Discovering The Bahamas: What Is The Closest Beach To Freeport Cruise Port?

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Filed Under: Bahamas, Freeport

Freeport, situated on Grand Bahama Island, is a port that fewer cruise ships visit compared to its more popular counterpart, Nassau. However, the charm of Freeport is easy to see, offering some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.  But the port is in an industrial area and beaches are not really within walking distance. So what is the closest beach to Freeport Cruise Port?

In this article we’ll take a look at the closest beach to Freeport cruise port, some of the many other beaches to visit in Grand Bahama, and what other attractions are worth considering on the Island.

Which Cruise Ships Dock at Freeport Cruise Port in The Bahamas?

Morag in front of Bahamas sign at Nassua Cruise Port in 2014
Morag Always Love A Good Sign – This was in Nassua 2014

If you’re planning a cruise that includes a stop in Freeport on the sun-drenched Grand Bahama Island, you might notice that not as many ships anchor at the Freeport cruise port as they used to.

Its counterpart Nassau, on the neighboring island of New Providence Island, has become the more popular port of call for many cruise lines.

However, a select few ships still make regular visits to Freeport. These include the Carnival Dream, Carnival Magic, Carnival Legend, Carnival Elation, Carnival Glory, and the Margaritaville Paradise Cruise ship.

Why has Nassau Bahamas overshadowed Freeport in recent times?

Nassau is definitely the more popular Bahamas destination among cruise lines and there are a number of good reasons for that.  The allure of Paradise Island opposite the Nassau port plays a significant role as well as the massive investment improving Nassau’s cruise terminal.

You can easily walk from Nassau cruise port to a local beach – you can’t do that in Freeport.

Why Should You Visit Freeport on Grand Bahama Island

Beach Bar in the Bahamas
Our favorite bar in the Bahamas LOL

Nassau may now be the bigger draw for cruise lines, but that’s not to say Freeport doesn’t have its own charm.

The island of Grand Bahama is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, like Xanadu Beach and Paradise Cove Beach.

The Lucayan National Park offers a unique blend of marine life and nature trails, and the Port Lucaya Marketplace is a great place to indulge in local cuisine, like the famous conch fritters.

While Nassau might be the more frequented port these days, Freeport offers an authentic Bahamian experience. If you’re aboard one of the ships that dock here, you’re in for a treat. 

The only real downside to Freeport is the location of the cruise port itself. The port is located in an industrialized area and the closest tourist location is Port Lucaya which is about 10-minute drive from the cruise port. 

There is a small craft market at the port terminal, but to make the most of your day in Freeport you are definitely going to have to venture away from the port.

What Is The Closest Beach to Freeport Cruise Port? 

There are many beaches to visit in Freeport, but the closest beach to Freeport cruise port is Xanadu Beach, which is located just over 6 miles east of the port. 

As you step onto Xanadu Beach, you’ll be greeted by its pristine white sand that contrasts beautifully with the clear waters. It’s a sight that instantly relaxes the mind and invites visitors to take a leisurely stroll or simply lounge and soak in the sun.

For those who prefer a bit of shade, beach chairs and umbrellas are available, ensuring a comfortable beach experience.

What makes Xanadu Beach one of the best beaches in Freeport Bahamas is that it is conveniently located near restaurants where you can indulge in local Bahamian cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for some fresh seafood or traditional dishes, there’s something to tantalize your taste buds.

Its proximity to the Freeport cruise port makes it an ideal destination for cruise passengers looking for a quick beach escape.

Whether you’re on a limited shore excursion or just want to make the most of your time in Freeport, Xanadu Beach offers a delightful experience that also happens to be the closest beach to the cruise ship.

So, next time your cruise ship docks at Freeport, remember that a beach day at Xanadu Beach isn’t within walking distance. You will need to either organize a shore excursion or independently book a taxi. 

Xanadu Beach is the closest beach to Freeport Cruise Port
Xanadu Beach is the closest beach to Freeport Cruise Port

Exploring Grand Bahama Island: What Are The Best Beaches In Freeport?

Xanadu Beach is wonderful, but Grand Bahama Island is a treasure trove of pristine beaches, each with its own unique charm. There are several other beaches on the island that are equally enchanting. Let’s dive into some of the best beaches you can explore during your cruise stopover:

Taino Beach

Located a short shuttle bus ride away from the Freeport cruise port, Taino Beach is a gorgeous stretch of soft sand and clear blue waters. It’s a great place for both relaxation and water activities.

Local food shacks dot the beach, offering delicious local cuisine like conch fritters. Bernie’s Tiki Hut is a traveler’s favorite spot to grab a bite. The beach also offers public restrooms and lounge chairs for visitors.

Junkanoo Beach Club at Taino Beach

This beach club offers a mix of relaxation and fun. The crystal clear water is perfect for a refreshing dip, and the friendly staff ensures you have a great time.

