With crystal-clear aquamarine waters and soft sandy beaches, the Bahamas is one of the best destinations in the world to enjoy on a boat rental or water experience. Waking up to a beach sunrise, cruising to secret spots and island-hopping are all fantastic experiences you can have in the Bahamas, and everyone should pencil the Bahamas on their travel bucket list. It’s a tropical escape, perfect for visitors from all over the world looking to relax in a Caribbean paradise.
There’s no need to put a filter your photos when the colors and natural beauty of a place are so exceptional - and there are many spots within the Bahamas to visit. It can be difficult to pick where you want to go during a vacation, so here are some of the highlights of the top destinations within the Bahamas to choose from.
Things to Consider for Your Boat Rental or Charter
Before heading to the Bahamas, it’s important to define what type of boating experience you want to have. Are you looking for an exciting excursion to Pig Beach, or more interested in relaxing and having a few cocktails on board a catamaran? Island-hopping is definitely a must, no matter what type of boat you rent.
Your budget will also affect the type of experience you can book while in the Bahamas, but fortunately, there is a wide range of boat rentals and water activities that can accommodate thrifty travelers to the luxury vacationer.
Traveling to the Bahamas for a special event, like a wedding or bachelorette party? Be sure to communicate with your captain about all expectations and let them know why you’re coming - they can help you to plan the best possible day out on the water.
Top Destinations in the Bahamas to Rent a Boat
Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and is recognizable with it’s idyllic Atlantis Resort, gorgeous turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, and warm weather year-round. It’s on the New Providence island and is a fantastic vacation destination for families, groups of friends, couples, and even solo travelers. Anyone visiting Nassau is going to want to take advantage of boat rentals, yacht charters, and other water experiences, to get out and see the stunning beauty of the island from the perspective of the water.
When in Nassau, rent a boat and get out into the Caribbean. It’s one of the top tourist activities to enjoy anywhere in the Bahamas, and Nassau is unique in that there are a lot of options to select from since Nassau and New Providence island are the most populated areas of the Bahamas. Book boat charters with glowing reviews like:
“Captain Eddie and his mate were so nice! They were amazing! They took us to Rose island, and to swim with sea turtles which was beyond cool.. the boat was huge! Our group of 10 had tons of room. This was the highlight of our 6-day vacation. Highly recommend this boat and this captain!”
Or experiences like fishing charters, jet ski rentals, sailboat rentals, and unique experiences like jet boat tours and snorkeling boat tours. Other things to do in Nassau, if you want to spend time on land, include exploring the Old Town, and checking out the aquarium at the Atlantis resort.
Grand Bahama is the northernmost island of the Bahamas and is a paradise for scuba divers and for travelers looking for a vacation that is more “off-the-beaten-path” and outside of the swarm of spring break partying. It’s still easy to access, with daily flights from Florida and is a cruise port and popular stop-off.
The island is surrounded by coral reefs and nature preserves, making it a perfect destination for wildlife tours by boat, scuba diving, snorkeling, and water experiences like dolphin watching. Freeport is the main city on Grand Bahama and it’s a fantastic place to rent a boat or book a boat tour. Catamaran tours are especially popular and are a great option for cruising and relaxing onboard a boat from Freeport and around Grand Bahama. Cruise to spots like Lucaya Beach to see where scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed, and jump out into the clear waters for a refreshing swim. Many vacationers state that time spent on a boat during their trip to Freeport is the highlight of their entire experience, and who can argue with stops for snorkeling around Grand Bahama?
Fishing charters and fishing boat rentals are also great options for travelers and visitors to Freeport. Cruise around channels and bays of Grand Bahama and catch fish, relaxing on your own private boat tour.
Freeport has incredible white-sand beaches, many that are great to explore and experience by boat. On a private yacht charter, you can access quiet beaches, swim in the calm waters, and sunbathe in peace while exploring the gorgeous coastline of Grand Bahama. Jet ski rentals and tours are a great way to explore and see more, and tourists love experiences like water sports, kayak rentals, and paddleboarding.
Exuma is not a single island, but rather a collection of cays (tiny islands) amounting to over 350, in the Bahamas, about an hour boat ride from Nassau. While many are privately-owned islands, Grand Exuma is a larger cay that is a tourist destination and a gorgeous place to visit. Great Exuma is a jumping-off point for tours to places like Pig Beach, which has exploded in popularity in recent years for tourists.
Exuma is a fantastic place in the Bahamas to rent a boat. Having the freedom to cruise around the cays, stopping at secret beaches, and seeing private islands from your own boat is an unforgettable experience to have while traveling. George Town is a large city on Great Exuma Island and is a good place to rent a boat from. You can book catamaran charters, yacht rentals, and powerboats to tour around Exuma. It’s the best way to enjoy time on Exuma and to see more of the tropical paradise.
For a budget activity to enjoy on Exuma, rent paddleboards to power yourself through the calm waves of the sea. It’s great for getting some exercise during your vacation, as well as exploring secret coves in the cays and even finding hidden beaches.
Eleuthera is an island in the Bahamas that is perfect for people looking for a genuine escape. With luxury resorts, white and pink sand beaches, and quiet, low-key towns to wander around, it’s a destination for people looking to unplug and recharge. While the nightlife isn’t as good as busier islands, it offers a host of wonderful activities to enjoy on the water by boat. Much of the island is undeveloped, so you can cruise or sail around and enjoy a pristine coastline instead of endless developments and tourist infrastructure.
While on Eleuthera, try a fishing charter, a sailboat tour, or a paddleboard rental. Relax in the waves, soak up the sun, and recharge your batteries during a trip to Eleuthera in the Bahamas.
A group of islands in the Bahamas, the Abaco Islands are another underrated destination for a tropical vacation. The primary spots are Great Abaco and Little Abaco island. Renting a boat while in Great Abaco is the best way to seize your vacation, as it will enable you to see secret spots like Disney’s privately-owned “Castaway Cay” - a port exclusively for Disney Cruises that you can see from a boat tour. Fishing charters are also an excellent option for visitors to the Abaco Islands - since much of this region is uninhabited, there are lots of untouched marine areas perfect for catching fish. The Abaco Islands are also formed by the third-largest barrier reef in the world - and the lack of people occupying these islands makes it a great place for snorkeling and scuba diving.
What to Bring Boating in the Bahamas
With unrelenting sunshine and bright, reflective waters, wearing sun protection is crucial to avoid serious burns in the Bahamas. Sunscreen, hats, protective clothing and sunglasses are essential to pack in your boating bag.
Don’t forget to make sure there are enough lifejackets and flotation devices on your boat for everyone. Even though many of the top destinations for boating in the Bahamas are shallow and in calm waters, it’s always best to have adequate lifesaving devices.
Food and drinks are a great thing to have on your boat if you’re heading out for a full day. Many boat charters and boat tours in the Bahamas will include meals, snacks, and beverages, but make sure to first clarify with the captains before you cruise out of port.
Snorkeling gear is often provided by boat captains on rentals and charters, but if you have your own, be sure to bring it. The stunningly clear waters and reef systems that surround the Bahamas are sure to reveal schools of fish, turtles, and other critters worth seeing during a swim.