Don't let the fact that Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas fool you into thinking it's all fancy hotels and businesses. Located on the 21-mile-long island of New Providence, with neighboring Paradise Island in the Atlantic, Nassau is part of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and has a number of golden beaches.
Paradise Island, as the name suggests, is heavenly and was created for the purpose of entertaining visitors, with the sprawling resort of Atlantis and its massive water park taking center stage. With year-round warm weather and long stretches of inviting tropical beaches and water activities, it's no wonder this paradise is at the top of many cruisers' lists.
To help you find the right beach for your port visit in Nassau, we've put together seven beaches that offer everything from snorkeling and swimming, to caves and casinos. The city has public beaches, so you can enjoy them for free.
1. Junkanoo Beach
Junkanoo Beach, named after the most popular festival on the island, is closest to Prince George Wharf/cruise terminal and tends to get a lot of foot traffic. Though it's crowded during peak season, Junkanoo is a good option if you are looking for a convenient spot for a good time.
Known as "Spring Break Beach" for the party-themed events happening throughout the year, Junkanoo has a number of beachside bars and restaurants catering to beachgoers. There are also public restrooms and colorful shacks selling food and drinks on the beach. Within walking distance, you'll find the famed Straw Market, with vendors selling everything from hand-woven Bahamian hats and rugs to wood carvings and shell jewelry.
2. Cabbage Beach
Cabbage Beach is considered one of the best beaches in the Bahamas, and for good reason. A wide, talcum-soft beach meets gentle aquamarine waters on Paradise Island, reachable via Nassau Harbor bridges.
Here, you can choose to sunbathe, relax under tiki structures or rent Jet Skis and floats. The calm waves are ideal for parasailing and water skiing. Resorts, such as Atlantis, Hotel Riu Palace Paradise Island and The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, appear in the distance.
3. Cable Beach
Six miles west of downtown and the cruise terminal, lies one of Nassau's most famous beach: Cable Beach. Fronting major resorts and all-inclusive chains, this wide swath of pearly white sand beach is known for its calm turquoise waters. Though it attracts crowds, there's plenty of room for everyone on this pristine shore and a ton of water activities to keep you entertained.
Be aware that you'll most likely encounter vendors peddling souvenirs and sunscreen. And, if you want to combine beach fun with some gambling, you are in close proximity to the largest casino in the Bahamas at Baha Mar Resort.
4. Saunders Beach
For families, Saunders Beach is a good choice as it has manmade coves for swimming, a playground and restrooms onsite. Located just east of Cable Beach, this local favorite is devoid of any resorts and noisy Jet Skis, making it a clear winner for anyone looking for solitude.
There are no restaurants or loungers, so be sure to pack your beach accessories and a picnic basket. The beach has clean restrooms and outdoor showers.
5. Love Beach
Snorkeling fans will enjoy Love Beach, located 12 miles west of downtown near Compass Point resort and an upscale residential area. With refreshing rock pools and warm, shallow waters, Nassau's only designated nude beach is a relaxing crowd-free escape with hammocks. (You can find fresh food at the nearby Nirvana restaurant.)
The 40-acre coral reef 1 mile offshore is protected and provides exciting opportunities to swim and snorkel with tropical fish. Keep in mind that you may see some low-flying aircrafts coming into the nearby Lynden Pindling International Airport.
6. Caves Beach
Caves Beach lies west of Cable Beach but doesn't get a lot of tourist traffic. The narrow strip of white sand on the north shore of New Providence island gets its name from the limestone caverns that line its edges. These caves once provided shelter for early Indians, and now offer reprieve to beachgoers on hot and rainy days.
7. Adelaide Beach
Secluded Adelaide Beach, on the southwestern side of the island, is worth checking out if you have time to spare. Adelaide village was one of the first African settlements on the island developed after the abolition of slavery.
It will take you approximately 40 minutes by cab to reach the beach, but the trip will be well worth it as you will find few other tourists and local residents enjoying its beauty. The beach doesn't have any amenities, so pack food and drinks for the day.