Attractions

Florida & Bahamas Vacation

Bahamas on a Budget Vacation
Written by Town & Tourist

Florida and Bahamas Travel Itinerary: Florida has so much to offer from Orlandos great theme parks to scenic Beaches, the keys, Everglades National Park and even Kennedy space Centre! While the Bahamas is a tropical island hopping paradise the perfect place to relax and dip your toes in the heavenly sands of Nassaus Beaches!

Combining Florida & Bahamas into one Vacation, could be the perfect trip and there are a few options for you have this experience.

Option 1: Flights (Florida to Bahamas) – You could spend a week or more in Florida then hop on a flight over the Bahamas and catch a flight back home!

Option 2: Cruise (Florida to Bahamas) Take a 1 day, 2 day or 3 day trip via a cruise to the Bahamas from Florida.

At Town & Tourist, our travel bloggers have tried both options and in this article we will outline your options for planning a trip to Florida.

Recommended Day Trip from Miami to Bahamas:

If you would just like a fast one day trip to the Bahamas from Miami, I recommend booking this one below by Get your Guide tours. This will take you on an express ferry/Large speedboat to Incredible Bimini Island in the Bahamas. This also includes hotel pickup & beach day pass.

17 Day Florida & Bahamas Itinerary:

As Florida is such a large state, it is recommended that you spend minimum 1 week/10 days or even 2-4 weeks if you have time. This is recommended to really experience all the sunshine state has to offer! Taking a Flight can save you some time, although can be a little costly, depending upon when you book.

10 Day Florida Itinerary:

While in Florida, you have so many options to choose from exciting theme parks to the art deco history region & the Everglades. Planning your trip will depend upon who is in your group, couple, friends, family? Everyones interests? Budget? and what you wish to get out of your Florida vacation.

In this Itinerary we have included the popular attractions in South Florida, such as Miami, Key West and the Everglades!

Option 1: Transport from Miami to Orlando:

If you wish to head to Orlandos Theme parks, great for families I would recommended either extending the trip to 14 days or be prepared to take the 3.5hr drive from Miami in a Rental car. You could also take the bus/coach for as little as $20, journey takes between 4-6hrs or even fly in.

In this article though, we will focus on the highlights of South Florida!

Day 1: Arrive in Miami.

Fly into Miami International Airport, if your flying from a far away state or internationally I recommend arriving in the evening to ensure that you can rest & recuperate before a big day.  Miami has a diverse range of travel options from downtown resorts, to coastal vacation rentals.

miami-Florida- 10 day -itinerary

miami-Florida- 10 day -itinerary

An Iconic accommodation is the FontaineBleau Resort, a historical place where a number of celebrities stayed such as Frank Sinatra. These days it has undergone a complete renovation & now offers a range of opulent accommodation & nightly shows.

Even if you don’t stay there it’s a great place to check out one evening, experience the fine dining, found out more out the history of the resort & even check out one of the vibrant evening shows.

For Accommodation at FontaineBleau Resort, Book well ADVANCE! As places at this iconic hotel sell out fast! To check the latest availability & prices, see Booking.com/Special-Search

Day 2: Miami Tour & Miami Zoo.

I recommend, checking the city life in Miami during your first full day here. Experience the energy, the culture and even the Miami Lifestyle. A popular way to see all the sights is via a tour , this is a nice way to learn about the city, get your bearing & see all the great spots so you can decide what activities to do on the next few days of your trip.

Ocean Drive:

A stroll down Ocean Drive, will really open your eyes to Miamis art deco style and reveal it’s colors. There is also, lots of great places to eat here, family activities and even a vibrant Nightlife along the main strip.

Ocean Drive Miami

Ocean Drive Miami. Source: www.lasikdocs.com

Miami Zoo: 

With so many attractions to choose from in Miami, it’s hard to know where to start. Miami Zoo, is a good place to keep everyone happy, suitable for families, couples and even groups of friends!

Miami Zoo, as a large selection of some of the most exotic wildlife in the world! It also hosts a variety of fun packed & interesting activities & animal exhibits. You can explore the zoo on foot alone, take a guided tour and even a comfortable driving tour over the 750 acres of land!

Miami Zoo Guide

Miami Zoo Guide. Source: Miami Zoo. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Popular Attractions:

  • Safari Camps
  • Wildlife Close Encounters
  • Water Parks
  • Animal Exhibits (Great for Families)
  • Rafting Excursions
  • Kids Playgrounds

Fairchild Botanical Gardens:

If you don’t fancy the zoo, then why not head down to Fairchild Botanical Gardens, for a relaxing stroll through the lush greenery.

