By Noelle Khalila Nicolls
November 04, 2014
Nature Picture Library / Alamy

I am not ashamed to say that I count myself in the company of Bahamians who are beach snobs. How could I be anything else, living in a county where beautiful beaches are as common as ships in the harbor? I visited the coast on my first visit to Nice and found pebbles on the shoreline. Yes it was beautiful, but no, it was not a beach; at least, that’s what the beach-connoisseur part of my brain thinks.

Beaches are not all we have in the Bahamas, but they are an undeniable part of what makes our islands so spectacular. To our minds, the perfectly sphere-shaped grains of sand and the unique medley of colors and depths across our coastlines and shallow flats are simply matters of divine creation. So take your pick from Grand Bahama in the North to Inagua in the South; we have party beaches, surfing beaches, secluded beaches and temporary beaches (they emerge and subside with the flow of the tides). But all of them are special.

Pipe Creek Sandbar

Piloting a boat through the Exuma cays is treacherous for novice navigators, because the waterways here are a labyrinth of shallow water. But this is exactly why these islands have such extraordinary sandbars: the shifting currents reveal these submerged islands of sand at the same place and time during each tidal cycle. The sandbar in Pipe Creek, off Little Pipe Cay, is spacious, with soft supple sand. Savor it, though; this beach disappears when the tide rises. 

Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island

This is not a beach for sport. And it’s not a beach for partying. The aptly named Pink Sands Beach in Harbour Island is a beach for rest and relaxation. Three and half miles of smooth sand—whose pink hue comes from millions of pulverized seashells—range from 50 to 100 feet wide depending on the tide. There’s more than enough room for everyone. 

Cape Santa Maria, Long Island

Many beaches are described as powder-white, but in two cases so far, I have walked on beaches that were also actually powder soft: Tropic of Cancer beach in Little Exuma and Cape Santa Maria in Long Island. Cape Santa Maria is a romantic stretch with picturesque sunsets and whispering winds. You will find peace and quiet and privacy along this beautiful beach. 

Shroud Cay, North Exuma

My childhood summer trips to the Exuma cays always involved a visit to Shroud Cay, where zipping currents run around a little beach peninsula known to locals as the “washing machine.” If you jump in the current on one side of the point, it will wash you around to the other side, creating fun that never gets old. Shroud Cay is the northernmost cay in the Exuma Cays national park. The island is sliced up by sandy bottom, mangrove creeks, and swamps that are uniquely crystal clear. 

Ragged Island

Ragged Island is a southern chain of islets in the Bahamas that is almost completely off the grid. There are countless beaches on this spotty ocean highway 110 miles long. Whether you visit Little Ragged Island, Raccoon Cay, Hog Cay, Nurse Cay, Flamingo Cay or Double-Breasted Cay, the beaches will all provide private sanctuary. 

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