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Bimini has long been known as the Bahamas' big game-fishing capital. Unlike most other Bahamian islands, Bimini's strong tourist season falls from spring through summer, when calmer seas mean the arrival of fishing and pleasure boats from south Florida. The nearest of the Bahamian islands to the U.S. mainland, Bimini consists of a handful of islands and cays just 50 mi east of Miami, across the Gulf Stream that sweeps the area's western shores. Most visitors spend their time on bustling North Bimini; South Bimini is quieter and more eco-oriented. Most of the hotels, restaurants, churches, and stores in Bimini are in capital Alice Town along North Bimini's King's and Queen's highways, which run parallel to each other. Everything on North Bimini, where most of the islands' 2,000 inhabitants reside, is so close that you do not need a car to get around. The largest resort, Bimini Bay, takes up the northern quarter of the island with a huge upscale marina development that continues to grow, with a casino slated to open in late 2010.
Sparsely populated South Bimini is where Juan Ponce de León allegedly looked for the Fountain of Youth in 1513 and a site with a well and natural trail memorialize it. More engaging, however, is the island's biological field station, known as the Sharklab for its study of lemon-shark behavior, among other things. The main resort on this island, Bimini Sands, is as equally marina-oriented as Bimini Bay, but much more low-key.
Salvagers, gunrunners, rumrunners, and the legendary Ernest Hemingway peopled the history of Bimini. Hemingway wrote much of To Have and Have Not and Islands in the Stream here between fishing forays and street brawls. Today, spring breakers who cruise over from Fort Lauderdale continue North Bimini's reputation as a party island.
Bimini at a Glance
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