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Nicest beach to visit at high tide

Mount Laurel, New...
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Nicest beach to visit at high tide

We'll be in Freeport on a cruise on Monday, 30 August (arrival 9:00; departure 5:00). We'd love to see Gold Rock Beach, but it's only supposed to be worth it at low tide, and it seems that the low tides that day will be at 5:46am and 6:26pm. So I have a few questions:

1. Is there any value at all in going there between the low tides? Sounds like we definitely wouldn't get the beautiful panoramic beach view, however, there are other things we like to do at the beach, like strolling around looking for shells and other interesting things. Can that still be done, though the sand is under a couple feet of water? Is the water crystal clear enough that you can wade through it, say waist deep, and still see bottom?

2. Assuming Gold Rock is just not worth our time, are there any other beaches that are still beautiful or worthwhile in some other way in between low tides? We're not adverse to renting a car to drive to the right spot.

3. Is Grand Bahama Island a better place to find a beautiful beach than Nassau (comments I've seen indicate it is)? We'll be in Nassau the next day, and if we would do better finding a beach there, then we can concentrate on other things on our Freeport day.

Thanks for any guidance anybody here can give us!

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1. Re: Nicest beach to visit at high tide

There is no a reason NOT to go to Gold Rock Beach at high tide, there is just not as much reason to make the trip out there as there is at low tide. Any of the beaches are still very nice at high tide, just of course not as large as at low tide. The water that might be ankle deep or nonexistent at low tide is now knee deep. Beaches that might be huge at low tide are now slimmer. I would say that there are so many nice beaches on GBI that at high tide (unless you want to see the park), it's just as nice to visit a closer beach like Taino Beach, Lucayan Beach or Coral Beach, or perhaps Churchill Beach (by Margarita Villa) or Fortune Beach (by Banana Bay). Many people go out snorkeling at high tide because there is more clearance, for example at Paradise Cove its nicer to snorkel at high tide, or Peterson Cay. Both are nice beaches too, with shelling opportunities. You can still hunt for shells at high tide, just maybe looking a couple of feet of water for them, and the water is crystal clear like you say.

GBI is definitely better to find a beach than Nassau, but the beach at Atlantis is quite good, just crowded.

Mount Laurel, New...
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2. Re: Nicest beach to visit at high tide

Johann&Sandra, thanks for responding to my question so quickly! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this, but life just got in the way. Also, thank you for all of the great advice and knowledge you bring to this forum - it's been invaluable to me in planning our trip.

Back to the topic at hand: we've rented a car and we're planning to drive out to High Rock and have lunch at Bishops and hit the beach there. Then we'll probably work our way back to the cruise terminal, hitting Gold Rock Beach and any others along the way that seem interesting. So I have a couple more questions for you:

1. It looks like Grand Bahama Highway is a good way to get to High Rock from Freeport, and E. Sunrise Hwy. is the way to go back if we want to visit other beaches. Are there any problems with this route?

2. Is there anything worth stopping to see (aside from beaches) on the drive to High Rock? How about IN High Rock, other than Bishops and the beach?

3. Is tipping at restaurants customary in the Bahamas as it is in the US? We want to do the right thing at Bishops.

4. Are there any rules/restrictions on collecting shells and such?

Thanks again for your help!

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3. Re: Nicest beach to visit at high tide

1. There is no bridge on GB Hwy over the grand canal, so it turns south and merges with Sunrise Hwy east of Lucaya. You'll get a map when you pick up your car so you'll see what I mean. GB Hwy is totally empty, nothing to see, just transportation. It is the quickest way from the cruise pier to get to East End.

Sunrise runs through downtown so you can see what downtown looks like and the nice government buildings. There is little traffic by American standards even downtown and traffic always goes smoothly, even at rush hour. No problems with your route - either way is just fine. Really, Midshipman is the road that you'll want to take to visit beaches, but all roads merge east of town. Your map will make these things pretty apparent, and there aren't many roads.

I would perhaps take Sunrise Hwy out and then Midshipman back or vice-versa so you can see what little there is to see from the road, and also go down the various side streets to visit beaches. GB Hwy is the fastest but nothing to see and only a few minutes faster. There is very little traffic in Freeport, and almost none outside of town, so no worries there no matter what route you pick.

2. High Rock is a very small, friendly and quiet little village. The people are genuinely nice. There is a lighthouse painted like a candy cane that is nice for photo ops. The pastor who built it lives across the street - if you meet him, he'll be happy to tell you all about it. It takes only a minute to drive through High Rock, but walking through it is my preference to soak up the vibe and hopefully meet some people. Most people photograph the lighthouse and go to Bishop's or the beach though.

You have other settlements along the way like Freetown and Bevans Town which are down side roads, on a cruise stop I wouldn't take the time. Lucayan Park of course. Garden of the Groves, Banana Bay, Discovery Bay (with the dolphins and pirate ship), etc. Garden of the Groves is worth a couple of hours on the way back and then you can go to nearby Banana Bay for a drink and some beachcombing. That should pretty much fill up your day together with a visit to Port Lucaya.

3. In Grand Bahama, tips are almost always included in the bill - 15% so no small amount. Make sure to check the bill to make sure, particularly if eating at a more native establishment because it's not always included but usually, and always in Lucaya. If you pay with credit card, there will still be a "tip" line though, in the hopes that you'll double-tip out of habit. Be very wary of that, many tourists fall into that trap which has only emerged in the past year or two. If there is no tip included in the bill (remember there is no tax in the Bahamas, so if it looks like they scribbled something illegible below the subtotal, that is the tip, not tax) then you should tip.

4. I don't know of any restriction on shelling outside of the national parks, but keep in mind that the locals use these shells to make their handicrafts that they sell to the tourists for a living. It is illegal to remove anything from a national park however (Lucayan Park, Peterson Cay, for example), including shells. I have never seen any effort to make tourists aware of any restriction on shelling, and it is even included as part of many tours.

Mount Laurel, New...
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4. Re: Nicest beach to visit at high tide

Once again, thanks so much for the advice! We will take Sunrise out to High Rock and Midshipman back as you suggest. We're in South Carolina tonight, on our way to Port Canaveral to catch our ship on Sunday. Maybe I'll post a trip report next week as I've seen some people do. I'll try not to be too long-winded if I do!

One more quick question: is Gold Rock Beach a part of Lucayan National Park? We don't want to take any shells from there if it is.

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5. Re: Nicest beach to visit at high tide

Yes, Gold Rock Beach is part of Lucayan Park.

6. Re: Nicest beach to visit at high tide

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