Brunette woman in blue dress standing on white sand beach in Nassau bahamas

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Your Must See Things to Do in Nassau Bahamas

So you’ve found yourself in the Bahamas. A destination where pigs swim and they get about 340 sunny days per year. Certainly, it’s hard to have a bad day in the Caribbean. But, what are the “must see” things to do in Nassau Bahamas?

You might envision a singular island when you hear, “Bahamas.” But it’s actually an archipelago comprised over over 700 island and 2400 cays! While there are many airports to fly into in the Bahamas, the most popular option is typically the Nassau International Airport. Nassau is also the most visited port by cruise ships, among all the islands. Thus, here are some of the most popular things to do in Nassau Bahamas – including hidden gems and day trips.

Bahamas Rum Cake Factory

Entrance to the Bahamas Rum Cake Factory
Entrance to the Bahamas Rum Cake Factory, locally owned at operated

Bahamas Rum Cake Factory is owned and operated by a Bahamian local. It’s a small storefront that displays and samples its cakes. The factory portion, where the staff is making the rum cakes is visible to the public from the store floor. Rum cakes are available in a variety of flavors. You can mix and match any 6 of them for $37.50 USD.

Tip: This store accepts credit cards.

Have a Piña Colada at John Watling’s Distillery

One of the best things to do in Nassau, Bahamas is visit John Watling’s Distillery. It appears as though the free tour has mixed reviews on Trip Advisor. The tour is free, informative and brief. The tour host we had was also very entertaining and engaging. The reason this is a must stop is… the rum is just spectacular. Buy a Piña Colada at the bar. They’re $13, but you won’t regret it. As I pursued the gift shop, many other travelers stopped to gaze at my Pina Colada and ask where they could get one. Having local rum is a must things to do in Nassau Bahamas!

Rum Barrel's in a bright blue wheel barrel that says John Watling's Distillery
Barrel’s of rum at the entrance of the Distillery

Tip: The Piña Colada’s are made with John Watling’s amber rum. It was sold out when I visited, but if it’s in stock when you visit, definitely grab bottle, because it’s amazing.

Bright exterior of John Watlings distillery
Entrance to John Watling’s Distillery

Shop for Souvenirs at Straw Market

Whether you love a quirky bazaar or bustling market, it is certainly the place where you will find the best deals on souvenirs, hand crafted local goods, oddities and general trinkets. True to it’s name, if you like straw goods, you will be elated at the selection at this market. Fantastic straw woven beach bags, purses, wallets and much more are available for a fraction of the cost you would find them elsewhere.

This is also a great place to find tropical attire – from dresses to men’s polo’s, hats and other such finds. It isn’t as large as other popular souks and markets around the world, however, it’s easy to navigate. A lot of the merchandise can be repetitive, so once we found all the things we wanted to get, we didn’t browse much further.

Tip: You’ll likely want to bring cash to pay here. Most vendors are cash only, however, if you make a large enough purchase they will partner with another vendor so that you can pay with credit card. Bargaining is expected and welcome!

Grab a Coconut at Montagu Beach & Fort Montagu

Montagu Beach is a quieter beach that locals favor to relax or have a picnic lunch. There is also a convenient stand to wet your whistle close to Fort Montagu. You can buy a drink or a fresh coconut. I highly recommend grabbing a fresh coconut while there and enjoying it on the absolutely beautiful palm tree lined beach.

The Queen’s Staircase & Fort Fincastle

If you like visiting historical sites during your travels, then you’ll likely want to visit the highly photographed Queen’s Staircase. Often referred to as the “66” steps, the major landmark was created out of solid limestone rock, by slaves, in the late 1700’s. Fort Fincastle was built to protect Nassau from pirate invasion.

Tip: The Queen’s Staircase is an extremely popular attraction. There will likely be people walking up and down it all day. If you want to get photos sans crowds, you’ll likely need to arrive at sunrise or very early. Our guide said that locals even get up at 5am to walk the steps for exercise in the morning.

The Fish Fry at Arawak Cay

If you are seeking Bahamian cuisine with a local flair and delicious drinks in a relaxed atmosphere, look no further. An area referred to as the “Fish Fry” is a hidden gem in Nassau. Foodies and those seeking more of an authentic experience flock to Arawak Cay. While this is the area locals eat when they want to dine out, socialize or simply enjoy themselves, there are other travelers in the area too.

tropical conch salad in a white bowl on a colorful placemat
The tropical conch salad at Oh Andros Restaurant in the Fish Fry

This is honestly one of the “do not miss” things to do in Nassau Bahamas. Here are some foods you might want to try (anywhere) during your time in town, because they are delicious:

Johnny Cakes

Pigeon Peas & Rice

Conch Salad or Tropical Conch Salad

Conch Fritters

Guava Duff

Bahamian fare is very seafood centric, however, there are lots of chicken options available, prepared in various ways.

Plate of fried shrimp, Mac n' cheese, pigeon peas & rice, Haitian coleslaw
The mega portions at Oh Andros! Bahamian Mac and Cheese comes in a square

A few places to try that I loved:

The Fish Fry Restaurant – I dined here twice and the service can be hit or miss, but ultimately it provides delicious food in a laid back environment. There’s also a gorgeous view of the water and some manta ray’s in the wild, if you sit on the patio.

Twin Brothers – I didn’t dine here, but they are renowned for serving real Daiquiri’s. If you intend on just grabbing drinks (which is what their known for), there is a stand separate from the main restaurant where you can walk up, grab a drink and pay cash.

Oh Andros – very relaxed & comfortable atmosphere, locals vibe, huge (read: gargantuan) portions, cash only.

Tip: A cab from Paradise Island to the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay should cost between $18 – $20. If you are already downtown, it’s walkable. From Bay Street to Arawak Cay, it was a distance but nothing unreasonable. It also makes for a great chance to site see and take photos!

Go on A Museum Crawl

There are several interesting museums in downtown Nassau and they are mostly all walking distance from one another. You can learn so many new things while getting a reprieve from the heat! Here are five that are worth visiting:

Pirates of Nassau – $12 per person

Pompey Museum of Slavery and Emancipation – $5.50 per person

Junkanoo Expo Museum – $10 per person

The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas – $10 per person

Heritage Museum of the Bahamas – $11.25 per person or $20.35 with tour

Visit Aquaventure & Atlantis on Paradise Island

One of the most popular things to do when someone finds themselves in Nassau, is to head over the bridge to Paradise Island. You can get a day pass to enjoy the Aquaventure Water Park at the Atlantis Resort. You can also explore the shops, restaurants and casino. The water park is really fun and a great way to escape the heat!

Here is a complete guide to the Atlantis on Paradise Island!

Know Before You Go

• Most Taxi drivers in Nassau are also tour guides. They all seem to charge $60 an hour and will customize your tour according to your interests. It’s a nice way to get a private tour that is fully tailored to the places you want to see. I recommend using a tour to get around the city and take pictures and view points of interest briefly; not to stop at places you’ll want to spend some time, like a museum.

• There are no ride share apps available in the Bahamas. Taxi drivers in Nassau only accept cash. There are pretty set rates for most distances. For example Paradise Island to the Bay Street area should cost $10 – $15 USD.

• USD is widely accepted everywhere in the Bahamas and is equivalent to the Bahamian Dollar. You will need either of these currencies to pay cash for goods and services while on the island.

Have any questions about exploring Nassau, Bahamas? Drop them in the comments, below!