Grand Bahama is a tropical destination of which dreams are made. Sun, surf, sand, beach life, high end resorts, tropical drinks, a history of pirates and rum runners, a culture based on both Lucayan Indians, African slaves and British Loyalists and a vast expanse of nature excursions on land and sea are part of the adventure.
Your day trip from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport will offer many highlights. Things to do in Freeport Bahamas fall into many categories including exploring nature parks such as the Lucayan National Park and Garden of the Groves. Visit one of many landmarks such as the St. Vincent De Paul Church. Discover the history of the island at Grand Bahama Museum. Experience the culture through the Junkanoo Museum of the Bahamas. Of course, there are plenty of water activities and beaches to enjoy.
Grand Bahama is the northernmost island of all the Bahamas. Located directly east of West Palm Beach, Grand Bahama is in the archipelago chain of islands knowns as The Bahamas. There are just a few settlements on the island. Freeport is the largest and has most of the top things to do in Freeport Bahamas; then to the west is Bain Town and West End, the capital of Grand Bahama. To the east is High Rock and East End Lodge, the furthest point east by road. The main thoroughfare is Queens Highway to the west and Grand Bahama Highway to the east. The population of the island is only 51,000 with just over half living in Freeport. The island itself is 530 square miles.
Naming of the Bahamas is attributed to Christopher Columbus who exclaimed “baja mar” meaning shallow water. The shallow waters that surround Grand Bahama are crystal clear and offer many opportunities. Freeport Bahamas excursions include snorkeling, eco-tours by kayak, dives to underwater cave systems, and encounters with wildlife. The white sand beaches are ideal for relaxing, sunning, swimming, and beach combing. For the more urban travelers, there are shopping centers, casinos and spas to visit. When you travel to Freeport Bahamas you get the perfect mix of tourism and nature. So you can see why folks travel from Miami to Freeport Bahamas.
The island itself is divided into three districts: East End, West End and Lucaya with the tourism hub being at Freeport/Lucaya. While most of the focus is on the towns of West End, Freeport and Lucaya, there are many small settlements such a Pinder’s Point, Russell Town and Williams Town that were established by freed Bahamian slaves when slavery was abolished. Many of these little settlements still exist along the shores of the island with fishing being the main point of commerce. A visit to some of these hamlets will give you an authentic feel of Bahamian beach life and the best things to do in Freeport Bahamas. The historical backdrop of the island is filled with Lucayan Indians, explorers, British colonialists, African slaves, pirates, rum runners, celebrities, and Mother Nature.
Travel to Freeport Bahamas can be accomplished by flights to Grand Bahama or a number of cruises: a Fort Lauderdale to Freeport one day Bahamas cruise or cruise ship Freeport Bahamas excursions. The trend is to travel from Miami to Freeport Bahamas for a multiple day trip or a one day trip to Bahamas from Miami. A Miami to Bahamas day trip will open up a new culture, new adventures and plenty of sightseeing.
The oldest town and western most point of Grand Bahama is West End. West End, capital of Grand Bahama has recorded history that dates back to the early 1500s with reports of Ponce de Leon’s exploration of the Bahamas for the elusive Fountain of Youth. Fast forward a few centuries and you will find a history of smugglers, rum runners, and wreckers – all having shady roots the likes of pirates. The first smuggling boom was in 1861 during the Revolutionary War. There was a Union shipping embargo. Folks in West End realized there was money to be made by shipping (or smuggling) things to the U.S. southern states. The distance from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport is less than 100 miles, making it the ideal for smugglers. Another wave of smuggling came during the Prohibition. Rum running was established and West End became a warehouse of sorts to stock and distribute (or smuggle) liquor to the U.S. The Miami to Freeport Bahamas route was 110 miles, making it easy access by ship. These booms showed wide swings in the economy of West End whose modern economy has always been founded on fishing and tourism.
Travel from Miami to Freeport Bahamas will put you in touch with world class fishing; one of the most sought after Freeport Bahamas excursions. On the north there are hordes of bonefish. On the south, the Gulf Stream carries in big game fish such as blue and white marlin, yellow- and blue-fin tuna, sailfish and others. Prominent folks such as Ernest Hemmingway, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Richard Nixon are known to have fished these waters and undoubtedly traveled from Miami to Freeport Bahamas to get the chance to catch the “big one”.
