Florida is a top destination for a noticeable number of reasons, but it's also a great jumping-off point from which to visit another destination: the Bahamas. From the tip of South Florida, those interested in seeing one of the Caribbean's most unique beaches will be happy to know it's just a short ferry ride away.
Harbour Island is perhaps one of the most well-captured pink beaches in the world and features sand in pastel hues that seem to defy all logic. While the science behind the color of this beach is intriguing, it's the photo ops that bring many to its sandy shores. This Caribbean location is beautiful, in general, but Pink Sands Beach is truly unique in its own right. Here's how to get there quickly from South Florida and how best to enjoy its stunning coastline.
Updated by Gabriel Kirellos, January 29th, 2022: Many people are enchanted by the pink sand beach on the east side of the Bahamas, on Harbour Island. After all, it was named the Best Sand Beach by The Travel Channel in 2005. This article was updated to include additional information about the difference between Harbour Island and Harbor Island, the multiple ways people can explore the island, and the soft pink sandy beach perimeter.
Getting From South Florida To Harbour Island
The great thing about the proximity between Florida and the Bahamas is that it leaves multiple options for getting to the Bahamas. While the distance is short, travelers have their pick of short plane rides or numerous ferry rides to bring them to the final destination of Harbour Island.
The ferry services between Harbour Island and South Florida require a bit of boat hopping to connect routes. If avoiding airfare is the goal, travelers can hop on a ferry from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport, Bahamas, before boarding another ferry from Freeport to Nassau. The ferry ride to Harbour Island from Nassau is only a short trip.
- Fort Lauderdale to Freeport: Three trips weekly with a duration of two hours and 30 minutes; ~$500/ticket.
- Freeport to Nassau: Roughly nine hours; ~$77-$134/ticket.
- Nassau to Harbour Island: Roughly two hours and 40 minutes; ~$62/ticket.
The more accessible - and quicker - option between South Florida and Harbour Island is a string of flights to connect each island. Flights can often be cheaper, as well; travelers should decide if having their car is something they'll need and, if not, opt for a flight.
- Flights can be taken into Fort Lauderdale, Miami, or Nassau, Bahamas, to North Eleuthera airport. From there, it's a ten-minute taxi ride into Harbour Island.
- Flights: ~$464; Harbour Island water taxi: $5-$7/person.
Once You've Arrived At Harbour Island
Harbour Island is not massive in size, and it's pretty easy to find Pink Sands Beach once travelers have made their way onto the island. There's a parking lot if visitors are driving their own car there, and then it's just a short walk down to the beach itself. To make things even easier, several hotels and resorts are well within walking distance of the beach.
This is an excellent option for those planning on spending a few days there, which is advised to explore both the beach and Harbour Island itself. These hotels and resorts are located directly, or within walking distance, to Pink Sands Beach:
- Villa Bee
- Pink Sands Resort
- Coral Sands Hotel
- The Dunmore Hotel
- The Ocean View Club
- Runaway Hill Inn
Things To Know About Pink Sands Beach
From how it got its unique color to what there is to do besides take photos, here are some other things to know before booking this trip.
How The Beach Got Its Pink Sand
The sand gets its unique pink hue from a marine animal - that's right, the color of this sand comes from old shells! The animal is called foraminifera, and it has a shell that, when crushed, produces a reddish hue.
When this is mixed with the grains of sand on the beach, it becomes a beautiful pastel, bubblegum pink color. When set against the beautiful turquoise color of the water at its shores, the result is something altogether otherworldly and breathtaking.
What To Do On Pink Sands Beach
Of course, sunbathing and photography are popular pastimes at this beach. However, its gentle waters also lend themselves well to other activities. With a collection of coral reefs sitting just offshore, there's rarely any rough surf on this beach, which means swimming and wading are popular activities.
Snorkeling is another great option, especially for those who wish to see all of the marine and plant life that exists just below the surface. Hiking isn't an activity that many people associate with tropical getaways, but walking up and down Pink Shores Beach is worth it. The surrounding area is relatively rural, so there's plenty to see on a leisurely stroll through its natural landscape.
When To Go
While there's not necessarily a 'bad' time to visit the Bahamas, visitors will probably want to avoid hurricane season. The summer months mean scorching temperatures, so opting for the winter or spring is a good bet for temperate weather and warm waters.
Harbour Island vs. Harbor Island
Harbour Island of the Bahamas is located off the eastern coast of Eleuthera Island. However, people confuse this Bahamian island with another one in Tampa, Florida. The island in this Florida town is called Harbor Island and does not feature pink sand beaches.
The Importance Of Renting A Golf Cart On Harbour Island
The center of Harbour Island, Dunmore Town, is best explored via a golf cart. The center features several attractions, including iconic boutiques, picturesque buildings, various dining options, and more. Visiting the Piggly Wiggly grocery store is a must when touring Dunmore Town.
People who prefer to do more exercise while getting around Harbour Island must rent a bike instead of a golf cart. Bicycles can be found on Colebrooke St. in Dunmore Town, at Michael Cycles.