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Old 12-28-2011, 09:43 AM
 
65 posts, read 130,029 times
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I do apologize if I've posted this in the wrong forum. My husband and I want to take a small (5 day maximum) vacation in either Florida Gulf Coast (not sure which area) or Paradise Island Bahamas (Atlantis) in late April or early May. To give a little background - I've been to Miami Florida and Bahamas on a cruise. Husband has never been to either. I didn't really spend enough time on Paradise Island when I was there but didn't care too much for Nassau area.

I want a beach that has beautiful, crystal clear, calm, warm water with other things to do as well. We both just want a relaxing, "beachy" vacation. I've heard the gulf coast beaches of Florida have clear warm water, but are they as nice as Bahamas and Caribbean ocean water? Is it more worth it to make the extra trip to Bahamas just for the water? I do also like the fact there are casinos in the bahamas which we both like. And Blue Lagoon Island plus other islands you can visit by ferry. But there might be more to do in Florida. We liked the idea of the Keys but heard there isn't very nice beaches there - plus it's harder to get to since they are far from other locations in Florida.

Need help. Anyone know which beaches are preferable? Would swim here in California, but water is just too bone chilling cold even in summertime.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:37 PM
 
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I'm familiar with Florida's gulf coast, although more specifically the panhandle area they call the Emerald coast. I also just got back from a 7 day cruise in the Bahamas and Caribbean so feel I can compare a bit. Here's my opinion. The beaches in the Bahamas and Caribbean--stunning, at least the water. I was not pleased with the areas surrounding the beaches, and with the persistent and close to harassing beach vendors (although, I only experienced this really on the French side of St. Martin but it was BAD). But, everywhere that is not a resort is fairly run down. This part to me is very important, and yes I know, snobby, but if I'm spending a lot of money on a vacation I like things a certain way. Also I didn't like constantly having to worry about theft and keeping track of my passport when I wanted to swim.

The water is warmer down there than in the Gulf, but at the time of year you are thinking of going, it should be fine. Snorkeling and diving in the Bahamas and Caribbean are awesome, better than what I've found in the Gulf areas I've visited, but there are still fun places to do that in the Gulf as well as take dolphin tours/deep sea fish, or go shelling.

The beaches in the gulf are in my opinion, easily as nice as those in the Caribbean/Bahamas and in some places, are better IMO because of their white, talcum sand. That combined with the color of the water, awesome. One of the most beautiful places I have ever been is Seaside, Florida which is a little resort town on Florida's panhandle between Panama City and Destin. The most beautiful town filled with whimsical colored cottages as well as a downtown area that has shops and great restaurants right on the beach and you can walk to everything, including the stunning beach, from every house, in 5-10 minutes. You can rent cottages or condos (there are no high rises though, they are not allowed in this area, so everyone can see the ocean). I would choose this area over the Caribbean/Bahams every time because the whole area is so beautiful, not just the tiny area on a resort. There is another area close to Seaside that is similar and also stunning, Rosemary Beach. These two areas are very laid back, non party/nightlife type of places. They're more like go to beach, then go to great restaurant, watch concert in common area, go sit on cottage porch with beer.

They are however, quite expensive. But if it's just the two of you, you can rent a carriage house (a small independent house behind a main house) for a reasonable amount, so you could call the rental agencies and see what they would recommend. I've seen adorable ones in Seaside and Rosemary Beach for about $900-1500 for 7 days.

Last edited by Bradburn1; 12-28-2011 at 09:47 PM..
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:24 PM
 
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
4,836 posts, read 10,152,781 times
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As much as I want to say enjoy the Florida Gulf Coast and keep the money in the US, Nassau/Atlantis is nice. The water is amazing, will be warmer and I think there will be more to do in Atlantis than the Gulf Coast. The Hotel is great, food is good (expensive its an island resort, but good) Casino is very nice, decent night life at the hotel too and you can mix it up with Beach and Water rides which are fun. I would not reccomend Nassau over the Gulf Coast if you do not stay at the Atlantis Resort. Atlantis is a world class resort and all of Paridise Island is nice and well kept.

The only other parts of Nassau you may visit which I do reccomend like Downtown and the Fish Market are fine, well kept and safe. The Bahamas take safety of guest very seriously since it is what their economy thrives on. I always enjoy going to Nassau/Atlantis. The Seafood is great there too and there are some cheaper options on the main island.

Of course there are other out-islands in the Bahamas if you want it to be very laid back and seclusive.

However if you just want the beach, no worries, less money, no changing clothes for dinner type thing find a town on the Gulf Coast.
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Old 12-29-2011, 07:44 AM
 
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Thank you both for your input. I guess we have some deciding to do in the next couple of weeks. Bradburn I agree with you that when a place is run down - it's hard to look past that. That was one of the things I noticed when I went touring around Nassau when I was there 15 years ago. Can't recall seeing it as much on Paradise Island, but I didn't spend that much time there. All in all we will only be there 4-5 days and plan to spend most of our time at the resort except for the one day trip to Blue Lagoon Island (Salt Cay). I heard meals are expensive there at Atlantis. Sure hope there are cheaper restaurants in Paradise Island.

Kauai is also in the running for a destination spot - but the airfaire is so expensive to go there now even from here in California.....
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Old 12-29-2011, 11:07 PM
 
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
4,836 posts, read 10,152,781 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KristyD View Post
Thank you both for your input. I guess we have some deciding to do in the next couple of weeks. Bradburn I agree with you that when a place is run down - it's hard to look past that. That was one of the things I noticed when I went touring around Nassau when I was there 15 years ago. Can't recall seeing it as much on Paradise Island, but I didn't spend that much time there. All in all we will only be there 4-5 days and plan to spend most of our time at the resort except for the one day trip to Blue Lagoon Island (Salt Cay). I heard meals are expensive there at Atlantis. Sure hope there are cheaper restaurants in Paradise Island.

