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If you are taking a cruise into the Bahamas, you are probably stopping in one of two places, Freeport or Nassau. The more popular of the two ports is Nassau and features great beaches and beautiful crystal blue water. You will find a wide array of things to do in Nassau, from shopping to snorkeling so you should have no trouble keeping busy there during your stay.
The first thing you need to know about heading out in Nassau is that you will many locals trying to sell you something. As soon as you walk off the dock, there will be people asking to take you on an excursion, on a horse & carriage ride or to braid your hair. People are generally pushy, but not rude. Just simply pass by & say no thank you, unless you feel inclined to take them up on it.
Many people choose to book day trip excursions through the cruise line. I think this is great if you have never been to Nassau and if you want to do something adventurous that might take you off the beaten path (like one of our favorite places, Pearl Island).
Those who don’t want to spend the money on an expensive excursion to Nassau or don’t want to be gone all day can choose to experience Nassau on your own. There are plenty of things to do in Nassau without having to take a pre-booked excursion. Here are some of our favorites…
Things to Do in Nassau, Bahamas (on your own)
Atlantis. One of the most popular things to do in Nassau is going out to Atlantis. Atlantis is located on Paradise Island and is a full service resort. But you don’t have to stay there to enjoy some of its most popular features. You can get a day pass to Atlantis to see the world’s largest open-air marine habitat, spend the day at Aquaventure, a 141-acre water park, or spend time at the Atlantis Casino. Just taxi over and you can buy tickets in advance or at the ticket office.
Beach. There are a few beach close enough to walk (or to take a taxi ride to). The problem is, they are usually crowded or don’t have amenities like restrooms.
Cabbage is a popular beach that has both food & bathrooms, but it also has a more adult vibe. There are a lot of locals serving coconuts full of some kind of mixed drink looking for business and adults there drinking way too many of them. You can rent beach chairs or find an open spot on the beach to claim as your own.
If you are looking for a family friendly beach in Nassau, your best option is to pay a day pass fee to go to the private resort beaches at Cable Beach. Most of the resorts have rates to use their beach and some even have a package deal that includes lunch.
Nassau Beaches that have day passes:
- Hilton – British Colonial Hilton
- Breezes Resort and Spa
- Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas
- RIU Palace
Pirate Museum. You will notice that much of Nassau contains a pirate theme. There is a reason for this, Nassau taken over by English privateers in the 1700’s, and eventually these privateers turned into lawless pirates. You can learn all about Nassau’s pirate history in their Pirates of Nassau museum. Tickets are available for discount online or onsite.
Shopping. One of the best things to do in Nassau is shopping. You will find cheap trinkets and high end shopping all just blocks away from the cruise port in Nassau. If you like to barter, you will find that nearly all the t-shirt shops and stalls in the straw market will work with you. Don’t take the first price they offer you and always ask for their best price. You will walk away saving if you do.
Pirate Republic Brewery Tour. If you like beer, the Pirate Republic Brewery is my favorite local brewery. It is right in downtown Nassau and does its own tour daily at 11:30 and 2 pm. For $13 you will learn how their beer is made, enjoy a flight of beer, a handmade pretzel, decal and discount for the store. Wifi is also available inside!
No matter how you decide to spend your day in Nassau, be sure to stay safe. There are many things to do in Nassau, but make sure you do your research before heading out as there are some areas of the city that are pretty sketchy. Stick to the streets downtown that are well-traveled with tourists and take verified Taxis to places like the beach.
Do you have any favorite things to do in Nassau?