This post may contain affiliate links, please see the privacy policy for details.

Nestled in the heart of the Caribbean lies a hidden gem that delights travelers seeking an authentic island experience. The Abaco Islands, located just north of the Bahamas’ main islands and a short distance from the Florida coast, offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of traditional tourist destinations. With its laid-back Caribbean atmosphere, rich nautical history, and stunning natural beauty, the Abacos are a must-visit destination for boaters and sailors seeking a picture-perfect cruising playground. There are many things to do in the Abacos, making it a destination to add to your bucket list.

View of the peaceful Caribbean sea with crystal clear water, palm trees, white clouds and blue sky on a beautiful sunny day. Tilloo Cay, Marsh Harbour, Abaco, The Bahamas.
Photo credit: Sinn P. Photography/Shutterstock.

I had the pleasure of spending 1.5 months in the Abaco Islands, the boating capital of the Bahamas. After sailing, fishing, swimming in the turquoise waters, diving in the coral reefs, and paddle boarding, I fell in love with the relaxed way of life and beautiful waters of the Bahamas.

In this article, I’ll go over things to do in the Abacos Islands that will include water activities, remote islands such as Powell Cay, Manjack Cay, and No Name Cay, and things to do on the larger, more populated islands of Elbow Cay, Great Abaco, Guana Cay and Green Turtle Cay. This article will help you plan your trip to the Abacos.

Hurricane Dorian

Before we get started on things to do in the Abacos, it is important to note that this area was hit hard by Hurricane Dorian on September 6, 2019, causing significant damage. When I visited the Abacos in the spring of 2023, I saw firsthand the Bahamians on the rebound and rebuilding.

Hope Town has made great progress and they are nearly fully operational, with the occasional attraction, such as the Wyannie Malone Historical Museum, still closed.

Green Turtle Cay is also nearly fully operational with plenty of things to do and places to go.

Great Abaco Island has marinas and businesses back open as well, while they continue to rebuild. I was impressed with the Abacos’ resilience and ability to bounce back so quickly.

Small pier and beautiful water in Abaco Bahamas.
Photo credit: Marco Borghini/Shutterstock.

Getting Out on the Water

Enjoying the crystal clear waters of the Abacos is one of the highlights of this area. There are plenty of ways to get out on the water. You can charter a sailboat and go sailing, rent powerboats for a day trip to go fishing or diving, or rent paddleboards to paddle through the crystal blue waters. You can even bring your own boat over to the Abacos.

If you are bringing your own boat over from the USA, you will have to clear in with Customs and Immigration upon arrival. For more on this process, read How to Clear into the Bahamas, a Click2Clear Guide.

For powerboat rentals, check out Blue Wave Boat Rentals. They are in Marsh Harbour at Harbour View Marina and have several boats you can rent to go adventure up and down the Abacos.

You can also rent paddleboards from Abaco Paddleboards, located on Green Turtle Cay, and they will even deliver the boards to you.

Here are some great, more remote places to check out while on the water:

Powell Cay

Powell Cay is located northwest of Manjack Cay and northeast of Coopers Town on Great Abaco Island. It is a deserted island (currently for sale!) with long, beautiful beaches to explore.

There is a sunken barge that is always visible and provides great snorkeling in protected waters. This is a great spot to snorkel with your children or if you don’t want to fight any currents.

Powell Cay is also the home to a colony of approximately 20 White-Tailed Tropicbirds, or also referred to as Longtails. The Longtails nest on cliffs on Powell Cay, and it is amazing to watch them fly around over the water in the mornings and evenings.

Aerial view of Munjack Cay with bay and beach in Abaco, Bahamas. Green turtles and stingrays inhabit the area.
Photo credit: pics721/Shutterstock.

Manjack Cay

Manjack Cay, also known as Nunjack Cay, is located southeast of Powell Cay. It is a mostly deserted island (there are a couple of homes here) with beautiful beaches and hiking trails.

The first hike we did was the art trail which is full of art created by local artists and cruisers all along its path. It starts at one beach and ends at another beach on Manjack Cay and takes approximately 30 minutes to walk.

