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Five Best Paddle Places in the Bahamas

Best Paddle Places in the Bahamas

Best Paddle Places in the Bahamas

Updated on 2/20/2024
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
Learn More about Abigail Scott

You've got a severe case of itchy feet and are ready to splash some freshwater with your paddleboard or kayak. Even after nine years of working on luxury yachts, I still consider the Bahamas one of my favorite destinations. You can spend your entire time kayaking on these turquoise blue waters, with soft white sand, and you won't find any boats or traffic as you find in other places in the Caribbean, which makes this an ideal place for you to become one with your kayak.

Visiting these places does not require a yacht, but you will need a boat to reach most of them, be it a sailboat, a powerboat, or a catamaran. You can load up your board or yak, board a friend's boat or rent your own, and cruise to any of these excellent locations.

Shroud Cay

The Waterslide at Shroud Cay, Exuma Bahamas

Located 50NM southeast of Nassau, Shroud Cay is part of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. This protected archipelago serves as a natural refuge for a wide variety of aquatic life.

Among the most remarkable features of Shroud Cay are its tidal creeks that wind through a maze of mangroves. Even though these tidal creeks are pretty shallow, they are still accessible only by dinghy boats, jet skis, or understaffing using stand-up paddleboards or kayaks.

Outside of slack tide, there is the tendency for the current to run quite fast, making paddling difficult. Some places are too shallow to be accessed outside of high tides, so you would do well to time your excursion just right. In return, you will be rewarded with a pleasant, serene trip through some of nature's most beautiful landscapes if you do that. If you choose to visit the Land and Sea Park, you'll be able to see a wide range of wildlife, including a variety of fish species, sharks, jellyfish, wild birds, conchs, and many more.

Staniel Cay

Staniel Cay in The Bahamas (Complete Travel Guide)

Staniel Cay has everything you could ask for if you're a water lover. Divers, snorkelers, caves, plane wrecks, fishing, spearfishing, anything is possible! Staniel Cay offers the opportunity to anchor your boat outside Big Majors Island and then paddle your kayak or paddleboard to a small island that is otherwise uninhabited, where you will see swimming pigs. This is one of Staniel Cay's "must-do" activities if you ever get the chance to visit.

You read that right; you read that right. Pigs are swimming in the water at Big Majors Island, also known as Pig Island. Like Pavlov's dog, all they need to come a-running and splashing into the water is for the sound of a small boat engine, and they will swim up to your dinghy, RIB, or other small motorboat and oink for food.

You can take a bag of slops with you on your kayak or SUP and beach your board so you can feed them on the shore if you like. For the most part, they are friendly, but some dogs might not have the best manners at times and have been known to get a little bit by people about their attempts to grab some of the gourmet chow being offered to them.

Secondly, I had thrown some bacon into a slops bag before, which the pigs readily scarfed down, so do you think this makes the pigs cannibals? Let me know what you think! Swimming with the pigs is a once-in-a-lifetime experience not to be missed.

Harbour Island

Harbour Island Bahamas - Pink Sands Beach, Dunmore Town, Resorts, Yachts, Vacation Destination

Known for its pink sand beaches, Harbour Island, or Briland as it is locally known, is a charming but luxurious destination for people who like to get away from it all while also enjoying the conveniences of civilization, such as decent restaurants and bars.

Harbour Island offers more of those things than almost any other island in the Bahamas, apart from Nassau. Besides being a fascinating destination for some of the world's richest and most famous people, this beautiful and quiet island is accessible only by golf cart. Visitors do not necessarily need to travel by boat because there is an airport on Eleuthera nearby.

Among its many defining characteristics is the 3-mile stretch of pink sand beach, perfect for sunbathing, taking a dip in the ocean, or paddling your kayak or SUP in the surf. If you don't want to venture far from the boating center, there are plenty of sheltered harbors where you can take your fishing yak or SUP out to sneak up on some bonefish and reel one in.

A benefit of this adventure is the abundance of dolphins that frequent the harbors around here, so the chances of seeing a dolphin while you're paddling are higher than you might think.

Compass Cay

Compass Cay | Sharks Bahamas

Compass Cay, located 10NM from Staniel Cay, is another "must-see" destination in the Exuma chain of islands south of Nassau. Compass is surrounded by the most transparent, bluest waters, ranging from the lightest turquoise shades to the deepest turquoise shades, amidst a backdrop of soft, white sand beaches for you and the whole family to enjoy.

Visit the marina where you can swim with the nurse sharks they feed every day during low and high tide. Walk along with one of the many paths leading to various destinations around the island while taking in the colorfully painted signs and conch shell-lined paths. Visit the Bat Cave or take a short tour down a hermit crab-covered course to the beach on the other side of the island, where another deserted beach will greet you with spectacular views of the open ocean.

You can also paddle your kayak down one of the shallow feeder streams that wind through the island at slack tide to catch a perfectly camouflaged silvery bonefish that teem throughout the entire area. Don't mind seeing the occasional stingray or sea turtle as they glide by as you enjoy the view.

When you set out, bring an anchor because the current kicks through when the tide is coming in or going out. During a bonefish battle, you don't want to be fighting against the current simultaneously as trying to fight a bonefish that has just taken off with 50 feet of your line as soon as you hook it!

Lyford Cay, Nassau

Tranquil Getaway in Lyford Cay, Nassau, Bahamas | Sotheby's International Realty

It is good to dock for a night or two at Lyford Cay, a quiet private marina on the Western side of the island known as New Providence if you are traveling by boat.

Lyford Cay is a gated community in the Bahamas where many international ex-pats, including celebrities like Sean Connery, have set up residence. It possesses an international school, a private police force, a golf course, and a yacht club in addition to its international school.

You can paddle through the hundreds of miles of canals that adorn this ritzy neighborhood, admiring the luxurious waterfront homes that line the canals as you go. As you glide through the waterways, you will frequently see stingrays, jellyfish, and sea turtles.

Afterward, enjoy a beach BBQ on the small and private beach adjacent to the main channel into the marina, where you will see boats of all sizes coming and going. Lyford is the perfect place if you would like to take part in some recreational kayaking or paddle boarding and get in a good workout in between excursions into the city for a bit of tourist activity.

Paradise Awaits!

As I have traveled to the Bahamas for many years, I have come across the top 5 destinations I have experienced. However, you can go just about anywhere within the Bahamas and be greeted by beautiful water that you can throw your kayak or SUP in and be completely relaxed.

So what are you waiting for? It's time to go exploring the Bahamas. I can't wait to get to the Bahamas. I suggest you start making plans to visit the Bahamas as soon as possible. Paradise awaits!