Miami Museum of Science:

Another educating option is the check out Miami Museum of Science, which can also easily take up an entire day! At the Museum, you can experience a variety of exhibits, interactive props and exciting demonstrations. There is even a wildlife section & Planetarium.

They run various exhibits throughout the year, including one called Bodies! Be sure to check the Museum timetable in advance to see whats on. This is a great attraction for all ages.

 

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Day 3: Miami Beach & Seaquarium

After a big day touring the city & getting wild at Miami Zoo, you should spend a morning at the famous Miami Beach. The wide beaches run from North Shore Open Space Park, through palm fringed Lummus Park, all the way to South Pointe Park.

South Beach – Is one of the most Iconic parts, popular with models, movie stars and celebrities. A great place to check out.

Miami Beach Venice Beach Artistic Photo Sunset

Miami Venice Beach Artistic Photo Sunset. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Miami Seaquarium: 

After checking out Miami Beach, head down to Miami Seaquarium, this is a fantastic place which can easily take a full day up!

Here you can experience close encounters with everything from Dolphins to Manatees! It’s suitable for all ages and of course perfect for families.

The facility is in partnership with wildlife conservation, so you can sleep well at night knowing there is ethics behind the entertainment. Miami Seaquarium also offers many bucket list experiences to dive right into, where you can literally get your feet wet!

Miami Seaquarium

Miami Seaquarium. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Bucket List Experiences:

  • Swim with cute seals
  • Become a sea life trainer for the day
  • Dive into the reefs while wearing a dive helmet.
  • Variety of Exhibits & Attractions.

Marlins Field Baseball:

Another option instead of Miami Seaquarium, is to head to a Ball game at Marlins Field Ball Park. Catch a Major league Baseball match or even take a tour round the facility.

Miami:

Miami is such a vibrant, diverse city you could easily spend over one week here and still not experience everything! But I recommended three days as a Minimum to really get the most out of the city!

Day 4-5: Everglades National Park

Miami is a great city, but also the national parks and nature reserves surrounding are definitely worth a trip!

The most iconic of these has to be the Everglades National Park, located just 30 miles from Miami centre, a trip here takes between 35-45minutes via highway 45 (Tamiami Trail). You can chose to drive, hire a rental or take a tour there with hotel pickup & drop off from Miami.

Everglades National Park Guide - Florida 7 Day Itinerary

Everglades National Park Guide – Florida 7 Day Itinerary

Everglades Activities:

The Everglades are the ideal location, to experience a variety of fun activities from Hiking, swimming, fishing & boating to camping. My favourite though, has to be the airboat rides through the alligator swamps!

everglades National Park Air boat Alligator tour

everglades National Park Air boat Alligator tour. Source: Viator.  (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Insider Tip: 

Check out the National Park Service (NPS), website for the designated fishing areas.

Biscayne Park & Big Cypress:

Other popular parks nearby include, Biscayne Park & Big Cypress these are great places to both camp & explore nature!

Insider Tip:

I would recommended allocating at least one day to explore the national parks. Tours are recommended, especially if heading back to Miami.

Everglades National Park Florida

Everglades National Park Florida (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Day 6: Canaveral National Seashore:

Canaveral National Seashore is located just to the north of Miami on a barrier Island. It is a recreational Paradise of natural beauty. Perfect for hiking, fishing, Kayaking, swimming, camping & even horse riding!

Insider Tip:

Be sure to check out, the sea turtle conservation & the interactive exhibits around the park. Suitable for all ages.

sea-turtles-Canaveral National Seashore-

Watch the Baby sea turtles during nesting season at Canaveral National Seashore. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

When is nesting turtle season?

The majority of turtle nesting in Florida occurs between May 1st and October 31st.

Fun Fact: Approximately, 90% of all sea turtle nesting in the United States takes place on Florida’s beaches!

It is vital that residents and visitors do their part to make sure the turtles have a safe and successful nesting season.

Florida Shores are also great for Crab Fishing! See Top 12 U.S states to go Crab Fishing! License for your state??

 Kennedy Space Centre:

Probably one of the most iconic attractions in the area, the famous Kennedy Space Centre. Since 1968, this has been the primary launch centre for NASA human powered flights!

The Kennedy Space Centre visitors area is organised into various “Mission Zones” with a variety of attractions and interactive exhibits on offer…detailing NASAs space launch history from the past to the present.

