A Magical Family Vacation | Baha Mar Bahamas
The more I travel, the more I appreciate experiences. I always say it’s the EXPERIENCE I’m after. Being with my boys, exploring, having deep conversations, listening to music, eating new things, and looking at new scenery brings me a whole lot of joy. And I want more of it. So, I’m super intentional about what kind of experience we want to have with each trip we take. For Spring Break, we took a look at some options and discussed what kind of adventure we wanted and ultimately decided it was time to do a relaxing, more low-key trip. We hadn’t been to the beach in a while. I grew up in Clearwater on the beach and even though I feel more like a mountain girl, I definitely miss the beach when I’m away from it for too long.
So, sand and surf it was! We decided on the Bahamas as we had never been and it’s a quick flight from Atlanta. We figured, having once been to Jamaica, that we had 2 options: a large resort that we likely wouldn’t leave much OR a house where we’d have to consider transportation and perhaps cooking some of our own food. 2 totally different experiences, right? The resort would probably have a lot more people but it would have restaurants, a staff and lots for the kids to do. The house would be much quieter and we’d have to wait on ourselves. Ultimately, with the kids, we opted for the resort.
We stayed at Baha Mar. It was a BEAUTIFUL resort. So, so impressive. Traveling with 5 people, we need a little room, so we stayed in a 2 bedroom suite and it was absolutely wonderful. It had a washer and dryer and a full kitchen, which turned out to be a real necessity when trying to figure out meals. My only issue with the resort was that it was so crowded. I am still unclear as to whether it was this crowded because of Spring Break or whether it’s always that crowded. We had a lot of trouble getting dinner reservations (everything was booked for the week when we arrived!). We ended up begging 1 of the restaurants to let us do take out 1 night. Another couple of nights we did room service and 1 night we took a cab away from the property. We were there for a total of 8 nights so the rest we weaseled our way into a restaurant. But it was a little bit of a pain. The only other trouble we had, also due to the crowd, was finding seats at the pools each day. There are 5 of us so even to find 3 or 4 chairs together was tough. Again, this did not spoil our trip in any way, it was just something I wish would have been a little easier.
Anyhoo, each day we’d venture down to one of MANY pools at the resort. A couple of days we hit the beach – again, right at the resort. We kayaked, lounged in the ocean, and truly relaxed for many of the days. Our trips tend to be made up of us on the move, so this was so nice. One of the pools has a small and large (manmade) cliff above it where the kids could jump into the pool. They had a great time with that. Another pool had a waterfall and grotto with a huge aquarium inside. We loved watching the sharks and stingrays go by. Overall, the pools were gorgeous and super well-maintained. The beach was beautiful too. The water was a little chilly for my liking but the kids really enjoyed it.
On our 3rd day, we hopped a plane to another island, Exuma. It was a tiny plane and for a gal like me (who is ridiculously motion sick), it was quite the adventure. But oh so worth it! Our flight to Exuma was early and we had booked a charter with Exuma Water Sports. It is something I would absolutely recommend. They took such good care of us. They picked us up from the airport, took us to town to eat lunch and walk around because our charter didn’t leave until 1:00. This made our lives so much easier than trying to find a ride or sitting somewhere for 3.5 hours. I’m so appreciative of the little touches that make traveling with a family of 5 easier. We ate at a little Italian place called Driftwood Cafe and it was very great – big sandwiches and pizza.
We set off on our boat trip at 1:00 and had no idea what would be in store. The only thing I KNEW I wanted to do was swim with the pigs (if you don’t know about this – Google it, it’s a thing). WE LOVED IT! Our guides were so funny and accommodating. Our first stop was to swim with the pigs. This was an experience of a lifetime (if you ask me!). The pigs were so sweet and adorable. We fed them whole carrots and as an animal lover, this was truly a highlight for me. At the same stop, Bryan fed huge stingrays. I opted out of that:) I wasn’t too uncomfortable having them swim around us but I really wasn’t trying to feed them. ?
For the rest of the boat ride, we island hopped and were able to feed the coolest iguanas, hike to the most picturesque hilltop, snorkel along the edge of an island, and just be together for the whole day on the water. It was definitely one of the “experiences” I’m always looking for. Every one of us enjoyed the trip and couldn’t stop talking about it as we flew back to Nassau that evening.
On our last day, we went kayaking in the ocean outside the hotel. The water was beautiful, we sat Sawyer in the middle of one of the 2 kayaks and had a great time exploring a jetty and just tooling around. One of my favorite parts of our trip (go figure!) was on that last day when one of the boys found a toy soldier that had been left behind at the pool. All 5 of us played monkey in the middle with that tiny toy soldier for about 45 minutes in the pool. We laughed our faces off – so fun!
In case it’s helpful, the restaurants we visited inside the resort were:
The Swimming Pig – Dinner – Excellent
Filia – Dinner – We got pizza for takeout and brought it up to our room. Loved it. It is more authentic, Italian pizza – our favorite!
Royal Blue – Lunch – This was meh. Not awesome, but not bad either. It served its purpose for lunch by the pool.
Cafe Madeleine – We visited this little spot almost daily for coffee and treats. SO GOOD!
Regatta Buffet – This buffet was unreal. It was so unreal that 1 of my boys asked if we could just stay there. ???As in, overnight. In the restaurant. 🙂
And then we also ate at Curly’s outside the resort. It. Was. Delicious! I would love to go back. This was in a little area known as The Fish Fry where there are several restaurants. Curly himself stopped us on the sidewalk and basically sold us right in the door to his restaurant. And boy am I glad he did!
The trip was fantastic. Just what I needed. I think if I go back I would rent a house but honestly, I wouldn’t change much about the trip. It was truly 8 days of paradise.