New Providence and Paradise Islands

New Providence is the Bahamas' most urban island, but that doesn't mean you won't find beautiful beaches. Powdery white sand, aquamarine waves, and shade-bearing palm trees are easy to come by, regardless how populated you like your beach to be. Whether you crave solitude or want to be in the middle of the action, there's a sand spot that's just right for you.

Cable Beach and the beaches near Atlantis are where you'll typically find loud music, bars serving tropical drinks, and vendors peddling everything from parasailing and Jet Ski rides to T-shirts and hair braiding. Downtown Nassau only has man-made beaches, the best being Junkanoo Beach just west of the British Colonial Hilton. But the capital city's beaches can't compare to the real thing. For a more relaxed environment, drive out of the main tourist areas. You'll likely find stretches of sand populated by locals only, or, chances are, no one at all.

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  • 1. National Art Gallery of the Bahamas

    Museum/Gallery

    Opened in 2003, the museum houses the works of esteemed Bahamian artists such as Max Taylor, Amos Ferguson, Brent Malone, John Cox, and Antonius...Read More

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  • 2. Arawak Cay

    Restaurant–Sight

    Known to Nassau residents as "The Fish Fry," Arawak Cay is one of the best places to knock back a Kalik beer, chat with locals, watch or join...Read More

  • 3. Baha-Retreat

    Spa–Sight

    This spa, situated in an old wooden two-story Bahamian home, is popular with locals and offers a full range of spa and salon services seven...Read More

  • 4. Balcony House

    House/Mansion/Villa

    A delightful 18th-century landmark—a pink two-story house named aptly for its overhanging balcony—this is the oldest wooden residential structure...Read More

  • 5. Christ Church Cathedral

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    It's worth the short walk off the main thoroughfare to see the stained-glass windows of this cathedral, which was built in 1837, when Nassau...Read More

  • 6. Fort Fincastle

    Historic District/Site

    Shaped like the bow of a ship and perched near the top of the Queen's Staircase, Fort Fincastle—named for Royal Governor Lord Dunmore (Viscount...Read More

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  • 7. Fort Montagu

    Historic District/Site

    The oldest of the island's three forts, Montagu was built of local limestone in 1741 to repel Spanish invaders. The only action it saw was when...Read More

  • 8. Government House

    Government Building

    The official residence of the Bahamas governor-general, the personal representative of the Queen since 1801, this imposing pink-and-white building...Read More

  • 9. Graycliff Chocolate Factory

    Industrial Site/Mill/Factory

    Go behind the scenes at this boutique chocolate factory, and you can make your own sweet souvenirs. The tour lasts about an hour, and after...Read More

  • 10. Gregory's Arch

    Memorial/Monument/Tomb

    Named for John Gregory (royal governor 1849–54), this arch, at the intersection of Market and Duke streets, separates downtown from the "over...Read More

  • 11. Heritage Museum of The Bahamas

    House/Mansion/Villa

    So many artifacts are on display in this small but interesting museum that you can easily spend an hour wandering. Opt for a guided tour, or...Read More

  • 12. John Watling's Distillery

    Museum/Gallery

    The former Buena Vista Estate which featured in the James Bond film Casino Royale has been painstakingly transformed and taken back to its...Read More

  • 13. Junkanoo Beach

    Beach–Sight

    Right in downtown Nassau, this beach is spring-break central from late February through April. The man-made beach isn't the prettiest on the...Read More

  • 14. Nassau Public Library and Museum

    Library/Archive

    The octagonal building near Parliament Square was the Nassau Gaol (the old British spelling for jail), circa 1797. You're welcome to pop in...Read More

  • 15. Parliament Square

    Government Building

    Nassau is the seat of the national government. The Bahamian Parliament comprises two houses—a 16-member Senate (Upper House) and a 38-member...Read More

  • 16. Pirates of Nassau

    Museum/Gallery

    Take a self-guided journey through Nassau's pirate days in this interactive museum devoted to such notorious members of the city's past as Blackbeard...Read More

  • 17. Pompey Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    The building, where slave auctions were held in the 1700s, is named for a rebel slave who lived on the Out Island of Exuma in 1830. The structure...Read More

  • 18. Pompey Square

    Plaza/Square/Piazza

    This open space at the western end of Bay Street overlooks the busy Nassau Harbour and is the spot to catch local festivals and events, live...Read More

  • 19. Prince George Wharf

    Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train)

    The wharf that leads into Rawson Square is the first view that cruise passengers encounter after they tumble off their ships. Up to a dozen...Read More

  • 20. Queen's Staircase

    Memorial/Monument/Tomb

    A popular early-morning exercise regime for locals, the "66 Steps" (as Bahamians call them) are thought to have been carved out of a solid limestone...Read More

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