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Family Travel in the Bahamas

Educational Tours
Family Travel in the Bahamas
Few beach destinations are as family-friendly as the Bahamas. Immerse the clan in underwater adventures, foodie expeditions, market excursions, and fishing trips.
By Flash Parker, AFAR Ambassador
Photo by Mark Lewis/age fotostock
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    Educational Tours
    Educational Tours
    Salt production has long been an important industry in the Bahamas, and the local salt flats are strikingly beautiful. A tour of Morton Salt Works on Great Inagua Island makes a great companion visit to the 19th-century Great Inagua Lighthouse, which is one of three kerosene-fueled, hand-cranked beacons on the islands that is still in operation. The Androsia Hand Made Batik Factory in Andros Town is a great place to shop for authentic, one-of-a-kind art that supports local artisans, while a tour of the Fragrance of the Bahamas perfume factory in Freeport culminates with guests crafting their own custom scents. And you can mix Bahamian history with authentic local flavors on a culinary walking tour around Nassau with Tru Bahamian Food Tours.
    Photo by Mark Lewis/age fotostock
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    Bahamian Bargains
    Bahamian Bargains
    Spend an hour among the slick-tongued vendors at the Nassau Straw Market, and you'll be amazed by how many different items can be made from straw. (Just be prepared to haggle.) A visit to Sandpiper Arts & Crafts in George Town is a much more relaxed affair and one of the best places to shop for  handmade pottery and ceramics, clothes, accessories, and art. The Port Lucaya Marketplace on Grand Bahama Island is a great shopping district with a relaxed vibe, featuring 40 stores and boutiques. The public square offers live music, cafés, and plenty of no-hassle shopping.
    Photo courtesy of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board
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    Historic Bahamas
    Historic Bahamas
    History students may already know that the Lucayan people were the original inhabitants of the Bahamas and that they were Christopher Columbus’s first point of contact in the Americas. Columbus’s landing on October 12, 1492, is memorialized on San Salvador Island. Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, is home to important museums and galleries, including the Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation and the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. Pompey is located in the Vendue House in Nassau, the former site of slave auctions. In Parliament Square, the supreme court and parliament buildings are painted pastel pink, while the nearby Balcony House Museum is the oldest wooden home in the city. And don’t skip Fort Fincastle and Queen’s Staircase in downtown Nassau, or the larger Fort Charlotte, just a mile to the west.
    Photo by Victor Korchenko/age fotostock
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    Island Wildlife Encounters
    Island Wildlife Encounters
    Ardastra Gardens, Zoo, & Conservation Centre in Nassau has been promoting zoological education for decades. It houses flamingos, jaguars, lemurs, iguanas, and other animals in tropical environments. More than 60,000 West Indian flamingos call Inagua National Park home (listen for their telltale honk), while in the Exumas, Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park offers snorkeling and diving in a marine preserve—and walking along the beach probably means an encounter with sunbathing iguanas.
    Photo by Flash Parker
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    Family Fishing Trips
    Family Fishing Trips
    Fishing is a great recreational activity for the entire family. The Bimini district is known as the sportfishing capital of the world, and anglers here have the opportunity to reel in marlin, tuna, and several species of shark. Bimini is a popular destination for fishing charters and hosts numerous pro and amateur tournaments throughout the year. You can also find excellent deep-sea fishing around Nassau, with operations like Born Free Fishing Charters providing all the experience and equipment you need to catch triggerfish, yellowfin tuna, and red snapper, but you’ll have to be quick to catch them. Andros Island is known as the bonefish capital of the world; standing on the casting deck of a tiny skiff attempting to pluck the shimmering fish from the ocean is an experience few forget.
    Photo by Earl Harper/age fotostock
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    Fresh Seafood Stops
    Fresh Seafood Stops
    Potter’s Cay seafood market on Nassau is home to numerous fish stalls with colorful names like Bone's and the Midnight Spot that serve remarkably fresh fish and cracked conch at a fraction of the resort prices. (Don’t leave without trying scorched conch.) For a sit-down experience, try the fresh conch ceviche at Goldie’s Conch House amid the Arawak Cay Fish Fry in Nassau. On Stocking Island in the Exumas, Chat 'N' Chill offers conch salad made to order, right on the beach. In October visit Grand Bahama Island for the McLean’s Town Conch Cracking Festival, a daylong celebration of food and drink that features games and activities for kids and adults.
    Photo by Peter Baker/age fotostock
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    Atlantis for Kids
    Atlantis for Kids
    The Bahamas is one of the most kid-oriented destinations in the Caribbean. The Aquaventure water park at Atlantis Paradise Island offers a soaking-wet good time at a 141-acre theme park that features water slides, 11 swimming pools, waterfalls, tube rides, and a mile-long artificial river with rolling rapids. At Atlantis Kids Adventures, children can take cooking classes, make crafts, and play in a game room.
    Photo courtesy of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board
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    Ecotourism on Andros Island
    Ecotourism on Andros Island
    Andros Island is home to the West Side National Park, whose 1.5 million acres of protected coastal wetlands are the most productive marine nursery in the Bahamas, while Blue Holes National Park protects a number of blue holes and freshwater reservoirs (both salt and freshwater systems crisscross the island). Visitors can go on cave excursions, medicinal plant discovery tours, and kayaking expeditions arranged via numerous Andros outfitters. The interior of Andros Island is home to more than 120 species of native and migratory birds, the Andros iguana, wild orchids, and coppice forests.
    Photo by Flash Parker