Nassau was my first journey into the Bahamas and I loved it. I see why so many cruise ships prefer to dock here for the day; it’s equal parts historical charm plus beautiful beaches. What more could you ask for?
If you find yourself docked in Nassau (lucky you), be sure to check these spaces out. You can easily fit all five in one day without having to venture too far out in any direction.
Before I begin, one very important thing: Nassau was an unfortunate victim of the slave trade. There are areas in this guide that I will mention where slave auctions or slave labour took place. It is very, very important that you treat these places with respect. I include these spots because anyone who only has a day to spend in Nassau can learn from these horrific atrocities and, by visiting, ensure that these sites remain for others to visit as well.
Table of Contents
1. Fort Fincastle and Queen’s Staircase
To access Fort Fincastle, you can take the Queen’s Staircase.
It was carved out of limestone by about 600 slaves over the course of 16 years as a method of reaching the fort. You can read more about that here. I say this so you’re aware of the human suffering it took to create this place. Please be reverent and respectful as you walk up the steps.
Fort Fincastle was built the same year as the Queen’s Staircase, in 1793. It was originally used as a lighthouse. Guides are nearby if you have questions or would like to enter the fort.
Elisabeth Ave, Nassau
Open 24 hours
2. Straw Market
The Straw Market is a little touristy, but I had such a fun time shopping around. It’s an open-air market that’s a great place to find cute souvenirs and trinkets.
One thing to keep in mind, as with any local market; people make their living here. If you do decide to go, prepare to purchase something. It’s the polite thing to do and supports the local economy. I don’t want this place to end up like Barcelona’s Boqueria market where people walk through, take a few photos and leave without purchasing anything.
W Bay St, Nassau
Open 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily
3. Christ Church Anglican Cathedral
This cathedral deserves a mention. It’s so, so pretty.
The cathedral opened its doors in 1841, the fifth for the congregation following the destruction of the previous few. It’s now considered a major landmark for the Bahamas. It contains materials from all over the world; the tile floors come from Italy, and stained glass from France and North Carolina.
George St, Nassau
Open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday
4. Pompey Museum
The Pompey Museum is found in the historic district. It’s one of the oldest in the district, with a tragic history; this beautiful building was the site of 18th-century slave auctions.
The museum documents the slave trade in detail, and includes the Bahamas eventual rise to independence. Again, please be reverent inside this building. It’s beautiful, but it was also the site of mass human suffering and trafficking. I would venture to say that this building is not an appropriate place for selfies and poses. It is a place to learn about where you’re visiting.
2 W Bay St, Nassau
Open 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday (closes at 1 p.m. on Thursdays), closed Sundays
5. Junkanoo Beach
This beach is a favorite of mine. Just look at how clear and blue that water is! After all of that site-seeing, it’s so nice to sit back and sunbathe (with SPF 1,000 on, of course).
Junkanoo Beach, Nassau
Open 24 hours
What are your favorite Nassau hot spots? Let’s chat in the comments!