Family Friendly Things to do in Bahamas
I managed to convince my husband to go on a “babymoon” before our second child. Not sure if a babymoon is still a thing after you have the first child but it worked! I was 31 weeks pregnant at the time, so we had to be selective in our destinations because of CDC’s continued warning of Zika throughout the majority of Caribbean. Check out my recent post on Zika Free beach and Babymoon destinations HERE. My needs were simple: sun, beach, kid friendly, non-stop / relatively short flight, AND I’d love it if we could go swimming with the pigs in Exuma (it has been a bucketlist adventure of mine). Only one destination was possible… so we went to the Bahamas! These are some of the family friendly things to do in the Bahamas!
Every parent knows that traveling with a toddler requires different things and different amenities. We knew we wanted to bring our 21-month-old and after seeing the commercials for Atlantis, we knew we couldn’t go wrong with the ‘Disneyland of the Caribbean’ and it looked like a kid and adult playground. That being said, we wanted and liked the fact that we could walk around with our stroller and didn’t have to take transportation to get around to different pools, activities, restaurants, and beaches because they were all a short walk away. However, regardless of where you stay, if you’re heading to the Bahamas with your kids, here are some family friendly things to do in the Bahamas.
Insider Tip | Trying to save some money? Stay at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island. You can easily save $100 – $200 / per night in comparison to the cheapest hotel option at Atlantis. Benefits of staying at Comfort Suites is that you have full access to Atlantis and Aquaventure (which is only a 10-minute walk from resort as well as 5-minute walk from marina, shopping, and restaurants) and it includes hot breakfast buffet every day!
Visit the Aquaventure at Atlantis.
With 141-acre waterscape, this mini-city contains 20 swimming areas for every age, including 11 pools, a seven-acre snorkeling lagoon, 18 water slides, both fast and slow river rides, and a life size replica of a Mayan Temple. This waterpark has something for everyone: kiddie pools, adult only pools, water slides, lazy rivers, rapid rivers, beach, fake beach, etc…. Our little toddler had so much fun and would play to a point of exhaustion. Absolute exhaustion, one day he crawled into his stroller and put himself into a nap time… parent success!
Stroll through the Atlantis Aquariums.
Atlantis’ marine habitats bring 50,000 marine animals from reef sharks to sting rays spread out throughout the resort! No matter how many times we walked past the sea turtles, sting rays, exotic fish, or sharks, we couldn’t help it but be mesmerized and it never got old.
Play at the Beach.
There are three beaches at the Atlantis resort, in fact, there are 5 miles worth of the white sand beaches found on the resort! There’s the Cove, Atlantis, and Paradise Beach. There’s also a Paradise Lagoon Beach which is a 7-acre lagoon where you can snorkel, use paddle boats, and other water activities in a protected environment, perfect for kids. If you are willing to step foot outside of the Atlantis resort and Paradise island, other well-known beaches worth to check include: Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island, Cable Beach on New Providence Island, and Junkanoo Beach in downtown Nassau.
Ok, for your picky eaters, this may not be a must do for kids, but this is a popular Bahamian food and it’s all about experiencing the culture, right? Grilled conch, raw conch, fried conch, conch fritters, cracked conch, conch salad, conch burgers, etc…. This juicy, firm, white meat is found once you pry open the shell of this ocean mollusk. This meat is delicious even when uncooked, but it is included in many of the dishes of the restaurants we went to and was so good! Even our toddler liked it!
Go on a Tour and Swim with the Pigs!
This is one of the top things to do in the Bahamas. People come from all over the world to see these little piggies swim at the beach. There are several tours companies that offer to do this however most leave Nassau by boat, which is about a 1.5 – 2 hour trip on choppy waters and this route is not allowed for toddlers or pregnant women. We did a tour through Exuma Escapes because they were the only ones that had an option to take the 30-minute plane ride to Exuma, making the entire duration of the trip shorter. It was perfect, I can’t recommend this tour and the plane ride enough! Most of the tours offer more than just swimming with the pigs, most also include swimming with the shark, iguana island, sand bar pit stop, and lunch. Information about Exuma Escapes and the tours they offer can be found HERE.
Once we landed on Exuma, our boat was a 10-minute walk from the plane! Our first stop was Pig Beach. This has become a major tourist attraction the past couple of years. No one really knows how the actually ended up on the island, some say they were left by sailors or that the pigs were in a shipwreck and swam to nearest island. There’s approximately 20 pigs and some piglets on the island when we were there. These are not small pigs, these are 300-pound pigs and they know why these boats are coming to the beach and that is to feed them.
I was surprised how tame the pigs were. One of the pigs actually sat on command for food! However, we were told the pigs eyesight is not very good, so you have to be careful when feeding them because they will try to get the food whether you’re paying attention or not.
We carried our toddler around most of the time. My husband was walking with our little one and a big pig came out from now where and actually bite my son’s life jacket. Thank goodness he was wearing a life jacket and not sure if the life jacket triggered the pig or what. I saw people carrying loaves of bread and would freak out because the pigs would surround them… but, do you blame them? Regardless, these are wild animals looking for food and you just have to be careful. But, overall, this was a bucket list adventure of mine and such a cool experience!
Swim with the Nurse Sharks.
Our next stop of our tour was swimming with the sharks at Compass Cay. When people saw my pictures, they assumed these sharks were in a cage. No, these are wild sharks who are attracted to the dock because they get fed. Yes, they chum the water which sounds scary and kind of was, but these are nurse sharks. Apparently, a nurse shark’s ‘suck’ is more painful than their bite. I didn’t see any teeth like you would when you think of a typical shark. These nurse sharks looked more like giant cat fish.
These sharks would swim all around you, between your legs, underneath, brushing up against you with their sand paper like skin. It was such a surreal, cool, creepy experience and although I was hyperventilating (from being scared and having zero lung capacity being pregnant), it was such a cool experience.
Mile long sand bar.
Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, there is a sand bar that can only found when the tide is low. When the tide is high, the beach disappears into the ocean. We were lucky to have a low tide because we made a pit stop at this gorgeous sand bar beach to have a snack. The sand and the beach were like no other… totally untouched and was the first stop where our toddler could run wild.
Feed iguanas at White Leaf Cay.
Have you ever seen the scene in Jurassic Park where they have a picnic on the beach and the little dinosaurs come out and start eating the food and attacking the people?? This was the scene, the iguanas obviously didn’t attack us but they were running everywhere and coming too close for comfort while we were skittishly feeding them. This was my toddler’s favorite stop. He had no fear with these iguanas which gave me multiple heart attacks and thank goodness for my husband to be quick on his feet and grab our little guy before he got too close to them.
Insider Tip | Trying to save some money? If you think you might go on a tour, check to see if they have early bird specials. We saved $50/person because we booked in February vs. March!
Life is so hectic when we aren’t on vacation. The fact we are able to actually enjoy our time together without the background noise of daily life as a family of three was very precious to me. Our toddler won’t remember this trip, but I’m so happy we brought him because it was a special time that we had with him. These memories will forever be etched in my heart.
Here is our Travel Diary Video of our Bahamas trip below. Please leave a comment and let me know what your favorite family vacation destinations are or any family adventures you’ve been on. Need to start adding more destinations to our bucket list! Thank you for reading and watching!