If there is one thing my husband has learned over the years, it’s that I love birthdays AND surprises. Even better if the two coincide. And an extra cherry on top if there is a white sandy beach with beautiful clear water involved.
Last year for my 40th Steve surprised me and our closest friends with a trip to Cabo. I mean how can you top that?! Well ladies, he’s done it again. This year for my 41st he surprised me with a family trip to…THE BAHAMAS!!!
Side note: Because Steve has a hard time keeping secrets, he did tell me ahead of time that we were going to The Bahamas. But he didn’t tell me where in The Bahamas until we got to the airport.
If you happened to see any of my Instastories while we were there, you know how beautiful this place truly is. I mean seriously, this was our view flying in. Amazing right?
Let’s dive right in shall we? (Pun intended!)
First things first, I’m sure you’re wondering, why The Bahamas? Well I’ll tell ya! Steve was recently on a guys fishing trip in The Bahamas and stopped over in Harbour Island. He was taken back by the people, the beauty and how it was completely on island time.
At the time, it just so happened that he was trying to find a location to surprise the family with and instead it found him!
Growing up in Florida, my family would often take my dad’s boat across the water and stay together on the islands in the Abacos. So many fun memories were made on those trips with me and my siblings. When Steve told us we were going to The Bahamas, I couldn’t wait to re-create a similar experience for Lily and Luke. Insert cute picture here:
WHERE TO STAY
Where we stayed was a dream. The best dream. I mentioned white sandy beaches earlier, but FUN FACT, the sand on Harbour Island is actually pink! This is because of all of the conch shells that have crumbled up over time. It was like looking at the most beautiful sunset all day long.
There was one minor setback when we arrived. Dumore Realty. We rented the house through them and I gotta say we probably won’t be using them again. The trip was off to a rocky start when we found out that the groceries we ordered ahead of time came out to be a total of $1,600. I’m talking breakfast items, snacks for the beach, a bottle of vodka, a bottle of tequila and not much else. Not a long list, right? The whole thing felt very odd and they couldn’t even provide us with a receipt, give us an explanation as to why groceries were marked up, or refund our money. It was a bummer but we tried not to let it ruin our trip. I mean we were in paradise. I would have been happy eating sand. lol
Enough of that, let’s get back to the fun stuff!!
On Harbour Island, you can either rent harbor side or beach side. We rented beachside to be as close as possible to that crystal clear water and pink sandy beach!
There aren’t any big hotel chains on the island. Most of the places to stay are small intimate hotels with a bed and breakfast feel to them. I actually LOVE that.
There are plenty of reasons to stay in a hotel over a house and vice versa. Ultimately, Steve decided to rent a private house instead of a hotel as he planned to do some fishing and wanted us to have access to a kitchen. Call us crazy, but we do like to cook even on vacation!
Many of you noticed on my Instastories that it didn’t appear that there many people on the beach around us. That’s because there weren’t many at all! It really was so serene and felt very private.
If you do rent a house, make sure it has a generator. The power goes out on the island often and you’ll want to make sure you have a backup to ensure you have power when it does.
There are a handful of hotels on the island if you do not want to rent a private home. These are the hotels I would recommend:
Ocean View Club
The Dunmore Hotel – https://dunmorebeach.com
Beautiful blue and white striped painted facade. This place is absolutely gorgeous and was once an invitation-only beach club.
The Coral Sands – https://www.coralsands.com
Neck in neck with The Dunmore in terms of quality. Beautiful boutique style resort.
The Ocean View Club – http://www.ilovetheoceanview.com
One look at the website and you’re in! Cute, funky to-die-for decor.
Pink Sands Resort – http://www.pinksandsresort.com
They grow their own fruits, veggies and herbs right there on the property. Need I say more?
Valentine’s – https://www.valentinesresort.com
Connected to the marina with a spa and restaurants on site.
The Landing – http://harbourislandlanding.com/
This property dates back to the 1800s and has only 13 rooms. As mentioned, the restaurant there is unbelievable.
The Rock House – https://www.rockhousebahamas.com
Originally a private home and then a bed and breakfast. Adults only for any of you looking to go somewhere kid-free. Although kids may dine there, and it was one of our best meals out.
WHERE TO SHOP
There’s quite a few darling shops on the island. We spent one day during a brief rain’s shower to take in the local flair.I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have a local piece of clothing or a handmade necklace as a souvenir over a magnet or coffee mug any day. India Hicks has a really beautiful store right on the bay front called the The Sugar Mill. Lily and I could have stayed there all day, but the boys weren’t having it. I did manage to come out of that trip with a great necklace and perfume.
WHAT TO EAT
A major plus was that all of the restaurants were within walkable distance from where we were staying. Which brings me to all of the to-die-for meals we had. Seriously, not one bad meal the entire trip.
Sip Sip – If you’re looking for a nice patio to enjoy lobster, quesadillas, and great margaritas Sip Sip is your go-to. AND they offer boiled seafood on Sundays, plus a patio…need I say more?!
