East End of Island Drive, Grand Bahama Attractions
The driving tour from Freeport to McLeans Town at the east end of Grand Bahama Island is 50mi/80km in each direction. There are a pair of roads, one on the south coast and another along the middle of the island to make a circuit.At 6mi/9km from Freeport, the road crosses the Grand Lucayan Waterway (lowest bridge 26ft/8m), built for the benefit of boaters.The fishing villages of Freetown, High Rock and Pelican Point are strung along the coast as are Churchill, Fortune, Barbary, and Gold Rock beaches.Lucayan National Park is adjacent to Gold Rock Beach. The inner reaches of the east end between Port Lucaya and the National Park are good for cycling, with the road being flat, wide and having little traffic.At the tip of the island and end of the road is McLeans Town best noted for its annual conch-shell-cracking competition held on Discovery Day weekend, usually around October 12. Beyond McLeans Town are a number of Cays (islands), some inhabited, which require a boat to visit.
Lucayan National Park
Lucayan National Park covers a 40ac/16ha area that encompasses mangrove swamps, sand dunes, broad beaches, limestone caves, and pine and palm forest.Split by the main highway to the east, a short hike north brings visitors to a series of limestone caves once used by natives. The bodies of water in these caves connect to the sea and experienced divers with a good sense of direction sometimes take the hour's underwater swim to cave entrances in the sea. Ordinary visitors can climb down stairways to view the unique species of fish.South of the highway, a circular boardwalk yields an interesting nature walk across mangrove swamps, dunes with land-dwelling crabs and a magnificent beach and other ecosystems with bird watching opportunities.
Opening hours: 9am-4pm
Always closed on: Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Gold Rock Beach
Gold Rock Beach, at Lucayan National Park, is a relatively secluded area and undeveloped stretch of beach. There is a board walk that takes you through the mangroves and leads to the ocean. Gold Rock is almost picture perfect and usually has very few if any visitors.
Peterson Cay National Park
Being the only cay off the leeward shore of Grand Bahama, this small island of Peterson Cay National Park is a popular weekend picnic spot. The diving and snorkeling is unspoiled. The cay is 1.5mi/2km offshore and is served by some nature tour operators.Peterson Cay National Park includes both the land and immediate surrounding marine environment.
Parrot Jungle's Garden of the Groves
Parrot Jungle's Garden of the Groves is a well laid-out tropical garden (11ac/4.5ha) with thousands of species of flowers. It is a great place to go for a walk and enjoy the tranquility. There are a few parrots on site but the main attractions here are the gardens.