Getaway to Exuma - Part 2 Beaches, Eats, & Sites
This post is all about the sites, beaches and eats on Exuma. One of the main attractions of Exuma is, without a doubt, going to visit the Staniel Cay Swimming Pigs, Iguana Island, and Thunderball Grotto. But there is so much more to explore on Great and Little Exuma - we hope you'll stay a little longer and check these places out! When most people think of the Bahamas, they think of the bustling city of Nassau with sprawling resorts, hotels, and tons of tourists. Exuma is very different from that experience. There are not a ton of tourists, the towns are small, there are only a few resorts on the island, several small privately owned hotels, and private rentals. Many times when we visit a beach, we are the only ones there for hours or even all day. It is very natural and can be rustic, but it is oh, so beautiful! If you want a relaxing vacation away from bustling crowds - Exuma is definitely your place.
First Up - The Beaches!
This is what you came for, amiright? To find all of Exuma's beaches, look for the blue and yellow Beach Access Sign marking the entrance for beach public access. Following is a list of my favorite beaches on the island. There are many more, of course, but these should be your first stops!
Coco Plum Beach - White sandy beach on the northeastern end of the island (north of Georgetown) on Great Exuma. You'll park among the evergreens and walk on the pine needles to this glorious beach! There are long sandbars here when the tide is low. Ruins of an old beach bar and grille are on the beach under the trees, which has led to hours of daydreams of me starting a business here.... This is also the site for the infamous Fyre Festival. A few wooden swing sets were erected here on this beach at the water's edge for the festival, and were still there when we visited in 2018. For all you treasure hunters out there, sand dollars can be plentiful here in the shallow water. There is some shade here provided by the shrubs and evergreens along the forest/beach line.
Hooper's Bay - Beautiful crescent shaped white sandy beach. If you aren't staying on Hooper's Bay, you can gain access to the beach by walking along a steep hill on the far left hand side of the bay. There is a small parking space right in front of the beach access sign. This beach is lined with small condo's and rentals, and because it can be a bit of a challenge to get to, there's usually only a few people on the beach. The water here is very calm and the view is unbelievable. The main draw here are the turtles who swim between the piers on the southeast side of the Bay (opposite side from the public access sign). Take your goggles and your goPro to get pictures of the turtles! Even though there are signs posted to not feed the turtles, some people still do, so please be sure to watch your fingers when you are near them as they are looking for snacks. There is only shade if you sit along the tree-line.
Jolly Hall Beach - A smaller crescent shaped white sandy beach. Parking along the road and a beautiful walk through a jungle-like forest lead you to a beautiful tree-lined beach. There are a few local dogs that roam this beach - and they will beg you for food! This is a great spot to picnic at since it is relatively close to town, you can stop here and eat after you pick up your food.
Pretty Molly & Love Beach - Tiny little white sand beaches close to one another. You can park in the vacant lot in front of Pretty Molly and walk on through.
Forbes Hill Beach - A beautiful white sand beach with trees lining about 1/4 of the beach. A cute pavilion with a swinging tire sits at the entrance off the parking lot. A path opposite the beach leads to another more secluded beach where we found some shells and a few bits of beach glass.
Tropic of Cancer Beach - Probably the most popular beach on the island, but still usually only a handful of people on the beach each time we have visited. There isn't much shade here, so make sure you bring your umbrella! This white sand beach is wide and has an interesting rock outcropping on the south end that is fun to explore. Gorgeous views and stunning blue water.
Starfish Beach - Located on the northwestern side of Stocking Island, this white sand beach is known for its red starfish, crabs and sand dollars.
Stocking Island Beach - On the northeastern side of the island - facing the sea - is a beautiful long stretch of white sand beach. You can get to it easily by following a path near the pink house behind the Chat 'n Chill, wade a few steps in the chest high water entrance of the Hurricane Hole, and follow the path up and over a hill to get to the beach. At the top of the hill is a path to a wooden lookout bench - check this spot for a great view! Walk up and down the beach, explore the rock outcroppings, tidal pools and play in the surf.
Use the above Google Map found on TripAdvisor to find all the beaches on the island!
