Is your Caribbean cruise headed toward Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama?
Well lucky you! Freeport is bustling with unique experiences of all kinds, from culinary adventures, shopping opportunities, to historical tours, and of course white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters and outdoorsy activities galore.
Freeport certainly has something for everyone! Let’s take a look at the best things to do in Freeport, Bahamas both near the cruise port and further inland.
Note: This post contains affiliate links which provide us with a small commission if you decide to book an excursion through one of the below links, all at no cost to you.
For Those Wanting to Dig their Toes in the Sand
It’s probably a safe bet that you booked your Caribbean cruise with the idyllic beach in mind. If so, Freeport is sure to deliver, with pristine white sand beaches that will feel soft under your feet or blanket.
Here are some of our favorites.
Peterson Cay National Park
About a mile offshore from Grand Bahama, you’ll find Peterson Cay National Park. This tiny island covers just 1.5 acres and is the smallest park in the Bahamas, but it boasts a wealth of diving and snorkeling opportunities in its active coral reefs. Peterson Cay is reachable by boat or even jet ski, with some tours giving you the option to make your way onto the beach to relax after you’ve had your fill of viewing the aquatic wildlife.
You’ll find more remote beaches here where you can potentially even have some space to yourself. If you’re looking to get away from your fellow shipmates for a bit and enjoy some peace and quiet, Peterson Cay might just be the ticket.
Just looking to spend a relaxing day at the beach? Try Junkanoo Beach, which on top of having a very fun name to say, offers a beautiful white sand beach and activities for the whole family.
(And yes, there is a Junkanoo Beach on Nassau as well. We aren’t confused)
Just a short trip from the port, Junkanoo offers beach rentals such as kayaks, paddle boards, jet skis, and more, giving you options if you aren’t the type to grab a chair and layout. For those that are perfectly content catching some fun, beach chairs aplenty are available for rent, as well as towels. You’ll often be able to talk your way into a special combo where if you rent a chair and/or umbrella, you can get 30 minutes on a kayak or paddleboard for free.
When you get hungry, there is a decent restaurant offering local and familiar fare, from delightful conch fritters to surprisingly good pizza. Prices here will be quite modest as well, giving you a good bang for your day-in-Freeport buck.
For another beach options, try Paradise Cove. A bit more of a trek from the port, you will still be able to easily find a variety of round-trip transfer options right there in the port.
Paradise Cove has a beautiful white sand beach with the same options for relaxing and has other activities, such as beach volleyball, couples’ paddle boats, and unbelievable snorkeling at Deadman’s Reef. Naturally, there is also a restaurant to help you from going hungry.
Lucayan National Park
One of the most popular destinations in Freeport is Lucayan National Park and for good reason. Lucayan is one of the most beautiful eco-systems you’ll find in all of the Caribbean, let alone the Bahamas.
On these beautiful 42-acres you’ll find lush foliage and plants that you will only see here, a picturesque beach, hundreds of species of birds, and even one of the world’s longest underwater cave systems. For the bird enthusiasts, in particular, three restricted birds reside here — including the Thick-billed Vireo, the Bahama Swallow, and the Olive-capped Warbler.
Gold Rock Beach, located within the park, is routinely voted as being one of the best beaches in the world. After you’ve explored the park, you can cool off in the teal waters or stroll along miles of white-sand beach. Once you’ve had your fill, just hop back on your bus to return to the port. Lucayan National Park is great for kids as well, offering you a great opportunity to enjoy unique nature with the whole family. Roundtrip transfers will be readily available in the port.
Look into booking a Lucayan National Park & Cave Tour here.
For Those Looking for More Vitamin Sea
Looking to stretch your sea legs even further? Consider these options on the water.
Book a Private or Small Group Sailing Adventure
If you haven’t had enough time out on the sea, but want something a little more intimate, consider taking a small group or private sailing tour out of Freeport. You’ll simply hop off your cruise liner, find your guide, and jump onto their boat to set sail!
Most of these adventures will be all-inclusive with food and drink and take you to some favorite snorkeling spots so you can enjoy the incredible underwater wildlife viewing. Pick and choose the package that best suits you, enjoy your day on the beautiful Bahamian waters, and you’ll be back in time to catch your ship.
Keep Things Environmentally Friendly with an Eco Tour
An eco-tour is a new wave of tourism that allows you to sample some of Freeport’s finer environmental offerings while minimizing your impact on the area. Tours will offer short boat rides to various points in and around Freeport so you can enjoy the main attractions on land and in the water.
