The Bahamas is a perfect playground for kids of all ages and many of the hotels and restaurants there cater extremely well to families traveling with babies and toddlers
Many of the hotels in the Bahamas will also offer kids clubs and creches and most will have babysitting services available at an extra charge.
See also… Where to Stay
There are loads of family friendly activities on the islands also and younger kids will love the aquariums, dolphins and beaches. The Bahamas is known for its stellar beaches of pure white, and in some places pink, sand. Trying to decide where to go can be difficult as there is so much choice. The Bahamas can be pricey however, a trip here is a fantastic experience for all the family.
Choosing where to go…
Nassau & Paradise Island
Nassau is the capital city of The Bahamas and it lies on New Providence Island, the neighbour of Paradise Island. Nassau is a cosmopolitan city with duty free shops, golf, museums and restaurants however, some parts can be dangerous so make sure to take the usual precautions when exploring and stick to areas which are popular with tourists.
Nassau & Paradise Island offers fun on the water for kids of all ages. The islands are connected to each other by bridge making it a great destination for families as you can travel easily by road. There are beautiful beaches to explore, numerous underwater delights to discover while snorkeling, boating excursions to Blackbeard’s Cay, catamaran cruises and glass-bottom boat rides around the harbor, day sailing trips and a powerboat adventure to the beautiful Exuma Cays, plus interactions with dolphins at Atlantis and Blue Lagoon Island.
There are loads of family friendly hotels here, many of which include water slides, pools, kids clubs, snack bars and music. Some even have aquariums!
Grand Bahama Island
Grand Bahama is the northernmost island of the Bahamas archipelago and is known for its fantastic beaches (many of which have life guards on duty). There are loads of nature-based activities to enjoy here and the wide open spaces, a recreation center and a kid-friendly marketplace make Grand Bahama Island an ideal family vacation spot. There are loads of family friendly hotels here, many of which include water slides, pools, kids clubs, snack bars and music.
The Abacos Islands are a group of islands and barrier cays in the northern Bahamas. There are many fun-filled activities for the entire family that also offer learning opportunities. You can visit the candy-striped lighthouse of Hope Town on Elbow Cay or enjoy a stroll through the pastel-shaded gingerbread houses of picturesque New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay. Or, visit with the historic shipbuilders of Man O’ War Cay.
Exuma is a district of the Bahamas, consisting of over 365 islands, also called cays. These islands have a number of cultural, heritage and historical attractions for families to explore. Natural reserves such as The Exuma Land & Sea Park—including Pasture and O’Brien’s Cay—Moriah Harbour Cay National Park, and Allan’s Cay offer numerous educational opportunities.
Eleuthera & Harbour Island
Eleuthera & Harbour Island lie about 50 miles (80km) east of Nassau. These islands offer a variety of family-friendly aqua-ventures including swimming in shallow waters, drift snorkeling, tubing, camping safaris and picnics on secluded beaches.
Please see below for all the information you will need for travelling to the Bahamas with a baby, toddler or young child including information on where to stay, eating out and activities suitable for younger children.
When to go
The Bahamas enjoy around 320 sunny days a year. Daytime temperatures December to April average 70°F (21°C), and June to September a perfect 80°F (26°C). In general, the islands are balmy year-round, with cooling trade winds blowing by day from the east. The so-called rainy season extends from late May to November; hurricane season is June to November. High season typically runs from mid-December to mid-April, when hotel prices are at their most expensive. Some hotels are booked solid around Christmas and Easter. During low season, many hotels reduce their rates significantly. Some Out Island hotels close, but tourist accommodations are always available.
The Bahamas have seven international airports, including hubs at Nassau and Freeport. The Bahamas are well served by flights from North America and Europe. A few airlines fly directly to airports on the larger Out Islands, but the majority of flights arrive in Nassau or Freeport where passengers will connect to another flight before continuing to the Out Islands.
The close proximity of the Bahamas to Florida means regular, relatively inexpensive flights from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, as well as other east-coast gateways. You can travel from Florida to the Bahamas in under an hour.
From the UK and Ireland you will usually need to make one stop and the total flight time will be between 12-13 hours. A direct flight from London takes just under 9 hours and with young children, this might be a good option if you can get a night flight. BA offers this service and if you are travelling with an infant, your child will be able to sleep in the bassinet provided by the airline.
Numerous cruise ships dock in Nassau and Grand Bahama. Most of these originate in Florida. Sailing conditions are at their best in summer, though hurricanes can be a threat throughout the season.
Stroller or Baby Carrier?
Many of the major resorts are stroller friendly and it is worth bringing one, if only to get a chance to have your hands free while eating. Some of the hotels are so large that a stroller will be a useful addition just getting around the resort itself. A baby carrier can also be useful if you will be visiting more natural beauty spots and expect to have to walk a little over rougher terrain. These are also great for walks on the beach!
Nassau and Freeport Have dozens of jitneys or private minibuses licensed to operate on specific routes.