The first hotel was built in 1946 and not long after the world’s first all-inclusive resort village was built by Sir William Butlin of England. Only 55 miles east from the U.S., Grand Bahama has become a well-known tourist destination for years. The close proximity to Florida made it easy for travel from Miami to Grand Bahama and Fort Lauderdale to Freeport. In fact, travel to Freeport Bahamas from many south Florida cities can be accomplished by charter flights. Flights to Grand Bahama can be made with Bahamas Air Tours. Spurred on by tourism and sports fishing, West End, Grand Bahama developed. Today, West End, Grand Bahama is a flourishing resort town with the first all-inclusive village now rebranded as Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbor.
Travel from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport or Miami to Freeport Bahamas and discover the history and culture that Grand Bahama offers.
Freeport has a rich history dating back to the Lucayan Indians. The actual city of Freeport came about due to a land grant in 1955, when Wallace Groves was issued 50,000 acres and the mandate to develop the region. Progress was made and Freeport was born. The trouble with being a Caribbean island is hurricanes. Freeport has been devastated in recent years (2004, 2005, and 2016) by hurricanes. This does not help an economy that is overwhelmingly built on tourism. There are places in Freeport that have yet to recover. Since these hurricanes, tourist travel has focused on the Lucayan suburbs of Freeport. Freeport hosts a lot of tourists from southern Florida as a Miami to Freeport Bahamas excursion is on an upward trend.
Flights from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport Bahamas land at the Grand Bahama International Airport. Bahamas Air Charters offers charter flights to Freeport Bahamas which is also served by the Fort Lauderdale to Freeport fast ferry and Bahamian domestic ferries which allow you to island hop Bahamas. The Freeport Bahamas Cruise Port where large cruise ships dock allow cruise passengers an opportunity for Freeport Bahamas excursions.
Freeport Bahamas things to do near cruise port have changed. Now most of the tourist attractions are at Lucaya. There are many options for travel to Freeport Bahamas. Travel from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport can be via ferry, charter flight, charter boat or private vessel. Trips from Miami to Freeport Bahamas are via air. Freeport has been established as a free trade zone, which means no sales taxes are collected in this area, which is a great benefit to tourists and locals alike. Travel to Freeport Bahamas will open the doors to many exciting adventures.
You should arrange transportation in advance to ensure you get to your attractions in a timely manner. A 10-minute taxi ride will find you in Port Lucaya which is the tourism center. One of the things you will find here is the International Bazar which is a complex of shops and restaurants that represent cultures from all over the world. The shops showcase the finest wares from the respective countries. For a Bahamian souvenir visit the Straw Market which focuses on local arts and crafts.
The Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Company was born out of a dream and a beer naming contest and one of the top choices for things to do in Freeport Bahamas. Built by local Jimmy Sands in 2007, the naming contest revealed the names of the first two beers brewed here: Sands and High Rocks. Sands takes pride in realizing his dream of an all Bahamian brewery. All folks employed to build and subsequently run the brewery are Bahamian. The brewery sits on 20 acres and includes a beer garden. Tours of the facilities are available. Make sure you stop and try some Bahamian beer on your journey from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport.
One of the musts on the list of Freeport Bahamas excursions is a visit to the Bahamas National Trust Nature Centre in the heart of downtown Freeport. It is a 100-acre park that includes nature trails, wildlife viewing area, pond and native plant arboretum making it one of the top eco things to do in Freeport Bahamas. The Rand Nature Centre was established in 1968 with a mission to preserve and conserve the natural habitat of Grand Bahama. In 1992 the Bahamas National Trust purchased the Rand and carries on the original mission. Compare one of many parks in Miami to Freeport Bahamas parks and you will find natural diversity and wild adventures.
