Posted on April 12 2019
Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas, making it one of the most popular and highly-trafficked tourist sites in the entire Caribbean. Every year, travelers from around the globe flock to this island city to experience a few days in paradise. With so much attention all focused on this one small city, it’s easy to assume that there must be plenty to see, do and experience that keeps the travelers coming back year after year.
Of course, knowing there’s a lot to do and having an insider’s knowledge of the best attractions in Nassau are two very different things. If you want to maximize your trip and make the most of your time in the Bahamas, it’s worth spending a little time beforehand doing the research you’ll need to make your trip one to remember.
Today, we want to help you do just that. To help you plot out your visit, we’ve compiled this list of some of the best things to do in Nassau, Bahamas. Check off every item on this list, hit the few that sound the most exciting to you or feel free to use this list as a jumping off point to discover some of your own unique favorite spots and activities in this exciting city.
What to Do in Nassau, Bahamas
Grab your travel planner and start jotting down a few of these Nassau, Bahamas, things to do.
1. Climb to the Top of the Queen’s Staircase
The Caribbean is dotted with dozens of historic forts thanks to its colonial history, and each of these forts has a fascinating history worth exploring. If you’re in Nassau, you can check off this box on your list by paying a visit to Fort Fincastle. This fort sits on the highest point of New Providence Island, giving those who climb all the way to the top a spectacular view. The fort is also open daily to provide visitors with guided tours throughout the historic space, although you’ll want to remember to tip your guide after the tour is over.
The Queen’s Staircase is one of the gems of Fort Fincastle and is a towering set of steps carved out of solid limestone during the island’s colonial days. These stairs are 600 feet tall, and you can climb them today when you visit the fort to experience the rewarding view from the top. Best of all? It’s a perfect place for a photo op.
2. Stop by the Pirates of Nassau Museum
Who doesn’t love learning about pirates? Most of us are fascinated by the colorful history of these swash-bucklers, and there are few places in the world with so much pirate history as Nassau. New Providence Island was a major haven for pirates back during the early 18th century, meaning many artifacts and curiosities left behind for us to gawk at.
Today, you can explore this fascinating legacy in one place in the Pirates of Nassau Museum. Here, you’ll find dioramas, interactive exhibits, artifacts and even a gift shop for you to grab a few pirate-related souvenirs of your own. Kids can visit the museum for half-price as well, making this a no-brainer if you’ve got kids along on your trip.
3. Try Chocolate and Cigars at the Graycliffe Hotel and Restaurant
The name Graycliffe Hotel and Restaurant may not immediately sound like the most thrilling place on the island. Don’t be fooled, as this location is anything but an ordinary hotel. While you can book a room in or around this colonial mansion to spend the night, that’s far from the main attraction.
This historic mansion has been transformed into an impressive restaurant and entertainment complex, featuring a chocolatier whose work you can sample, a hand-rolled cigar center, a rum-tasting destination, a pizzeria, a wine cellar and even a Bahamian Heritage Museum all combined at this one site in downtown Nassau.
4. Go Rum-Tasting at John Watling's Distillery
A quick walk from Graycliffe will take you to the expansive Buena Vista Estate, home to the John Watling's Distillery. Here, you can truly feel you’ve taken a step back in time as you stroll through the authentic 18th-century architecture and imagine what the old Bahamas must have been like. The primary draw here is the rum, and this is for a good reason. Stop by and sample Watling's barrel-aged rums, available in white amber and Buena Vista varieties.
5. Take a Day to Visit Rose Island
After the hustle and bustle of downtown Nassau, you may find you crave a relaxing day away from all the noise and confusion. If this is your goal, then we recommend taking a quick boat ride to the neighboring Rose Island. The name is somewhat deceptive, as this is less of an island and more of a glorified sandbar. Don’t let this discourage you, as Rose Island has plenty to offer in terms of a peaceful atmosphere, white sands, shady trees and bright sunshine. After you spend the day relaxing in seclusion on these pristine sands, you’ll be more than ready to head back to the busyness of Nassau.
6. Get up Close and Personal With the Stingrays at Stingray City
Not every stingray is one you want to get friendly with. It's best to avoid the sub-species that have long barbed tails, for instance. But not every stingray is this dangerous — some are harmless and quite friendly. The perfect examples of these approachable stingrays live in Stingray City off the coast of Nassau. Visitors to this site can go diving and swim amongst the stingrays, which will often be curious and friendly enough to swim right up to guests. Who knows? This might be the best photo op you come across in your entire Caribbean trip.
7. Find the Perfect Souvenir at the Straw Market
Looking for the perfect island-themed souvenir to help you remember your trip long after you’ve returned home and resumed your daily schedule? Look no further than the Straw Market. This market has existed in a variety of different forms for hundreds of years, with the local Bahamians gathering together to sell their handicrafts and gift items to visitors to Nassau. Today, the market is located on Bay Street, and visitors can find everything from woven baskets to themed t-shirts and flip-flops, all cheerfully island-themed and perfect as mementos of this one-of-a-kind vacation.
8. Grab a Bite at Arawak Cay
It wouldn’t be a trip to the Bahamas if you didn’t take a moment to stop and enjoy some of the finest local cuisine. Arawak Cay offers a delightful hodgepodge of beachside bars and restaurants that all serve up a mouth-watering assortment of fresh seafood and other treats. While Arawak Cay is certainly a major hub for tourists, it also attracts a fair amount of local attention as well. For those looking to stray a bit further from the beaten path, try Potter’s Cay located by the Paradise Island Bridge.
