Located at the northern section of the Bahamas, and just over 50 miles from American coastline, Grand Bahamas is one of the largest islands of the Bahamas, measuring 96 by 17 miles at its longest and widest points. The island is comprised of West and East Grand Bahama and the Freeport Bonded Region.
Grand Bahamas has a rich history of colonial rule and pirate attacks. The shallow coastal areas surrounded by coral reef made it very difficult for ships to approach the shores. In fact, pirates would often bait ships into these shallow reefs. Eventually, the Spanish forced the Lucayan people inhabiting the island to be slaves. The Spanish word for great shallows became the basis of the name for the Bahamas.
West Grand Bahamas
This historic region at one point was central to alcohol smuggling through the probation period in the United States. The historic and oldest Bahaman city, West End, is situated in this region.
Eight Mile Rock
- Deadman's Reef
Housed within Deadman’s Reef is Paradise Cove, an excellent spot to snorkel or scuba dive. Additionally, Paradise Cove is a historic site, home to some of the island’s earliest civilizations. Archeologists have discovered ruins and other artifacts dating back to the year 1200.
- Holmes Rock
This small town is home to a dance club that was built in front of a cave. This cave is particularly unique since potable water is produced within it when the tide is low and salt water during periods of high tide.
This area derives its unique name from the rock wall extending 8 miles. It is also the biggest city in Grand Bahamas not located in Freeport.
Homes for employees on the island are located on Hawksbill Creek. This development has made it possible for the town of Freeport to be developed and thrive.
The origins of these four linked settlements date back to European colonial days. Although this region is nearby Freeport, life is still slow paced at Pinder’s Point.
Only one other city on the Bahamas is larger than Freeport/Lucaya. It also serves as Grand Bahamas’ capital city. Tourists flock to the city to have fun and shop at the International Bazaar.
Settled by a freed slave, Williams Town is still home to the ancestors of the town’s founder. Many smaller villages on the Bahamas, such as Williams Town, have generations of families passing land rights upon succeeding generations. Visitors to Williams Town can also visit an ancient cemetery or the boiling hole.
This settlement was founded by a Scottish national who received the land becoming the settlement as payment for providing a national service. Residents are still proud of their heritage. Tourists will enjoy the weekly fish fry held each Wednesday.
Located nearby Smith’s Point, this small settlement will provide tourists a break from fast paced life style of the more developed regions.
This historic town became known as Freetown after slaves in the region became emancipated in the early 1800’s. History enthusiasts can spend some time at the hermitage, but the only remnants of the old town is an old graveyard.
Water Cay received its name because of the large quantities of potable water found on the island. It is situated in the middle of northern Grand Bahama. The island was originally settled by seven families.
A 30 foot high cliff made of rock is one of the main attractions of High Rock. This area is also known for its austerity since most the buildings are built exclusively of wood. Many people in High Rock fish for a living.
Tourists can reach this village located on the eastern section of the island by roads leading into it. To visit cays in the area, tourists can pay local fishers to take them to the cays on a boat. Those visiting McLean’s Town on Columbus Day can witness the annual Conch Cracking Contest.
Deep Water Cay
To reach the Deep Water Cay on the eastern section of Grand Bahama, tourists must charter a ferry while visiting McLean’s Town. Many people visit Deep Water Cay to fish for bonefish since the fish feed in this region.
Sweeting’s Cay has only recently been modernized and can only be reached by ship. The nearly 400 villagers on Sweeting’s Cay sell lobsters and other water species to the vibrant, modernized Freeport.
Nobody lives on this cay, but it is famous for its beautiful beaches and snorkeling friendly water. However, to reach it, one must travel by boat. When the tides are low, the beach is particularly beautiful.