Enjoy a day of relaxation near the Bahamas' crystal blue waters. (Photo: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images )
Miami's proximity to many Caribbean islands means a day of adventure abroad just a quick boat ride away. Grand Bahama, a two-hour boat ride from the coast of Miami via nearby Port Everglades, shows you the sights, sounds and tastes of the Caribbean with miles of white-sand beaches and tropical terrain Bring your passport before cruising from Miami to the Bahamas.
Balearia Bahamas Express (ferryexpress.com) is the only one-day cruise from the Miami area to the Bahamas, although several cruise providers offer two-day trips to Freeport and Nassau. Departing from Port Everglades, which is a 35-minute drive from Miami, ticket prices start at $49.50 each way or $90 each way for first-class at the time of publication. The ferry ride to Freeport, Grand Bahama takes about two hours and the boat has a full-service bar, duty-free shops and movies. The ferry departs Port Everglades and Freeport Harbour twice daily.
Take a Tour
If you only have the day in Freeport, joining in on one of the many island tours by bicycle, bus or Jeep. Tours often stop at the island's famous marketplaces for duty-free shopping, Millionaire's Row for a peak at the best of local life, and the area's parks and gardens to explore the natural sites.
Enjoy the Nature
The island's tropical jungle has wildlife, waterfalls and lush vegetation, which you can experience in a day. A variety of tours take you to Lucayan National Park, where much of Grand Bahama's diverse terrain is on display. The park includes Ben's Caves, one of the longest known underwater cave systems in the world. You can explore the caves on land, via walking trails, or — if you are an experienced diver — in the water. Garden of the Groves ( a U.S. Wildlife Federation Wildlife Habitat, is a gorgeous spot for an up-close look at the area's jungle and wildlife, including bird watching among the diverse tropical bird habitats.
Seek Some Action
If you're looking to fill your day with action in Grand Bahama, snorkel or dive near the reefs; vendors will transport you off-shore via their boats for a fee. A variety of rentals are available at most beaches for water sports, including water skiing, motorboats, kayaking, wind surfing and parasailing. If you're looking to stay dry, book a round at a golf course or enjoy the beach by horseback. Sanctuary Bay is a famous location for swimming with the dolphins.
Hit the Beaches
Gold Rock Beach, a small island accessible by boat or bridge, is a secluded paradise perfect for a day of sunning. Some day tours dock here to offer a barbecue lunch on the sand and beach activities. The beach itself has no restrooms or services and there is a small fee to access. Lucaya Beach is one of the larger area beaches with mega-resorts lining the sand. The beach is accessible to the public and has a wide variety of options for dining or drinks along the sand as well as rentals for water activity.