Many tours will involve a short ferryboat ride to Water Cay, lying just off the coast from Grand Bahama. This tiny island, with just 25 inhabitants, has an interesting story to tell and a remarkable array of wildlife. Encompassing just 2 square miles, Water Cay boasts blue holes and reefs with a wide variety of coral and fish, lush mangroves, and even the opportunity to go bottom fishing.
On land, you’ll step back in time to a place with no motor vehicles, a single church, and school, modest limestone homes, a corn mill, water well, and friendly residents. You can learn about the unique history of Water Cay, which dates back to the 1800s, as well as how it manages to maintain its simple way of life.
Stay Dry While Viewing the Fishies
Want to see the aquatic life but don’t necessarily feel like getting wet? Try out a glass-bottom boat tour. These special vessels are equipped with glass bottoms, allowing you a clear view of the activity below. You’ll spot numerous fish, coral, and perhaps even a shipwreck.
Enjoy a Dolphin Encounter
Dolphins have long been one of the most beloved creatures in the sea, and if you’ve never met one up close and personal then you simply must! Dolphins are incredibly intelligent animals with great personalities, and a dolphin encounter in Freeport allows you to get to know them intimately.
You can’t get any more interactive, as you’ll literally be in the water with them, learning about these playful creatures as they swim around you in their lagoon habitat.
The 9-acre lagoon has 14 different dolphins at Sanctuary Bay. Bring your cameras and a thirst for knowledge as you learn about these amazing creatures. You can even get a kiss from a dolphin.
Check out Dolphin Close Encounter at Freeport here.
Take a Swim with the Pigs
No, that’s not a typo. You can literally swim with the pigs here in Grand Bahama.
If you’re looking for something completely different, there are half-day tours out of Freeport that take you to a remote spot on Crystal Beach where you can swim with the resident wild pigs. These pigs are very friendly and used to interacting with people and will be excited to see you pulling in (likely because they know the guides have treats for them). Just imagine the photo opportunities here!
For Those Seeking Adventures On Land
Need a break from the water for a bit but don’t want to sit around? Check out the following ideas, giving you options to find adventure or keeping things chill.
The Garden of the Groves
Looking to just chill out during your time in Freeport but want something other than a crowded beach? The Garden of the Groves is for you. In fact, it’s so popular that most city tours will include a stop here.
This little oasis offers shady paths, waterfalls, fountains, and tons of beautiful trees and plants — everything you need to unwind. You can wander the Garden’s many trails, get to know the local birds, and even grab a drink and bite to eat at the garden cafe. Kick back and relax — you’re on vacation, after all.
This garden has been certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the U.S. Wildlife Federation. This means the new operators are providing the four basic habitat elements needed for wildlife to thrive: food, water, cover, and places to raise young. You can take a walk down into the cool fern grove and admire the imposing limestone boulders that tower over both sides of the trail, or relax on the “Lofty Fig” deck, where you will have the opportunity to purchase local delicacies and Bahamian refreshments.
See more on the Garden of the Groves excursion here.
Visit the Rand Nature Center
For those looking to get to know the local flora and fauna, a short trip from the port to the Rand Nature Center is just the ticket. An absolute paradise for nature lovers, the picturesque 100 acres here can satisfy your birding fix, offering viewing opportunities for dozens of species that reside in the park year round.
The Rand Nature Center also offers a 2,000-foot trail through the pine forest that has educational signs and exhibits to learn about the flora and fauna on view as well as traditional Bahamian culture, and even exhibits from local visual artists.
Take a Tour of Freeport
If you’re looking to get to know the local culture, a tour of Freeport will be the way to go. You’ll knock off all of Freeport’s highlights and landmarks during a 3-hour sightseeing tour of the island. Tours will be routed and customized differently, but in general, all will include some mix of the following attractions.
Millionaires Row, Freeport’s version of Beverly Hills, is a popular tour stop to admire the mansions as well as enjoying some duty-free shopping at a local liquor shop (for fans of Caribbean rum), and a bustling open-air fruit market for those looking for some local, fresh treats. You’ll also waltz through the ever-popular Garden of the Groves to get to know the local birds and plants, as well as visiting a gorgeous little hillside chapel. You can even visit entertainer Count Baisie’s home all while getting information and fun tidbits from your guide.
