Cable Beach is New Providence’s premier resort area. It is to Nassau what South Beach is to Miami. The only problem is that the major hotels and resorts have gobbled up all the best bits. Of what’s left, though, you can pick your spot.
Take the time to drive West Bay Street from Nassau to and beyond the resorts and you’re sure to find something to suit you. Be careful, though. In some places the water can be quite rough, and the underlying rocks sharp.
Some of the public areas are very popular with the locals, especially at weekends, and can become a little crowded for my taste. Still, whaterver you might need to enjoy a fine time of sand, sea and sun is available almost anywhere along the stretch: vendors offer a wide variety of snacks, ice cream, and all sorts neat, and sometimes dubious, trinkets and souvenirs; the ladies can even get their hair braided. Here and there you’ll find little fruit stands where the goodies are almost always fresh and cool. For lunch a variety of cafés and restaurants offer local cuisine, fresh seafood and, of course, as much local libation as you can handle. All in all, Cable Beach comes highly recommended.
Western Esplanade (Junkanoo Beach)
The Western Esplanade is the local beach for Nassau itself. It stretches westward from the British Colonial Hotel and has fine soft sand, but it is often littered. It does have public rest rooms, changing facilities, and one or two snack bars close at hand, and there are a number of fast food restaurants within walking distance. It’s popularity lies in its closeness to the city and to the relatively inexpensive small hotels on West Bay Street. During Spring Break this beach becomes a seething mass of hot, excited, sweating bodies writhing to the rhythms of a hundred blaring radios. Still, if you’re staying close at hand, and don’t want to make the trip to either Cable Beach or Paradise Island, this might be just the place for you.
Take West Bay Street to Fort Charlotte; the beach is just across the way. You might want to make a day of it: grab a box lunch from the hotel, visit the fort (an experience you don't want to miss), then spend the afternoon on the sand. If you go n a weekend, don’t be surprised find it busy; this a favorite spot for the locals. Weekdays, though, you can be sure of a quiet afternoon. During the summer you might even get to see a cricket match being played on the field just below the fort.
The Beach at Atlantis
This private stretch of sand at the grand resort on Paradise Island is rated - by such gurus as the those at the Travel Channel - as one the top 10 beaches in the world. Certainly it’s one of the best stretches of beach on New Providence and Grand Bahama Islands. But there are some in the Out Island that are better.
Unfortunately, unless you’re staying at Atlantis (or the Comfort Suites next door), the beautiful beach is off-limits. If you are staying there you’ll find the beach close to the hotel complex crowded most of the time. Personally, I like to walk the half-mile, or so, to the far end of the horseshoe-shaped bay where the sand is pure and white and often there’s lots of room to spread out and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you’re not staying at Atlantis, there are a number of smaller beaches dotted around Paradise Island; Cabbage Beach is one of the nicest, but there are others such as Smugglers Beach, Shell Beach, and Honeymoon Cove. Ask any of the local taxi drivers.