While there, you might be approached by locals offering hair braiding or massages. This does add to the authentic Bahamian experience but can be annoying for some. 

Barbary Beach

Barbary Beach is a fantastic spot for boating, swimming, and hiking. 

The beach is well-maintained and offers facilities for visitors. It’s a bit further from the cruise terminal, so consider car rentals or local transportation to get there.

Fortune Beach

A calm oasis, Fortune Beach boasts soft sand and tranquil waters. It’s especially beautiful during low tide when the sandbars emerge.

There’s plenty of parking available, making it easy cruise passengers to access if they have hired a car for the day. It’s a short drive from the Freeport cruise port, and local spots nearby offer refreshments and beach essentials.

Lucaya Beach

Lucaya Beach is close to the Port Lucaya Marketplace, making it a popular spot for cruise passengers as you can easily visit both locations.

The beach is known for its turquoise waters and water sports activities. The nearby marketplace offers a plethora of dining and shopping options.

Paradise Cove Beach

A secluded beach known for its marine life and coral reefs, Paradise Cove Beach is a haven for scuba diving enthusiasts.

It’s a bit further from the cruise port, so planning transportation in advance is advisable.

Each of these beaches offers a unique experience, from bustling beach clubs to serene stretches of sand.

Depending on your preferences, you can choose to relax, indulge in water sports, or explore the local marine life.

Remember to check the distance from the Freeport cruise port and make sure your plans are easily achievable in the limited amount of time you might have off the ship.

Remember when the ship arrives there will be longer queues for taxis and transportation so factor that in. Similarly, everyone tends to head back to the ship at a similar time, so don’t get caught short, having trouble finding a taxi. You don’t want to become someone else’s Pier Runner video! 

Don’t be a Pier Runner!

Shore Excursions: Making the Most of Your Beach Day

With only 8-10 hours in port, you’ll want to make the most of every sun-soaked minute on Grand Bahama Island. The easiest and best way to do this is via an organized shore excursion. 

However, the cruise ships realize this as well and they tend to put a heavy markup on the excursions that they offer. Therefore, it’s worthwhile considering local excursion options from other tour operators like Viator or Expedia.

Here are some of our favorite excursions:

Our Top Pick
Paradise Cove Day Pass with Pick up From The Cruise Port Paradise Cove Day Pass with Pick up From The Cruise Port
5.0

Experience a delightful day at Paradise Cove in Western Grand Bahama with this inclusive day pass, featuring round-trip transfers from Freeport.

Wander along the pristine white sandy beach, unwind on a lounge chair, or dive into snorkeling adventures at Deadman's Reef.

This beach getaway, perfect for families, offers a serene escape from bustling crowds. It comes complete with refreshments and meals from Paradise Cove's beachside bar.

Alternatively, opt for the "snorkel-only" choice and immerse yourself in the ocean's embrace, without the additional perks.

Paradise Cove is about 20 minutes from the cruise port.

Garden of the Groves and Port Lucaya City Tour Garden of the Groves and Port Lucaya City Tour
5.0

Discover the highlights of Grand Bahama Island with a half-day tour, ensuring you return to your cruise on time.

This efficient shore excursion offers a well-planned itinerary, with pre-arranged entry to attractions, sparing you the wait in queues.

Explore iconic spots like the International Bazaar, Church Row, and Port Lucaya Marketplace. Additionally, immerse yourself in the island's natural beauty at the cherished Garden of the Groves.

Kayak Turtle Park Kayak Turtle Park
4.5

Step away from the bustling Freeport and embark on a kayaking adventure among turtles in a secluded location on Grand Bahama Island's east end.

Perfect for nature enthusiasts and those seeking adventure, this excursion offers a chance to witness turtles in their natural environment amidst serene settings.

The journey is made seamless with round-trip transportation from the Freeport cruise port.

It's an ideal getaway for families and nature aficionados eager to experience the more tranquil side of the island, guided by experts who know just where to find these majestic marine creatures.

Best For Families
All-Inclusive Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Resort Pass All-Inclusive Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Resort Pass
5.0

Indulge in a serene day at Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach with this comprehensive day pass, granting you full access to the resort's pristine beaches and facilities.

Step away from Freeport's hustle and immerse yourself in the resort's pools and shimmering white sand shores.

Whether you fancy swimming, snorkeling, or kayaking, it's all at your fingertips. Entrust your children to the engaging kid's club while you savor unlimited dining and an open bar. 

Shore Excursion Booking Tips & What to Expect in Freeport Bahamas

Early Bird Gets the Worm

Popular excursions can get booked up quickly, especially during peak cruise seasons. It’s always a good idea to book your shore excursions in advance.

