value for Kids

  • The Bahamas have world class dive sites and some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean.
  • Easy going island bicycle tours with local guides are great learning experiences for kids.
  • Straw weaving, braiding and sculpting are some of the traditional island crafts. Visit the Straw Market in Downtown Nassau.
  • The term “buccaneer” was coined in the Caribbean and real pirate tales are told all over the islands.
  • Visit Taino Beach on Grand Bahama for brilliant beachy barbecues, a laid back introduction to island cooking for picky little eaters.
  • If you hop to Harbour Island, it’s only a short crossing to Eleuthera Island and the real life history of the Bahamas’ very first settlers.
  • Andros is the largest landmass in the Bahamas, has five national parks and the third largest coral reef in the world. The ferry journey from Nassau is an adventure itself.

Getting Around

Most of the islands are easy to get around by public transport or even on bikes. Because the Bahamas is such a popular cruise destination, you’ll find short tours to most major attractions which work well for younger kids. Bahama Ferries operates scheduled crossings to larger islands and private charters and flights are available to cays and more remote areas. If you want complete independence, car rentals are easy to arrange in Nassau and Grand Bahama.

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