Fifty miles due east of the coast of Miami, the islands of Bimini emerge from the turquoise-green sea.
This tiny dash of the Bahamas, only 10 square miles in all, consists of two islands, North and South Bimini, and a few uninhabited cays. Its proximity to the blue waters of the warm and swiftly moving Gulf Stream current and the big game fish it attracts—bluefin tuna, sailfish and blue marlin—have drawn sports fishermen here since the 1920s, none more famous than Ernest Hemingway. He spent three consecutive fishing seasons in Bimini from 1935 to 1937, crossing the Gulf Stream from Key West aboard his fishing boat Pilar.
In Bimini, Hemingway spent his days deep sea fishing (it was here that he revolutionized the method and set records for reeling in giant tuna intact and unmolested by sharks), drinking heavily inside dark, cool bars and provoking the occasional dockside brawl. Through the years, anglers and adventurers have come to the remote, rough-and-tumble Bimini for much of the same.
Previously only accessible by private yacht, seaplane or charter flight, Bimini has seen a tourism boom since 2013 when Resorts World Bimini developed their resort on North Bimini along with the two-hour FRS Caribbean Fast Ferry service departing daily and connecting the island to PortMiami.
What to Do in Bimini
Rent a Golf Cart & Explore Bailey & Alice Towns
A narrow spit of sand, North Bimini is only 700-feet wide and seven-miles long. It’s relatively easy to get the lay of the land when you rent an electric golf cart from Resorts World Bimini and set off to explore the two-lane Kings Highway.
You’ll reach Bailey Town first where the Bimini Museum may or may not be open. A little further down the road in Alice Town, a small straw market shills tourist souvenirs, like tie-dye Kalik beer t-shirts shredded with fringe.
A slew of bars line the road as you continue south—stop by Big John’s and Island House. At the end of the road, a tiny cemetery climbs up a bluff, and on the other side you’ll find the rocky coral edge of the island and the rusted bright orange hull of a long marooned vessel offset by the foamy aquamarine sea.
It would be a shame to visit Bimini’s islands in the stream and not get offshore. If you’re not an angler, consider snorkeling with Bimini Undersea, located onsite at Resorts World Bimini. Set out for a morning trip aboard a small center console boat with captain and guide to an offshore reef and to the World War I SS Sapona wreck, which ran aground during a hurricane in 1926. Swim with grand triggerfish, puffer fish and blacktip sharks, and keep your eyes peeled on the sandy bottom for stingrays and an abundance of conch shells.
Where to Eat & Drink
Conch Salad Straight from the Sea
There’s nothing like a cold conch salad in the Bahamas on a hot day and Bimini is home to two iconic conch shacks, Joe’s and Stuart’s. Take your pick and delight in this fresh chopped salad made with onions, bell peppers and conch pulled straight from the sea, marinated in lime juice.
Lobster Pizza & Bahama Mamas
Edith’s Pizza is set in an open air patio right on the bay. Feast on her famous and delicious lobster pizza made with ooey-gooey cheese and sweet Bimini bread dough. Start with an order of conch fritters or cracked conch, and if you’re with a big group, order the BBQ chicken and conch pizza, too—and keep the Bahama Mamas rum drinks coming.
Carb Load on Bimini Bread
Bimini bread is spoken of with much affection by the locals. Stop by A Taste of Heaven bakery on The Kings Highway to sample a loaf of the light, slightly sweet and absolutely addictive white bread or opt for a sweet roll coated in guava cream.
Head to Hemingway’s Old Haunt
A night in Bimini deserves a nightcap in Alice Town. Venture out to End of the World Saloon/Sand Bar where locals and tourists sip rum and play dominoes inside this barely lit shack with sand floors, walls scrawled with signatures and deep reggae music blaring from a boom box. The bar opens up to the harbor with an outdoor patio overlooking a few boat slips, and nearby Browns Marina can be seen where Hemingway once docked Pilar.
Beach Club Revelry by Day & Night
Soak up the Bimini sunshine in style at Resorts World Bimini’s Luna Beach club where you can indulge in freshly caught local snapper, grouper, conch and lobster on a beach bed by day and dine under the stars with your toes in the sand by night on weekends. A concept by Miami nightlife veterans Michael Capponi and Eric Milon, Saturday nights turn up with live DJs, tribal drummers, Junkanoo bands and beach bonfires until 2 a.m.
Where to Stay
The 750-acre Resorts World Bimini property consists of 480 vacation cottages ranging in size from studios to four-bedrooms. It’s also home to two marinas, the largest on the island, with a total of 230 slips accommodating vessels up to 180-feet. The luxurious, newly built 305-room Hilton at Resorts World Bimini (current rates from $226) features a casino, spa, multiple restaurants, a private beach and swimming pools including a lazy riverwith swim-up bar.
By Ferry: The two-hour FRS Caribbean fast ferry departing from Port Miami is the most affordable option with ferry and hotel packages starting at $199.
By Plane: You can also fly from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Silver Airways and other airlines in less than an hour.
By Seaplane: Charter an eight passenger seaplane with Tropic Ocean Airways and arrive in about 30 minutes.