This Lesser-Known Island In The Bahamas Is The Spot For Ditching Crowds On Your Tropical Getaway

The islands of the Bahamas are a dream vacation spot. The beaches are gorgeous, and it seems that there are somehow more shades of blue in the ocean than you knew existed. Imagine yourself lying on the shore, dreaming about doing absolutely nothing, letting the sun bake out your stresses... until you're disturbed by someone's music or the crush of other people trying to find just the right spot for their umbrellas. 

If this has happened to you, or you've heard all about how packed these islands get, you may want to avoid some of the more well-known places in this area. We have just the spot for you, with lots to do on land and in the sea. Even better? It's not overrun by other travelers, with the more frequented island of Nassau 100 miles south. This island is Elbow Cay in the Abaco Islands. This little gem in the northeast of the Bahamas is a mere four miles long. There are no airports here, but you can fly into nearby Marsh Harbor and take the ferry to Hope Town on Elbow Cay.

There are only about 400 residents on the island and only a handful of hotels, with many people choosing vacation rental homes. You'll be able to relax, knowing that the best beach spot isn't going to be taken. Let's take a look at what to do on Elbow Cay and what you need to know about this stunning island. 

Elbow Cay on land

The main village in Elbow Cay is Hope Town, founded in 1785. It's full of colorful houses, several restaurants, and pretty little shops. (There are grocery stores here, so if you rent a house, you can stock up.) There was some damage from Hurricane Dorian several years ago, but the town is recovering. You can rent a golf cart if you want to tour the island, but the town itself has banned conveyance with motors so that you won't be dodging cars as you shop. 

You've probably seen a picture of Elbow Cay's lighthouse (above) in brochures about the Bahamas, and it's easy to see why. It looks like a barber pole or a candy cane. It's still run manually with kerosene, and to get there, you'll need a boat, though they're very easy to rent. In fact, if you're lucky, a local may just let you hitch a ride. You can climb to the top, but be warned the way up is steep. Visiting the nearby Wyannie Malone Historical Museum will give you insight into the history of this place. 

The best time of year to visit is... well, any time of year, really. It gets pretty warm in the summer, but even in the winter, the temperatures range between the low 60s and high 70s. There's something to enjoy in every season.

Elbow Cay in the sea

If fishing is your thing, you can try your hand at reeling in the big fish like mahi-mahi or wahoo with a half or full-day boat rental, with or without a guide. (We recommend a guide as they know the best fishing spots.) You can also do some diving and snorkeling here in the Abaco Reef, which is the third-largest barrier reef in the world. You'll see brain and elkhorn coral, bonefish, and some sharks. There are also a few tide pools to explore. 

Obviously, most people come to the Bahamas for the beaches, and one of the best ones on Elbow Cay is Tahiti Beach, which is the perfect snorkeling spot. It sits on the southwestern end of Elbow Cay, and it's fairly quiet. However, this beach has something pretty unique. There is a small boat called Thirsty Cuda that sits right off the shore, and you can wade right into the waist-high water to order food and drinks. Seriously, it's a floating bar/restaurant. Be sure to try the conch fritters, and check their Facebook page for their hours.