Out Islands There’s not much public transportation, as the taxi drivers’ union is too powerful. Likewise, few hotels are permitted to operate their own transfer service for guests. A number of adventure outfitters and tours, however, will send courtesy shuttles to your hotel before and after reserved trips.
On arrival you will find taxis available at all airports. Many of the larger hotels also offer a shuttle bus service so enquire about this before departure. There’s no shortage of taxis in Nassau and Freeport, where they can be hailed on the streets. Taxis are also the main local transportation in the Out Islands, where they meet all incoming planes and ferries.
Taxi fares are fixed by the government according to distance: rates are usually for two people. Each additional person is charged a flat rate of BS$3. Fixed rates have been established from airports and cruise terminals to specific hotels and major destinations and these rates should be displayed in the taxi.
In order to drive you must have a current license from your home country or state and driving is on the left hand side. Generally the person renting the car must be over 21 and some rental agencies will require you to be over 25. Driving in traffic-clogged downtown Nassau can be a frustrating. On the Out Islands, expect poor road quality and a lack of lighting.
Getting Between the Islands
Inter-island flights offer the only quick and convenient way to travel within the Bahamas. The flight safety record of the national carrier Bahamasair is untarnished although delays and cancellations of flights are common. Private charter flights can be an economical option for those traveling in a group.
There are several airlines operating in the Bahamas. Flights to the main tourist hubs and more populated islands are frequent with multiple daily. These flights will generally cost less than $100.00 one way. There are flights to the out islands and less busy tourist spots however there may only be 2 or three flights weekly so check the flight schedule before you travel.
By Boat & Water Taxi
In New Providence, water taxis offer frequent services between Prince George Wharf, Nassau, and Paradise Island. Several other offshore islands and their neighbouring cays are served by private water taxis. Government-run water taxis link islands that are a short distance apart, such as North and South Bimini, Mangrove Cay and South Andros, and Crooked and Acklins Islands.
The only major interisland ferry operator in the Bahamas is Bahamas Ferries, which runs a high-speed ferry linking Nassau, Andros, the bacos, Eleuthera and the Exumas. There are a number of services from Nassau.
Baby & Toddler Essentials
You will be able to find all your baby and toddler essentials in the Bahamas. Many of the larger resorts such as the Atlantis will sell supplies such as nappies and wipes however, these can be very expensive. Local shops offer products at more reasonable prices and you should be able to find plenty of supermarkets in the busier tourist areas which sell formula, food, nappies, wipes and other essentials. There are also companies that arrange deliveries to your hotel which is handy if you don’t feel like going out in a taxi to pick up supplies.
Technically the tap water in the Bahamas is drinkable however, it is best to opt for bottled water, particularly when giving it to babies and toddlers. According to the CDC, resorts tend to filter and chlorinate tap water more aggressively than other establishments; elsewhere, bottled water is available at stores and supermarkets, and tastes better than that from a tap. On many of the Out Islands, rainfall is the main source of water — so be sure to drink bottled water there.
Baby Food and Formula
You will be able to find baby food and powdered formula throughout the Bahamas. Some of the brands are the same as in the US however, if your baby is fussy or has special dietary requirements you would be advised to pack their food.
You will be able to find nappies and wipes throughout the Bahamas. Many of the larger resorts such as the Atlantis will sell these also however, they can be very expensive and local stores will sell them at a much better price.
Bahamian cooking includes seafood such as fish, shellfish, lobster, crab, and conch, as well as tropical fruits, rice, peas, pigeon peas, potatoes, and pork. Popular seasonings commonly used in dishes include chilies (hot pepper), lime, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, rum, and coconut. Rum-based beverages are popular on the island. Since the Bahamas consist of a multitude of islands, notable culinary variations exist.
There are plenty of baby and toddler friendly food options on the island and you will be able to find high chairs and changing areas in hotels and resorts. Many of the restaurants catering to tourists will also have high chairs but it may be better to bring a fold away high chair just in case.
For a list of baby and toddler friendly restaurants in The Bahamas click here.
Health & Wellbeing
Check the NHS Fit for Travel Website or the CDC website for up to date information on health and vaccines. Also make sure you talk to your doctor in advance of booking just in case there are any special precautions or vaccines which your baby might need.
In recent years, health standards have greatly improved throughout the Bahamas. Particularly in Nassau and Grand Bahama, new hospitals and healthcare facilities have opened and are providing high quality care. Increased investments in the local health sector as well as the employment of qualified physicians, nurses, and dentists have improved the overall health of people living in the Bahamas.
Many of the Out Islands are serviced by small government clinics, usually found off the Queen’s Hwy in the major settlements. Clinics are usually open 9am to 5pm, though most have a doctor on call. In Nassau and on Grand Bahama, emergency rooms are open 24/7.
The emergency services in The Bahamas can be contacted by dialling 911 or 919.
Health insurance is strongly recommended as medical treatment is expensive.