Freeport, Bahamas - an island destination with crystal clear waters and a fascinating historical backdrop makes this place a fascinating place to explore and wonder. The town and the Grand Bahama Island teem with tales of Lucayan Indians, British colonialists, pirates, rum runners, and the slave trade. It's also an absolute treasure of nature and landscape! If you're looking for a getaway destination that truly has it all, look no further than Freeport. Below, we'll go over where you should go, what you should do, and how to get there.
Best Time To Visit Grand Bahama Island
Like most of the Bahamas, Freeport is very busy during the summer months. If crowds deter your itinerary, it may be best to avoid these peak months.
Port Lucaya is a suburb of Freeport. Freeport's economy centers around tourism, and due to consecutive hurricanes, Port Lucaya has become the current center of tourism. The Port Lucaya marketplace is a top tourist attraction, and it features an international bazaar, a sprawling complex of shops and eateries showcasing cultures from all over the world. But if the marketplace is the daytime attraction, Count Basie Square is the place to be at night. Live Bahamian music from local musicians makes this open-air venue a fun place for live entertainment. For a fun niche attraction, check out the Ye Olde Pirate Bottle Museum, which showcases glass bottles dating back to the 1700s.
Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Company
Locally owned and operated, this beer brewery sits on a beautiful 20 acres, and tours are available. There is a beer garden, and it's considered a must to try the two trademark brews: Sands and High Rocks.
Bahamas National Trust Nature Centre
You don't need to head to the beaches to take in the natural landscape of the Bahamas. The Bahamas National Park is found in the center of downtown Freeport, and it covers a full 100 acres, with nature trails, a wildlife viewing area, and a native plant arboretum.
Heritage Trails Nature Walk
There was once a dirt path that connected the east end and west end of Grand Bahama Island, known as Old Freetown Road. Once Freeport was founded, the road was left pretty nearly abandoned. Nature took it back and has now become the Heritage Trails Nature Walk, a 5-mile trail that features numerous examples of native Bahaman flora and fauna. The oldest building on the entire island is on this trail - "The Hermitage."
Lucayan National Park
The Lucayan National Park (once known as the Rand Nature Center) is a top destination for any visitor to Freeport, Bahamas. You'd be surprised such a small island could have so many ecosystems, but at this land preserve, you'll see five of them distinctly! Nature lovers will enjoy the trails and boardwalks that take you through beaches, mangroves, a hardwood forest, a pine forest, and rocky coppices. You can also experience the park by kayaking the Gold Rock Creek. Another attraction of the Lucayan National Park is the world's largest underwater limestone cave system! Seven miles have been charted so far, and it's open for certified divers to explore.
Peterson Cay National Park
Yet another national park in or near Freeport, Bahamas! The Peterson Cay National Park is the smallest national park, at only 1.5 acres. However, the coastline in this park makes it a must-see. The coral reefs are vibrant, there are abundant sea grasses, and the habitat is perfect for all manner of marine life. You'll see birds, sea turtles, and soldier crabs. Snorkelers in particular, will love exploring this cay.
Best Things To Do
Although there are many nature parks and tourist attractions in Freeport and Grand Bahama Island as a whole, most visitors to the Bahamas come for water sports! The name "Bahamas" is attributed to Christopher Columbus' declaration of "Baja mar," which means shallow waters. Indeed, the shallow waters around all of the Bahamas are perfectly clear and ideal for all types of water play!
The white sand beaches are clear, turquoise, and perfect for exploring. Of course, on this small island, there are secluded beaches everywhere. Still, here are a few favorites:
Fortune Beach, found near the Wyndham Resort. If you venture away from the area closest to the resort, you'll find a quiet beach perfect for beach combing, swimming, and snorkeling.
Williams Town Beach is best explored during low tide. It's great for walking and swimming. Unfortunately, during high tide, it's just a small strip!
Xanadu Beach has no amenities nearby, as the accompanying resort has closed. It is known for its water sports and lounging area and is a quiet beach, making it perfect for strolling.
Lucayan Beach is among the most popular attractions, being right next to two of the largest resorts - the Grand Lucayan Resort and the Memories Resort. It has rocky outcroppings, so it's not as ideal for beachside walks, but it's great for swimming, snorkeling, and even parasailing!
Gold Rock Beach is a 10-minute walk from the Lucayan National Park and is the best option for families with small children. The water is markedly shallow, perfect for wading.
Old Freetown Beach is a large beach that isn't often visited. At low tide, you can see an airplane wreck rumored to be a rum runner's plane! For a moment of solitude, this is the perfect beach.