Another hike took us on a path through the center of the island that leads to the eastern shore. Once through the path in the trees, you arrive at beautiful beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. This beach is very long, and you could walk up and down it and never get tired of its beautiful white sand and blue waters. 

If you have a paddleboard, you can paddle up the narrow channels through the mangroves. Even a small boat with a shallow draft will get you into the narrow channels; however, it is recommended to go during high tide, as the waters can get very shallow during low tide.

We took our paddle boards up the channels, and it was so peaceful without anyone else. Just us, the birds, fish, and many sea turtles in the water!

For a snorkeling adventure, the north end of Manjack Cay is the place to be. It is a great spot where you can find eagle rays and sharks, mostly reef sharks and nurse sharks, to swim around with.

No Name Cay

No Name Cay is located just southeast of Green Turtle Cay. It is most known for the Swimming Pigs that inhabit the island and nicknamed Piggyville by the locals. As you arrive by boat, you can get out and feed and wade with the pigs in the water and on the beach. Also, be sure to check out Big O’s Bar and Restaurant while you are there.

Donny’s Boat Rentals at Green Turtle Cay will set you up with a great day trip excursion to feed the pigs, and other spots in the area to go snorkeling and turtle watching.

Wild, swimming pig in The Bahamas.
Photo credit: Nejron Photo/Shutterstock.

Man-O-War Cay

Man-O-War Cay is a short distance away from the larger islands of Great Abaco Island and Elbow Cay. It is located approximately six nautical miles northeast of Marsh Harbor on Great Abaco Island and approximately 2.5 nautical miles northwest of Hope Town on Elbow Cay. This is another great island to explore by boat.

Man-O-War is a small island with a small population of permanent residents. It is also considered a dry island, where they do not sell alcohol.

There are a couple of places to check out on Man-O-War that make the trip over here worthwhile:

First, check out the “narrows.” This is a very narrow spot on the island, approximately 33 feet (10 meters) wide, with a single road atop it. One side is a beach on the Sea of Abaco, and the other side is the rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean. It is a very beautiful spot to explore.

Second, there is a well-known store called Albury’s Sail Shop that is definitely worth checking out. They create beautiful bags and totes using scraps of sail canvas in tropical Caribbean colors. Albury’s Sail Shop has been in operation for three generations, and you can only purchase their items in person by visiting their stop.  

When you’re not exploring the Abacos by water, there are still plenty of things to do in the Abacos, Bahamas, from land.

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Abacos. Next, I’ll go over my favorite things to do on each of the large islands in the Abacos.

The iconic Elbow Reef Lighthouse, in Hope Town, Bahamas.
Photo credit: Sinn P. Photography/Shutterstock.

Exploring the Larger Islands of the Abacos

Great Abaco Island

If you fly into Leonard M. Thompson International Airport in Marsh Harbour, the largest airport in the Abacos, you will land on Great Abaco Island. In Marsh Harbor, there are a couple of restaurants that are worth stopping into.

Snappas Bar and Grill

Snappas Bar and Grill, located next to The Conch Inn Marina and Resort, offers a laid-back atmosphere with a great food and drink menu. We also bought some fresh (and I mean, chop and mix right in front of you fresh!) conch salad from a local Bahamian next to Snappas.

Colors Bahamian Restaurant

My favorite restaurant in Marsh Harbor is Colors Bahamian Restaurant. This restaurant was full of visitors and locals alike. They offer daily, delicious, reasonably priced specials and have a very entertaining karaoke night each week.

Pete’s Pub and Gallery

The most famous restaurant on Great Abaco Island is Pete’s Pub and Gallery, located 20 miles (33 km) from Marsh Harbor in Little Harbor in South Abaco. This is another great place to visit by boat if you get out on the water. If not, you can rent a car and drive there from Marsh Harbor.

Pete’s Pub is a beach bar at it’s finest, with lots of cold beer, great food, and a great atmosphere. After enjoying a cold drink or two, stumble next door to Pete’s Gallery, where you can view Pete’s amazing work.