Rocket-Garden_square Kennedy Space Centre Family tips guide

Rocket Garden Square at Kennedy Space Centre. Source: Kennedy Space Centre.  (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

This is a fantastic place for families, but also really interesting & educating for adults of all ages! Just one small step from Orlando or Miami!

Day 7-10: Florida Keys. 

A trip to South Florida, would not be complete without heading to see the gorgeous Florida Keys. The southern most point in the United States of America.

Road Trip from Miami to Florida Keys:

A road trip from Miami to Key West, is one of the most scenic and breathtaking driving routes in America! 

It will take you over the famous overseas Highway 1, and meander through over 40 islands before reaching Key west. The journey is around 1hr 15 mins to Key Largo from Miami then another 4 hours along highway 1 to Key west.

seven-mile-bridge-florida-united-states.jpg

seven-mile-bridge-florida-united-states. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Flights from Miami to Key west:

If you wish to save time, you can also get cheap flights to Key west or tour packages from Miami.

Insider Tip:

The helicopter or plane rides over to Key west offer unbelievable scenery, of the gorgeous eco system & crystal waters.

Where to stay at Florida Keys?

I would recommend, staying on the islands for a few days as the areas spans over 100 miles so plenty to explore. Many tourists choose to stay in Marathon Key which has a wide selection of resorts & a vibrant culture!

For a selection of Hotels & resorts, at Marathon Key, check out the following link on: Booking.  As Marathon Key, is such a small & popular area places tend to sell out fast! Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Marathon Key is a great place to spring board yourself to go and explore the other islands. The area also has a local population which combines art & culture in the most fantastic way!

Activities at Florida Keys:

From Key Largo to Key west, there are plenty activities on offer. From simple strolls, and chilled bike rides and to sport fishing & boating excursions.

A charter boat preparing to sail, Source: visitflorida.com. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Festivals & Events at Florida Keys:

It makes sense to check what events & festivals may be happening in the Florida Keys area, during your vacation. There is always plenty going on & lots to explore.

A really Unique festival is the Underwater Music Festival 2019: Florida Keys July Spectacular!

Florida Keys Underwater Music Festival

One of the talented mermaids playing her fishy flute. Florida Keys Underwater Music Festival. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Florida to Bahamas Day Trips:

After a fun packed trip to Florida, it’s now time to head over the Bahamas for a few days of Relaxation. You have a few options, you could take a 1 day, 2 day or 3 day trip over to the Bahamas via a tour, cruise or flight.

Alternatively you could spend longer in the Bahamas to truly relax. For example, I have outlined a 10 day Itinerary which has recommendations & activities you can use for both short 1 day, 2 day trips etc or the full 10 days!

bahamas-Things to do-Itinerary- Sign post bar

Florida to Bahamas, which way?? (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Florida to Bahamas 1 day Trip:

A Florida to Bahamas Day Trip, can be very long lasting around 14 hours so be prepared to wake up very early and come back late! Despite the tight schedule you can still have walk around the town and experience the paradise beaches.

Florida to Bahamas Cruises:

There are cruises from Port Canaveral and Ft. Lauderdale. Royal Caribbean has a great 4 day, 3 nights cruise from Florida to the Bahamas. For Families, I would recommended the Disney Cruise!

Florida to Bahamas Cruise

Florida to Bahamas Cruise (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Florida to Bahamas Ferries:

There are a variety of ferries running from port of Miami to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, or Bimini. The ride takes around 3hours, however you won’t be short of entertainment. With many ferries, including a casino, duty free shopping and a full bar service.

Tips on Ferries (Florida to Bahamas):

  • There are Customs checks
  • You WILL need a valid passport.
  • Currency is Bahamian Dollar or USA dollar

A Bahamas day trip from Miami often involves an early-morning wake-up and can last upwards of 14 hours. Most tours to the Bahamas include pickup and drop-off at your Miami hotel.

 

Bahamas 7 Day Itinerary: 

The Bahamas has over 700 islands, each offering something unique and it’s very own tropical Paradise. To Island hop it can be a challenge, as there is a relative small amount of scheduled trips between the between islands. However, it is still possible by using speed boats, and a few flights.

Day 1: Nassau Attractions & Culture

Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas. Its crystal waters & coral reefs make it a fantastic hub for diving & snorkeling. We ticked off all the sights first & relaxed on the beaches during our last day.

