Harbour Island might literally be the cutest place on earth. A teeny island in the Bahamas (only 3.5 miles long by 1.5 miles wide), it’s claim to fame are its Pink Sand Beaches, but there’s so much more to it than that. It’s a pastel paradise, with charming beach houses scattered all across the island, golf-carts everywhere (it’s how everyone gets around – even locals!) and tons of great restaurants. It’s a perfect place for a family vacation or couples’ getaway. It may not be easy to get to, but that makes it even more worth going. Read on for all the best places to stay, eat, shop and more.
CORAL HOUSE HARBOUR ISLAND
At the corner of Bay St. and York St.
Coral House Harbour Island is an adorable Airbnb/VRBO rental owned by Chassity Evans of the Charleston-based blog Look Linger Love. It’s a 4 bed, 4.5 bath home complete with a swimming pool and poolside bar and lounge area and an outdoor shower! The house is not on the beach, but it’s in a great location with views of the harbor from the second story, and just a few doors down from some of the island’s best restaurants (The Landing, Rock House & more). And since the island is so small, you’re only just a few blocks from the beach. The house sleeps up to 10, so it would be great for a big family, families with kids or a group of friends. You can see a home tour by the owner here (how perfect is the interior decor?!) and you can view the rental listing here and here.
The Dunmore is an incredibly pristine, absolutely stunning boutique property located on the Pink Sand Beach. It is iconic Harbour Island, with its turquoise-and-white-striped beach umbrellas sitting on a backdrop of the pink sand and perfectly matching the crystal blue sea. The guest accommodations are actually cottages spread over the 10-acre property, and they have residences available for rent as well. The resort feel is island chic and self-described as “1960s resort glam”. You can see more photos of the beautiful property and accommodations here. Though is definitely a luxury boutique property, but families with children are welcome. Enjoy the hotel’s small pool surrounded by lush green grass just steps from the beach, water sports, impeccable service and the hotel’s delicious restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This historic boutique hotel is located in Dunmore Town on the famous Bay Street overlooking the harbor. With only 13 guest rooms, this colonial-inspired property offers guests an intimate experience of luxury with lots of history mixed in. The rooms are decorated by India Hicks, former model and Harbour Island resident who now runs a popular lifestyle brand. Don’t let the location deter you… it may not be on the Pink Sand but the beach is just a five-minute walk (or quick golf-cart ride) away and guests of the hotel have their own beach chairs and umbrellas set up for their enjoyment. The Landing would be a great place to stay for a couple or small family. Not to mention, it has one of the best restaurants on the island.
OCEAN VIEW CLUB
Ocean View Club is another charming, luxury boutique property located right on the beach. What stands out about this hotel is that it’s family owned and run, which makes it feel less like a hotel and more like you’re staying at your really stylish friend’s beach house. The decor is unique and full of personality, from the bright, beachy pastels to the pops of neon. Do yourself a favor and check out more photos of the property here. The vibes are super laid back (you’re on island time, after all) and you’ll even find the resident dogs laying around, mingling with the guests and napping in the sun. The hotel offers a mix of accommodations, including tent cottages, beach shacks, suites, ocean-view rooms and small kids rooms. There is also a wonderful restaurant on site serving breakfast (guests only), lunch and dinner. And as if the location on the Pink Sand Beach wasn’t enough, the hotel is right next door to the famous Sip Sip, the island’s best spot for a fun lunch on the beach. Ocean View Club would make a great place to stay for couples, families, or anyone looking to really getaway and unplug.
Pink Sands is a beautiful resort sprawling 20 lush acres of beachfront property made up of 25 luxury cottages, two restaurants, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a stretch of chairs and umbrellas along the pink sand. The accommodations are spacious, secluded and private, you’ll almost feel as if you’re on your own private property. And they range in size from quaint cottages to beachside estate villas, so whether you’re traveling with a group big or small, there’s something for everyone. Blue, the beachfront restaurant and bar, makes the perfect place to enjoy breakfast, lunch or happy hour drinks while you watch the sky turn purple at sunset. At night, enjoy drinks and dinner at one of the island’s best, Malcolm 51, right in the main house of Pink Sands.
EAT + DRINK
Romora Bay Resort & Marina
Acquapazza is a great Italian restaurant located at Romora Bay Resort with great views overlooking the marina. Go for delicious pasta and seafood and wine in a relaxed atmosphere, and if you’re lucky you can enjoy the live music from the marina down below while you dine.
At the corner of Crown and Dunmore St.
Arthur’s is one of the best stops on the island for coffee, breakfast, fresh bread and pastries. It’s a favorite of tourists and locals alike. You can’t miss its purple facade as you’re going down Dunmore Street, and it’s right next to the adorable and picture perfect white pineapple fence you’ve seen all over Instagram. Order a coffee and some breakfast (I love the smoothies and breakfast sandwiches) and grab a seat outside, or get back on your golf-cart and take it to-go.
COCOA COFFEE HOUSE
Bay Street at Valentine’s Marina
Cocoa Coffee House is another great breakfast spot that you’ll find near Valentine’s Marina. They have a great selection of healthy smoothies, juices and acaii bowls along with lots of other yummy options.
CORAL SANDS BEACH BAR
Coral Sands Hotel, Chapel St.
The Coral Sands Hotel has a great beach bar restaurant that makes a perfect spot for a casual lunch or a Goombay Smash. It sits up high overlooking the sand and ocean and the view can’t be beat!
