Bahamas Family Islands
They make up most of the Bahamas
To have a mile-long strip of beach all to yourself or to be able to explore the neat fishing villages that look like they've been transplanted from New England...it's worth the little extra effort required to get there.
The Abacos group, made up of scores of small keys, is considered one of the safest and most picturesque cruising grounds in the hemisphere.
The Sea of Abaco has over 1,000 square miles of protected waters, with a hundred small sandy cays acting as a barrier between the Atlantic and Great Abaco, the Bahamas' third largest island, to blunt the full force of the ocean.
Both powerboats and sailboats are available for week-long charters in Marsh Harbour on Great
Abaco. Great Abaco island itself is still largely undeveloped and even today wild boars and horses still roam the woods.
Across the channel from Great Abaco is the incredibly picturesque settlement of Green Turtle Cay, which truly looks like a New England fishing village transported from the last century. Settled by Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution, its main city once had a huge population of 2,000, ranking it second only to Nassau in size.
But following the collapse of the local pineapple industry and a devastating hurricane in 1932, the population dwindled. The main settlement of New Plymouth is doll-house perfect, with the white houses trimmed in brightly painted colors.
Eleuthera has beaches rivaling those of anywhere. It also has small exclusive resorts that rank among the best hotels in the world.
Off Eleuthera's north point sits the small settlement of Spanish Wells, a unique village that dates back to the days of the American Revolution and yet another prime location for sunshine and serenity.
Little known Andros Island, at 2300-square miles, is the largest island in the Bahamas group.Its interior is a dense woodland, while its east coast is paralleled by one of the world's longest barrier reefs, which offers superb diving.
This reef drops into the Tongue of the Ocean, a prime fishing ground 142 miles and 1,000 fathoms deep where big blue marlin are regularly caught.
Plus there are the Exumas, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island and San Salvador, where Columbus may have first set foot in the New World .
It would take almost a lifetime to thoroughly explore them all; which isn't too bad a goal, is it?