These Tiny Islands Filled With Haunting Shipwrecks and Fresh Seafood Shacks Are Crazy Close to Miami

Bimini Shipwreck
Photo: Zach Nicolaou

I travel often. It is who I am, it is what I do. Yet, of all the places I have been, I can't recall one like Bimini. The small Bahamian island chain serves as the gateway to the Caribbean, a region of the world synonymous with relaxation.

Bimini, however, is a paradise infused with adventure. Shipwrecks dot its wild blue waters while seafood and rum shacks along winding roads preserve a small-town way of life. Though it's only 57 miles from Miami, Bimini has managed to slip under the radar and keep its heritage alive, paving the way for a memorable Caribbean itinerary regardless of your agenda.

Arriving is an experience of its own…

Just east of Miami, Bimini is accessible by ferry, boat, plane, and helicopter. I covet the window seats whenever I'm on a plane in or out of Bimini. Arrivals by air are a captivating experience as you'll get to gaze into vivid blue waters, fondly referred to as "Bimini Blues," as they crash into the surrounding white shorelines. South Bimini Airport is the only airport to service incoming air traffic and serves as a check-in point with a customs process that is private to each plane's arrival. No hectic security lines here.

Bimini Island in The Bahamas
Zach Nicolaou

If you’re coming, stay here…

Those looking for quality amenities, convenience, and a touch of luxury will find everything they need at Resorts World Bimini. The hotel is strategically located to include a private beach, marina, and casino with a variety of restaurants and bars placed throughout, including by the rooftop infinity pool and beside the beach. The hotel sits just outside of Bimini's two popular towns, Bailey and Alice, making it an excellent launching point for exploring the island.

Queen’s Highway is the way of the land…

The island-stretching road is the lifeline of Bimini's internal transportation, where walkers, cyclists, golf carts, and cars all manage to seamlessly co-exist. Along Queen's Highway you'll find various local eateries, bars, and secluded beaches with shipwrecks. Grab a bike or golf cart to explore.

The best food you'll find will come from a shack...

I can still taste the citrus and spice of Stuart's conch and lobster salad, the freshness seemingly intensified by the sounds of hammering shells. Each one is meticulously hand chopped, seasoned, and mixed out in the open for you to see, a priceless display of Bimini's cultural cuisine.

Along Bimini's West Shore Radio Beach you'll find CJ's Deli and Sherry's Paradise, which serve up local indulgences like "lobster crack," conch fritters, and fresh fish. The only proper way to enjoy these delicacies is with a cold Bahamian-brewed beer, preferably a Kalik Gold.

Bimini Seafood
Salvatore DiBenedetto

Treasure awaits at the end of the island…

At the end of Queen's Highway is a remote beach that sits behind a historic cemetery on the tip of Bimini. Here you'll find The Gallant Lady, a shipwreck that sits along the shore. The ship, which showed up in 1997 during Hurricane Mitch, has begun to deteriorate over the years. Perhaps that's what makes the Gallant Lady so romantic: with time it'll only be a memory, so you have to see it while you still can. The wreck also makes for a stunning photo opportunity.

Make sure you get on a boat…

From marveling at the deep blue waters to docking at isolated cays like Honeymoon Harbour to see stingrays, boats offer a whole new perspective of Bimini. Divers can explore Bimini Road, a mystifying phenomenon that legends tie to the fabled Atlantis. The famous S.S. Sapona, a must-stop snorkeling spot, is both haunting and breathtaking. Those wishing to come face to face with marine life will have no problem either, as shark dives are a thriving business on the island.

Don't expect an all-inclusive vacation...

Those seeking an all-inclusive experience with a "stay on the resort" mindset may want to look elsewhere. The tiny airport, limited transportation options, and still-growing tourism scene don't allow for the grand resorts of islands like Nassau — and that's the beauty of it. The island is meant to be enjoyed as a whole. Travelers with an urge to explore local culture and landscape will thrive in Bimini, and they're guaranteed to go home feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

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