Are you ready for a beach vacation? How about white sand beaches, turquoise blue water, and some of the Caribbean’s best entertainment with a wide selection of resorts ranging from exclusive to family-friendly? Welcome to Nassau Paradise Island, Bahamas. We’ve got a complete guide to all the fun things to do in Nassau, Bahamas including Atlantis Paradise Island – with or without your family.
While this post was sponsored by Moon Travel Guides, all opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links. If you click through and buy something, TravelingInHeels may earn from qualifying purchases.
Complete Guide to Fun Things to Do in Nassau, Bahamas
I first visited The Bahamas nearly 10 years ago and fell in love with its postcard-perfect white sand beaches and oh, wow, the turquoise blue water. Both literally invite travelers to dip their toes in the sand and the sea.
When the awesome team at Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board invited me to The Bahamas for a skip-gen trip with my 12 year-old-grandson last summer, we were both excited for a beach vacation. (Be sure to read How to Plan for a Beach Vacation!)
With more than 40 non-stop flights less than an hour from South Florida, your next Bahamas beach vacation is so close and so perfect. Thanks to tips from the Moon Bahamas Guide, we present our top fun things to do in Nassau, Bahamas. Since historically most travelers explore downtown Nassau and Paradise Island, we focused this article on things to do in these areas, with a handful of suggestions in other areas of The Bahamas.
NOTE: While many things are different today with COVID-19 travel restrictions, and when you’re ready to travel, The Bahamas will be ready to welcome you. Click here to read more. OR or the latest news and updates on The Bahamas reopening, visit www.bahamas.com/travelupdates.
Fun Things to Do in Historic Downtown Nassau
Nassau is a bustling capital city, and while this may be one of the smaller islands, as the seat of the government, the island of New Providence houses 7 percent of the population of this island nation. Because you’ve entered Bahama time, the pace may be slower than larger cities, but you’ll still feel more fast-paced here than the other The Bahamas outer islands.
At any given time, Nassau’s calendar is brimming with activities from the arts to history to its culinary and cultural scene. Take a guided tour to downtown Nassau or go on your own. To follow are a few of the fun things to do in historic Nassau, the Bahamas.
Pirates of Nassau
Arrrrgh, matey. If you and your family are intrigued by all things pirates, then don’t miss a visit to the Pirates of Nassau Interactive Museum, located in the heart of Olde Towne Nassau. Mixing history with entertainment, begin your pirate adventure on a moonlit dock with sounds of the lapping ocean and pirates singing nearby.
All aboard (if you dare!) a replica of the pirate ship Revenge. Browse exhibits including the infamous Blackbeard, Women Pirates, Woods Rogers, Pirate Trials, and more.
Rich in history and dating back to the late 1700s and early 1800s by North Carolina Loyaltist, the pink-colored buildings of Parliament Square area a frequent stop for visitors in old Nassau. This unique Colonial-influenced architecture includes the House of Assembly, the Senate Building, and the Supreme Court of The Bahamas. There is also a statue of Queen Elizabeth in the square.
Later named honoring Queen Victoria, put on your walking shoes and climb the 66-steps of the Queen’s Staircase. Located on top of Elizabeth Avenue, this staircase was hewn out of limestone rock by slaves in 1793-1794. When the humidity is at its highest, this staircase is a cool reprieve from the heat. Lining the walkway is palm and native trees. Then at the top, enjoy local shopping stalls and souvenirs.
Historic Forts of Nassau
Forts are a natural defense on an island with pirates and potential invasion as a constant threat. History buffs will enjoy exploring Nassau with several forts including Fort Montagu on the eastern edge of downtown; Fort Fincastle, at the top of the Queen’s Staircase, and Fort Charlotte, further west as the largest and most impressive fort, overlooking Paradise Island.
Distillery: Yo Ho Ho (And a Bottle of Rum)
When in the Bahamas, of course, you must tour a rum distillery, right? And why not Nassau Rum and Food Walking Tour. Located on the grounds of the 1789 Buena Vista Estate in historic downtown Nassau, John Watling’s Distillery serves local rum and spirits, all handcrafted by Bahamian hands, using local materials.
John Watling’s Distillery, Buena Vista Estate 17 Delancy Street, Nassau 00000 New Providence Island – See how the Bahamian Rum is Hand made and bottled and also get a free sample of Pina colada
Go shopping at the world-famous Straw Market. Smack dab in the middle of Nassau’s high-end boutique shops, discover handmade Bahamian crafts, gifts, and souvenirs from straw hats to conch jewelry and hand-carved wood. While the prices are reasonable, those who like to negotiate will also enjoy this shopping.
