Things to Do in Grand Bahama Island
Located a mere 50 miles east of the US Florida coast, Grand Bahama Island’s Freeport Cruise Port at Lucayan Harbour is a popular and convenient jumping-off point for cruisers (especially Americans) to experience the Bahamas’ famous white-sand beaches and opportunities for water sports. In contrast with the other Bahamian cruise port in the capital city of Nassau on New Providence Island, this laid-back launch pad for Caribbean fun is less about the bustle and more about the beach break.
Just off Paradise Cove on Grand Bahama’s southwest coast, Deadman’s Reef is one of the area’s top snorkeling spots. The shallow waters are teeming with coral, colorful reef fish, turtles, rays, and more, and are ideal for all levels.
This 12-acre (5-hectare) park was dedicated in 1973 to the Groves who founded Freeport. Walk the idyllic botanical garden to take in the lush plant life, native animals (including macaws, alligators, and iguanas), and, of course, snap plenty of Edenic photos.
A commercial hub spread across 9.5 acres (3.8 hectares), the Port Lucaya Marketplace is one of Freeport’s most popular attractions. After browsing dozens of handicraft vendors and specialty stores, unwind at one of the restaurants or bars, then head to Count Basie Square—the heart of the market—for live Bahamian music.
The 40-acre (16-hectare) Lucayan National Park is home to some of the most spectacular secluded beaches in all of The Bahamas, as well as one of the largest underwater cave systems in the world. Nature trails and boardwalks lead through mangrove, pine, and palm forests, home to a wealth of animals and vegetation.
There’s just something about being on tropical islands that calls for an ice cold beverage, and Bahamian Brewery is where to find them when visiting Grand Bahama. Opened in Freeport in 2007, this wildly popular craft brewery has rapidly grown to become synonymous with sipping beer in the Bahamas. Their flagship drink, Sands, is ubiquitous throughout the island chain to the point where many would unofficially call it the national beer.
While taking a tour through the Bahamian Brewery, hear the backstory of how it was founded and why small details, like the glass used for bottling, all add up to create tropical beers that are lauded throughout the islands. When touring the nearly 20-acre grounds, you’ll witness the 25 different steps that go into making the beer, and hear how the company is committed to sustainability and supporting the local community. At the end of the tour, belly up to the tasting room bar to sample the eight beers on tap, from the rich, bold, Strong Back Stout, to the grapefruit flavored Radler.
Find a unique tropical scent or blend your own at Freeport's Perfume Factory. Located in a replica of a Bahamian mansion, the Perfume Factory offer a free, short tour that shows how they blend and bottle their fragrances, and then offers guests the chance to try their hands at perfume making. They offer myriad professionally blended fragrances for sale with tropical themed names like Bahama Mama and Conch Salad, as well as a variety of other products like body lotions and aftershaves.
The Rand Nature Centre sits on 100 acres of beautifully preserved land and is home to thousands on incredible bird species. The center draws bird-watchers year-round, especially on the first Saturday of every month, on which a guided bird walk is held.
In addition to the plentiful birds, the center has over 2,000 feet (610 meters) of well-maintained trail that allows visitors to wind through the stunning Bahamian wildlife and learn about the surrounding vegetation and environment.
Be sure to also visit the Gloria Banks Art Gallery, recently opened on the center grounds.
Port Lucaya Marina is a wonderful area in Freeport, and offers one of the best Bahaman experiences in all of the islands. Centered around Count Basie Square and the incredible marketplace, the town is filled with traditional Bahaman culture. Listen to local music in outdoor venues, indulge in some of the freshest seafood, and lounge on the beach in this gorgeous location.
Of course, the biggest appeal of Port Lucaya Marina are the incredible opportunities to explore the ocean. Snorkel, dive, parasail, hire a boat, or simply swim in the crystal clear water. Lucaya also features exciting experiences like a dolphinarium, as well as certain scuba excursions in which participants can feed sharks!
Lucaya is home to the only casino in Grand Bahama, and also has many different bars and clubs, so if you're looking for nightlife, this is a great place to vacation.
Located off the south shore of Grand Bahama, Peterson Cay island is home to the smallest national park in the Bahamas, which covers only 1.5 acres (0.6 hectares). Though compact, the cay is home to one of the most beautiful reefs in the Bahamas, offer abundant snorkeling and diving opportunities.
More Things to Do in Grand Bahama Island
Visit the lavish home of Bahamian entrepreneur Havard Cooper, who went from penniless to self-proclaimed prince of Grand Bahama by bringing fast food franchises to the island. Cooper built the now famous Cooper's Castle in the 1980s, its blue-and-white exterior like something from a children’s book, and today it dominates the southern skyline, perched atop the island’s highest point. The castle sits on 46 acres and the grounds include an orange grove and a mausoleum where Cooper’s wife is interred.
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