9. Enjoy Some Fun in the Sun at Aquaventure Waterpark
Swimming in the ocean is lovely in the Caribbean, but for a good old-fashioned waterslide, you’ll still need to track down a water park. And if that’s what you want, then we recommend looking no further than the Aquaventure Waterpark at the Atlantis Resort. No other park compares to the delightful Lost World theme at Aquaventure.
For the most convenient trip to the water park, try staying at the Atlantis resort. Otherwise, you can always make a day trip in from wherever you happen to be staying, and enjoy a day of waterslides, aquariums and adventures.
10. Soak up a Little History at Clifton Heritage National Park
The Caribbean is rich with history, and Nassau is no exception. For those looking to learn more about the fascinating story that shaped this island city into the place it is today, there’s no better place to visit than Clifton Heritage Park all the way at the western end of New Providence Island.
In this small section of the island, you’ll encounter dunes and beaches, rocky cliffs and swampy wetlands. Most exciting of all, however, are the replica buildings built to represent the Lucayan people, the original inhabitants of the island. In addition to these replicas, visitors can also explore what’s left of colonial plantations from the days of the Bahamian slave trade.
11. Try a Diving Lesson at Stuart’s Cove
Whether you’ve never gone diving before or are a well-seasoned pro, there’s an experience for everyone to enjoy at Stuart’s Cove. Located on the less-busy southwest corner of New Providence Island, Stuart’s Cove always has an event going on and is always bustling with divers and swimmers. Those looking to learn the basics can experience a guided lesson led by an instructor, while those who already know the ropes can head out for a variety of adventures in the open-water — some of which even include the opportunity to dive with sharks.
Additional underwater opportunities offered at Stuart’s Cove include snorkeling, scuba diving, a cross between scuba and snorkeling called SNUBA and even the chance for visitors to pilot their own mini-subs.
12. Visit the Beach
What could be more quintessentially Caribbean than a trip to the beach? With all the other attractions and sites demanding your attention, it’s amazing how distracted you can sometimes get from the simplest pleasure of all — a relaxing day at the beach. When you visit Nassau, you’ll have access to all the gorgeous sandy beaches you could ever want. For those debating which beach to choose, here’s a quick rundown.
Cabbage Beach and Cable Beach, located on Paradise and New Providence Islands, respectively, are two of the most popular destinations. Junkanoo Beach is found in downtown Nassau and always makes for a lively and bustling beach scene. Love Beach is where you’ll find some of the best beach bars, while Saunders Beach is the best place to go if you’re looking for the authentic local experience. For those looking for a bit of history, try Montagu Beach, which is located next to historic Fort Montagu. Finally, if privacy is your biggest concern, try Yamacraw Hill Beach for peace and seclusion.
13. Check out the Local Wildlife at Ardastra Gardens
Ardastra Gardens has the distinction of being the first zoo in the Bahamas, as well as being home to some of the most spectacular wildlife from around the region. Here, visitors can get a glimpse of over 200 different species of tropical animals, including everything from parrots and lemurs to flamingos and iguanas. Plant enthusiasts will also find plenty to enjoy here, as the zoo proudly houses hundreds of tropical plant species.
14. Stop by Lucayan National Park
Here at Lucayan National Park, you’ll find one of the world’s largest underwater cave systems. While you need a permit to dive into the caves and explore them for yourselves, there’s still plenty to experience while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. Visitors to the park can have an exciting time walking around and over the cave complex, all while getting a spectacular view of what the caves look like.
And in case the caves themselves aren’t top on your list, you’ll find the park also houses yet another of Nassau’s pristine beaches — the beautiful and secluded Gold Rock Beach, where you can feel sure you’ll be free from the crowds that frequent the more centrally located beaches.
15. Hit the Stores to Find That Perfect Souvenir
It’s one thing to enjoy a trip to an exotic location like the Caribbean. It’s another to have a way to remember this trip for years to come. That’s the power of the perfect souvenir. And while anything can act as a souvenir — from a seashell to a pressed flower — why not go the extra mile and track down the best souvenir? Why not buy a souvenir you can wear every day as a reminder of this magical and memorable trip?
We think the best souvenir is a stunning piece of jewelry, such as a ring, a necklace or even a watch. You can incorporate items like these into your daily wardrobe and to anyone else, they’ll simply look like a fine piece of jewelry. But to you, they’ll hold the memories of your trip inside them.
Visit Little Switzerland to Shop Souvenirs Today
Here at Little Switzerland, we’ve worked hard to earn the title of premier jewelry retailer in the Caribbean, and we’re excited to offer you the finest in luxury jewelry and watches. We have three locations across Nassau for your convenience, but those aren’t the only places you can find us. We have over 30 locations in total, scattered across the Caribbean so no matter where your travels take you, you’ll never be too far away from one of our stores.
Our goal is to offer the most beautiful, unique and highest quality designer jewelry pieces that you can take home with you as a souvenir of your trip. And because we know everyone’s financial situation is different, we even offer financing plans so it’s easier than ever to treat yourself to a special gift. Browse our full jewelry selection today to get started shopping.