The chain of Bahamian islands is 700-strong, and Freeport sits on its most northerly one. Peppered with luscious vegetation, white sandy beaches and surrounded by crystal seas, it has been attracting a slew of sun-seekers and snorkelers since the 1950s.
Beaches & Reefs
Taino Beach boasts its own playground, offering parents some relaxing sunbathing time. For those feeling more active, volleyball is popular on the sands and there is a collection of nearby bars and eateries. Barbary Beach is a secluded stretch of sand and is home to shallow waters -- ideal for families -- though there are no on-site toilets. Xanadu -- a privately owned beach next to a resort -- is one of the most popular beaches. Fortune Beach was named because of a $2 million shipwreck. Dead Man’s Reef is accessed via Paradise Cove, and boasts an abundance of deep-sea life, while Treasure Reef harbors the remains of a sunken Spanish galleon.
Countryside & Nature
The National Park of Peterson Cay is home to around 20 plant types that have evolved to survive the soil-starved and salty environment. Seabirds such as terns nest in the area and coral reefs are a mile offshore. The park -- also home to the Hermitage, Grand Bahama’s oldest structure -- is a popular picnic and walking spot. The Garden of the Groves is a wildlife habitat certified by the U.S. Wildlife Federation. Within its fertile grounds are an array of tropical plants, fish, turtles, birds and butterflies. The on-site chapel is a popular wedding venue. The 100-acre Rand Nature Center is the regional headquarters of the Bahamas National Trust. Trails snake through forests of native pine and plants, while overhead the skies are patrolled by birds such as red-legged thrushes, Cuban emerald hummingbirds and Bahama yellow throats. The park’s Flamingo Park is home to waterbirds, turtles and fish.
The Regency Theatre showcased its first play in 1971, and counts Prince Charles among its esteemed visitors. It remains a cultural icon of the island. Cooper’s Castle is a fairytale-like construction built in the 1980s by Harvard Cooper, a man so poor as a child he only had one pair of pants. The Cooper family still lives there. Visitors to Grum Ma’s House Cultural Center will learn of the island’s heritage, including Bahamian bush tea and Junkanoo, along with tales of original immigrants from the United Kingdom, United States and West Africa. The building is next to Grand Bahama’s first Catholic Church, St. Vincent De Paul.
Health & Fitness
The nine-hole course of Fortune Hills is a challenging one and provides some stunning scenery. The third hole is notoriously tricky due to a water feature. Reef Village Our Lucaya Beach & Golf Resort rests on 372 acres of land, within which is a 7.5-acre beach. There are two hotels and available activities include scuba diving, banana boating, kayaking and water skiing. There is a 25-foot trampoline fixed in shallow water, water slides, tennis courts and two golf courses. The Radisson hotel provides a 25,000-foot spa area with signature massage treatments. Due to Freeport’s location, each year its waters are among the first in the Bahamas to receive migrating sport fish such as marlin, tuna and wahoo. Charters can be booked out of Port Lucaya Marina.