Every year around this time as we prepare for the hustle and bustle of the winter holidays, we’re also mapping out where we’re going to vacation after all of the gift-giving and family visiting has come to an end. I’m most likely working on or around the holidays, so one of my favorite spots to get away when I can is the Bahamas, and for good reason: A less-than-two-hour flight away from most U.S. hubs, Bahamas offers miles of white-sand beaches, blue skies, and bright sunshine, making it the perfect place to sit back, relax, and recharge before the year comes to a close and a new one begins. Here are our picks for where to stay, what to eat, and things to see and do.
While Paradise Island and the all-inclusive Atlantis Paradise Island is always a big draw (the 141-acre waterpark has to be seen to be believed), some of us prefer the lower-key luxury of the 107-room The Ocean Club or the heaven-really-is-a-place-on-earth private island resort off of Andros Great Barrier Reef, the Kamalame Cay Resort and Residences. And when Michael takes the family for a visit, his home-away-from-home is the New Providence luxury resort community The Albany.
Two words: fish fry. There’s nothing more authentic than indulging in a Bahamian fish fry, and Arawak Cay, on West Bay Street, is as popular with the locals as it is with tourists. The hotspot for delicious local cuisine, Arawak Cay is home to a variety of restaurants featuring everything from the specialty of the house at Goldie’s Conch House to the world-famous daiquiris at Twin Brothers.
If you’re looking to do something more than simply while away the sun-filled hours on one of the countless pristine beaches, check out the gorgeous Ardastra Gardens, Zoo & Conservation Centre which boasts a tropical garden and more than 200 animals including the Caribbean flamingo, parrots, and lemurs. An afternoon spent exploring the caves of the 40-acre Lucayan National Park can’t be beat. And for the more adventurous, you can dive with sharks at Stuart Cove, romp with the stingrays, or our favorite activity to date: swim with the pigs (no, that’s not a typo) in Exuma.
Also check out some of our other travel stories: South Africa