Another of the great Freeport Bahamas excursions is the Old Freetown Road. It was a dirt path that connected the east and west districts of Grand Bahamas. Once Freeport was established and modern highways constructed, the Old Freetown Road was abandoned to nature. Today, the Heritage Trail Nature Walk is a spectacular section that runs for 5 miles. There are 30 species of plants, 18 species of birds and 7 varieties of butterflies. Also along the trail you can find the ruins of “The Hermitage”, Grand Bahama’s oldest building dating back to 1901.
The Hydroflora Garden is a 3-acre plot of tropical and sub-tropical plants including trees, flowers, and vines. Samples of fruit are available when the fruit trees are bearing. If comparing Fort Lauderdale to Freeport you will see that both have grand gardens.
Pine Tree Stables offer the islands only horseback trail rides. The 2-hour rides take you through several island ecosystems; a wonderful eco-tourism activity.
Port Lucaya Grand Bahama is a suburb of Freeport and the center of tourism. This is where most of the resorts, attractions and activities can be found. As you travel from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport you are sure to encounter Lucaya.
Swimming with dolphins and sharks is another of the sought after Freeport Bahamas excursions and one of the top things to do in Freeport Bahamas. Port Lucaya Bahamas offers this activity at UNEXSO. The fun begins with a 20-minute boat ride to a protected lagoon where you can interact with bottle-nosed dolphins in their natural habitat. The shark dive is for certified divers and is a 2 ½ hour close encounter with sharks. This excursion includes education about sharks and their behavior. UNEXSO also offers a Discover Diving adventure. You do not need to be certified to do this dive. You will get training in a pool and then take a boat ride out to the dive sight where you can try you new-found skills. This excursion may be the reason to travel from Miami to Freeport Bahamas.
The Port Lucaya Marketplace is an outdoor shopping center in the heart of Port Lucaya Bahamas. It is a colorful collection of shops, restaurants bars, and water sports operators. Get a taste of Bahamian culture and cuisine through local crafts and tasty conch salad. Count Basie Square features live Bahamian music which sets the stage for lively nighttime entertainment and fun.
Port Lucaya Grand Bahama also offers historical venues such as the Ye Olde Pirate Bottle House Museum. The museum features glass bottles dating back to the 1700s. The bottles represent English, French and Dutch cultures as they were present in establishing the islands of the Caribbean.
When you travel from Miami to Freeport Bahamas expect to find some of the most beautiful white sand beaches. You will find a place to relax and gaze across the aquamarine waters and a place to enjoy many water sports and beach activities. These are just some of the things to do on Grand Bahama Island. Any one of these beaches could top the list of Freeport Bahamas excursions and is well worth a day trip from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport.
Fortune Beach lies near the Wyndham Resort and stretches on either side of the resort. Away from the resort the beach is quiet and ideal for beach combing, strolling, offshore snorkeling and swimming.
Near Island Seas Resort, Williams Town Beach stretches west. The best time to use the beach is during low tide. At hide tide parts of the beach are reduced to a narrow strip. A paved walkway runs parallel to the beach. This beach affords excellent opportunities for a peaceful getaway, strolling, and swimming.
Xanadu Beach can be found near the abandoned Xanadu Resort. While there are no amenities, it is still a great beach for peaceful solitude and sunset walks. Picturesque scenes of cruise ships leaving the harbor are memorable.
Lucayan Beach sits right in front of the Grand Lucayan and Memories resorts. Non-guests of the resorts can purchase day passes to utilize the beach. This is a popular beach and can become crowded with cruise ship tourists. The beach itself is lovely but it is divided by some rock outcroppings, so it is not ideal for strolling. It is best for swimming and people watching. You will also have access to non-motorized water equipment. You will also find opportunities for excursions for snorkeling, parasailing and more.
About 26 miles east of Lucaya is Gold Rock Beach Freeport. You can access the beach via a 10-minute walk through the Lucayan National Park. The beach is ideal for families with small children as the water is shallow. Ideal for wading, strolling, and swimming it is best visited at low tide.
Old Freetown Beach is a wide expansive beach that is visited very little. There won’t be crowds or resorts – just you the sun, sand and water. At low tide you can see parts of an airplane wreck thought to be from a drug runner’s plane. The beach is great for sunning, strolling and swimming.
