The Bahamas are known for having some of the world’s best beaches, so visiting one of the best beaches in Nassau is probably at the top of your list when you’re planning a Bahamas cruise.
But with so many choices, how do you know which are the best beaches in Nassau for cruisers? From the closest beach to the cruise port, the best beach in Nassau for snorkeling, to the best Nassau beach for kids, I’ve got you covered with the seven best beaches for all types of cruisers.
Plus, I’ll let you know the best way to get to Nassau’s top beaches from the cruise port. (Hint: it’s not by booking an overpriced coach “tour” that just drops you off at the beach!)
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How to get to the best beaches in Nassau from the cruise port
Nassau, Bahamas is located on the 80-square-mile New Providence Island. Between New Providence and Paradise Island (which is accessible by bridge or ferry), there are dozens of beautiful public beaches to choose from for your port day in Nassau. All the beaches on my list are public and completely free to visit.
To get to many of Nassau’s best beaches from the cruise port, you can take advantage of one of Nassau’s best bargains: jitneys!
Jitneys are independently-owned buses that charge just $1.50 each way to any stop along one of several routes. Passengers can hail a passing jitney even if it’s not at a bus stop. Jitneys will come by each bus stop about once every 10-15 minutes until 6 PM.
Alternately, you can take a taxi from the cruise port to the beaches. Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft don’t currently operate in the Bahamas.
Now, onto the beaches!
Best Nassau beach to walk to from the cruise port
Junkanoo Beach, also known as Western Esplanade Beach, is just a 15-minute walk from the cruise terminal. Its proximity to the cruise port makes it a super-popular beach for cruisers, so be ready for a crowd!
This busy beach is right downtown, so there are lots of amenities for beachgoers. Junkanoo Beach features public restrooms, changing facilities with lockers, and a lifeguard.
Lounger and umbrella rentals are available, although the prices can vary wildly depending on the day. Non-motorized water gear is also available to rent, including kayaks, snorkel gear, inner tubes, paddleboards, and water trikes.
Local food and drink vendors are located right on the beach. Tiki Bikini Hut, in the middle of Junkanoo Beach, is a full-service bar and grill serving Caribbean specialties, cocktails and beer. Free WiFi is available for customers.
How to get to Junkanoo Beach from Nassau cruise port
Exiting the cruise terminal, take a right and walk west on Woodes Rodgers Walk toward Charlotte Street. At Señor Frog’s, take a left on Navy Lion Road. Bear right and continue west on Marlborough Street. Turn right onto West Bay Street and the beach will be on your right, across from the Courtyard by Marriott and the Holiday Inn Express. There are signs on the way to the beach to guide you as well.
Best Nassau beach for kids and families
Situated between Junkanoo and Cable beaches on the north shore of New Providence Island, Saunders Beach is a less-crowded and very family-friendly option if you’re cruising with the kids or grandkids.
The water here is usually calm, so even little kids can splash and swim safely. However, be sure to pack water shoes for the entire family because you’ll encounter some hard coral.
There aren’t any water sports rentals on this beach, and there are some roped-off swimming areas in the coves, making it an even safer spot for kids to play in the water.
Saunders Beach is more of a locals’ beach than a tourist beach, so you won’t find lounger or umbrella rentals. If you prefer a spot out of the direct sun, there are trees at the back of the beach that provide some shade.
The beach also features a children’s playground as well as restrooms and changing rooms, and outdoor showers. Bring toilet paper from the ship, as the restrooms aren’t always restocked!
Security guards patrol Saunders Beach, so you won’t be pestered by as many vendors as you are on many of the busier Nassau beaches.
Food options are limited, but there’s a convenience store across the street near the western end of the beach for snacks. A Pizza Hut is located at the eastern end of the beach if you’re looking for a kid-friendly lunch option.
How to get to Saunders Beach from Nassau cruise port
Like many beaches along West Bay Street, Saunders Beach is easily reachable by jitney. A taxi should take a little over ten minutes, so it wouldn’t be too expensive.