More Not-to-Miss Downtown Nassau Sights
For those who enjoy history and museums, if you have time, also visit:
- Heritage Museum of The Bahamas
- Balcony House
- National Art Gallery of the Bahamas
- Pompey Square and Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation
- Christ Church Cathedral
Junkanoo Beach Near Downtown Nassau
Junkanoo Beach is the most convenient, located just west of the Prince George Wharf (where cruise ships dock). Enjoy plenty of white sand to dig your toes into, and, of course, that beautiful turquoise blue water. Stop at any number of local tiki bars and shops. But be aware it’s also known as the “spring break beach,” so late afternoon into the evening might not be as family-friendly.
Paradise Island, Nassau, The Bahamas
Most travelers choosing The Bahamas are familiar with the iconic towers of the sprawling Atlantis Paradise Island, and the adventures awaiting them there. Two bridges connect to the city of Nassau, over Nassau Harbour.
White-sand beaches include popular Cabbage Beach and Paradise Beach, both edging on the Atlantic Ocean.
Fun Things to Do at The Atlantis, Paradise Island
Dominating the Paradise Island is the ginormous, oceanside Atlantis resort, complete with a casino, the Aquaventure water park, pools, beaches, and extensive marine habitat, and golf course. If your family is into adventures, get ready to explore — and be overwhelmed — with all the outdoor and indoor fun all, within the Atlantis’ acres and acres…and acres of property.
All the fun things to do at The Atlantis would be an article on its own, so I’ll just highlight some of my family favorites below.
Aquaventure Water Park
Talk about any kids’ dream vacation! Pools, beaches, slides, adventure, everywhere! Aquaventure is a 141-acre water park, a playground like no other. A mile-long lazy river with rolling rapids. A whopping 11 pools, catering to all ages including the littles.
And the finale high-speed water slides. I’m talking the Mayan Temple’s Leap of Faith slide and The Abyss, a 200-foot body-plunging 50-feet slide into a lagoon. And yes, that heart-pounding-am-I-really-doing-this water slide through a shark tank.
At nearly every turn, nook and cranny of The Atlantis discover marine exhibits as this amazing resort is home to the largest open-air marine habitat in the world. Over 50,000 aquatic animals call home its 14 lagoons and eight million gallons of ocean water.
Indoor Marine Adventures
Sharks, barracudas, stingrays, sawfish, grouper, so many colorful fish, oh my! Walk from the Atlantis resorts to its water park winds through tunnels of aquariums. A perfect chance to get out of the sun and explore more marine life at The Dig, home to some of the world’s most exotic sea creatures.
Check out these TravelingMom VIP Tips for Visit to The Atlantis
Places to Stay in Nassau, The Bahamas
Choose from so many places to stay in Nassau and Paradise Island, and I could offer a list that would go on and on.
TIP: Read MommaToGo.com’s extensive list of Where to Stay in The Bahamas.
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
Just wow! This luxury resort is a 1,000-acre resort complex located on Nassau’s stunning Cable Beach. From the rooms to the dining, the service was impeccable at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.
But for my grandson, the pools, the flamingos, and the pool featuring Dean’s Blue Hole. He and another teen boy discovered this pool with its 8-foot and 15-foot waterfalls, stone gardens, and a secluded grotto with a view of sea turtles and sharks.
Comfort Suites Paradise Island
An affordable (but not fancy) hotel option for families is the Comfort Suites Paradise Island. Your budget-friendly overnight stay includes day passes to The Atlantis Aquaventure (with some restrictions). Breakfast and WiFi also included.
My 12 year-old-grandson and I stayed here for 3 nights and absolutely loved the hotel, the staff, the pool, the food — and our room was perfect for the two of us. We spent one day at The Atlantis Aquaventure Park, and the Comfort Inn was a short (but somewhat confusing) windy walk through The Atlantis resorts. Read my hotel review here.
The Atlantis Resort, Paradise Islands
Looking for prime location and access to everything The Atlantis? The Atlantis offers hotel rooms with various layouts and price ranges. You will pay to stay here, but if you can afford or budget a night or two, you’ll not regret your stay.
Finally…Is the Bahamas Open For Business?
Many things are different today with COVID-19 travel restrictions. But when you’re ready to travel, The Bahamas will be ready to welcome you. Before planning your Bahamas vacation, be sure to check on traveler restrictions both in The Bahamas – the US Embassy and the United States. For those traveling from other international destinations, please check with your country’s government site and/or from your local airport.
On September 1, 2019, just two months after my visit to Nassau and Paradise Island, The Bahamas experienced a devastating hurricane. While the country grieved the damage by Hurricane Dorian upon the two most northern islands, just one week after the hurricane, airports, cruise ports, and attractions throughout were open and operating. This included 14 islands including Nassau and Paradise Island. Once the current travel restrictions are lifted, and it’s safe for you to travel, The Bahamas will be ready for you.
So…are you ready for your next epic beach vacation to The Bahamas, and soon to be your favorite?
Read more: What are the best beach vacations for families?
Although I’ve visited the Bahamas in the past, the recent visit was a sponsored trip, courtesy of the welcoming and awesome team at Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board,. Opinions expressed are my own.