Miami to the Bahamas Day Trips - Escape to Paradise
Although geographically close, Miami and the Bahamas are different worlds. Just 110 miles off the southern coast of Florida - a spring and a step away from the sunny, cosmopolitan city of Miami - is the Bahamas. An archipelagic state, the Bahamas is famous for its tropical climate, excellent seafood, and some of the world's most gorgeous (and relatively untouched) beaches. Travelers can make the most of this close proximity by taking a one- or two-day trip from Miami to the Bahamas by boat or plane. So, a visit to the Sunshine State can also mean an idyllic getaway to tropical bliss.
The Bahamas: A Slice of Heaven for Travelers
There's a reason why Miami to the Bahamas day trips are becoming more popular. Rubbing elbows with the cultural hotspots of Cuba, Florida, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, the fascinating tropical islands of the Bahamas have something unique to offer visitors.
The Commonwealth of the Bahamas
Think "Bahamas" and your mind is probably flooded with images of idyllic beaches, rum cocktails, sun, sea, sand, and all-around sunny Caribbean vibes. From its extensive coverage in films and TV, most people think they know what these tropical islands are all about. Owing to its long and interesting history, however, the Bahamas have a bit more depth to them than you might first think.
The Bahamas, officially known as the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is an archipelago comprised of over 700 islands in the Atlantic Ocean, just east of Florida's Southern coast. As well as tourists, you will find many small pockets of locals still living on each of the islands. 90% of the population are referred to as Afro-Bahamians due to their African Heritage. A significant amount of the Bahamas' economy these days is based on tourism, which makes a lot of sense when you see what these islands have to offer visitors. This is why Miami to Bahamas day trips are very on-trend.
What's all the fuss about? Why Miami to Bahamas day trips are all the rage
Imagine relaxing on beautiful white or pink beaches, many of which are calm or even deserted. These islands still have many remote and quiet corners, as well as land that is pretty much untouched (or at least not highly developed). The rich historical and cultural background of the Bahamas makes it an intriguing place to visit: Enthusiastic tourists are surrounded by the unique art, music, and cuisine that results from the islands' colorful past. Fascinating wildlife, both on land and in the waters and reefs, boast of the archipelago's healthy biodiversity. And activities such as island-hopping and a variety of thrilling water-sports will leave no guest wanting for more adventure. In short, the Bahamas more or less have it all.
Miami is undoubtedly a sparkling, vibrant, and cultural gem of America's Southern states and a fantastic holiday destination. Booking a Miami to the Bahamas day trip will bring an entirely new dimension to your vacation experience. That's why these one- or two-day trips are a hot new trend.
What to do in the Bahamas
Whether you want to lay on the beach with a book for hours or feel your heart beat faster, there is something for everyone in the Bahamas. Water sports, including snorkeling, parasailing, and jet skiing to name a few, are popular choices of activity and easy to organize in Freeport, New Providence. Nature lovers can enjoy trails through varied terrain - from jungles to caves - in wildlife reserves such as the Lucayan National Park. There are even alternatives for beach lovers wanting to avoid the beautiful yet often busy beaches of Grand Bahama, Nassau, and Paradise Island. The quieter, postcard-perfect sands of Rose Island and Gold Rock Beach aren't too far away to savor. And if you haven't heard of the Bahamas' delightful swimming pigs, look up some pictures now: A colony of wild pigs live on Big Major Cay Island and happily "pose for pictures," taking fruit from tourists visiting their home - that's a once-in-a-lifetime photo!
With over 700 islands making up the Bahamas, it's good to find out what and where the hotspots are before booking a Miami to the Bahamas day trip. The good news is that you might not have to choose just one.
New Providence and the capital Nassau
The capital of the Bahamas is Nassau, which is situated on the island of New Providence, directly east of the Florida Keys. UNESCO has accepted Nassau as part of the Creative Cities Network due to the city's dedication to folk art and crafts. Nassau also sees the glittering parade of the vibrant Junkanoo festival happen three times a year. Cable Beach - with its sand, luxury hotels, restaurants, and casinos - caters to tourists, although the city is rather calm in terms of nightlife. For a one-day trip from Miami, the island is best reached by plane due to its distance from Florida.
Grand Bahama - at the heart of the action
Grand Bahama is probably the most attractive island for tourists in general but especially for those wanting to make a quick excursion from Florida. The main city of this island is Freeport, which is just 110 miles northeast of Miami, making it easily accessible by ferry. The journey by boat can be as short as 2.5 hours, so it's an excellent choice for a Miami to Bahamas one-day trip. The island really has it going on. Visit buzzing local markets, relax on endless beaches, try your hand at water sports or snorkeling, marvel at waterfalls and wildlife in the jungle, or swim with dolphins. As you can see, there are so many reasons why this is a favorite location.
The Out Islands, for a more authentic feel
For a slightly more off-the-beaten-track experience, there is a 100-mile string of islands known as the Out Islands. This a collection of around 12 islands - including Bimini, the Berry Islands, and Rose Island - which offer some calm, less crowded, and truly authentic Bahamian experiences to visitors. Both cruise and plane day trips from Miami are possible, depending on which island you want to visit (some can only be reached by one of the two options). It's on one of these islands that you'll encounter those swimming pigs, as they frolic in the shallow waters of Big Major Cay, also affectionately known as Pig Island.
