- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
You'll be purring on Cat Island's exquisite pink-sand beaches and sparkling white-sand-ringed coves, as calm and clear as a spa pool. Largely undeveloped, Cat Island has the tallest hill in the Bahamas, a dizzying 206 feet high, with a tiny stone abbey on top, a lovely spot for meditation or a picnic. The two-lane, potholed Queen's Highway runs the 48-mi length of the island from north to south along a gorgeous sandy coastline, through adorable seaside settlements and past hundreds of eerie abandoned stone cottages; some are 200-year-old slave houses, crumbling testaments to cotton and sisal plantation days. Trees and vines twist through spaces that used to be windows and roofs and the deep-blue ocean can be seen through missing walls. In 1938, the island had 5,000 residents and today only about 1,500. Many of the inhabitants left the cottages long ago out of necessity, to find work in Nassau and Florida, but the houses remain because they still mark family land.
Cat Island was named after a frequent visitor, the notorious pirate Arthur Catt, a contemporary of Edward "Blackbeard" Teach. Another famous islander is Sir Sidney Poitier, who grew up here before leaving to become an Academy Award-winning movie actor and director. His daughter Ann lives here and spearheads the annual Rake 'N' Scrape Festival held in June.
Cat Island at a Glance
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $213-$228 -- Oceanview Suite at Bahamas All-Incl. Resort BookIt.com
- $225-$260 -- Aruba 4-Star All-Incl. Resort, Kids Half Off BookIt.com
- $419 & up -- Last Minute: 4-Night Bahamas & Key West Cruise Royal Caribbean
- $101-$109 -- Punta Cana 4-Star All-Incl. Resort w/Credits — $101-$109 BookIt.com
- $1749 -- Balcony: Weeklong Cruise to Bahamas in Summer — $1,749 Royal Caribbean