Nassau is the capital and can feel a bit crowded, but on the flip side many of the resorts offer fantastic services for parents travelling with babies and toddlers and there’s plenty to do. Dolphin Encounters makes for a fantastic family activity where you can splash and ride dolphins. Nassau is packed with markets, the most famous being the Straw Market, but it can be over-priced and aggressive. A better choice is the small market across the main road from the Cable Beach resorts. The Pirate Museum is another great option for kids here (see below)
The second most visited island, Grand Bahamas has a bit of everything and offers both packed resorts compete and cozy vacation rentals. Lucayan National Park is well worth a visit if you like the outdoors. Freeport is the main city and if you stay near here you will be able to find all of your essentials. You can also visit the beach featured in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and World’s End, where Jack Sparrow, Will Turner and Captain Norrington fight over the chest with Davy Jones’ heart.
Cat Island is part of the Out Islands, and is well off the tourist track and is a quieter base for a more low key family holiday.
Some of the best activities for families include:
The Atlantis Paradise Island is a resort and waterpark located on Paradise Island. The 200-million-US-gallon (760,000 m3) Aquaventure combines slides, lazy rivers, and rapids into one large waterscape. There are also plenty of shallow areas for toddlers to paddle and a spectacular water play fort.
See Nassau’s most snorkeling sites (without getting wet) include relics from the filming of two James Bond films. Tears of Allah is a 100-foot, steel-hulled freighter that was used to transport nuclear weapons in “Never Say Never Again.” The wreck is easily visible from the surface. Nearby, the Vulcan bomber is a movie prop where Bond eluded a tiger shark in “Thunderball.” The Atlantis Submarine is not some toy found in a theme park — it’s a real submarine that dives deep below the surface for a 50-minute journey around the spectacular reefs of Nassau. You won’t see any huge octopi, but you will see a fair amount of fish and the occasional shark.
Marine Habitat at Atlantis
Here, families can explore 14 lagoons, eight million gallons of salt water and more than 50,000 aquatic animals from over 250 marine species. Take a slide down the Mayan Temple Shark Lagoon (if you dare), or snorkel through the Ruins Lagoon in search of more than 20,000 deep reef and pelagic fish.
Blue Lagoon Island
Blue Lagoon Island, or Salt Cay, is located 3 miles from Nassau. It is home to dolphins and sea lions, and allows visitors to see the animals up close. The island is celebrated for its long stretches of pearly white sand and shallow safe waters.
Nassau Straw Market
This marketplace in downtown Nassau sells crafts, local arts, jewellery and more.
Stuart Coves Nassau
This is more suitable for older kids but has to be mentioned! You can snorkel and scuba dive with a range of marine life.
Luccayan National Park
Explore underwater caves, see rare species of plants and go sunning on a secluded beach. The 40-acre Lucayan National Park is a wonderful place to explore when visiting Freeport and Grand Bahama island. It is home to one of the longest known underwater cave system and rare flowers as well as the famous Gold Rock Beach. Be prepared to walk if visiting here and bring a baby carrier if you are visiting the caves.
Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre
Ardastra Gardens were opened in 1937 though the work of the Jamaican horticulturist, Hedley Vivian Edwards. The zoo now has about 300 animals and is best known for its flamingos.
Parrot Jungle’s Garden of the Groves
At the 11-acre Garden of the Groves, you’ll find a small tropical paradise, complete with waterfalls, flowering shrubs and some 10,000 trees. Deep within this verdant terrain live the Red-Legged Thrush, the Nighthawk and the Longtailed Tropic Bird. Flamingo-lovers will want to flock to Rand Memorial, where a network of trails snakes through a dense forest of groves and casuarinas.
Edwin’s Turtle Lake Marine Reserve
Head to Edwin’s Turtle Lake Marine Reserve if you’re looking to enjoy some fun-filled activities with the family, including turtle viewing, boat tours, paddle boarding, and arts and crafts. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (This is best for over 3s).
UNEXSO Dolphin Experience
Dolphin-lovers who want to play with these amorous animals in the Bahamas will get that unique opportunity at “The Dolphin Experience.” Operated by UNEXSO (Underwater Explorers Society), swimmers stand in shallow water and go eyeball-to-eyeball with these majestic creatures. The dolphins even allow themselves to be petted and, if you ask them politely, will pose with you for pictures (Best for over 3s)
Pirates of Nassau
Pirate lovers will love this historic attraction, set in three buildings. At the Pirates of Nassau interactive museum, board a replica of a pirate ship and come face-to-face with buccaneers; real artifacts like cutlasses and dubloons are on display, plus there’s a pub for pirate grub and lots of booty in the gift shop. The museum is open Monday through Sunday 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Built in 1788 by Lord Dunmore, this fort has a moat, dungeons, underground passageways and 42 cannons, which have never been fired in an act of aggression. Step back in time and experience daily life in the 18th century Nassau. Tour historical Fort Charlotte and meet characters dressed in period costume who exhibit basket weaving techniques; kitchen utensils used over 250 years ago and fruits sold at the market. This living historical scene culminates with the firing of the cannon at 12 Noon. Every Wednesday and Friday, starting at 11:30 am. Bring a baby carrier if possible to allow you to explore the fort.
This fort shaped like a paddle-steamer, Lord Dunmore called Fort Fincastle, after his second title, Viscount Fincastle. The fort overlooked Nassau and Paradise Island and the eastern approaches to New Providence. It served as a lighthouse until September 1817 when it was replaced by the lighthouse on Paradise Island. It was subsequently used as a signal station. Bring a baby carrier if possible to allow you to explore the fort.