• Destination: Paradise Island & Nassau, Bahamas

    Whether your family just wants to relax by the beach or craves excitement, the Bahamas are a perfect locale for family fun

    By Mia Weber

    Haborside Resort at Atlantis Paradise Island. Photo by Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board

     

    Let’s face it: Any locale lovely enough to be name-dropped in a Beach Boys’ song is probably a safe bet for a relaxing and fun-filled vacation (and one that’s great for all ages, at that!). Enter the Bahamas, specifically Nassau and Paradise Island. Whether you have a fam that just wants to relax by the beach, or one that craves excitement in the form of many waterslides, or one that’s looking to make some new animal friends, #NPI is the destination for you. Oh, and did we mention that it’s a super-easy flight from NYC? Be sure to click through the slider below for more great photos!

    STAY

    The Nassau and Paradise Island area has no shortage of R&R-worthy properties to set up camp at. A few, however, stand out for their unique charms, world-class amenities, and great family-friendly perks. Looking for an immersive resort experience famous for its water attractions? Atlantis Paradise Island is your spot. This property is home to the Aquaventure water park and boasts a crazy number of water slides (from insane vertical drops into pitch-darkness, to a relaxing lazy river), a bevy of animals and sea creatures on-site (all of whom are cared for and housed to the highest standard), a host of dining options (I’d recommend the conch salad just about anywhere you go in the Bahamas), beach access, too many pools to count, a casino, shopping, and oh-so-much more. If Atlantis looks familiar to any of you #millennial parents, it’s because it’s where Mary-Kate and Ashley stayed in “Island in the Sun.” Plus, hot tip alert: Fams on a budget can take advantage of the fact that there’s a smaller Comfort Suites Paradise Island property across the street from Atlantis that offers guests total access to the Aquaventure features but with a lower price tag per night.

    If you’re looking to stay in Nassau proper, check out the Graycliff Hotel and the newly opened Baha Mar resort. Baha Mar is essentially Nassau’s answer to the grandeur of Atlantis, and it officially opened its doors this past spring after a long building phase. It was worth the wait. Baha Mar is a collection of three hotels—SLS, Rosewood, and the Grand Hyatt, all with differing accommodation options and price points—but all three are linked by some pretty Instagram-worthy shared amenities. There’s a casino (the only one in the area with floor to ceiling windows) for mom and dad, as well as a golf course and tennis facilities, and a stunning array of pools for the whole family (like the super-cool Dean’s Blue Hole pool, which features high-up rock walls to jump off of into deep water and a secluded grotto surrounded by waterfalls and windows into real fish tanks). And if all that relaxation makes you hungry? Check out Baha Mar’s delicious selection of dining options (we loved eating poolside at Drift). For families seeking a more boutique feel in Nassau, the Graycliff is an historic colonial mansion rich in pirate history and set amidst an otherworldly backdrop of lush gardens and greenery. The vibe is a little bit more bohemian and the property smaller (20 rooms) and set in the town of Nassau rather than on the beach (but trust me: When you see the mosaic-floored pool and gorgeous floral surroundings, you won’t mind). There’s a 5-star restaurant on-site as well.

    ENJOY

    When it comes to the Bahamas, the abundance of wildlife is one of its most impressive attributes—and it’s so easy for a family to plan activities that make the most of this. Atlantis and Baha Mar both offer great (and humane, ethical, and environmentally-friendly) programs where guests can observe and interact with animals, sealife, and birds. The Baha Mar Ecological Aquatic Conservation Habitat (BEACH) Sanctuary is home to multiple species of wildlife, including six green sea turtles, a hawksbill sea turtle, 10 southern stingrays, eight nurse sharks, and more than 50 other varieties of reef fish. Its purpose is to educate guests about these animals and give them a chance to interact with them (think helping out with sea turtle feedings). Plus, Baha Mar’s Explorers Club for kids lets little ones learn about Bahamian ecology and wildlife through a fun Badge program and through arts and crafts, fitness and wellness activities, and more. At Atlantis’ Dolphin Cay, guests can interact with dolphins (some rescued after Hurricane Katrina) in a variety of oh-so-special dolphin experiences on offer. Rise & Shine allows for the whole family (children must be at least 5 to partake) to interact with bottlenose dolphins and watch them play and eat. Newer experiences include Sunrise Fitness (Pilates and yoga on a stand-up paddle board in the dolphin habitat), and kayaking and snorkeling in the dolphin habitat. Junior Trainer for a Day, Stingray Experiences, and Playtime with Sea Lions are also options at this wonderland of a resort.

    EXPLORE

    Beyond the offerings of NPI’s shining resorts, visitors to the area can enjoy plenty of local culture at the Marina Village shopping and dining area, Straw Markets, Pirates of Nassau Museum (located in downtown Nassau, and sure to be of interest to any young “Pirates of the Caribbean” fans), and Graycliff Chocolatier Factory (where parents and kids alike can enjoy a chocolate-making class taught by the pros). And of course, beautiful beaches and marine vistas abound wherever your adventure happens to take you.

    Plan Your Trip
    atlantisbahamas.com
    bahamar.com
    comfortsuitespi.com
    graycliff.com
    nassauparadiseisland.com
    piratesofnassau.com

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