Places to Eat
Julian Marshall's Jerk Shack - THE BEST FOOD ON THE ISLAND! Julian's shack is open a few days a week. He makes the best smoked jerk chicken and ribs. Dinners come with a side of the best Bahamian style macaroni you will ever have in your life and cornbread. His green shack is located in the center of George Town just across from the Marshall's Shell Gas Station.
Chat 'n Chill - Located on Stocking Island across Elizabeth Harbor - accessible by boat or ferry from George Town. You HAVE to come here if you visit Exuma. The burgers are delicious, but you must come for the Sunday All You Can Eat Pig Roast. Their fresh conch salad made right next to the beach is also a hit. Swim with the sting rays, swing in the hammocks, play some volley ball, or just sit in the shade under the pine trees and enjoy a drink. You can also follow the path behind the restaurant, next to the pink house, and wade across chest deep water to a path that leads you to Stocking Island Beach. Have fun exploring the beach, its tidal pools, and the lookout bench at the top of the hill!
Shirley's at da Fish Fry
Marshall's Bakery - Great for sandwiches and homemade breads - next to Marshalls's Shell Gas Station in George Town.
Catch a Fire - Great for Sunset dinners!
Exuma Point Bar & Grille - Delicious food, on the water, you can also get to the smaller lesser known Exuma Swimming Pigs from here.
Blu - Next to the Marina and Yacht Club in George Town. Sits up on the second floor - great for burgers and a beer!
Club Peace & Plenty - Hopefully Doc will be your server - he's been a mainstay for 50 years! Serving delicious breakfasts here as well! New ownership here respects the history of the Inn while bringing it new life with fun events!
Driftwood Cafe - Good for a quick breakfast.
La Fourchette - Delicious upscale sit-down dinners with beautiful ambiance.
Lighthouse Cafe & Ice Cream Parlor - Friendly service and several cream flavors to choose from. A great stop after a long day on the beaches!
The Palapa Grill - Located in the Grand Isle Resort next to their pool. Stunning views, great service and the food was exceptional.
Tropic Breeze - Strong drinks, delicious food and amazing view!
Santanna's - Amazing food (get the cracked lobster!), strong drinks, and a nice view, right on the water!
Mom's Bakery - Rum Cakes and delicious breads. Next to Santanna's.
Exploring the Land
Straw Market in George Town - A must-do in the center of George Town. You'll find hand-made straw purses and bags as well as clothes, treasures and trinkets to remind you of your visit.
Emerald Bay Marina - Come and check out the yachts, the beautiful grounds, and watch the nurse sharks, turtles, and rays swimming among the boats.
Salt Beacon - Overlooking Exuma Sound and the Great Salina of Williams Town, the 30 foot tall marker constructed in the 18-1900's situated on a low waterfront cliff, guided ships to pick up salt harvested from Little Exuma's 3 salt ponds. An old cannon also sits nearby. Spectacular views over the sound and the salt pond. Watch your step near the cliffs, edges are sharp and can crumble. Wear long pants and take bug spray - the path and crest can be covered in long trailing grasses and shrubs.
Hermitage Bowe Family Plantation Ruins at Williams Town - Just a short distance from Santanna's Bar and Grill sits the ruins of a former cotton plantation. Surrounded and overgrown with trees, shrubs, and a termite mound on the roof frame, you can still peer into the windows and doors of the old buildings. Walk up the steps towards what used to be the front porch, and imagine what the plantation used to look like many years ago. Can you picture what the back courtyard would have been like with the amazing view of the sea. Wear sturdy shoes and take bug spray.
Rolle Town Tombs - Open Sunrise to Sunset, off Queen's Highway, near Haulover Bay Bar & Grill. There is a small parking area, walk down the path between two blue buildings, and to a short walled area containing tombs of 3 past residents, a Scottish overseer, his wife, and infant child. A plaque notes the history of the area and of the family. Grasses can be high here so take some bug spray.
I hope this list inspires you to explore all that Exuma has to offer!
Have you visited any of these places? I'd love to hear about your experience - drop me a line and tell me about it!