The Landing – we ate here for both dinner and breakfast. For dinner, definitely suggest their fresh catch anyway they can prepare it. I’m telling you, they literally catch it right off the dock. For breakfast, they made all of our dreams come true with their ricotta pancakes and avocado toast with lemon cream cheese. Out of this world!
If you wanna know where the locals eat it’s The Queen Conch– best cracked conch + fritters on the island and Harry O’s for the fresh conch salad, try the exotic version. I’m still dreaming about it.
The Queen Conch – has a more casual and beachy vibe going on. I mean you can literally walk in straight from the beach still rocking your swimsuit, cover up, and flip flops. Guilty! Think bar food but with the freshest seafood ever. I suggest the cracked conch-they do this by beating it up to a pulp and frying it. Slap a little of their secret magic sauce on it and…just wow. Don’t forget the grouper fingers. Yum!
Harry O’s – you can indulge in the best conch around and even walk up to watch them prepare it. Super cool! Make sure to start a conversation with the girls, you’ll learn a lot. They make a mean conch salad which is like a ceviche dish. And go exotic. It mixed with all the local fruits. Extra yum!
WHAT TO DO
If you’re going to Harbour Island, don’t plan on being in a rush or having much to do. You’re really forced to just relax, unwind and enjoy doing nothing. Exactly what you should be doing on vacation is you ask me!
I do suggest renting a golf cart so that you can easily explore and mingle with the locals, who by the way, are so kind and accommodating. I’m not even exaggerating when I say their eyes twinkle with sincerity. Speaking of which, a special shoutout to our house caretaker, Benjamin, who just the best and everything you would expect a cool island guy to be!
One thing you must do is go swimming with the pigs. Now, I know what you may be thinking but I mean…come on! They’re so cute! We chartered a boat through Lil Shan’s Watersports Rental who took us out to where the pigs were and helped us get them out into the water.
Overall, Harbour Island is one of the most beautiful places in the world and if you get the opportunity to go – take it. It’s the perfect getaway for a family vacation, girls trip, or any other reason you can find under the sun! Plenty to do and explore. Easily some of the best five days we’ve spent together as a family.
You know it’s good when you book your next visit be fore you leave. Heading back this Spring and yes, I’m counting down the days. This time we booked with Bahamas Real Estate, ask for Alex, tell him Landy sent you. He’s literally been the BEST!
WHO TO CALL
Here’s a little run down of who we used on the island, wether that be taxi from the airport to the golf cart rental company and who took us to see those adorable pigs!
Taxi 99 – Taxi & Tour Services
Bahamas Real Estate
Lil’ Shans Watersports
WHAT I WORE
Questions still pop up about items I wore on my trip. Here’s a post I did before we left showcasing everything that was in my suitcase. You can see it all on the Bahama Mama post. Remember the funny video that went with? And even better most of it’s on major S A L E! There’s some good beachy staples over there.
Love all of the details in this post. Looks amazing and makes me want to go there today!!!
What about fishing? My husband LOVES to fish on our trips. Did you book any fishing excursions? I assume your hubby fished some? Was it good? Please let me know as we are considering this area for our next trip. Thank you
Harbour Island is my fave place on earth!! Been going for 20 years! I was worried when it started making the travel mags bc it was a hidden gem but it’s so great that it has remained quiet and still somewhat hidden!!
Thanks for the post…I was requesting details while you were there…
Just went to Harbour Island a couple of weeks ago – what an amazing experience! My husband and I stayed at The Bahama House and if you ever get the chance it is divine. https://elevenexperience.com/bahama-house-harbour-island
Thanks for the detailed itinerary and post – definitely will consult it for our next trip there! I enjoyed all your photos, too!
Looking into a girls trip for our 45th and you absolutely covered everything! Thank you for the time and effort of doing this!
Love following your travels, thanks for always sharing so much with us! Harbour Island is def on my bucket list now. I was in the Exuma’s a year and a half ago one a work award trip with my husband’s company. It was a shorter trip and we didn’t end up seeing the pigs as we planned, so I’ve always wanted to make it back since then. Looks like Harbour Island it is instead of Great Exuma…just not as many restaurants on Great Exuma. And what a sweet hubby to plan a surprise trip, Steve is always racking up those… Read more »
How far is the trip from Exuma from Harbour Island? I didn’t think they are close?
Can you share the name of the house you rented for this trip with just the 5 of you? First time to harbour island and trying to figure out the best location and house and you mentioned the one you rented this time being a dream, could not find the name of the house and i am dying to know:)
Hello there! Well, Harbour Island is our happy place and somewhere my family and I grew up going. Not sure there’s another place I’d rather be. This email makes me long for those pink sand beaches and beautiful blue water. Yes, happy to share the house we rented and a few other good spots. We rented Beside The Point https://www.besidethepoint.com/ which also has a cottage in the back called Pointless – we had a large group and it was perfect. This row of historic homes are right on the harbor. There are plenty of more secluded homes on the other… Read more »