Compare the beaches of Miami to Freeport Bahamas beaches and you will find Grand Bahama beaches are quiet, uncrowded places of respite with stunning natural beauty.
Your travel from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport Bahamas includes one of the premier destinations, Lucayan National Park Bahamas. Traveling from Miami to Freeport Bahamas or Fort Lauderdale to Freeport, you will not be disappointed by this attraction. This land preserve has nature trails and boardwalks that bring you through the five ecosystems found on Grand Bahama: beach, mangroves, hardwood forest, pine forest and rocky coppice. A popular eco-tour is kayaking the Gold Rock Creek. These Freeport Bahamas excursions can be arranged by local tour operator Grand Bahama Nature Tours.
Lucayan National Park also features the largest underwater limestone cave system in the world with 7 miles already charted! Ancient artifacts and bones of the now extinct Lucayan Indians have been found in the caves. Ben’s Cave has 60 feet of water, the top 30 being fresh water and the bottom 30 being salt water. Certified divers can reserve a dive through one of the registered dive operators. Bats live in these caves and they are off limits to tours during bat nursing months of June and July. Lucayan National Park is one of the top things to do in Freeport Bahamas.
Liken the Everglades National Park of Miami to Freeport Bahamas Peterson Cay National Park. Both offer exotic wildlife, marine life and a diverse ecosystem. About one mile off the shores of Grand Bahama is Peterson Cay National Park, near the top of the list of Freeport Bahamas excursions. It is 1 ½ acres and includes a ¼-mile marine area boundary. It is the smallest national park. It is the only cay on the south side of Grand Bahama. It is surrounded by vibrant reefs, sea grasses, and sandy bottom. It is a nesting place for many birds specifically bridled terns. The marine life is vital with large populations of soldier crabs and sea turtles. This national park is ideal for snorkelers. Access to the cay is by kayak or boat. Boats can be rented at any of the local marinas. This is the type of exciting adventures you will find when you travel from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport Bahamas.
One of the many wonders of the Bahamas is the blue holes. When you travel from Miami to Freeport Bahamas you will have the chance to experience these sink holes: caverns below that have collapsed. The blue holes are ideal spots for swimming, snorkeling and diving. Exotic dive seekers will be sure to add this attraction to their list when traveling from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport.
Owl’s Hole is named for the owl which nests there annually. There is a 24-foot cliff where you can take the plunge into the hole. For those more timid, there is ladder that descends down to the water. If you are a certified diver you can also arrange a dive through one of the local dive operators. This blue hole is off the beaten path, so it is best to find a guide to take you there.
Boiling Hole lives and breathes with the tide. As the tide goes out the water rushes toward the sea and as it comes in it rushes through the underwater caves and makes a whirlpool effect. This blue hole was once studied by world-renowned Jacques Cousteau. There is a board walk, viewing deck and ladder down to the water. If you enter the water make sure you know the tides so you are not caught up in the boiling activity of this hole. It is also a great place to see stingrays, baby sharks and a variety of birds.
A historical landmark is Pinder’s Point Lighthouse. Built in the late 1700s, its beacon was manually lit each night and extinguished each morning by Samuel Pinder. The beacon would warn ships of the rocky coast. The torch was eventually automated. Today, with the advent of ship radar, there is no beacon on top, but the red and white stripes stand out as a memorial to the lost age of lighthouses.
If golfing is your game, travel from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport Bahamas and experience a championship course. The Bahamas are an official stop on the PGA Tour and PGA of America. You will find several championship courses on Grand Bahama – it really is a golfer’s paradise. Compare golf course of Fort Lauderdale to Freeport courses and you will find vistas on Grand Bahama that are matchless.
Fortune Hills Golf & Country Club was designed by Dick Wilson and Joe Lee. This is a 9-hole, par-36 public course. There are some strong challenges on the course and the setting is beautiful. For championship levels, play two rounds to make it 18 holes.
Reef Club Golf Course is part of the Grand Lucayan Resort. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. The 18-hole, par-72 championship course is ideal for all levels of golfers. It has been distinguished as one of the Top-100 Golf Courses in the World.
