Popular Freeport Shore Excursions
Lucaya: This is the island's uber-destination. The town is anchored by two big beach hotels: The Grand Lucayan Beach and Golf Resort and Memories Grand Bahama Beach and Casino Resort. Port Lucaya Marketplace offers tourists shopping at more than 70 boutiques, as well as a handful of restaurants and Count Basie Square, where entertainment is offered in the evenings. Additional activities at Grand Lucayan include Treasure Bay Casino and the Reef Club golf course. The beaches there are marvelous and offer all the key services from jet-ski rentals to oceanfront bars.
Freeport: The island's open-air fruit market is worth visiting; it's located across from the Winn Dixie supermarket. The best thing to buy there isn't fruit at all, but a homemade red pepper sauce that's incongruously sold in half-pint liquor bottles. The sauce -- a Bahamian specialty -- is great for spicing up meat and vegetables. The Rand Nature Center is another worthwhile stop in the heart of the downtown area that consists of 100 acres of natural beauty.
Dolphin Swim: If you're interested in swimming with dolphins, Unexso, or Underwater Explorers Society, features a variety of encounters (as well as Scuba diving adventures with dolphins or sharks). (Port Lucaya Marketplace; 800-992-3483; open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; dolphin experience prices start around $85 per person)
Deadman's Reef: Located on the island's west end, it's a top snorkeling destination. In addition to the reef, you also can see underwater archaeological excavations. Paradise Cove Beach Resort provides transportation from the cruise port. (Queen's Highway; 242-349-2677; restaurant open 10 a.m. to sunset; around $35 per person)
Lucayan National Park: At this 40-acre park, highlights include a seven-mile system of underwater caves, mangrove swamp and hiking trails (Gold Rock Beach is absolutely pristine). You can also take kayak and cycling tours. The caves, in particular, are fascinating; both Ben's Cave and Burial Mound Cave are inhabited by rare fish and underwater crustaceans (and migratory bats in summer). (Grand Bahama Highway; 1-866-978-4838; around $5)
Garden of the Groves: This 12-acre botanical destination has around 12,000 species of colorful birds, plus gorgeous flora and fauna. An air-conditioned restaurant offers Wi-Fi. (Magellan Drive; 242-374-7778; Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; around $15)
Bahamian Brewery: About two miles down the road from Freeport Harbor is the island's brewery where short but informative tours are offered explaining the 25-step brewing process. After, there's a 45-minute, all-you-can-drink beer sampling. (Queen's Highway and Grand Bahama Way; 242-352-4070; open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday; around $7)
Best for Lively Recreation: Lucayan Beach, which runs in front of Grand Lucayan, has water sports outfitters, bars, restaurants and equipment rentals. Find the entrance next to the police station. Another candidate is Mather Town Beach, about three miles from Port Lucaya. There are limited water activities, but it's a great place to swim, eat, drink and hang out with the locals.
Best for Families: Taino Beach, in front of Taino Beach Resort and Clubs, offers water sports, and the surf is calm enough for kids. A ferry to the beach is available from Port Lucaya Marketplace.
Best for Relaxing: Gold Rock Beach, part of Lucayan National Park, is protected by the National Trust. There aren't many services -- bring your own lunch -- but it's gorgeous and away from the crowds. While you're there, check out the birdwatching trails.