A three-part series to top winter escapes. Next up: The Bahamas.
Sure, ski trips are winter’s beck and call, but every ocean-loving traveler also needs to sink their toes in the sand, too. With these two sun-kissed hot spots, Bahamian rhapsody awaits.
THE ABACO ISLANDS
STAY: The Abaco Club on Winding Bay. A favorite of golf pro Darren Clarke, this exclusive enclave is nestled along a private horseshoe beach and is an idyllic luxury basecamp to unplug and reboot. The Abaco Islands, a 120-mile long string of cays in the Northern Bahamas, tick-tocks to its own Caribbean cadence. With plenty of bone fishing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and yachting, adventure is always on tap. Vacation residences at The Abaco Club range from charming cabanas and authentic cottages to grand villas and oceanfront estates.
EAT: Pete’s Pub and Gallery. Located on Little Marsh Harbour and just up the road from Winding Bay, this quirky restaurant and artist gallery was originally settled by the Johnston family more than 60 years ago. During a fierce hurricane, Randolph Johnston sought relief in the nearby caves. Once the weather subsided, Randolph set up an artist colony—and found inspiration for his island-inspired bronze sculptures. Today, his son Pete continues his family’s legacy, overseeing the gallery and a storied beach bar. The pub’s ceiling is lined with dangling tee shirts, license plates, and koozies signed by travelers. Order Pete’s signature rum-infused Blaster cocktail and swap stories with the bar’s salty regulars.
SPORT: You can’t truly experience the Abacos until you’ve discovered them via boat. Bone fishing near Cherokee Sound, an isolated community on the east coast of Great Abaco, is a must. International fisherman visit the Abacos in hopes of hooking the elusive and stealth bonefish. Hire a private charter and you’ll most likely have your own tales of seaworthy feats to spin at the aforementioned Pete’s Pub. Alternatively, The Abaco Islands are also all about sailing. Celebrate the boating life on a custom catamaran charter with Captain Bruce. The boat will be stocked with bubbly and bites, and Captain Bruce can take you to surreal snorkeling spots and such legendary restaurants as Lubber’s Landing and Firefly.
SEE: If an intrepid traveler and up for adventure, hire a private guide from Da Bush n’ Da Beach Nature Eco Tours and visit a remote, Instagram-worthy blue hole. Sawmill Sink is a 170-foot-deep blue hole researched by National Geographic and considered one of the most gorgeous areas in the Abacos. Bring a camera and your courage; it’s worth mustering up the will to jump in. If in search of a more relaxing day trip, visit Hope Town on Elbow Cay. Learn the island’s history at the Wyannie Malone Historical Museum, and surfers can test their skills at Hamburger Point or Garbanzo Break.
By Erin Lentz
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