As you can imagine, scuba diving is a premier attraction in the Bahamas. Travel from Miami to Freeport Bahamas and you will find diving options at all levels from beginner to advance. The underwater reef system that runs along the edge of the Little Bahamas Bank is populated with sea gardens, colorful reefs and caves. There are several dive operators with which to schedule your Freeport Bahamas excursions.
When you travel from Miami to Freeport Bahamas you can be confident of the accommodations at Freeport Bahamas resorts. All offer premium accommodations, activities and amenities. The concierge at each will be happy to book your Freeport Bahamas excursions. We are highlighting a few of the best resorts and hotels.
In West End, Old Bahama Bay is designed in the British colonial style. Accommodations include suites with adjoining room that are ideal for families or friends. There is a full-service marina that is only 56 miles from Palm Beach, Florida making West Palm Beach to Freeport Bahamas an easy day cruise. Amenities include a stunning beach, spa, pool and a variety of Grand Bahama Island excursions such as fishing, diving, ecotours, kayaking, snorkeling and many more opportunities.
Pelican Bay in Lucaya features waterside rooms and suites decorated in Bahamian style. Amenities include private balconies, 3 swimming pools, beach access, and a variety of excursions and activities. The hotel will help arrange day trips and excursions for you.
Grand Lucayan is an all-inclusive resort offering spa, tennis, golf, beach, pools, and excursions. It is one of the top of the line of the Freeport Bahamas resorts. There are scheduled events such as movie nights, Wednesday Fish Fry & Junkanoo, Martinis & Tapas, and Friday Bahamian Night Buffet. This resort is also ideal for destination weddings.
Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach is an all-inclusive resort offering a long list of amenities such as daily activity programs, theme nights, dance and cooking classes, yoga and fitness training, beach, pools, and tennis. The concierge will book Freeport Bahamas excursions for you and you get the most of your Miami to Freeport Bahamas getaway.
Ocean Reef Yacht Club & Resort has apartment style rooms that will accommodate up to 8 people; great for families and friends. This resort has an on-site dive shop that offers dive certifications. In addition, they offer car, boat and bicycle rentals – truly your “one stop shop”. There are tennis and volleyball courts onsite as well as two pools. There is also a full-service marina.
In your travel to Freeport Bahamas you have many options. The ferry from Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas takes about 3 ½ hours which eats up a lot of time if you are taking a one day Bahamas cruise. This trip would leave you about 6 hours to explore the island. A better way to ferry from Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas is with a flightseeing tour with Bahamas Air Tours. A “flying ferry” has the option to leave southeast Florida from a variety of departures such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Vero Beach and Orlando. A ferry from Fort Lauderdale to Bahamas by plane will give you much more time to enjoy Freeport Bahamas excursions. A plane ride from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport will alleviate any worries about sea sickness. It will give you an aerial view of the island. Bahamas Air Tours flies to 5-star destinations and attractions in the Bahamas such as Miami to Freeport Bahamas. You will get the authentic, Out Island experience going to places that are not trampled by throngs of tourists. Bahamas Air Tours offers personal customer service for your small group of family and friends. You will not be lost in a crowd. Bahamas Air Tours offers day trips to a variety of Out Islands including Grand Bahama. They have partnered with local operators to offer you an inclusive tour including Freeport Bahamas excursions such as swimming with pigs, snorkeling with turtles and feeding sharks and stingrays. With Bahamas Air Tours pricing is always all-inclusive; no need to worry about hidden fees.
Travel to Freeport Bahamas has never been easier. There are many options when your one day cruise is by airplane! Fort Lauderdale to Freeport, Miami to Freeport Bahamas, and West Palm Beach to Freeport Bahamas – your options are wide open! Grand Bahama is beautiful with its National Parks, magnificent beaches, and fantastic opportunities for Freeport Bahamas excursions. Bahamas Island hopping is a trip you will never forget; one day or multi-day trips are ready for you to schedule. Enjoy the breathtaking views, marvelous beaches, adventure sports, shady history of rum runners and pirates, and historic landmarks. Don’t let the sun set on your dreams, come to Grand Bahama.
Select images courtesy of the Bahamas Ministry Of Tourism.
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