Harbour Island, Bahamas ; perfectly clustered with charming pastel Loyalist Cottages from the late 1700's. The beauty of this island is the absolute reflection of the islands people. The moment you step off the water taxi, they welcome you "home" and treat you like family. They take you in and want to take such great care of you. What wonderful and good people this island is home to. Harbour Island is family friendly and a magical place to create memories with your littles. It's an even better place to sport your collection of Minnow Swim! Here is a travel guide for your next holiday in the sun!
Wherever you are currently located, your best way of traveling to Harbour Island is by way of Miami. Miami is a colorful city with rich culture. Take in the beautiful Floridian colors, art deco architecture and delicious cuban food. Spend a few days here between flights to make it worthwhile. From Miami, you will fly into Eleuthera, Bahamas. From there, you jump in a 10 minute taxi ride ($5 per person) to hop on board the "Bahama Ferries" where you will take a 10 minute water taxi ride ($5 a person) to the island.
The Dunmore Hotel is a jewel to Dunmore Town, Harbour Island. Both the hotel and city were named after the first Governor of the Bahamas, Lord Dunmore. The Dunmore, founded in 1963, began as a private beach club for guests by invitation only. It wasn't until December of 2010, that The Dunmore Beach Club was renovated and reopened to the public as a boutique hotel overlooking the famous Pink Sands Beach, with the clubhouse, restaurant and 14 cottages covering the perfectly manicured property. The refreshed renovations are an ode to preserve the glamour and antiquity of this beloved hotel for half a decade.
The Dunmore is quaint and quiet, the perfect combo for a getaway. The staff is energetic and loving. The ambiance is every island lovers paradise. At dusk, the crushed coral in the buttery sand glows the perfect hue of pink against the sunset while magic casts its spell at The Dunmore with music, laughter, soft lighting and a warm hug of humidity.
On the property lies the most picturesque pool alongside the clubhouse with amenities such as workout equipment, a lounge with an island vintage set of backgammon and beds for massages in the warm island breeze. From the pool, leads a path through a lattice gazebo with incredible views of the ocean that will lead you down to the beach.
Down below The Dunmore lies the most incredible Pink Sands Beach. It ain't named 'Pink' for nothing. Though hard to tell in photos, the sand in Harbour Island is actually a gorgeous hue of pink due to the crushed up coral washed up from the ocean. The pink hue shines her brightest at dusk when the sun sets - that's when she really shows off. The sand is like powdered sugar and cuts like butter when building sand castles. The ocean water is crystal clear and warm and refreshing from the heat all at once.
The Dunmore provides beach towels, chairs, umbrellas, beach toys for the littles, snorkle gear, tubes, boogie boards, paddle boards and kayaks. They even provide sunscreen and lotion when you pick up your towels at the beach hut, and always have fruit water to sip when you need to hydrate. Outdoor showers to spray off and leave your sandals before you hit the sand are all accommodations at the hut as well. Dream come true, huh?
Harbour Island is very small being three miles long. With that said, it doesn't take too long to get to where you want to go. For the most part, everyone drives a golf cart on the island. You can rent a golf cart by day at The Dunmore - believe me, it's worth it. Drive along the Harbour on Bay Street and take in the breeze and the beautifully well-kept Loyalist Cottages.
Valentines Dive Center can offer great adventure on the water. You can go diving and explore the reefs, blow holes, grottos and wreck dives. You can also boat around the island for a calm day at sea.
Spanish Wells Fishing can take you snorkeling in both Harbour Island and Eleuertha. One of the most enchanting places in the world to snorkle is right here - The Devil's Backbone Reef! Or you can explore ship wrecks along the Preacher's Cave. Whichever route you choose, one thing is for sure, you'll will discover all sorts of marine life - especially conch, which is my absolute favorite and is used as decor all over the island.
Don't miss out on going horseback riding along the beach! We were basking in the sun all day with our little Leo love, and the horses stayed right next door to us at The Pink Sands Resort, so we were lucky to see the horses gallop in the waters about twice a day!
Be sure to visit The Lone Tree, which is a mysterious large piece of driftwood standing alone in the shallow shore of the ocean showing off like a piece of art. No one is exactly sure how the tree marked its position, but it did reserve it's spot during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and arrived in an upright position! Unfortunately, this landmarked jewel slipped my mind and we did not go and see it! I'm absolutely kicking myself to this day.
While there are many delicious restaurants on islands, they are a bit expensive. We mapped out where exactly we wanted to eat, and then we would walk to the Piggly Wiggly (not the same as the Piggly Wiggly in the South) and buy snacks, drinks, diapers & milk and would stock up our fridge in our Bungalow at The Dunmore. Though it's small, the Piggly Wiggly has everything you need including Harbour Islands famous Goombay Punch which is so delicious.
Best places to eat :
Queen Conch - for flavorful conch salad made fresh right in front of you.
Sip Sip - with a view of the ocean, enjoy their famous lobster quesadilla. Unfortunately, we were in Harbour Island the last week before the island closed to visitors for hurricane season, and Sip Sip closed a few weeks before then. This goes for other restaurants too, so be sure to do some research on when you plan to visit. The closer to hurricane season, the more that will be closed.
Rock House Restaurant - for a romantic and intimate setting.
Arthur's Bakery - for fresh baked goods and its very easy to eat at with kids.
COCOA Coffee House - cozy spot to rejuvenate
Bahamas Coffee Roasters - another coffee joint, but we go for the delicious pizza! And the owner is so kind and very fun to chat with. He'll tell you stories after stories!
The Landing - An incredible 19th-century plantation-style boutique hotel designed by the beautiful and talented India Hick's (who resides on Harbour Island). The ambiance of this hotel & restaurant is enchanting.
Coral Sands - The hotel directly next to The Dunmore. We walked to dinner here from the beach one night and then enjoyed the sunset after we ate. The Restaurant opens up to Coral Sands poolside with a view of the ocean.
The Dunmore - I am biased, but in my opinion, The Dunmore had the best food on the island! There is a complimentary continental breakfast for guests which include juice, coffee, fresh fruit and mouthwatering homemade banana bread. Or, you can dine-in at the Restaurant on the backside of the clubhouse with a view of the ocean. We ate here a lot during lunch and would come up just from the beach. For dinner, even as a guest at The Dunmore, you do need to make reservations, and if you have children, you will be seated earlier in the night. There is a dress code so be sure to pack something appropriate.
Best places to shop :
India Hick's Sugar Mill - Located on Bay Street along the Harbour, this is India Hicks boutique with high-end designer clothing and beautiful accessories.
Miss Mae's, Shine, Blue Rooster - All three are darling boutiques where you can stock up on caftans, and chic island accessories.
There are also a lot of roadside stands selling straw totes and hats, jewelry and natural curiosities such as conch shells, starfish and sea fans.
It wasn't easy leaving Harbour Island. For such a small island, it left an enormous stamp on my heart. Hoping to create a lifetime of traditions here for my little family.