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5 Activites to Do During a Cruise Day at Nassau

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Nassau is one of the most popular cruise destinations, both as a start of a Caribbean island-hopping cruise, and as a destination for a cheaper weekend cruise. This destination is especially tempting for those of us who want to cruise on a budget, as a 2 to 3-day cruise to Nassau can easily cost under $300 per person. If you have ever been there, then you know exactly what makes this port town the perfect destination for a beach vacation. But with cruises only stopping for a day or two, it can be easy to miss out on some of the best features. To help you decide how to spend a day in Nassau, we’ve got our picks for the best activities to do during a day at Nassau.

Hang Out at the Beaches

Cruisers hanging out at a beach in Nassau

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It probably goes without saying that any visit to the Bahamas should include some time swimming and sunbathing at one of their iconic beaches. Nassau itself is home to several of the most well-known beaches in the Bahamas, including Cable Beach, Cabbage Beach, Junkanoo Beach, Jaws Beach, Paradise Beach, and more. The beaches in the Bahamas are known for having soft, white sand and temperate turquoise waters, and are great for water sports like kayaking, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. All the beaches are also open to the public and completely free to visit, so this is a good way to spend your day without incurring any extra costs!

Visit Historic Sites

An ariel view of Fort Charlotte

(Image provided by Adobe Stock)

The Bahamas have a lot of history dating back centuries, and you can learn about and connect with that history at several sites around Nassau. For instance, Fort Charlotte was built in the late 18th century by British colonial governor Lord Dunmore, and is the largest fort in the Bahamas. Here you can explore the underground passages, dungeons, and artillery batteries while you learn about the purpose of this building. Another historic fortress, Fort Fincastle on Bennet’s Hill provides an excellent view of Nassau and Paradise island, and was used to protect from invaders and pirates. The Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation offers a look at the dark history and inspiring rebellion on the island of Exuma in 1830. Suffice it to say, history buffs will have a field day at the many historic sites around Nassau. 

Shop at Straw Market

A smorgasbord of wooden sculptures for sale at Straw Market

(Image provided by Adobe Stock)

If you are looking for souvenirs for yourself or to bring back to friends and family, then the Straw Market at Arawak Cay is the spot for you. Here, over 500 vendors sell handcrafted mementos for you to pursue through, and it is a favorite spot for cruisers on a visit to Nassau. This bustling market is filled with authentic Bahamian crafts like straw hats, hand bags, and conch shell jewelry that is sure to impress anyone you give it to. This will be your only chance to get handcrafted wares from the Bahamian locals, so you won’t want to miss out. But even if you aren’t looking to make a purchase, walking around the market is still a good chance to interact with the locals and get a look at the culture.

Dine at Arawak Cay

A delectable seafood dish with a beach in the background

(Image provided by Adobe Stock)

It simply will not do to visit a place like the Bahamas and not try their delicious, delectable dining offerings. There are plenty of places where you can grab a bite to eat, but Arawak Cay is the premiere dining destination. Aptly called “Fish Fry,” this island is home to many vibrant and succulent restaurants where you can try traditional Bahamian dishes such as conch salad, cracked conch, and eponymous Bahamian-style fried fish. In addition to great dining, they also have live music and entertainment for you to enjoy. This is probably your best opportunity to experience Bahamian culture straight from the locals.

Go Snorkeling

A woman snorkeling with manta rays

(Image provided by Adobe Stock)

Last, but certainly not least, any trip to the Bahamas should definitely include an underwater excursion. Snorkeling here is some of the best in the world, thanks to the clear, tranquil waters and the diverse marine ecosystem hiding just beneath the surface. Among the vibrant coral reefs, you will find many schools of colorful fish, tropical marine life like stingrays and sea turtles, and even sunken ships. Any of the beaches in the city are good candidates for a snorkeling adventure, but Blue Lagoon is our recommendation for its bustling coral ecosystem. Make sure to bring a camera that you can use underwater, because you will never find a better photo op anywhere else in the world!

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