THE RESTAURANT AT THE DUNMORE
Dinner in the clubhouse at The Dunmore is a must if you want a more upscale meal in a beautiful setting with an ocean view. It’s one of the fancier restaurants on the island, but it still has those beachy Bahamian vibes and the food (and service) is excellent.
THE LANDING RESTAURANT
The Landing, Bay St.
One of the absolute best restaurants on the island! Don’t come to Harbour Island and miss a meal at The Landing. The atmosphere is dim but lively, and the food is delectable. You can check out the menu here. (Do note that the restaurant is closed on Wednesdays.)
Pink Sands Resort
Malcolm 51 is another great dinner spot on the island, located at the Pink Sands Resort. The restaurant itself isn’t on the beach, but its in a beautiful, romantic setting with tables set up under bistro lights in the terraced garden.
Queen Conch has the best (bet you can guess…) conch on the island! It’s a must-stop for lunch, and you’ll probably want to go back more than once. It’s on the water on Bay Street, so the location is great, too. I recommend trying (at least) the conch fritters, conch salad, and washing it down with a Goombay Smash.
Bay & Hill St.
The Rock House is a luxury boutique hotel overlooking the bay, with a great little bar and fabulous restaurant. Make a reservation for dinner (you can sit either on the pool patio or on the terrace overlooking the water). All of the food is excellent and the ice cream for dessert is to die for. (Note that they are closed for both lunch and dinner on Mondays.)
Okay, listen to me. You must go to Sip Sip for lunch while on Harbour Island. You must order the lobster quesedilla (I suggest sharing because it’s huge and it’s the most expensive quesedilla you’ll ever eat but you’ll dream about it for years to come afterwards). Also, Sip Sip is not a secret. Everyone else on the island knows of its goodness. So trust me when I say that even though it doesn’t open until 11:30 a.m., get there at 11:00 because shortly after 11:00 a line begins to form outside of people salivating over aforementioned lobster quesedilla (they have other great things on the menu, too, but just go with it) and if you don’t want to wait, and you want a good table, you’ll be glad you got there early. The atmosphere is super fun and lively, and you’ll probably want to go back more than once. It’s a Harbour Island landmark, so don’t miss it. It’s located on the beach, right next to Ocean View Club. And it’s closed on Tuesdays!
Shine is actually made up of two buildings, right across the street from each other on Bay St. Both are filled with stunning pieces for the home like blankets, decor and furniture, plus a display of beautiful jewelry.
THE LONE TREE
At the north end of Bay St.
The Lone Tree is somewhat of a Harbour Island landmark and a great photo op. It’s a large piece of driftwood that is said to have washed up and planted itself vertically in the sand during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. If you head up Bay Street going north, just as the road begins to turn to the right, you can see it out in the sand to your left.
PINK SAND BEACHES
3 mile stretch on the eastern side of the island
Obviously, if you make the trip to Harbour Island, you need to check out the world famous Pink Sand Beach! The beach is located on the east side of the island where you’ll find a 3-mile stretch of pink sand. The pink hue comes from bits of coral and shells that are crushed by the waves over time and mix with the white sand, creating a light pink tint when it washes up on shore. You’ll notice that the color is more vibrant around sunset when the sky turns a mix of pastel pink, blue and purple. Harbour Island’s beach has been named countless times as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Eleuthera is just a short boat ride from the southern point of Harbour Island, and its covered in beautiful beaches with lots of activities making it a perfect place to take a day trip. Check out Fishbone Tours which offers lots of different daytime activity options like a starfish snorkel, an adventure tour and reef fishing.
EXPLORE THE ISLAND
It may be tiny, but there’s a lot to do on this little island! Rent a golf cart (more on that below) for the duration of your stay to get around the island. It’s a safe, friendly place so don’t be afraid to get out and explore. Be sure to drive up and down Bay Street, which is lined with pastel colored houses sitting opposite of the water. And if you need to stop by a store for any provisions, there is a Piggly Wiggly market on the island where you should be able to find anything you need.
There is a beautiful but deserted 1940’s mansion on the island that the locals refer to as The Haunted House. The story goes that the home was built by a wealthy newlywed couple who one evening both vanished, leaving everything in their home and the table still set for dinner. Today, it’s a tourist attraction where some have even hosted events and weddings. It’s located on the southern end of the island near Harbour Island Marina.
WHEN TO GO
The weather in the Bahamas is about the same all year, with temps averaging from 75-85 degrees year round. Keep in mind that high season lasts from mid-December to mid-April, so prices of hotels and resorts will be higher, and you should definitely plan and book your trip well in advance due to more visitors on the island during those months. Low-season lasts from mid-April to mid-December, and hotel/resort prices will drop a bit. Some hotels, resorts and restaurants close for off-season (usually around September/October) and re-open for high season, so beware if you’re planning to travel around that time that some places on the island may be closed.
HOW TO GET THERE
There is no airport on Harbour Island, so you will most likely fly into either Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Miami (MIA) or Nassau (NAS), where you’ll then take a connecting flight to the North Eleuthera Airport (ELH). Once you land in Eleuthera, you will take a cab to the dock where you’ll hop on a water taxi for the short five-minute ride over to Harbour Island. Read more about getting to Harbour Island here and here.
HOW TO GET AROUND
Golf carts! Golf carts are the mode of transportation all over the island, even with the locals! You won’t see many cars at all during your stay. You’ll definitely want to reserve a golf cart for the duration of your stay (do this in advance so you can just pick it up once you arrive). For a list of golf cart rentals, click here or ask your hotel or resort to recommend one.