When most people think of vacationing in the Bahamas, they think of the over-commercialized—and extremely expensive—Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, or some exclusive cruise ship beach that lacks culture and is nothing more than a place to rack up cheap souvenirs. But thanks to my best friend and her destination wedding (almost exactly two years ago to the day), I discovered an island in the Bahamas worth escaping to for a quiet weekend away from it all!

Approximately 70 miles east of Nassau and a short 30-minute flight away lies Eleuthera, a long, skinny island that boasts an endless number of virtually unspoiled natural sights. The island itself is more than 100 miles long, but is a mere one and three-fourths of a mile wide. This narrow width ensures that visitors are never far from the beaches of pink and white sand.

Although it is the third most populated island in the country, the residents are mostly fishers, farmers and shopkeepers who live in concentrated areas and do their best to live with the land, instead of destroying it. They are also extremely friendly and welcoming to guests.

While there, I stayed with the bride and her wedding party at the host hotel, Pineapple Fields Resort, in a one-bedroom unit that included a full kitchen, a living area and even an outdoor balcony. It honestly felt as if we were staying in a friend’s quaint guesthouse instead of a full resort. Although there were other resort guests and even a few full-time residents, everyone effortlessly kept out of one another’s way. It felt as if the only people at the resort were there for the wedding.

The pool was tranquil and quiet, making it a perfect place to relax and nap in the sun. Even better, it was footsteps away from our unit’s front door, so I didn’t think twice about going in—even if just for 10 minutes.

The beach, however, was not so conveniently located across the street. And although I would never head there for just 10 minutes, we did spend a lot of our time at that beach. The sight was breathtaking. It was a long beach lined by miles of palm and casuarina trees, with pink sand so pale it seemed white, and overlooking turquoise waves that went on far beyond the horizon. There were hardly any other people on the beach, so it always felt more like a discovery than a resort beach.

But what truly made that beach special was its famous beach bar, Tippy’s. What makes Tippy’s unlike most beach bars is its unique setting (as if someone only built a patio for a large home) and its surprisingly sophisticated Caribbean menu. They offered Bahamian conch, grouper tacos, an angus steak, bruschetta and, quite honestly, some of the best coconut shrimp I have ever had. On the weekends, the bar brings in live music and the crowd picks up. On any other night of the week, they are pretty accommodating and may even play music from your phone. Some of my most memorable moments and photos from the trip took place in Tippy’s, next to Tippy’s, outside of Tippy’s or below Tippy’s!

Although nestled away from it all, Pineapple Fields is located in Governor’s Harbour, and is only a 20-minute drive to the town center. That gives you access to the locals and their way of life. It also gives you access to souvenir shops, a completely different view of the ocean and a convenience store filled with your favorite grocery finds. Although Tippy’s is great, you should never eat at just one place when somewhere new. Our trips to the convenience store allowed us to take full advantage of our unit’s full kitchen, the grilling area located on the resort’s grounds, and make a different set of memories throughout the weekend.

Another restaurant worth mentioning is the Buccaneer Club, located approximately 1 mile from Pineapple Fields, but still on the same road. It was the only restaurant—aside from the deli in the resort’s office—that sold breakfast. The little one-room blue building provides the perfect patio for soaking in those Bahamian sun rays while dining outdoors.

One of our most exciting dining experiences came at the community fish fry, which takes place every weekend near the town center. Locals and visitors gather on a deck after dark to dance to local live music, eat bone-in fried fish and drink some delicious red punch made up by the locals with rum and God knows what else!

There are several traditional island activities to keep you busy for days: horseback riding, kayaking and even scuba diving. But if you’re looking for activities more unique to the island, you could spend an afternoon walking through the Leon Levy Nature Plant Preserve or drive to the Glass Window Bridge.

The Leon Levy Nature Plant Preserve is the first national park on the island of Eleuthera. Although the Bahamas National Trust operates it, the preserve was developed by Leon Levy’s widow to honor him and his love for his adopted home and its natural environment. The 25-acre preserve showcases plants native to the island, is a research center for traditional bush medicines and serves as an education center. The tour guides are extremely passionate about the park and do a great job motivating everyone to be excited about plants.

My favorite activity on the island, without a doubt, would be visiting the Glass Window Bridge near North Eleuthera. The man-made bridge now exists where a naturally formed bridge of rock stood before a hurricane. What makes this bridge so incredible is what is sits over: Underneath the bridge is where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean. That means on one side the water is a serene, turquoise blue, while the other side is rough, deep blue water. The sight is truly unbelievable. On a calm, sunny afternoon, if you’re brave enough, you can climb below the bridge and get a closer look at the water change at the “narrowest place on Earth.”

RESOURCES

http://www.levypreserve.org/

http://www.pineapplefields.com

http://www.bahamas.com/islands/eleuthera

Megan Pinckney (@shadesofpinck) is a retired beauty queen turned lifestyle blogger who loves exploring the world and writing about it.