Nassau Culture Bahamas 7 Day Itinerary

Nassau is a colorful city in the Bahamas. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Head downtown to explore Nassaus history, vibrant culture and jaw dropping architecture. I highly recommend a food tour, for a tongue tantalising experience. Other great attractions & activities include:

One of my favourites has to be the Pirates of Nassau Museum, this is great fun for people of all ages.

Day 2: Nassau Aquaventure

If you wish to dive right into some excitement, I would definitely recommended heading to Aquaventure. A 141-acre aquatic center featuring high-speed waterslides, a lazy river & swimming pools. This place is great for families, but also includes highlights for everyone!

For example, adrenaline junkies can take a thrilling waterslide which plunges through a shark tank! While others may chose to get up close and personal with the cute dolphins & sea lions.

Aquaventure_MayanTemple-Nassau-Bahamas

Aquaventure_MayanTemple-Nassau-Bahamas. Source: Aquaventure by Atlantis Palms. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

How to go for FREE?

To enter the amazing Park for FREE, you will need to stay at the Atlantis Resort for at least one night. Another option, is the Comfort Suites just next door. These both offer a FREE day pass for the park, complementary.

Afterwards dine at one of the 21 restaurants onsite, and then hit the dance floor in the evening at the Aura nightclub.

Insider Tip:

Atlantis Resort has limited number of day passes available for people which aren’t staying at the resort. So to be honest, it’s easier just to stay there! For Prices & Availability, check out our special deals search on Booking.com/Atlantis

Day 3: Nassau to George Town, Exuma

Transport – Nassau to George Town, Exuma:

After exploring Nassau, head to the George Town, Exuma by ferry , flight or if your on a budget hop on board the mailboat!

Budget Mail Boat from Nassau to Exuma:

The Mail boat to Exuma, is a really fun but also budget way of traveling around Bahamas Islands. As they are typically used for carrying freight such as mail, they are not the fastest or the most comfortable but they are definitely affordable & an adventure.

To book your tickets, check availability & schedules at the Dock Master’s office on (242) 393-1064. 

A popular one to George town leaves, from the east side Potters Cay Dock, 4 & 5:30 every Tuesday. This will act as your overnight accommodation (14 hour journey), and transport for $60 per person one way.

The sleeping quarters are basic bunks in air conditioned cabins. For dinner, you will get a meal the same as the crew on board! This is an adventurous unique experience, if nothing else.

Insider Tip:

While on board keep an eye out for the theatrical sunset & even a few dolphins jumping out of the crystal waters!

Day 4: George Town, Exuma:

Depending upon whether you take a flight from Nassau to George town, Cruise or Mail boat will determine how long you have here. Either way, I would recommended a Bahamian Breakfast at Make Club Peace and Plenty this is also a great place to stay.

George Town, Exuma is the perfect place to Spring Board yourself of onto various islands, day trips & excursions.

Stocking Island Bahamas

Stocking Island, close to Georgetown, Bahamas (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Stocking Island:

Regular water taxis run to Stocking Island, just off Georetown port. Here you can find scenic beaches, resorts and a hive of Snorkeling and diving. You can even swim with stingrays!

Insider Tip:

If your in George town on friday, be sure to check out the popular “Fish Fry Friday” , events such as the Annual Cruising Regatta also are exciting events to attend.

Day 5: Visit the Swimming Pigs on Pig Island? 

Thats right, real life piggies swimming in the Bahamas crystal waters! Sounds like the stuff of fairytales, but this is a real place!

Where did the Pigs come from?

There are a range of myths & legends explaining how to the swimming pigs arrived in the Bahamas. One is that a group of sailors, dropped them here but due to unforeseen circumstances didn’t return to cook & eat them. Another legend, says that they are lone survivors of a shipwreck and they swam to shore. Who knows?? Either way they are a unique phenomenon.

Pig Island Bahamas - Exuma Big Major Cay

Pig Island Bahamas – Exuma Big Major Cay.  (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Where is Pig Island?

Big Major Clay:

Pig Beach is located on a small uninhabited island called Big Major Clay in the Exuma region. Around 20 pigs live there, and bask in crystal waters of the island paradise. Big Major clay is actually very far out from the major tourist areas of the Bahamas. Around 50 miles from George town and over 80 miles from Nassau.

Swimming Pigs at Pig Island Bahamas

Swimming Pigs at Pig Island Bahamas. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Exuma District:

The Exuma is an area of the Bahamas with over 360 islands! It is world renowned as one of the most beautiful island chains in the entire Caribbean.