You don't necessarily have to choose one island to head to. If you're opting for a one-day ferry trip from Miami, a good option is Freeport on Grand Bahama for a five- to six-hour experience on this popular island. Or, if you are yearning to see the Out Islands, a ferry to Bimini can take only two hours. However, air tours can allow you to see several islands in one short day trip, and the fee for the in-Bahamas travel is included in the price. Two-day boat cruises with an overnight stay may also allow more time for you to make small boat excursions to nearby islands. So, gauge how active you and your group feel and how much you want to see before booking a Miami to Bahamas day trip.
It doesn't take long to travel from sleek Miami to the laid-back and rustic Bahamian islands. This makes Miami to the Bahamas day trips a breeze.
Boat or plane: Which do I choose?
Cruises make for a relaxing visit to nearby islands. Ferries to Freeport from Miami need as little as 2.5 hours. This will leave you with around six hours to enjoy the beaches, jungles, restaurants, shops, and casinos of Grand Bahama. Air tours, on the other hand, are better if you want to see more than one island and cram a selection of activities into a memorable day of exploring. (Don't worry, there is time for sand bars and cocktails too.) The former, usually less expensive, lends itself to a laid-back but still colorful taste of Bahamian life. The latter option, often pricier, will bring you to the lesser-seen sights of the Out Islands and allow you to experience more of what the Bahamas is about. There are upsides to both, so you really can't go wrong.
Travel by boat
You'll find many companies that can take you on a Miami to the Bahamas day trip by boat, with the most popular destination port being Freeport, New Providence. An advantage to this mode of travel is that many of the cruises offer excellent onboard services and even luxury. The most popular service offering one-day trips to Freeport is Balearia Caribbean. This can get you from Fort Lauderdale (a 35-minute drive from Miami) to Grand Bahama in three hours 20 minutes. On board, there is a café, duty-free shopping, bar (with signature cocktails), and WiFi. Viator offer a one-day excursion to Freeport that provides a shuttle coach to Fort Lauderdale directly from Miami Beach or your downtown hotel. This can get you across the sea in just two hours 30 minutes. The onboard amenities include all of the above, plus a casino. If you have more time and would like to go further afield, The Carnival Cruise Line offers two- or three-day cruises to Nassau from both Miami and Fort Lauderdale. And if it's peace and quiet you're after, the FRS Caribbean ferry can bring you from Miami to the Out Island of Bimini in just two hours.
Travel by air
Airport hassle aside, air travel can be a quicker way to get you to the Bahamas. This is an excellent option if you wish to go further out than Freeport and to the Out Islands in just one or two days. Bahamas Air Tours offer one-day excursions from Miami that allow you to island hop by boat once you touch down at your destination thanks to the journey-time saved. These package deals can be a great way to visit Green Turtle Cay, Manjack Cay (with its stingrays and sharks), and No Name Cay, all in one fantastic day! Other options from this tour provider include snorkeling in the James Bond Thunderball Grotto, visiting sand bars, and spotting impressive wildlife, all wrapped up in a one-day excursion from Miami. Private charter-plane tours for small groups are available on request.
Ferry cruises are generally the more affordable option. They will often get you to and from Freeport, Grand Bahama, from Miami for around 100 dollars each way. Viator, for example, offer one-day trips to and from Freeport from around 160 dollars. The going rate for Balearia Caribbean ferry is about 99 dollars each way from Miami to Freeport and back. Some of the cruises, especially the two-day ones, often include some kind of meal in the price. Do check, though, whether or not you have to pay for your own food and overnight accommodation (you usually do).
The trips offered by Bahamas Air Tours are often more expensive but are generally all-inclusive. The prices for the tours range from around 500 to 1,000 dollars. This includes your air travel to and from Miami, entrance to all the attractions, boat excursions, travel between the islands, bottled water, and a local guide. (The price for food and drinks, however, is not covered.)
What to know before traveling from Florida to the Bahamas
It is important that visitors to the Bahamas from the States bring a passport that is valid for at least six months after the trip return date. Bringing proof of your return journey is also advised. If flying, remember to leave ample time to get through security and customs as you would for any other flight. This information should be made clear, however, if you're booking an air charter tour. The national currency in the Bahamas is the Bahamian dollar (BSD), but US dollars and Bahamian dollars can be used interchangeably on the islands (their values are equal). The national language of the Bahamas is English. Other than an array of colorful local dialects, English is what visitors will hear spoken and will be able to comfortably communicate in.
All in all, travel to the Bahamas from Florida is very straightforward - another reason why these trips are becoming so popular! Do make sure to book your Miami to Bahamas day trip in advance to avoid disappointment. Once you have, it should be plain sailing (or flying) from there.
Thanks to its convenient location next-door to Florida's southern edge, there are multiple, comfortable ways to make a short Miami to Bahamas day trip. With a little planning, you can experience an entirely new country and culture in just one day of vacation time. You can spend unforgettable hours in the relaxed, tropical atmosphere of one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and return to the glitz of Miami by evening. Just pop your passport in your bag, hang on to your American dollars, and jump on a boat or plane for a paradise escape.