Kauai is also in the running for a destination spot - but the airfaire is so expensive to go there now even from here in California.....
There are a few other places to eat on Paridise Island but don't be afriad to head over to "Nassau" main-island. I have eaten at many places there it will be cheaper but you also have to account for the cab ride. Places may look run down compared to the US of course but the Bahamas is a very safe country to visit, and compared to most of the Caribbean it is a modern, safe, economically sound country. I have been going to Nassau since 1994 about once a year and have seen Paridise Island transform to a resort for People from South Florida and England to a world class, international destination resort. Nassau has improved with Atlantis. The areas you will go to are much different than they were 15 years ago. They even just completely re-built the US Departure/Arrival terminal to Nassau Airport.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Palm Bay, FL
334 posts, read 981,951 times
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Nassau is a crime-ridden dump IMO, but Atlantis is nice if pricey.

FYI - The Bahamas has one of the highest per capita murder rates out of any country in the world. It's around 7 times higher than the USA and twice that of Mexico. I've always had a good trip there, but it's absolutely not as safe as most of the rest of the Caribbean. Nassau in particular has some places that you do NOT want to go, and they're not far from the main tourist district. in general, the rest of the Bahamas outside of Nassau are mostly crime free, and if you stay in Atlantis or the other resorts you won't have issues, but it's not exactly Disneyland over there right now.

List of countries by intentional homicide rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis
45 posts, read 113,145 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradburn1 View Post
I'm familiar with Florida's gulf coast, although more specifically the panhandle area they call the Emerald coast. I also just got back from a 7 day cruise in the Bahamas and Caribbean so feel I can compare a bit. Here's my opinion. The beaches in the Bahamas and Caribbean--stunning, at least the water. I was not pleased with the areas surrounding the beaches, and with the persistent and close to harassing beach vendors (although, I only experienced this really on the French side of St. Martin but it was BAD). But, everywhere that is not a resort is fairly run down. This part to me is very important, and yes I know, snobby, but if I'm spending a lot of money on a vacation I like things a certain way. Also I didn't like constantly having to worry about theft and keeping track of my passport when I wanted to swim.

The water is warmer down there than in the Gulf, but at the time of year you are thinking of going, it should be fine. Snorkeling and diving in the Bahamas and Caribbean are awesome, better than what I've found in the Gulf areas I've visited, but there are still fun places to do that in the Gulf as well as take dolphin tours/deep sea fish, or go shelling.

The beaches in the gulf are in my opinion, easily as nice as those in the Caribbean/Bahamas and in some places, are better IMO because of their white, talcum sand. That combined with the color of the water, awesome. One of the most beautiful places I have ever been is Seaside, Florida which is a little resort town on Florida's panhandle between Panama City and Destin. The most beautiful town filled with whimsical colored cottages as well as a downtown area that has shops and great restaurants right on the beach and you can walk to everything, including the stunning beach, from every house, in 5-10 minutes. You can rent cottages or condos (there are no high rises though, they are not allowed in this area, so everyone can see the ocean). I would choose this area over the Caribbean/Bahams every time because the whole area is so beautiful, not just the tiny area on a resort. There is another area close to Seaside that is similar and also stunning, Rosemary Beach. These two areas are very laid back, non party/nightlife type of places. They're more like go to beach, then go to great restaurant, watch concert in common area, go sit on cottage porch with beer.

They are however, quite expensive. But if it's just the two of you, you can rent a carriage house (a small independent house behind a main house) for a reasonable amount, so you could call the rental agencies and see what they would recommend. I've seen adorable ones in Seaside and Rosemary Beach for about $900-1500 for 7 days.
I adore seaside... and I heard it is where the Truman show was filmed, although I doubt it seriously. However, Aly's Beach is amazing too with the architecture being all ... is it Spanish deco or something... very old and gorgeous. The whole area is white buildings except for a few mansions on the edge... this is further south of Seaside.

I am thinking if one visits the Bahamas, it must be a resort otherwise the dangers with theft and soliciting.. not unlike Jamaica (which I will never go back to for this very reason).
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis
45 posts, read 113,145 times
Reputation: 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdoty View Post
Nassau is a crime-ridden dump IMO, but Atlantis is nice if pricey.

FYI - The Bahamas has one of the highest per capita murder rates out of any country in the world. It's around 7 times higher than the USA and twice that of Mexico. I've always had a good trip there, but it's absolutely not as safe as most of the rest of the Caribbean. Nassau in particular has some places that you do NOT want to go, and they're not far from the main tourist district. in general, the rest of the Bahamas outside of Nassau are mostly crime free, and if you stay in Atlantis or the other resorts you won't have issues, but it's not exactly Disneyland over there right now.

List of countries by intentional homicide rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I have also heard it is a dump and read into it thoroughly... but I want to go for the beaches.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,647 posts, read 16,027,047 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maneki-neko View Post
I adore seaside... and I heard it is where the Truman show was filmed, although I doubt it seriously.
Truman Show was indeed filmed in Seaside. A lot of locals were extras and even had minor speaking roles in the film.

Seaside looks back on 'The Truman Show' | truman, seaside, rauschkolb - News - Northwest Florida Daily News
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:51 AM
 
694 posts, read 1,788,805 times
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Thanks for posting that article, I hadn't seen it and it's really interesting! I'm headed back to Seaside this October. They just dodged Isaac thankfully.

I agree Maneki about Alys Beach, I just love it. Wish it was more finished though, but it's nothing like anywhere else in the US, it's almost like being in a dream.
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