Eleuthera Beaches, Bahamas

Ten Bay Beach on Eleuthera Island, Bahamas

Eleuthera is a long skinny island which means there are way too many beaches to mention in this little ol’ blog post. In fact, if you learn nothing else from this, just know that the island runs north to south, straddling the Caribbean ocean on the west, and the Atlantic ocean on the east.

Caribbean on one side of Eleuthera and the darker blue Atlantic on the other.

The Caribbean side is much calmer, with very few waves. The Atlantic side has bigger waves (sunglasses stealing waves, in fact) and pink sand beaches. The pink sand is wonderful but the sand on the Caribbean side is absolutely fabulous also.

Speaking of pink sand – you might be wondering about this beautiful phenomenon. The sand is pink because it has a high concentration of microscopic coral insects, known as Foraminifera and their shells range from bright pink to red. However, if you’re schlepping all the way over here just to experience the vast expanse of pink sand beach, you may be a little disappointed.

Softly pink sand at French Leave beach.

I would say the sand is “pinker” than other sand, but without a side by side comparison to other beaches, I wouldn’t exactly call it pink. It is still gorgeous to behold though, and a million times better than the brown, seaweed filled sand on the Texas Gulf coast, which was my family’s go-to beach vacation when I was little. I always thought I didn’t like the beach. Turns out, I just didn’t like that beach.

Touted as pink sand, albeit very softly pink.

There are pink sand beaches on Harbour Island that seem to be much pinker than the ones we visited on Eleuthera. In my previous post I mentioned that Harbour Island was the more posh place to visit and shortly after, I saw that it’s where Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce vacationed. See? Bougie! Or maybe they got the idea from my blog post. 🙂

French Leave Beach

On Eleuthera, there are several pink sand beaches and they are on the Atlantic side which means the beach is gorgeous but the waves are insane. French Leave Beach is touted as pink sand but it’s a very soft pink, if that. The beach is wide and pristine and a great place to visit and if you’re not careful, a prime location for letting a rogue wave steal your sunglasses and an apple watch. I’m definitely not bitter about that.

You can easily walk between French Leave beach and Twin Coves beach.

Twin Coves Beach

Just north of French Leave beach is Twin Coves beach, so named because it is two coves next to each other. (Go figure.) Since these are coves, the water is slightly more calm than at French Leave, and I found it to be a lot more enjoyable.

Although Twin Coves beach is somewhat protected, it still has some Atlantic waves.

There is a beautiful rock promontory that you can walk out on and watch the waves crashing, which is my preferred way to experience giant waves.

The rock promontory at Twin Coves is razor sharp. Shoes highly recommended.
A nice view of the “Twin” Coves at Twin Coves Beach.

Both of these beaches are very close to Governor’s Harbour in the middle of the island. That makes it convenient to grab an ice cream, or a bite to eat, or pick up an emergency pair of sunglasses from a gift shop.

You can't go wrong with Eleuthera beaches, even the ones along the wavier Atlantic side.
Shallow water at Twin Coves, but the waves are sneaky.

Ten Bay Beach

We stayed about 20 minutes south of Governor’s Harbour in an Airbnb on Ten Bay Beach. Ten Bay is on the Caribbean side. It’s inside a bay so the water is extremely calm, like a swimming pool. This beach was so wonderful that we pretty much parked it here for the whole stay. (Why bother seeing others, when you’ve already found perfection?) The beach is long and curved and there are only a handful of other people there.

Wide beach, lined with trees at Ten Bay.

There are trees immediately behind the beach so it feels super private. They offer a nice little bit of shade too. The area is lined with cute little homes that are mostly vacation rentals. The other beach goers are generally just chill tourists who are staying in a rental nearby.

Short beach path through the woods to Ten Bay beach.

From our vacation rental we had the option of walking to the beach through a very cute little woodsy beach path. We could also kayak or paddle board from our vacation rental’s dock. If you’re adventurous, you could even swim!

You could swim to the beach from the dock of our vacation rental.
Eleuthera beaches are full of hidden coves like this on on Ten Bay.
It was also a quick kayak ride to Ten Bay from our vacation rental.

A Note About Beach Facilities

By the way, Eleuthera isn’t very built up for tourists, which is a big part of the appeal. The beaches are not crowded, and they feel natural, pristine, and peaceful. But that means you won’t find facilities there either.

Eleuthera beaches on the Caribbean side are quite calm.
Beer, water, sunshirt. Really all you need.

There are no bathrooms, or restaurants, or places renting beach chairs and umbrellas. If you want those things you need to bring them with you. You don’t have to bring a bathroom, though. 😉

Guitar isn’t strictly necessary, but great for beach vibes.

Poponi Beach

There are a few beaches that have some facilities. One of them is Poponi beach outside of La Bougainvillea resort on the Atlantic side. The resort has a restaurant and swimming pool right next to the beach, and of course rooms where you can stay the night. There are better beach facilities on Harbour Island also.

Eleuthera beaches are some of the widest and most beautiful in the Bahamas.
Poponi Beach, just south of La Bougainvillea Resort.
La Bougainvillea Resort is a nice place to grab lunch, even if you’re not staying here.

Gaulding Cay Beach

Gaulding Cay beach is just south of the Glass Window Bridge, on the Caribbean side.

Gaulding Cay beach (photo courtesy of 1001beach.com)

A trip to this beach is great as a full day trip coupled with a visit to the bridge, (a single-lane section of the Queen’s Highway, that lets you easily see the Caribbean on one side and the Atlantic on the other) and the Queen’s Baths which are sun-warmed rock pools near the bridge. Definitely be careful here as a rogue wave could take way more than just your sunglasses.

There’s also a restaurant nearby called Daddy Joe’s that’s supposed to be good, and a gift shop called Island Gift Shop that has nice island trinkets.

Eleuthera beaches are quite beautiful
Glass window bridge as seen from our ferry.

The Eleuthera Ferry

Gaulding Cay beach is just north of Gregory Town which is where you can pick up a ferry if the bridge is closed. Sometimes if there is bad weather or high winds, they close the bridge because a rogue wave could wash you and your car away. Enterprising locals ferry passengers from one side to another in their speedboats instead.

Eleuthera’s ferry dock.

The day before we left, there was a storm with high winds and the bridge was closed. Neville, our car rental contact, called me early in the morning with instructions on getting to the ferry dock instead. The line at the dock was incredibly long but we got to cut in front of everyone because our friend was pregnant and “the tide was going to turn.” We didn’t really know what that meant but we weren’t going to look a gift-boat in the mouth. Turns out, the tide being fairly high was important since there was no dock on the other side of the bridge, just a very jagged rock promontory that would have been super difficult to climb up if the water had been any lower.

We paid the speedboat driver $10 per person for the ride. Then we paid another $5 per person when we got off the boat. Turns out it’s private property and when the boat dropped us off, the owner wanted his due. This is why it’s important to travel with at least some cash!

Taking the speedboat was super cool and I’m glad that it worked out that way. It gave us a chance to inspect the coastline from a nice vantage point. We saw so many gorgeous beaches that we already started planning our trip back.

Eleuthera beaches
We got a storm that brought high winds and waves to the island.

Long story short, you can’t go wrong with a beach on Eleuthera. They’re all beautiful and if you keep in mind that Atlantic side = waves and Caribbean side = calm, you’ll be able to find a beach that will suit whatever you’re in the mood for.

Want to know more about getting here and getting around? Check out my post on planning a trip to Eleuthera!

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