Best Near-Port Attractions to Visit in Nassau

Dive into the history and culture of the Bahamas on your next cruise to Nassau with a visit to one of these 10 attractions near the port.

The must-sees on your downtown walking tour are Government House, the Christ Church Cathedral and the Queen's Staircase. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, especially if you're going to climb the 65 steps of the later that connect downtown Nassau with Fort Fincastle.

There are museums a plenty to explore in Nassau, from the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas to the Bahamas Historical Society Museum to the Pirates Museum of Nassau, which kids – young and old – will adore.

Kids will also love seeing the flamingos at the Ardastra Gardens Zoo and grownups will love touring the John Watling Distillery.

But your visit to Nassau is not complete without a little Junkanoo. Hit up Junkanoo Beach to get your toes in the sand and soak up the Caribbean sun reflecting off the clear, blue water. Then visit the Junkanoo Expo at the Prince George Wharf to experience this Bahamian cultural phenomenon before returning to your ship.

There's so much to see and do in Nassau that you might have a hard time choosing which of these ten attractions are your must-sees while you are docked in the Bahamas.

Visit the Bahamas Historical Society Museum to gain greater insight into the fascinating past of this island nation. Exhibits cover more than 500 years of history, through artifacts, memorabilia, art, photographs and documents. The collection...  Read More

National Art Gallery of The Bahamas

Housed in the beautifully restored 1860s-era Villa Doyle, the fledgling National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, which opened in 2003, has managed to collect a number of important works. Bahamian artists are the primary focus, but there are works by...  Read More

The Parish of Christ Church was established in the 1670s, soon after The Bahamas were granted to the Lord Proprietors of Carolina by the English with the mandate to establish churches in the islands. This is the fifth church to be on this or...  Read More

Paradise Island
Junkanoo Beach
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Junkanoo Beach, also known as the Western Esplanade, is not as sprawling as some of the other Bahamas beaches and, as a result, is much less crowded. Its proximity to Nassau's lively downtown makes it an easy option for vacationers who want to...  Read More

Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Centre is the only zoo in the Bahamas. Nearly 300 animals call this four-acre refuge home: Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, Madagascar lemurs, monkeys, jaguars, reptiles and a vast array of birds. Some may...  Read More

Pirates of Nassau
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Aye, matey! In the late 1600s and early 1700s, the Bahamas gained notoriety as a haven for pirates, rogues and wild women. The stories of famous swashbuckling characters like Blackbeard and Annie Bonny are highlighted in this engaging museum....  Read More

With just 65 steps spanning 102 feet, this is a steep ascent from Elizabeth Avenue to Fort Fincastle and the Water Tower. Carved out of a limestone wall by 18th century slaves, the steps once afforded soldiers protected passage from the fort to...  Read More

Junkanoo Expo

Junkanoo, a uniquely Bahamian spectacle, brings to mind the high energy, vibrant colors of Mardi Gras and the rhythmic sound of Brazil's Carnival. Its roots are in the 17th century, when slaves took to the streets to celebrate Christmas and New...  Read More

Government House
Photo courtesy of Patrick Sahuquet

Overlooking Nassau from its elevated position, Government House has been the official residence of the Governor General of The Bahamas since 1801. The architecture of the impressive pink and white mansion blends island and American colonial...  Read More

John Watling's Distillery
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

John Watling's Distillery produces rum at the Buena Vista Estate in downtown Nassau. Tour the distillery, sample the rum and enjoy the view of the harbor from the historic estate, which often hosts weddings and other special events. Tours of the...  Read More


Meet Shannon Morgan

Shannon Morgan is an award-winning editor and writer and the author of 100 Things to Do in DC Before You Die (2015). She has written for USA TODAY Travel, Food Network magazine, the...  More About Shannon