Local Spots

While renowned beaches are a must-visit, don’t shy away from asking staff members or locals about lesser-known spots. Places like Smith’s Point Beach or Mather Town might offer a more authentic Bahamian experience.

Time Management

Remember, you have limited time in port. Factor in walking distance, shuttle bus services, and any potential delays to ensure you’re back at the cruise terminal well before departure.

Safety First

Always stick to recommended areas, especially when exploring nature preserves or secluded beaches. And don’t forget to keep an eye on your belongings at public beaches.

Pack Essentials

Sunscreen, water, local currency for retail stores or car rentals, and a map of the island are must-haves. If you’re planning water activities, consider bringing water-resistant pouches for your valuables. This waterproof backpack from Sailpak is ideal for this kind of thing.

Best Way to Get to the Beaches Near The Cruise Port

Once your cruise ship docks at the Freeport cruise port, the allure of Grand Bahama Island’s best beaches beckons. But how do you get to these sandy havens? Let’s have a look at the options:

Public Buses

While they offer an affordable way to get around, public transportation in Freeport can sometimes be a bit unreliable.

Buses depart from the International Bazaar to downtown Freeport and from the Pub on the Mall to Lucaya, costing just a couple of dollars. 

Please note that the schedules can be a bit “flexible”. It’s recommended to check with the tourist office or your cruise terminal for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Car Rentals

For those looking to venture out to beaches like Taino Beach, Lucaya Beach, or the secluded Paradise Cove Beach, renting a car might be the most convenient option if you don’t want to book a shore excursion.

This gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace and discover local spots like the Lucayan National Park or the Rand Nature Center.

Taxis

For a more personalized experience, taxis are readily available at the Freeport cruise port. They can take you to the best beaches, including the lesser-known ones like Smith’s Point Beach or Barbary Beach.

Just ensure you agree on a fare before starting your journey.

Remember, while the island of Grand Bahama offers loads of beach options, your time might be limited.

Plan ahead, prioritize the beaches you want to visit, and most importantly, soak in the turquoise waters and soft sand of this Caribbean paradise.

Safety and Tips: Enjoying a Hassle-Free Day at Freeport Beaches

Ahoy, beach lovers! If you’re docking at the Freeport cruise port and have the sun, sand, and sea on your mind, you’re in for a treat. Grand Bahama Island boasts some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. But before you dive into those turquoise waters, here are some safety tips and essentials to ensure a smooth beach day experience:

Pack Smart: Ensure you have all the essentials – sunscreen, water, snacks, and a first-aid kit. If you’re planning water activities, consider bringing along water shoes to protect your feet from sharp corals. Don’t forget your lounge chairs for that perfect sunbathing spot!

Stay Hydrated: The Bahamian sun can be intense. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you’re indulging in water sports or scuba diving.

Respect Marine Life: The beaches around Freeport are teeming with marine life. While it’s tempting to touch or pick up these creatures, it’s best to admire them from a distance for your safety and theirs.

Stay Connected: While most beaches have good mobile connectivity, it’s always a good idea to inform a staff member from your cruise ship or a fellow cruise passenger about your whereabouts, especially if you’re venturing to a less popular spot.

Transportation: Some beaches might be at a walking distance from the cruise terminal, while others might require a shuttle bus or car rentals. Plan your transportation in advance to avoid last-minute hassles.

Respect Local Norms: Every beach has its own set of rules. Whether it’s about public restrooms, using lounge chairs, or accessing certain parts of the beach, always respect local guidelines.

Safety First: Always keep an eye on your belongings. While the beaches in Freeport are generally safe, it’s always better to be cautious. If you’re traveling with kids, ensure they’re always within sight.

Time Management: Remember, you have limited time before your cruise ship departs. Keep track of time, especially if you’re at a beach further from the cruise port terminal.

With these tips in hand, you’re all set for a memorable beach day in Freeport. Dive in, soak up the sun, and make the most of your cruise vacation on Grand Bahama Island. Safe travels and happy beaching!

Now You Know The Best Beaches To Visit In Freeport And The Closest!

Freeport Cruise Port on Grand Bahama may not be as frequented as Nassau, the allure of its pristine beaches and the serene Bahamian experience it offers remains undeniable. 

Grand Bahama Island, with its many beautiful beaches like Xanadu, Taino, and Lucaya, should be high on your cruise bucket list. 

Beyond its beaches, Freeport offers a rich blend of attractions ranging from the bustling Port Lucayan Marketplace to the tranquil delights at Garden of the Groves. 

As cruise passengers dock at Freeport, they can anticipate an authentic Bahamian experience, infused with nature’s beauty, local culture, and the warm embrace of turquoise waters.

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Alan took his first cruise in 1991 and has been cruising ever since. When he is not writing articles for CruiseNonstop.com you'll find him either on a cruise ship (he's the guy in the kilt), or on the golf course!

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