Best Beaches in Exuma
Best Beach in the Exumas?
Now this is a topic of much family debate. Ultimately, part of the Exuma experience is visiting a number of beaches and deciding for yourself which is your favourite. Do you want long sweeping powdery sand, a hidden grotto sheltered by rocks, access to snorkelling or walking distance to a great beach bar? There are also a number of beaches that offer experiences to see all kinds of interesting sea life, or in one case pigs trying to impersonate sea life.
Our favourite beaches tend to be on Little Exuma and when we poll Bahamians the most common answer to "what's your favourite beach" is Tropic of Cancer Beach.
For the more 'famous' beaches on Great and Little Exuma look for an access to beach road sign and there are a number of unique beach experiences accessible only by boat. For those accessible only by boat it is best to go with a tour company.
Tropic of Cancer Beach (aka Pelican Beach)
A great place to spend the day...this is a long sweeping beach, beautiful turqoise waters. It was made famous as this is where the first Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed. Pack snacks and drinks (there are no facilities at the beach) or visit nearby Santana's or Tropic Breeze Beach Bar & Grill to grab a quick lunch.
This beach actually doesn't have beach access sign that we could see. If you are driving south look for the telephone pole with blue reflectors. It is a gravel road access which is a left turn off the highway one south of Perry Road. Drive to the end of the road and turn right and look for the covered enterance. The road itself is full of pot holes so go slowly, but it's worth the effort.
The name comes from the fact that the theoretical tropic of cancer line runs through the beach (some argue it is actually a bit further north at Forbes Hill beach. Either way, you are now in the tropics) Also you may want to read the "Looking for Pirate Treasure" blog on geocaching if you come here.
Forbes Hill Beach and Love Beach
Driving south from the bridge to Little Exuma 4.1km is a marked turn off to Forbes Hill Beach. There is a beautiful little cove beach and another beach a bit further south a short walk along a grass track. You will likely have these beaches to yourself. Some interesting snorkelling and great photos here. If you walk Northwest you will come to Love Beach. This is also where Papaya House Beach rental is. Great Beach Treking in the area.
Tropic Breeze Restaurant Beach
There is a small beach in front of Tropic Breeze Beach Bar and Grill. We include it because we love the food and the bar overlooks the swimming area and strip of sand. If someone wants to have a cool beverage or snack while others still want to play in the water this is a perfect spot. There is also some nice snorkelling right in front of the restaurant, including a little shipwreck in about 8 feet of water.
The restaurant is well signed and is 3.4km South from the turn off to Tropic of Cancer Beach, you can see The Salt Beacon from the beach bar, which is a bit further South.
Jolly Hall Beach
Another long sweeping beach with powdery soft Exuma sand and crystal turquoise water a few minutes drive North of Georgetown. A series of hotels and restaurants are a few minutes walk away.
A beautiful beach with shallows and little sand bars that appear at low tide. Great spot for young kids in particular. This is the best spot we've found in Exuma to find sand dollars. You can spot the white sand dollars in the sand in the shallows. (Be gentle and keep the living ones in the water...living sand dollars are darker, the bleached white ones are dead shells. Sand dollars are in the urchin family and feed through there small mouth on their underbelly.) They are plentiful but please leave them behind for others to find and enjoy.
Cocoplum is also a but tricky to find and doesn't seem to have a sign for the turn off. If you are driving north to Rolleville look for the 3 way junction (Curtus, Stewart Manor and Rolleville). Continue on towards Rolleville, the entrance is the first road to the right past the junction. It is a gravel and mud track, you will know it because your partner will say "this can't be the right road". Park at the beach near some semi-abandoned shacks that are used for occasional beach parties every couple of months.
Three Sisters Beach
At Mount Thompson there are several beach restaurants and access points to this beach with great photos of Three Sisters. Nice place for a long beach trek.
Sandals at Emerald Bay
Beautiful long stretch of beach that curves around in a crescent shape.
Best Beaches in Exuma By boat
Swim with the Stingrays at Chat & Chill
Hang out at Chat and Chill, play volleyball and most significantly Swim with the Stingrays. Several stingrays hang out and visit with people in return to being fed some conch scraps from the Beach stall that makes incredible fresh Conch Salad. A water taxi can take you to Chat & Chill beach - they leave 'on the hour' from Georgetown Dock.
Starfish Beach is on the north end of Stocking Island.
The beautiful red starfish, some measuring more than a foot across, like to gather in the last cove before the inlet. You can also find some sand dollars and white crabs here. Look for hermit crabs that like to hide in the bushes near the beach. Bahamians will tell you that 5 pointed starfish are most common, but if you are lucky you might find a 6 pointed or the most rare 4 pointed one. The marine equivalent of the 4 leaf clover. Be sure not to take any of the sea creatures out of the water for more than a momentary photo opp, starfish in particular are very sensitive creatures!
Sea Turtles - best to ask the Water Taxi or take a tour to Morriah Cay
Pig Beach is nothing if not peculiar and will guarantee some unique photos. Here is more on Pig Beach. This experience is included on most tours that explore the cays to the north of great exuma and is usually combined with Thunderball Grotto and snorkelling/sandbars. They also do a version of this combined with a great beach BBQ at Exuma Point Beach Bar....for $20 per person they take you to a pig beach nearby.
Swim with Nurse Sharks
This experience is available at Staniel Cay and is on the itinary of some of the boat tours heading off from the north docks on Great Exuma.
Morriah Cay nature reserve. This is the Exuma's newest nature reserve established in 2002. A great beach, some ruins to explore and interesting bird watching, seas turtles and hikes.
Pigeon Cay nature reserve. About 30 minute boat ride south of Georgetown. This is the smallest nature reserve in the Bahamas, and one that you will likely have all to yourself. A pretty beach to live out a dessert island fantasy. Ring Tailed Lizards call this island home.
Allan's Cay Iguana Beach. Also on several boat tours. This cay is at the far northend tip of the Exumas chain. These endangered Iguana's happily come out to have a photo taken and snack on grapes that you hold out at the end of a stick.
Sandy Cay - the magical mile long sandbar that appears at low tide. Was a striking location for Pirates of the Carribbean. About 10 miles south of Little Exuma. Ask a tour operator or at the Tour Office for guides that could take you.