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Grand Bahama Island has enough beaches for everyone. The best ones open onto Northwest Providence Channel at Freeport and sweep eastward for some 97km (60 miles) to encompass Xanadu Beach, Lucayan Beach, Taíno Beach, and others, eventually ending at such remote eastern outposts as Rocky Creek and McLean's Town. Once you leave the Freeport/Lucaya area, you can virtually have your pick of white sandy beaches all the way. When you get past the resorts, you'll see a series of secluded beaches used mainly by locals. If you like people, a lot of organized watersports, and easy access to hotel bars and rest rooms, stick to Xanadu, Taíno, and Lucayan beaches.

Xanadu Beach is one of our favorites, immediately south of Freeport and the site of the famed Xanadu Beach Resort. The 1.6km-long (1-mile) beach may be crowded in winter, but that's because of those gorgeous soft white sands, which open onto tranquil waters. The beach is set against a backdrop of coconut palms and Australian pines. You can hook up here with an assortment of watersports, including snorkeling, boating, jet-skiing, and parasailing.

Immediately east of Xanadu is little Silver Point Beach, site of a timeshare complex whose guests ride the waves on water bikes and play volleyball. You'll see horseback riders from Pinetree Stables galloping along the sands here.

Despite the allure of other beaches on Grand Bahama, most visitors go to Lucayan Beach, right off Royal Palm Way and immediately east of Silver Point Beach. This is one of the best strands in The Bahamas, with long stretches of white sand. In the vicinity of the Radisson hotels, you'll also encounter a worthy scattering of beach bars. At any of the resorts along this beach, you can hook up with an array of watersports or get a frosty drink from a hotel bar. It's definitely not for those seeking seclusion, but it is a fun beach-party scene.

Immediately to the east of Lucayan Beach, and separated from it by a saltwater canal, Taíno Beach is a family favorite and a good place for watersports. This, too, is a fine wide beach of white sands, opening onto usually tranquil waters.

Another choice, not too far east, is Gold Rock Beach, a favorite picnic spot for weekending locals; you'll usually have it to yourself on weekdays. A 19km (12-mile) drive from Lucaya, it's at the doorstep of Lucayan National Park, a 16-hectare (40-acre) park filled with some of the island's longest, widest, and most fabulous secluded beaches.

A Secluded Beach Hideaway -- More and more visitors are discovering the secluded beach of Paradise Cove, at Deadman's Reef (tel. 242/349-2677), just a 15-minute drive from Freeport's Grand Bahama International Airport. This has become an all-around recreation center with snorkeling, swimming, ocean kayaking, fishing, beach bonfires, and much more. The on-site Red Bar is the social center, renting underwater cameras and other items needed for the beach, as well as quenching your thirst with Bahama Mamas and serving food such as conch burgers or lobster with pasta salad.

Private White Sands -- Once you head east from Port Lucaya and Taíno, you'll discover so many splendid beaches that you'll lose count. Though these beaches do have names -- directly east of Taíno is Churchill's Beach, followed by Smith's Point, Fortune Beach, and Barbary Beach -- you'll never really know what beach you're on (unless you ask a local) because they're unmarked. If you like seclusion and don't mind the lack of facilities, you'll find a string of local beauties. Fortune Beach is a special gem because of its gorgeous waters and white sands.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.