Make sure you don’t miss out on visiting a conch vendor along the way to sample some conch salad, a local delicacy. You might even drop into Downtown Freeport to see the commercial business center and see how the locals go to work, the beach suburb of Port Lucaya, and tons of shops, restaurants, and more.
Tour Freeport on Four Wheels
Want a little extra adventure with your tour of Grand Bahama? Then we recommend taking a ride on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) tour.
You’ll be amazed by the variety in terrain you’ll encounter on your tour through the island, from Grand Lucayan Waterway out through the thick jungle and all the way out to the lovely Garden of the Groves, picture-perfect beaches, stopping at panoramic viewpoints along the way. Keep an eye out for wildlife while you soak up the sun and drive past lush vegetation, waterfalls, and more.
You’ll get a brief lesson on how to drive your ATV and some practice time before you venture out on your tour, but no prior experience is required. Most tours will also include transfer to and from the port.
Go for a Ride on Four Legs at Pinetree Stables
Looking for a more romantic way to explore the island? How about via horseback?
Pinetree Stables gives you the opportunity to ride local born and bred horses to some of the most beautiful parts of Freeport during a 2-hour ride. Make your way through a variety of terrain, including sand dunes to the ocean and a pine forest. You’ll need reservations for this one! Check out this horseback riding eco-tour here.
For Those Looking to Shop and Eat
Shopping and local delicacies are no doubt some of the biggest reasons people visit Freeport. And boy does Freeport ever deliver on both ends!
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
If you’re craving a little something sweet, make sure you stop into Bootleg Chocolates & Café located in the Port Lucaya Marketplace. This longtime family owned and operated establishment has been serving up hand-crafted treats for generations, using fine European chocolate as well as fresh ingredients and spices native to the Bahamas, giving these sweets a true Caribbean twist.
A Unique Christmas Tale
Can’t get enough of the holiday spirit? Check out the Junkanoo Museum of the Bahamas for a bit of a different take on Christmas. Here’s a preview:
“Junkanoo” refers to a celebration for slaves who were given time off at Christmas. The museum will educate visitors on this tradition as well as other aspects of Bahamian culture. Here you can sample traditional garments and fabrics as well as make masks and learn to dance to traditional Bahamian music. Tours are typically self-guided, but for a more immersive experience, we recommend hiring a guide.
Treat Yourself at Port Lucaya Marketplace
Looking to do some shopping while you’re on land! Port Lucaya Marketplace is the place to do it in Freeport. Located 12 miles from the harbor, Port Lucaya Marketplace offers more than 40 boutique shops and over 100 vendors selling everything from leather goods to handcrafted garments. There are also over a dozen restaurants to choose from if you need to break for a bite to eat. And the beach is just a short walk away once you’ve had your fix.
A Note on Bahamian Currency
Payment options in the Bahamas are fairly standard, as the Bahamian dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar, meaning they are always equivalent. Since there are no exchange rates to worry about, you can use American cash if you’d like. There are also plenty of ATMs near the port so you can grab local currency when you arrive. It’s always a good idea to check with your bank for partner institutions when on vacation so you can draw cash without incurring transaction fees.
The islands do also accept most major credit cards, so if you prefer to pay plastic, you will be all set here. However, having some cash handy is advised to handle petty expenses, such as tipping guides, drivers, etc., and is the preferred method of payment in areas such as the Port Lucaya Marketplace, especially if you plan to haggle on prices (and you should).
Transportation Options in Freeport
It’s pretty easy to get around in Freeport, and as we mentioned, round-trip transportation will be included in most tours. However, if you prefer to go the DIY route, you will have several options available to you when you arrive.
Taxi rates are managed by the Bahamian government and will be metered, so you will have no problem finding a trustworthy ride. Taxis will be readily available in the port.
You can also rent a car if you choose or give public transportation a try if you are traveling from Freeport to Lucaya, but just make sure you give yourself enough time to get back to your ship on time for departure. Another fun and popular option is to rent a scooter to get around Grand Bahama’s flat, well-paved roads. There are dozens of scooter outfitters available right in the port.
Of, if you choose, Freeport is easily navigable on foot. Stretch your legs on land after spending some time at sea, but if you plan to go to Lucaya, you will need to arrange transportation to get there, as it is around 25 miles away.
As you can see, Freeport on Grand Bahama offers a wide variety of activities for tourists. Whether you want to spend a day at the beach, learn some local history, get in on the ecotourism boom and snorkel in the incredibly clear waters, or simply walk around town and graze the local artisans, Freeport truly has something for everyone.