A short 10-minute hike down the road from Pete’s Pub are the ruins of the Little Harbour Lighthouse. This lighthouse was established in 1889 at the entrance to Little Harbour in Southern Abaco. We walked up to the ruins of the lighthouse and took in the incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Treasure Cay

Treasure Cay is about a 30-minute drive (22 miles or 36 km) from Marsh Harbor. Bahama Beach Club Resort is located here, on the crescent-shaped Treasure Cay Beach with sugary white sand and crystal blue waters. This was the most amazing beach I visited during my 1.5 months in the Abacos.

We spent our days at the beach and enjoyed drinks and dinner at the Pavilion Restaurant with our friends who came to visit us.

Maxwell’s Supermarket

Ok, so you probably wouldn’t expect a grocery store to show up in a list of things to do in the Abacos, Bahamas. However, if you rent a house anywhere in the Abacos, Maxwell’s Supermarket in Marsh Harbor is where you must stop. Since nearly all food gets imported into the Bahamas, the food is very expensive here. How expensive? Check out Provisioning for the Bahamas, which includes a spreadsheet of the costs of all groceries across the Abacos. Maxwell’s has the largest and most economical selection of groceries across all the Abacos. I recommend if you are renting a place on Elbow Cay, Green Turtle Cay, or another cay nearby, to stock up on groceries at Maxwell’s before you leave Marsh Harbor.

Elbow Cay

While on Elbow Cay, I spent a week in Hope Town. There are so many great things to do in Hope Town. Below are some highlights from our time on Elbow Cay:

Elbow Reef Lighthouse

The Elbow Reef Lighthouse in Hope Town is the iconic red and white lighthouse at the entrance to the Hope Town Harbor. It is the last active kerosene-burning lighthouse in the world! One evening, while walking the dog, my husband and I met one of the lighthouse keepers, Jackson. After talking with Jackson about the lighthouse, my husband worked lighthouses during his time with the United States Coast Guard; Jackson offered us the opportunity to help him light the lighthouse the next evening. This was an amazing experience.  We returned to the lighthouse during the daytime and took in the beautiful sites of the harbor and coral reefs from the top of the lighthouse.

Hope Town Canvas

My favorite shop in downtown Hope Town is Hope Town Canvas. Similar to Albury’s Sail Shop, Hope Town Canvas recycles old sails and turns them into beautiful and functional bags, backpacks, and more. Since we arrived in Hope Town by sailboat, we also took the opportunity to do our laundry at Hope Town Canvas while checking out all their products for sale. You can also rent bicycles here to explore more parts of the island.

Cap’n Jacks Restaurant and Bar

On Monday nights, be sure to check out Cap’n Jacks. Cap’n Jacks is a restaurant located on Hope Town Harbor, and Monday nights are Bingo night! It is a favorite activity with the locals and visitors alike. You pay $2 per card for each game, and the winning pots, if you are lucky enough to win, were over $350 per game. Unfortunately, we just had fun playing the game with no big winnings to take home.

While playing bingo, we did enjoy the great conch and the best mac n cheese found in the Abacos.

On Da Beach Bar and Restaurant

About a mile south of Hope Town on the island is a fun and relaxing bar on the Atlantic side of Elbow Cay called On Da Beach Bar. It is a nice walk down a paved road from Hope Town, or you can rent a golf cart or bicycle to get there. Often, if you are walking, nice locals or visitors will also pick you up and give you a ride.

While at On Da Beach, we enjoyed a delicious dinner, dancing, and live music from some fellow cruisers while taking in the beautiful beach on the Atlantic Ocean.

Tahiti Beach

While on Elbow Cay, don’t miss the opportunity to go to Tahiti Beach. It is located on the southern tip of the island and is accessible by land or by boat. It is a large white sandy beach in crystal clear waters with a large sandbar that jets from the land.

I recommend going at low tide to walk out on the sand bar and take in the beautiful scenery, and wade out far in the soft white sand and collect shells and sand dollars.

Oftentimes, you will see the food boat Thirsty Cuda anchored here, offering great drinks and snacks!

Beach in Hope Town

If you are looking for a beach closer to Hope Town, check out the beach on the Atlantic side of Elbow Cay. There are a couple of paths in downtown Hope Town that will give you access to this beach.

