The Best Grand Bahama Guide – Grand Bahama has always run second to bigger, more glamorous Nassau. Yet if you’re looking for a laid-back, affordable getaway with a minimum of fuss, this is your place. The streets of Freeport, its main city, and Lucaya are wide and calm. Its golden beaches and aquamarine waters are rarely overcrowded, even in high season. The frequent cruise-ship arrivals ensure that all the amenities of a perfect vacation – dive shops, restaurants, pubs, boutiques – are all within a few blocks. No wonder Grand Bahama has become so popular with cruise-ship tourists and families on quick weekend breaks.
There’s something for everyone on Grand Bahama Island. With a distinct mix of historic appeal, modern attractions and ecological wonders, your visit is sure to be memorable. On Grand Bahama Island, you can combine a glamorous vacation at an upscale resort with the charming allure of a small town. Boasting one of the world’s largest underwater cave systems, three national parks, endless beaches and crisp blue water, Grand Bahama Island has it all.
Outside the city, the 85-mile-long island is an unexplored playground of mangrove swamps, sea caves and sandy cays. There’s world-class diving and snorkeling, great kayaking and fishing. All this just a hop, skip and 55-mile jump from the US. Visit The Best Beaches in the Bahamas Guide for information on all of the Grand Bahama beaches, or visit us on Pinterest.
Grand Bahama Weather – When to Visit
The best time to visit Grand Bahama Island is from mid-December to mid-April, the country’s peak season. Though temperatures here are great year-round, the islands fall within the hurricane belt, so hurricanes may be a factor between June 1 and Nov. 30. Most of these months (plus May) also fall within the region’s rainy season, which can leave you with fewer days spent enjoying the islands’ outdoor activities. But keep in mind that mid-December to mid-April’s sublime weather attracts hordes of tourists, so prices will be at their highest and crowds at their thickest during these months.
Top Grand Bahama Beaches
Lucaya Beach is one of the liveliest beaches in the Bahamas. Stretching for acres, this sandy beach is a scenic place to enjoy long walks along the coast. Participate in exciting water sports that range from parasailing to snorkeling or relax with a cool drink at one of the lively bars lining the beach.
Taino Beach is a picturesque stretch of white sand adorned with narrow palm trees that sway with the wind. It is a popular gathering point, with plenty of water sports options and restaurants serving local delicacies. Enjoy the fun atmosphere at this lively bay and relax on the soft sand.
Xanadu Beach was once one of the most popular activity beaches on Grand Bahama, offering everything from snorkeling to parasailing. Most of the restaurants and other amenities shut down after the closure of the Xanadu Hotel, but you can still go for a stroll along the coast and admire the beach’s natural beauty.
Barbary Beach is secluded, with a number of tidal pools and rock jetties, so that you can relax in the sand and not worry about shifting tides. It is perfect for those looking to relax, sunbathe, or hunt for conch shells.
Fortune Beach is a quiet beach, located five miles from Port Lucaya Marketplace. The beach got its name from a shipwreck worth $2 million which was discovered there. Banana Bay restaurant is located here; it has great food and is a great place for private functions.
Best Grand Bahama Restaurants
Flying Fish $31 – 60
With unmatched service & attention to detail, Flying Fish offers a blend of traditional & modernist cuisine techniques not used anywhere else in the Bahamas. Focusing on local seafood & indigenous ingredients prepared with the utmost skill & creativity. The Caribbean’s finest waterside dining. Telephone: 242-373 4363 Web: Flying Fish.
