Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Given it's placid, warm waters (the beach is protected by a cove) and relative privacy (there's far more isolated space here than you'd find on just about any other beach on Grand Bahama), the beach in front of Old Bahama Bay is the best on Grand Bahama.
One&Only Ocean Club Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Unlike most beaches in the Bahamas, the resort's beachfront is private and well attended, with soft, white sand and water so clear you can spy schools of fish swimming at your ankles. Plus, beachgoers enjoy perks that include a rack for flip-flops, shelves filled with reading material and sunscreen, and complimentary bottles of water.
Fowl Cay Resort Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Crowded beaches are unheard of on this private island resort where a maximum of 28 guests at a time have free range of 50 acres and three beaches. The three private beaches include: the peaceful North Beach, the activity-filled South Beach, and the hidden West Beach, which can be accessed via a hiking trail. Personal boats for daily excursions, on-call service, spacious villas with fully stocked kitchens and wet bars, and a host of all-inclusive activities make Fowl Cay a standout gem in the Exumas.
Pink Sands Rating: 4.0 Pearls
With 25 freestanding cottages along a 20-acre bird sanctuary, this hilly resort is one of just a handful of hotels on Harbour Island. The three and a half miles of soft pink sand is Harbour Island's top attraction, and guests can spread out for romantic beach walks and leisurely swims in the calm turquoise sea. The resort offers free use of lounge chairs and palapas/umbrellas and has beachside service for food and drinks. There is a small hut for watersports with free use of snorkel gear, kayaks, and paddleboards, as well as some children's toys.
The Cove Eleuthera Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Far, far removed from the crowds of Nassau is this 40-acre boutique resort on Eleuthera Island. The hotel's two beaches are man-made, but you'd never guess it: They were designed to fit in with the natural environment. Because this is the non-Atlantic side of the island, the water is mostly calm here, and conditions are ideal for paddle-boarding, kayaking, and snorkeling. Beach toys are also available for kids. There is free use of the cabanas, umbrellas, and sun loungers, and staff are there to help when getting settled on the beach.
Atlantis Paradise Island Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Atlantis features not one, but three distinct beaches. Atlantis Beach is the renamed tail end of Cabbage Beach, one of the nicest stretches of sand in the Nassau area (shared with Riu Paradise Island), but because it can be crowded with thousands of cruise ship passengers and hotel guests, there's also tranquil Cove Beach (exclusive to guests of the Cove resort-within-a-resort) and Paradise Beach, a fine place for romantic walks to the lighthouse.
Paradise Cove Beach Resort Rating: 3.0 Pearls
The family-run and authentic Paradise Cove is located on the western coast of Grand Bahama, 30 minutes from Freeport and along Deadman’s Reef, one of the best snorkel spots on the island. There are just two comfortable two-bedroom villas: one blue and one yellow. Though the bar and grill can get a cruise ship crowd during the day, guests can easily find their own peace and quiet on the sand and even more so in the evening. This is ideal for couples or small groups who can transform the evening vibe into anything they want it to be: party-hearty, kid-friendly, or just plain romantic. Paddleboards (when the waves are not choppy), kayaks, and other rentals are available.
Sunrise Beach Clubs and Villas Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Smack dab between Atlantis Resort, Riu, and the One&Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island, this hidden gem offers 26 units ranging in size from one-, two-, three-, four and even five-bedroom options. The spectacular Cabbage Beach is the highlight of the property and is accessed via a private gate (guests will receive a key code upon check-in). At the bottom of the staircase before hitting the sand is a stand called Archie's selling canned soda, beer, and water along with hot dogs and snacks. Cocktails -- like margaritas, pina coladas, daiquiris, and the Miami Vice (pineapple and strawberry mixed) -- can be ordered here as well. For those who want to rent jet skis, there are plenty of vendors by Riu next door. The beach is entirely public, so guests can walk in either direction to check out the Atlantis or the quieter Ocean Club.
Island Seas Resort Rating: 2.5 Pearls
This 189-unit condo complex is located on a quiet stretch of beach called Silver Point, on the southern coast of Grand Bahama Island. The beach has plenty of lounge chairs and space in either direction for sunbathing and swimming. The sea here experiences a strong tidal force, so the beach does become more narrow during certain times of the day. In the morning, guests can catch a sunrise to the side and walk along the beach. During the day, guests of all ages can be found spread out along the sand napping, reading, snorkeling, using jet skis, or horseback riding. Expect visits from both vendors and photographers.