Lenny Kravitz owns a home in Eleuthera and celebrity sightings are relatively common, if somewhat surprising in this unpretentious, un-Hollywood destination. On our last night on the island, Cee Lo Green rolled in to a local restaurant with a 12-person entourage and no one gave him a second look. It’s just that kind of place.
Here, we reveal our top picks for a weekend trip (36 hours, give or take) to Eleuthera. It’s a whirlwind itinerary for sure but for travelers looking for a well-balanced weekend getaway in the tropics, this provides a solid mix of relaxation and more adventurous pursuits.
With regular flights in and out of Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL), getting to North Eleuthera (ELH) is rarely more than a one-stop flight from many destinations in the United States. Plan to arrive at ELH around noon for lunch and a mid-day start.
Preacher’s Cave is historically significant as the first vestige of safe harbor for the Eleutheran Adventurers when they landed on the island in the 18th century. It is here that they found shelter and held some of their first ever religious services. A large boulder still stands as a pulpit at the far end of the cave.
Today, few other signs remain of the old explorers however the cave remains an interesting stop on any tour of the island. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, check out nearby Tay Bay Beach for a little hiking and exploring.
1p / Glass Window Bridge
Not far from Preacher’s Cave, you’ll find the famous Glass Window Bridge – the geographical link from North Eleuthera to “mainland” Eleuthera. While it was once the sight of a stunning natural arch connecting the two land masses, frequent hurricanes eventually destroyed the original bridge.
Today, the current bridge is all that separates the deep dark Atlantic on one side and the quiet, tranquil waters of the Caribbean on the other. The difference is stunning and the view is well worth a photo opp.
Just south of Glass Window Bridge are The Queen’s Baths – an array of natural “hot tubs” worth a swim if the tide pull isn’t too strong. (Note: don’t attempt to swim here if the seas are rough! During our visit, the surf was particularly strong and even the most expert swimmer would’ve easily been swept away)
2p / Lunch @ Daddy Joe’s
Heading south away from The Queen’s Bath, you’ll find Daddy Joe’s in less than a mile. Like most anywhere on Eleuthera, it’s a laid-back, no frills vibe with a universally warm, welcoming staff.
The lunch and dinner menus feature a solid mix of excellent seafood and traditional Caribbean and Bahamian dishes, including grouper stew, fried plantains and (naturally) all manner of conch. It’s a happening spot on the weekends when locals swarm the bar to partake in a variety of live music acts, DJs, and backyard BBQs.
4p / Surfer’s Beach
If you love to surf or just want to try it for the first time, it makes sense to stop at … Surfer’s Beach. Here southwest winds blow in breakers from the Atlantic, creating near-perfect surf conditions. If you’d rather spectate, take a walk on the nearly two miles of flawless, flour-soft white sand – some of the nicest in all of the Bahamas.
7p / Dinner + Drinks @ Front Porch Delights Bar & Grill
Drop in to this charming beachfront restaurant for another decidedly unpretentious meal. Grab a seat on the driftwood bar out back and watch the sunset over Hatchet Bay. The menu changes daily but expect a heavy rotation of excellent local seafood favorites.
Overnight @ Pineapple Fields
If I’d made my internet millions already a la Mark Zuckerberg, Pineapple Fields is the sort of no-frills place I’d envision myself retiring to. It’s beautiful, lush, laid back, and directly across the street from the ocean. The centrally located pool offers plenty of room to spread out and the well-manicured grounds feel luxurious, warm, and welcoming.
The “rooms” (available in 1- and 2-bedroom configurations) are more like large, full-featured condos with all the amenities of home: full kitchen, large living space, spacious balcony/patio, and a separate sleeping area.
Before you get too settled in, hop across the street to Tippy’s Restaurant (more on that later) and check out the gorgeous beach immediately out back. It’s probably where you’ll be spending most of your time anyway.
9a / Breakfast @ Unique Village Restaurant, Palmetto
Unique Village Restaurant in Palmetto is no-frills, island dining at its finest and the view is fantastic. Unlike here in The States where it’s rife with Denny’s, Waffle House, etc., Bahamians don’t make a big thing of breakfast. However, the menu offers plenty of traditional local dishes, including simple fare like tuna and grits or fish stew and johnny cakes. And even the simple ham, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich was quite tasty.
Head back to Pineapple Fields and stop in at their newly launched Forty’s Sports and Rental Shop. Located next to the Bank’s Road Deli, Forty’s rents everything from baby strollers to beach chairs and umbrellas. Spend the morning on the water, whether it’s kayaking, snorkeling, boogie boarding, water skiing – just about anything really.
1p / Lunch @ The Bistro Restaurant
One reason to stop at Sky Beach Club Resort’s onsite restaurant The Bistro: swim-up bar. It’s touted as a “fine dining experience” and that may well be accurate. But grab a seat at one of the underwater bar stools, while drinking, dining, and enjoying perfect views of the Atlantic Ocean. And the food ain’t bad either – international cuisine with daily specials inspired by local grouper, hog fish snapper and lobster.
2:30p / Fishing + Snorkeling in Anchor Bay with Paul Petty
After lunch, hop over to Anchor Bay for a charter fishing trip with the famous Paul Petty. Paul’s been guiding travelers in and around Eleuthera forever and is perhaps the best known fisherman in the Governor’s Harbour area. Just let him know what type of trip you’re interested in and he’ll create a custom itinerary for you. (Also: don’t forget to pickup snorkeling equipment from Pineapple Fields in the morning – just $15pp + tax!)
7p / Dinner @ Tippy’s
If Pineapple Fields is the place I’d retire to to relax and wile away my days by the pool, their onsite restaurant Tippy’s is where I want to spend those days drinking Kalik and tapping my feet to the weekly rotating cadre of steel drum and Caribbean rhythm bands. The vibe is picture-perfect “toes-in-the-sand Caribbean chill”.
It comes as no surprise that Tippy’s has been lauded as one of the best beach bars in the Bahamas: “… not some rickety shack but the epicentre of the Island’s emerging social whirl.” (NY Times)
USA Today claimed, “Eleuthera [is] the home of one of the best beach-bar restaurants you will find anywhere, Tippy’s.”
I would go so far as to say it’s perhaps the best beach bar I’ve ever had the pleasure of cracking a lager in.
A chalkboard menu is brought tableside to peruse the day’s offerings. Our group sampled a number of appetizers and entrees – everything was excellent. I highly recommend the generously sized and tasty coconut shrimp and conch fritters to start. Entrees include a rotating menu of whatever’s fresh that day – a variety of pizzas, Bahamian seafood chowder, seared tuna, and more.
Stick around, especially on the weekends for live music with plenty of classic covers, original Caribbean tunes, and the obligatory happy (drunken) birthday celebrations.
Overnight @ Pineapple Fields
Spend your last, post-dinner hours combing the beach near Tippy’s by moonlight. Return to Pineapple Fields across the street, crack the door on your porch, and fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean. It’s the perfect end to a long weekend on Eleuthera.
If you have the time (or money), stick around for an extra day or two to explore nearby Harbour Island — there’s plenty to see and do there as well!