The beach is very long and wide, and not very crowded, and offers beautiful views of the ocean. On a calm day, it is a great spot for swimming or wading in the water.

Great Guana Cay

Grabbers Bed, Bar and Grill

Grabbers Bed, Bar and Grill is located on the south side of Great Guana Cay on the Sea of Abaco. They have a dock that you can pull your boat up to, along with a beach where you can swim in the water while enjoying food, drinks, fun, and games such as cornhole.

While at Grabbers, we enjoyed a large, delicious pizza, the only pizza we came across in the Abacos.

We dropped anchor out in the harbor in front of Grabbers, and I paddle-boarded in this anchorage as well, watching the numerous sea turtles swimming around.

After checking out Grabbers near our anchorage, we walked across the island to the next popular beach bar, Nipper’s.

Nipper’s Beach Bar and Grill

Nipper’s Beach Bar and Grill is located on the north side of the Cay on the Atlantic Ocean. They have great beach access that stretches miles and provides wonderful swimming on a calm day. If a pool is more your style, don’t worry; they have that too at Nipper’s. It is a great beachy, relaxed atmosphere with great food that should definitely be on your list of places to visit in the Abacos.

Green Turtle Cay

Last, but certainly not least, on my list of things to do in the Abacos, Bahamas, is Green Turtle Cay. It is located northwest of Treasure Cay and southeast of Manjack Cay, accessible by ferry or boat.

I really enjoyed the vibe here. It’s a rather laid-back atmosphere, of course, but it’s more of a community environment and less of a tourist attraction. Several locals live here full-time and are very welcoming to visitors on the island.

I recommend renting a golf cart so you can take in all that it has to offer.

Bluff House Beach Resort and Marina

We stayed at the Bluff House Beach Resort and Marina on the northern end of the island and loved being able to walk across to their beach and Tranquil Turtle Beach Bar. You can snorkel at the beach or enjoy the large swings they have in the water.

Green Turtle Club Resort and Marina

Across White Sound from the Bluff House is Green Turtle Club Resort and Marina. They are known for The Dollar Bar, filled with club burgees (yacht club flags) from all over the world and autographed dollar bills covering the walls.

On the southern end of the island is the town of New Plymouth, where you will find some small grocery stores, shops and several restaurants and bars.

Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar

Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar is home of the original “Goombay Smash.” It is a quaint little establishment starting out in the 1960s. Having heard about the original Goombay Smash, of course, we had to try one out. We ordered our drinks, sat outside, and quickly met cruisers that we hung out with and traded sea stories while enjoying our drinks.

Pineapples Bar and Grill

On the water near New Plymouth at the entrance to Settlement Creek is Pineapples Bar and Grill. This is another fun beach bar, with a pool as well, to swim and enjoy the Bahamian culture. Be sure to order their Conch Fritters, some of the best in the Abacos.

Plymouth Rock Liquors & Café

In the heart of downtown New Plymouth is a small liquor store, Plymouth Rock Liquors & Café, where you can eat an amazing breakfast. What? Breakfast at a liquor store? That’s right, breakfast at a liquor store. It was very reasonably priced and absolutely delicious.

Colorful Caribbean Architecture, Caribbean house exterior with tropical plants and street. Elbow Cay, Hope Town, Abaco, The Bahama.
Photo credit: Sinn P. Photography/Shutterstock.

Plan a Trip to Abacos!

As you can see, there is no lack of things to do in the Abacos, Bahamas. If you love being out on the water, you can go fishing, diving, swimming, and snorkeling. You can also stay on land and enjoy the wonderful establishments and take in the gorgeous scenery. I hope this article helps you plan your next trip to the Abacos, Bahamas!

You Might Also Like

Jill Bockenstette

Jill Bockenstette is an avid sailor with a passion for traveling, saving money, and staying afloat. She is the founder of the blog Money For Mangos where she shares her liveaboard sailing journey and discusses how she saves money to continue her travels with her husband and dog. She has a wealth of knowledge on sailing on a budget, traveling and living aboard that she would love to share with you.

You Might Also Like

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *