Located just 50 miles off Florida’s coast, Bimini consists of two islands: North Bimini and South Bimini. Being the closest of the Bahamian islands to the U.S., it’s an ideal destination for a long weekend in lavish tropical surroundings. You can catch a 30-minute flight on a seaplane from Miami or a little longer one from Fort Lauderdale.
Bimini has only recently come onto the tourist radar, which means it’s less crowded and touristy than Nassau. What you can expect are glorious beaches, some serious game fishing, great food and accommodation, and plenty of history.
The best time to visit is between mid-November and late April. In the summer months, it can be very hot and humid. Note that American citizens don’t need a visa for stays of up to 90 days.
Things To Do In Bimini
1. Fountain Of Youth
Legend has it that Spanish explorer and seafarer Ponce de Leon was lured to the island by tales of the Fountain of Youth in the early 1500s. While he failed to find the magic fountain, the legend lives on. Today the locals refer to a well along the airport road of South Bimini as the Fountain of Youth. Carved out of limestone rock thousands of years ago, surrounded by tropical vegetation and a low, white picket fence, you may as well take a sip. The water is super clear. A signpost marks the well.
2. Bimini Road
According to Greek legend, the rich city of Atlantis sank into the ocean in one single day. This myth has inspired divers, explorers, and scientists forever on the hunt for the sunken legendary city. Since its discovery by divers in 1968 in North Bimini, Bimini Road’s origins are hotly disputed. It’s a rock formation 18 feet underwater consisting of a straight line of rectangular limestone blocks that runs for half a mile. This discovery led some to believe that the road to Atlantis had finally been found. Others could not find signs that the road was man-made and believe it’s a natural structure. Be that as it may, it’s a fabulous snorkeling experience to see this unique road and let your imagination run riot. You can visit on a boat trip.
3. Dolphin House Museum
For a one-of-a-kind experience on dry land, head to Alice Town in North Bimini and visit the Dolphin House Museum. It doesn’t house fish but is a unique and artistic structure that is the result of a private initiative by writer and retired school teacher Ashley Saunders. He got his fellow Bahamians to collect and donate materials from the island, some from shipwrecks, some from beaches, and even some from demolition sites. Saunders also contributed his own resources to build this colorful house/museum, which he opened to visitors in 1993. Every inch of the thick walls is covered in a mosaic made from shells, coins, glass, and every other imaginable material. You have to see it to believe it. Saunders does love dolphins, though.
4. SS Sapona
A Shipwreck With History
The partly submerged shipwreck of the SS Sapona sits in 15 feet of water a few miles off Bennetts Harbour in South Bimini. Commissioned by President Woodrow Wilson as a troop transporter, it is built of concrete because steel was in short supply at the time. As it was completed after WWI, it was sold for scrap to Carl Fisher, the Miami entrepreneur, and then saw lives as a casino, a supply ship, and, most famously, storage for contraband alcohol during Prohibition. Fisher reportedly intended to use it as a floating speakeasy as well. During a hurricane in 1926, it ran aground, with some structures still sticking out. The site is full of tropical fish, so it’s a paradise for snorkelers for several reasons. Scuba divers can even venture to the ocean floor and have a peek inside what’s left of the hull and see part of the inner workings.
Pro Tip: If you are into shipwrecks, check out the Gallant Lady, another hurricane victim on the rocks of North Bimini, too.
5. Bimini Beaches
The glorious, sandy beaches of Bimini are where you want to relax during part of your weekend. The best ones are along the western side of North Bimini. You are spoiled for choice, and which one you choose to get a tan on depends on what you want from a beach.
If you crave utter luxury, head for Resorts World Beach Club near Alice Town. Cabanas, loungers with comfy cushions, and cold drinks await to pamper you. A much simpler option where you need to bring your own towels and maybe a picnic is to be found at Radio Beach, just off the Queen’s Highway.
Honeymoon Harbour Beach
Accessible by boat or jet ski only is the lovely Honeymoon Harbour Beach on small Gun Cay. A boat service will take you there for a small fee.
6. Bimini Wahoo Mayhem
The Bimini Wahoo Mayhem is the biggest and best-paying big game fishing tournament in the Bahamas. This amazing and exciting spectacle is staged at the Bimini Club annually in November, during peak Wahoo season in one of the best destinations for Wahoo in the world. Teams come from all around the Caribbean come to compete in this world-class event.
7. Nightlife In Bimini
If you want to end your days of fun and sun dancing and clubbing, you have come to the right place. Just head for the King’s Highway in Alice Town on North Bimini, and you’ll find one bar after the other.
8. Water Sports
If you want to do something more active than lazing in the sun on one of the great beaches, there are plenty of activities waiting for you on Bimini. Number one is probably water sports, from swimming with dolphins or even hammerhead sharks to easy snorkeling and serious scuba diving. Golfers will find the Windsor Downs on the private Car Cay island, which also features tennis courts. The choice is yours.
If you like hiking and enjoying nature up close and personal, take to the one-mile Bimini Nature Trail loop on South Bimini.
9. Bimini Craft Center
No holiday is complete without buying a few souvenirs to take home. On Bimini, you find some excellent crafts, from wood carvings to printed canvas, jewelry made from shells, and many objects crafted from straw. Not to be forgotten: the world-famous Bimini bread. Just stroll along the Bimini Craft Center on King’s Highway in Alice Town, and you are sure to find a little something.
Pro Tip: On land, you get around best on bicycles or golf carts.
Best Restaurants In Bimini
There are two Bimini signature dishes: fresh conch salad and sweet Bimini bread. The first is made from chopped raw conchs, tomatoes, red onions, green peppers, garlic, and lime juice. The second is made with coconut and honey.
Edith’s Pizza & Takeout
Fancy trying a lobster pizza? Then head to Edith’s Pizza & Takeout. You can also order chicken in the bag, accompanied by peas and/or rice. For a drink, opt for juices or the local Kalik beer — and definitely some rum.
Joe’s Conch Stand
For every kind of conch salad, cracked conch, and conch fritters, there is no better place than Joe’s Conch Stand in Bailey Town.
For the sweet Bimini Bread, head to Nate’s up the hill in Bailey’s Town, which the locals call Bonkers Hill. I wondered why, but nobody could tell me!
Best Hotels And Resorts In Bimini
Hilton at World Resorts Bimini
Probably the best known is the luxurious Hilton at World Resorts Bimini. You’ll find all the amenities, spacious rooms, white beaches, and great restaurants. They’ll also arrange trips for you.
Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina
Another option, which is notably more expensive, is the Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina.
Bimini Fun Facts
Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea here (you can visit the house he often stayed in) and indulged in deep-sea fishing and rum drinking. Other well-known personalities who have left their mark are Jimmy Buffett and Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King spent some time in Bimini to prepare his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Look up legendary game fisher and boat builder Ansil Saunders’s house in memory of his friend and best client MLK whom he took around the island. Talk to people about him for great stories.
If you want a real insight into island life, go to a bookshop and look for How To Be a True-True Bahamian. I got lucky and found a copy of this most hilarious tale of being a Bahamian. If you can’t find it, you may want to order it from Amazon before setting off. You’ll enjoy your trip twice as much.