Or, you could make the 45-minute walk to the beach, passing through downtown Nassau and continuing past Junkanoo Beach. When you see Ferguson Road on your left, Saunders Beach will be just ahead on the right.
Best beach in Nassau for active adults and teens
Beautiful Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island is where the famous Atlantis Bahamas Resort makes its home, but non-guests can also visit the beach for free. The beach is famous for its super-fine white sand and stunning turquoise water.
The currents and waves can be strong, and the water gets deep quickly as you leave the shore, so it’s not the best beach for small kids. However, Cabbage Beach is perfect for active adults and teenagers due to the range of activities available.
You won’t find the local food vendors right on the sand like many other beaches in the area, but there are tons of restaurants for various tastes and budgets just a short walk away from the sand. However, there are plenty of vendors offering all-you-can-drink alcohol.
There are no public restrooms, so if you’d like to make a full day of it, you might consider purchasing an Atlantis beach day pass that includes a lounger and towels, plus use of Atlantis’ facilities. The pass (only available to cruise passengers and guests at select hotels) also includes access to view the resort’s marine habitats including The Dig, a stunning 11-million gallon aquarium exhibit housing over fifty thousand sea animals.
How to get to Cabbage Beach from Nassau cruise port
As Paradise Island is closed to the jitneys that serve New Providence Island, the fastest way is to take a ten- to fifteen-minute taxi ride from the cruise port to Cabbage Beach.
The scenic route would be to take the small ferry ($4 per person each way) across and walk to the beach. As you exit the cruise terminal, just look for the sign pointing you to the ticket booth.
There are two public access points you could take to reach the sand. One is by taking Casino Drive, and entering the beach next to Riu Palace.
A bit east of that entrance, you could take Ocean Drive to reach a set of wooden stairways leading down to the beach from the road.
Best beach for snorkeling in Nassau
Love Beach is one of Nassau’s less-crowded beaches, and it’s a great place to snorkel right from the beach without having to book a snorkeling shore excursion.
Snorkels are available to rent on the beach, but consider bringing your own full-face snorkel set. They’re not expensive, plus they fit better and you’ll have a better field of view than you’d get from a rental mask.
Snorkelers of all abilities will have plenty of opportunity to see gorgeous fish and corals just off the shore.
Lounger and umbrella rentals are also available, and usually at cheaper rates than at the more popular beaches. Float and kayak rentals are also offered.
The onsite Nirvana Beach Bar serves up typical Bahamian beach food, along with beer and cocktails (they only accept cash, but either US or Bahamian dollars are fine). They also offer restrooms, changing rooms and showers, at no cost to customers.
How to get to Love Beach from Nassau cruise port
Hail a jitney (or take a 30-minute taxi ride) for a scenic drive on West Bay Street to Love Beach, then look for the Nirvana sign on the right on top of a large arched gate. Their property is the primary access point to Love Beach for non-residents.
Read more: Nirvana at Love Beach, Nassau Bahamas
Best uncrowded beach in Nassau
Caves Beach, on New Providence Island’s north shore, is a narrow sandy stretch just west of Cable Beach and doesn’t get much tourist traffic. It’s a wonderful beach to visit if you just want to escape the crowds!
Caves Beach gets its name from the nearby limestone caverns that once sheltered the Lucayans, the native people that lived in the Bahamas from the 10th century until the arrival of Europeans.
The beach has no public restrooms, but there are restaurants close by with facilities for customers. If you’re looking for a cocktail or a bite to eat overlooking the water, head to the far eastern end where you’ll find the Daq Shack and the Island Life Down Home Restaurant.
If you’re the adventurous type, be sure to check out the caves themselves, which are located just across the road. They’re pretty dark and slippery, and full of bats, but interesting to see.
How to get to Caves Beach from Nassau cruise port
Take a jitney to Caves Beach on West Bay Street, a few miles past Cable Beach. A taxi will be quicker (about 25 minutes), but will cost significantly more.
Since there are no hotels directly on the beach, access is much easier. Just walk on and enjoy!