The Garden Cafe & Bar $11 – 30
Offering a serene setting in Garden of the Groves, this casual, yet elegant restaurant serves up an excellent lunch. The gardens are an enchanting, tropical paradise; it’s a peaceful change from the beach bars and restaurants of Lucaya. Diverse menu items may include hummus and pita, Greek salads and chicken souvlaki, bratwursts, or grilled steak and shrimp. The bar deck overlooks the ponds and waterfalls or guests can dine in the the new our air-conditioned dining room on the upper deck. On Fridays, the Garden Cafe also serves dinner. Telephone: 242-374-7779 Web: The Garden Cafe & Bar
Tony Macaroni’s $11 – 30
This small little beach “snack shack” has remained a local favorite despite the destructive force of three hurricanes. Tony rebuilt his seafood hot spot, which now offers a wooden porch with picnic tables and straw overhang for shaded options. Conch shells make up most of the decor, and the view of the sparkling sky-blue water is mesmerizing. The small menu is posted on the wall, which includes conch burger, roasted conch and lobster, hot dogs and burgers, and his famous conch salad. Portions aren’t generous, but the food is delicious. Telephone: 242-533-6766 Web: Tony Macaroni’s
The Margarita Sand Bar $11 – 30
Often called simply, the Sand Bar, the signature characteristic of this restaurant and bar is that the floor is made of sand! Inside, there are televisions for watching the game, live music on a regular basis, and the elusive air conditioning. Located just five minutes’ drive from Port Lucaya Marketplace, it’s far enough from the crowds but close enough for day trippers on a time crunch. The menu offers a number of bar favorites like conch fritters and fish burgers, as well as Greek salads and Philly cheese steaks. Two top decks offer relaxing views, perfect for sipping on a signature margarita and leaving stress being. Telephone: 242-373-4525 Web: Margarita Villa Sand Bar
Banana Bay $11 – 30
Banana Bay is open daily and has a nice menu of sandwiches, salads and barbecue. It is a quiet spot to enjoy a meal or sip on a cocktail. Supposedly, at this spot you’ll find the island’s best pina coladas, and they are also known for their “Tropical Frozen Wacky Banana Drink.” The entrance is hidden among palm trees and tropical vegetation, so look for cars parked in the small side lot. It is about as casual as it gets: sip your drinks on a reclining beach chair, swim in the sand bar, and dine on the shady patio or inside with funky-island decor. Telephone: 242-373-2960 Web: Banana Bay
Best Grand Bahama Bars & Nightlife
Rum Runner’s Bar
This popular bar is always packed with customers on the outdoor patio. Rum Runners has been in business for more than 25 years and continues to offer excellent service provided by fun bartenders, great drink specials, and quality food to match. Try a legendary pina colada served in a coconut shell and snack on fresh seafood dishes like lobster stuffed pitas or fish sandwiches. Patrons can also leave their mark by writing on the tables, bar, or walls. It has a very lively atmosphere and “anything goes” vibe that keeps bringing people back time and again. Telephone: 242-373-7233 Web: Rum Runner’s Bar
Sparky’s is the place to go and hangout in Port Lucaya. The friendly welcome, customer service and professionalism of the staff is by far the best. The drinks and food awesome and affordable. Telephone: 242-352-4233 Web: Sparky’s Bar.
This is a place for drinkers and dancers! A foot bar reminds patrons they are near the water, with a bar top designed with wooden ship planks, pirate coins, and shells. From 7pm until 2am live DJs spin mix hits and the bar has no shortage of unique tropical drinks. Try the “King Neptune,” a mix of golden rum, coconut rum, blue curacao, melon liqueur, and pineapple juice. The club also offers bar snacks, and cocktail waitresses will deliver drinks or food to lounge tables. Telephone: 242-374-1221 Web: Club Neptunes
Margarita Villa Sand Bar
Often called simply, the Sand Bar, the signature characteristic of this restaurant and bar is that the floor is made of sand! Inside, there are televisions for watching the game, live music on a regular basis, and the elusive air conditioning. Located just five minutes drive from Port Lucaya Marketplace, it’s far enough from the crowds but close enough for day trippers on a time crunch. Two top decks offer relaxing views while sipping on a signature margarita. Telephone: 242-373-4525 Web: Margarita Villa Sand Bar
Count Basie Square
Count Basie Square is at the heart of the Port Lucaya Marketplace, and on weekends live music keeps things lively. This is family-friendly entertainment with dancing for all ages. Grab a snack or cocktail from one of the nearby restaurants and enjoy at the many tables nearby. It is fun just watching the tourists attempt to dance (the later it gets, the more entertaining). The performers are very engaging and on Thursdays everyone gets involved with live karaoke! The limbo dancer is impressive as well. Telephone: 242-373-9090 Web: Count Basie Square
Best Grand Bahama Hotels