Believe it or not, it’s possible to visit the Bahamas from Miami for a day trip. There are two ways to take a day trip to the Bahamas from Miami: by boat or by plane. The transportation times are short and the transit cost is affordable—which makes a day-trip viable. My preference is to visit Grand Bahama Island via the Balearia Bahamas Express ferry, for reasons that I describe later on in this post.
You may ask: why a day trip to the Bahamas instead of a longer stay? My answer is that it really comes down to time and budget. Some folks have a shorter trip itinerary to work with, or they are tight on budget. Spending a day in the Bahamas checks the box of being able to experience the Islands in a cost-effective way, as you won’t have to pay for items like the cost of a checked bag or a hotel stay.
Option 1: Going on a Day Trip to the Bahamas by Plane
What airport should I fly from in Miami to get to the Bahamas? The two airports that transport passengers to/from the Bahamas in the Miami area are Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Miami International Airport (MIA). I recommend flying from the airport that’s the closest to your accommodation to cut back on the ground-transportation time.
What islands can I fly to in the Bahamas, from Miami?: There are a few islands that you can fly to in the Bahamas. The two islands that are most recommended for a day-trip are Freeport & Nassau islands.
What is the average flight time from Miami to the Bahamas?: The average flight time varies depending on what location you’re flying to. On average, flight times range from 30 minutes to one hour each way.
What are the pros of flying to the Bahamas from Miami vs. taking a Boat there? The “in-flight” time from the Bahamas to Miami is very short. You can also access different Islands by flight than you would be via boat for a day-trip due to their distance from Miami.
What are the cons of flying to the Bahamas from Miami instead of taking a boat there? Flights can sometimes be more costly than a boat ride to the Bahamas. You will also have to arrive at least an hour early and go through the security check-in process before your flight.
- How Can I find cheap flights from Miami to the Bahamas? My favorite tool for finding cheap flights is Skyscanner.com. Another budget saving tip is to look ticket costs up on Tuesday’s—airlines re-evaluate their inventory on these days and often reset their prices. Flying on off-peak travel days (i.e., Tuesday’s and Thursday’s) can also help cut down on travel costs.
Option 2: Going on a Day Trip to the Bahamas by Boat
In my opinion, the best way to go to the Bahamas for a day trip is by boat. The Balearia Bahamas Express is a great company that facilitates a day trip to the Bahamas. The company offers affordable tickets, quick and comfortable transportation, and frequent departures. Here are some helpful questions/answers about what it’s like to take the ferry to the Bahamas for a day. All answers are based on what my experience was like with the Balearia Bahamas Express.
- What Islands Can I visit if I go to the Bahamas by boat? You can access every island in the Bahamas via boat. However, if you’re looking to go on a day-trip then the two most accessible islands by boat in the Bahamas are Grand Bahama Island and Bimini Island.
- How long is the trip to Grand Bahama Island from Miami by boat?: Grand Bahama Island is about 197 miles off the coast of Miami, and getting there by boat takes about 3 hours each way.
- How frequent are the departures to/from Miami and Grand Bahama Island on the Balearia Express? Departure times may vary but when I went the boats departed/arrived every 2-hours. I was able to leave Miami at 7 AM and then take a boat from the Bahamas back to Miami at 7 PM.
- Is the Balearia Express comfortable?: Yes, the Balearia Express is extremely comfortable. You can walk around, stretch your feet, eat in a cafe, and stand on the boat deck and take in the views.
- What are the benefits of taking a boat to Miami instead of flying there? The boat ride is a better experience than flying. On the boat, you’re able to look at the ocean while transporting there, eat at the cafe, stretch around and walk.
- How much does it cost to take the Balearia Express to Miami?: Ticket costs vary based on date/time/season but when I went, I paid $90 total for a round-trip ticket.
Suggested Activities to do on Grand Bahama Island
There’s a lot to do on Grand Bahama Island. If you go for a day trip, you won’t be able to “see it all” but you’ll definitely get to experience enough of the island to make the trip worthwhile. I suggest choosing 1-2 great sites to see during your day-trip. Here are a handful of activities that fun to do on Grand Bahama Island:
- Spend some time at the beach: If you do nothing but relax on the beach at Grand Bahama Island, then you’ve had a successful trip. This could very well be the only activity that you participate in during your day trip to the Bahamas, and that would be a day well spent. There are several beaches to choose from on the Island, but some of the highest-rated beaches are Gold Rock Beach, Taino Beach, and Fortune Beach. If a beach is next to a resort, then you can pay the resort a small fee for a “day pass” in order to use their facilities (pool, etc.) and sit on the beachfront.
- Lucaya Marketplace: Located in Port Lucaya, The Lucaya Marketplace is a great place to visit in order to experience the culture of Grand Bahama Island. The marketplace features rows of shops that sell local hand-made goods and foods. There are a few great restaurants located near the marketplace that are worth checking out, too.
- Lucayan National Park: Lucayan National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Grand Bahama Island. A few scenes from Jurassic Park filmed in the park. Visitors can snorkel along the underwater cave system or simply walk around and enjoy.
- Garden of the Groves: This is a beautiful garden on the island. Here, you can view diverse wildlife and have lunch in the middle of the landscape.
- Swim with dolphins, Flamingos & pigs!: Grand Bahama Island offers opportunities to experience the Caribbean with lots of wildlife; including, dolphins, flamingos, and pigs. The pig swim is perhaps the most unique, ad what you might see several Instagram pictures of when researching the island.
Going on a day trip to the Bahamas was one of the coolest things that I’ve done. I was shocked to see how accessible a trip to the Bahamas was from the United States. It was really surreal to be able to wake up, go to another country, and then go to sleep again in the USA. If you decide to go to the Bahamas on a day-trip to Miami, then I highly recommend going by ferry to get the full experience, as I did. If you have any questions, comments, or additional suggestions for readers – please drop them in the comments below.