A natural phenomenon unique to the Bahamas is blue holes. These are underwater caverns that have collapsed and created deep holes to explore! Certified divers will love exploring their depths, but swimmers and snorkelers can enjoy them too.
Owl's Hole is found at the base of a 24-foot tall cliff, from which you can dive off into the hole! A bit off the beaten path, this hole is harder to find, so find a guide.
Boiling Hole roils and spins as the exiting tide rushes through the underwater caves. Stingrays, baby sharks, and many types of bird species can be seen here.
Ben's Cave is the only inland blue hole, and is only accessible to divers accompanied by an authorized dive instructor.
Whether you prefer scuba diving or deep sea diving, there are plenty of opportunities in and around Freeport, Bahamas. A "Discover Diving" adventure lets you dip your toes into diving by training you in a pool and then taking you to a dive site to practice in the ocean itself. Certified divers can explore underwater caves and experience sharks - albeit in a controlled manner!
The beaches and national parks around Freeport feature beautiful reefs, cays, and inlets that are perfect for snorkelers! A favorite location is Deadman's Reef, the largest contiguous man-made reef.
While Freeport is the largest settlement on Grand Bahama Island, smaller settlements are found all along the coast. These hamlets were typically founded by formerly enslaved people and still exist today, with fishing as their main trade. You can find groups of bonefish at the island's north end, and blue marlin, white marlin, yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, sailfish, and other big game fish frequent the southern end.
A championship golf course is located in Freeport, Bahamas, and several of them are located across the Grand Bahama Island as a whole. You could spend an entire vacation swinging at these many courses!
Riding on horseback along the vivid Bahamian coast is almost too good to be true! Pine Tree Stables, located in Freeport, is the only horseback trail ride on the island. The 2-hour ride makes a point to showcase all of the various ecosystems in the Grand Bahamas.
Swimming With Marine Life
At Port Lucaya, you can actually swim with dolphins and sharks! A 20-minute boat ride takes you to a lagoon where you can experience and interact with bottle-nosed dolphins in their own habitat - quite a different experience from trick shows at zoos! For the more adventurous, you can also go on a shark dive and spend over 2 hours with these underwater predators.
Where To Stay
With Freeport being the second-largest city in the Bahamas, plenty of beachfront hotels, villas, and resorts are available.
Where Is Freeport, Bahamas Located?
Freeport is the largest settlement on Grand Bahama Island, one of the larger islands in the archipelago of the Bahamas islands. It's located due east of West Palm Beach, Florida. The island is only 530 square miles, and over half of the population lives in Freeport! Because of the size of the island and the density of Freeport, it's common to turn a visit to Freeport into a visit of the entire Grand Bahama Island itself!
How To Get To Grand Bahama Island
The Grand Bahama International Airport is located in Freeport, and there are several international flights from the United States and Canada. It's a very simple place to get to with a short plane ride from Miami, Florida, to Freeport, Bahamas. Flights run from Fort Lauderdale, Florida as well. Miami and Four Lauderdale also serve as starting destinations for travel to Freeport by ferry, charter boat, cruise ship, or private flights.
Transportation With In
You can take buses (mini buses known as Jitney locally) to get to places that are very reliable.
Taxis And Ferries
Taxis and water ferries can be a very handy and inexpensive way to travel around. With water ferries, you can get to Fort Lauderdale and Nassau. You can take other ferries from Nassau and get to places like Harbour Island, Abacos, North Eleuthera, and more.
Many travelers don't need to rent a car, especially those who only look to soak up the sun and relax at the resort. But if you are planning on traveling to other cities, a rental car may be worth it.
In the Bahamas, people drive on the left side of the road (opposite the United States). This can be difficult for some to adjust.
Safety Comes First
Freeport is a city that relies heavily on tourism and is often battered by poverty and hurricanes. While it's absolutely a safe place to visit, it's good to keep this in mind. Generously support their tourist economy by visiting many tourist attractions, but also try not to fall for any sale of counterfeit items.
Have some cash on hand
Public transportation around Grand Bahama Island is very readily available! Taxis and buses are plentiful. Using these services is easiest when you have paper currency on hand.
Bring Your Snorkel Gears
Nassau's beach has many great snorkeling spots. If you have your own gear, bring them with you on the trip.
Pack Your Sweaters (December to February)
During the winter, Freeport can get pretty cool in the evening, and you will need a jacket or sweater after sunset.
Staff usually expect a 15% tip in the Bahamas, and many restaurants will include a 15% gratuity. Therefore, always check your bill to see if it has already been added.
You Can Use US Dollars
The local currency is Bahamian dollars, but US dollars are also accepted.