Fun Fact: 

Some of the Islands in Exuma are privately owned by movies stars such as Johnny Depp and even the famous Magician David Copperfield! (Maybe he made the pigs appear…abracadabra, Oink Oink!)

Compass Cay – Shark Island! 

Compass Cay is another fantastic island in the Exuma district. Known for it’s protected harbor area which is famous for a large population of Friendly Sharks!

Swimming with Sharks at Compass Cay?

You read that correct “Friendly Sharks”, the sharks at Compass Cay are nurse sharks and are for the most part harmless to humans! Although, they can grow as large as 14ft and weigh between 200-330lbs so can still be intimidating for some!

compass Cay Bahamas Swimming with sharks

compass Cay Bahamas Swimming with sharks. Source: Golden yacht charters. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Allens Cay – Iguanas:

While the Pigs cause many to flock to Big Major Cay, Allens Cay is a hub for a variety of Iguanas & other reptiles. The Iguanas here are the Northern Bahamian Rock Iguana & are endangered & indigenous to these islands.

Feeding the Iguanas?

Popular tours offer the chance to feed the Iguanas, fruits or Vegetables. They love the beach so are easy to spot!

Fun Fact: The Iguanas here can live up to 40 years!

Iguana Island- Allens cay

Iguana Island- Allens Cay. Source; Pinterest. (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Great Exuma Island:

Great Exuma Island, is a fantastic place to stay if you really want that authentic island paradise in addition to be close to the unique swimming pigs & the Cay Islands.

They have plenty of resorts, which offer unbelievable views such as Sandals Emerald Bay.

Day 6: Head Back to Nassau 

If you have extra days definitely spend a few in Great Exuma Island, before flying back from George town.

However, if you have just 7 days and plan on catching the budget mail boat back then now is a good time to set of back to Nassau. Be sure to check ferry times & book well in advance. 

Day 7: Nassau Beaches

The beaches in Nassau are a white sanded paradise, which offer a true heavenly experience see a short list below:

  • Cable Beach.
  • Love Beach. 
  • Saunders Beach. 
  • Junkanoo Beach. 
  • Cave Beach. 
  • Jaws Beach and Clifton Heritage Park.
Nassau Bahamas

Melia Resort Nassau Bahamas (Florida & Bahamas Itinerary/Vacation.)

Cable Beach

Cable Beach in Nassau is probably the most popular beach in Nassau. A popular hub of all inclusive beach resorts and with plenty of restaurants & shops nearby.

Love Beach

Love Beach is situated just 20 minutes from downtown Nassau and offers a completely different vibe compared to Nassau Beach. It’s prized gem is it’s 40 acres of coral which is great for snorkeling!

These are the perfect place to Relax before catching your flight back home! 

Where to Stay in Nassau?

Sandals Resort Private Island:

Sandals Resort is where we stayed on our final night in the Bahamas, and believe me it offers an indulgent & heavenly experience. From the massages, to tasty cuisine, unlimited drinks and even three private beaches. For Prices & Availability, check out the following link on Booking.com. Like most of the resorts recommend in this post, they do SELL OUT FAST, so book well in advance.  If you don’t believe me check the dates for a last minute trip ;).

Sandals Resort Private Island-

Sandals Resort Private Island. Source: Sandals resorts.  (Florida & Bahamas Vacation)

Florida & Bahamas Vacation:

Florida & the Bahamas is arguably one of the most memorable vacations, we have ever taken! It offered everything from; activities to relaxation, fun and excitement. From the Key west drive to Pig Island, this is a great vacation to make some real memories!

Recommended Day Trip from Miami to Bahamas:

If you would just like a fast one day trip to the Bahamas from Miami, recommend booking this one below by Get your Guide tours. This will take you on an express ferry/Large speedboat to Incredible Bimini Island in the Bahamas. This also includes hotel pickup & beach day pass.

Need Help booking a Trip?

If you fancy the Town & Tourist, travel experts taking all the hassle out of planning simply drop them an email: Mail(at)TownandTourist.com.

Town and Tourist, does not simply offer you a package but will book you, your very own personalized & custom trip to suit the needs of you & your group. Whether that be a couple, friends or your entire family.

All custom packages include, planning, flights, accommodation and insurance. Your trip will be assigned it’s own dedicated travel manager who you can call up anytime, should you have any questions or concerns. 

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Town & Tourist

A travel resource guide that has been carefully crafted and curated by travel bloggers to help you find the best places to travel to in the USA.