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Best Nassau beach for history buffs
If you’re a history lover but still want to get some beach time in during your port day in Nassau, then Montagu Beach is perfect for you!
Located next to Fort Montagu, the oldest military fort remaining on the island of New Providence, pretty Montagu Beach is a little over two miles east from the cruise port.
Although Montagu Beach is close to downtown, it’s in a primarily residential area that hasn’t been overdeveloped. The beach features a fantastic view across Nassau Harbour to the southern shore of Paradise Island.
Public restrooms are available, and there’s also a small kids’ playground located in nearby Montagu Park.
If you visit at lunchtime, you’ll often see food stalls set up by the waterfront serving local seafood and Caribbean specialties. These vendors are popular with the locals, so you won’t be paying tourist prices for your meal!
About Fort Montagu
Fort Montagu, built in 1741, was constructed to help defend the British possession from the Spanish. The small four-cannon fort was built using local limestone.
The fort played a role in US history, as it was was the site of the newly-minted Continental Navy and Continental Marines’ first military action. In 1776, eight ships sailed to Nassau to capture weapons and ammunition from the British, including a gunpowder stockpile at the fort. The British were able to get the gunpowder safely away, but the Marines took the fort, occupied the island and retrieved a large number of British weapons in the Battle of Nassau.
Tours of Fort Montagu are conducted daily from 8 AM until 3 PM.
How to get to Montagu Beach from Nassau cruise port
Montagu Beach is located just off of East Bay Street, about a mile past the entrance to the ferry. The jitneys don’t run as frequently to and from this beach, so you may want to consider taking a taxi to save time.
With average traffic, it’s about a seven-minute ride each way. Make sure that you ask your taxi driver to pick you up from the beach at a specific time, since it’s not a popular spot to find waiting cabs.
Or you might prefer to walk! Montagu Beach is only 2.2 miles (3.6 km) from Nassau’s cruise terminal.
To access the beach, you can enter right from the parking lot in front of Fort Montagu.
Best overall beach in Nassau for cruisers
Cable Beach, one of the prettiest beaches in Nassau, is also easy to get to from the cruise port. Its two-and-a-half miles of white sand ensure that it won’t be quite as crowded as Junkanoo Beach when cruise ships are in port (but it’s still pretty busy!)
Cable Beach is a public beach, but is home to a number of resort hotels, each with its own private beach entrance. Once you hit the sand, the beach itself is public – just don’t try to access or exit the beach through any of the resort entrances!
For visitors without a resort pass, lounger and umbrella rentals are available to the public from various vendors, along with jet-skis, kayaks, paddleboards, and inflatable rafts. Parasailing and banana boat rides are also popular activities at Cable Beach.
If you’re looking for an affordable all-inclusive option on Cable Beach, Breezes Bahamas Resort offers a day pass including unlimited drinks, a buffet lunch (and snacks all day), towels and loungers, plus non-motorized water sports. Make sure you pre-purchase your day pass before your cruise! Check the price of a Breezes day pass here.
Don’t forget to pack a swim coverup before you head to the beach! Here are 20+ Cute Swim Coverups for Cruises & Beach Travel.
How to get to Cable Beach from Nassau cruise port
Cable Beach is located in the center of the north coast of Paradise Island, off of West Bay Street. It’s a twenty-minute ride from the cruise terminal by taxi.
Or, you could save some money and flag down a jitney to one of the public access points.
There is public access to the beach in a couple of spots. Goodman’s Bay Park on the far east end offers public restrooms and outside showers. The park also has a playground for the kids, with swings, slides and seesaws.
You can also reach the beach from a more central location, closer to all of the action. Just look for the Starbucks by the roundabout on the corner of West Bay Street and Skyline Drive, and follow the driveway to your right to the beach access point.
There are no public toilets at this entrance, but there are lots of restaurants and cafés nearby where patrons can use their facilities.
Have you visited any of these Nassau beaches? Or do you have another one that’s a favorite? Let me know in the comments below.
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