The Budget-Friendly Alternative To This Crowded Bahamas Island Is Just As Memorable

The Bahamas is what tropical dreams are made of. From one-of-a-kind swimming experiences to its unexplored national parks, rich cultural heritage, and — of course — pristine beaches, this not-so-little slice of heaven has plenty of things to see and do that'll keep even the pickiest of beach bums happy.

With 16 major islands and countless cays spread out across more than 100,000 square miles in the Caribbean, the Bahamas' tropical allure and year-round pleasant climate makes it incredibly popular with travelers — from solo explorers to couples and globe-trotting families — looking for some fun under the sun. In fact, a whopping 8 million people visited the islands in 2023 alone — a record-breaking number that clearly shows its appeal. However, it's precisely this popularity that can make it so difficult to enjoy — especially when more visitors typically means higher prices, overcrowded tourist spots, and even environmental strains.

Luckily, though, there are still untouched destinations away from the bustle of places like Nassau, The Exumas, and Freeport. Just 50 miles off the coast of Florida, Bimini — which is actually made up of two islands: North and South Bimini — beckons travelers looking to escape the crowds and enjoy a secluded, budget-friendly getaway. Affordable, vibrant, and brimming with things to do in and around the water, Bimini offers a more authentic Bahamian experience that doesn't break the bank.

Soaking up some fun in Bimini

For starters, no trip to Bimini would be complete without a stop by one of its beaches. Small in size but mighty in beauty, Bimini's seaside spots are each as enticing as the next. From Radio Beach and Blister Beach — located in North Bimini — to South Bimini's Tiki Hut Beach, it's all about turquoise waters and white sands that are perfect for kicking back with a cool drink in hand.

However, the fun doesn't stop there. Off the coast, water sports abound. Whether it's windsurfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, or jet skiing, adrenaline junkies will have plenty to get their heart racing. Along with this, underwater sports like snorkeling and diving are also a big draw. Don't miss a chance to explore The Bimini Road: an underwater path of rocks and stones that's said to lead toward the mythical city of Atlantis. Other diving experiences — suitable for both beginners and experienced divers — include shark diving, exploring the nearby reefs, checking out the underwater caves, and visiting a nearby shipwreck.

Love fishing? You're in luck! Known as one of the top fishing destinations in the Bahamas — and considered by some travelers as the "fishing capital of the world" — Bimini doesn't disappoint if you're hoping to take home a trophy. Perfect for a deep sea fishing adventure, Bimini's year-round fishing opportunities mean you'll have the chance to reel in everything no matter the season — from blue marlin to mackerel, snapper, tuna, and more.

Planning your visit

Because of its proximity to mainland USA, the easiest and most affordable way to visit Bimini is via ferry from Fort Lauderdale. Operated by Balearia Caribbean, the trip takes roughly about two hours and runs every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday and prices for adults start from $180. Keep in mind that you will need a passport to visit the Bahamas — even if you're ferrying in — so make sure that's safely packed along with your sunscreen and swimsuit (you definitely don't want to forget those).

Once on the island, accommodations start from $229 at spots like the Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina, or around $339 for a room at the North Bimini Hilton Resort. Smaller lodgings like the Sea Crest Hotel & Marina also offer affordable accommodations for around $155 for a standard double room with a maximum of four guests per room — making it the perfect option if you're trying to keep to your budget.

As for choosing where to eat, make sure you stop by Hemingway's Restaurant — named after the famous American novelist who considered Bimini his favorite fishing spot — as well as other lowkey eateries such as Ebbie's Bonefish Club for some traditional Bahamian bites, CJ's Deli, and Edith's Pizza & Takeout for a seaside take on pizza toppings. If you're looking to splash out, crowd-favorite Tides Restaurant at the Hilton Resort has a diverse breakfast and dinner menu.