Alice Town, Bahamas

Photo: Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board
Photo: Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board

It’s supposed to be a quick, easy, inexpensive trip to the islands. But by the time you find a good flight price, request time off from work, and go to book that amazing deal, it’s long gone. That short flight now has a layover. The cost has doubled, if not tripled. And this simple vacation has given you quite a headache. It shouldn’t be this hard.

It’s not, if you go to Bimini. Bimini is the westernmost district of the Bahamas. It’s closer to the U.S. Mainland—only 53 miles east of Miami—than it is to Nassau, the island nation’s capital. The three coral islands are surrounded by shallow reefs, whose slopes then drop into the deep Gulf Stream. Rum smugglers used the islands as a supply point during Prohibition. Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote here for a few years in the 1930s. While some believe that both the Fountain of Youth and the Lost City of Atlantis are in Bimini’s waters.

You arrive on North Bimini, a long, narrow, hooked-shaped island. Saltwater mangrove swamps fill the northern part of the island. Long beaches have sparkling white sand and droopy palm trees. Shipwrecks are lodged in the water just offshore. King’s Highway, which runs the length of the island, is lined with small shops and family run restaurants. Pastel-colored houses surround parallel Queen’s Highway. Fast-moving Bimini Ameivas (little lizards) scurry across both roads. Plus Alice Town sits near the southern tip.

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Photo: Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board

Visit the Bimini Museum and the Straw Market near the pier in the little capital that’s filled with bikes and golf carts instead of cars. Head north to Radio Beach, the most-popular beach on the island. Go snorkeling among the Sapona wreck, Round Rock, and Eagle Ray Run. Swim through underwater caves as you scuba dive around Victories and Tuna Alley. Stop at Joe’s Conch Shack for lunch along the waterfront. Struggle to reel in barracudas and huge groupers when you go fishing.

Later in the afternoon, practically fall asleep on either gorgeous Spook Hill Beach or Bimini Bay Beach. Then head to End of the World for sunset. The waterfront bar has a sandy floor, lobster-and-conch pizzas, and strong rum drinks. Whether it’s because of the cocktails, the friendly crowd, or its proximity to the mainland, everyone ends up at the “Sand Bar” at some point. And now that you see how easy it is, you’ll definitely be back, too.

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