We are so happy with our decision to visit Harbour Island as our honeymoon destination. It was truly the most relaxing vacation, and one that I will not forget. Each day was filled with new adventures, and I’m already trying to figure out a way to plan another trip back soon! There is something about the sunshine, the ocean, the air, and the pace that is just magical… I’m missing it greatly this week!
Harbour Island truly feels like a hidden gem in the Caribbean. While it’s definitely not a secret by any means, it’s far less populated by tourists than some of the surrounding islands in the Bahamas. If you’re looking for a place to truly relax amongst a stunning setting of turquoise blue water and a beautiful pink sand beach, Harbour Island is the place to do so.
Harbour Island, also referred to as “Briland” by the locals, is not your typical resort destination. There are no large resorts on the island – only small, boutique hotels and inns. Whereas in some island destinations where you stay solely on the resort property for the duration of your trip, Harbour Island is entirely different. Here, boutique hotels, dining, and shopping destinations are mixed in with local residences and businesses. You are truly immersed in the local culture when you visit Harbour Island – there is no separation of resort and local life, which is part of the charm.
Getting to Harbour Island is fairly simple, although at first glance it appears to be several steps. From Charleston, we had options to fly to Atlanta, Charlotte, or Fort Lauderdale, and then connect to North Eleuthera in The Bahamas. Once you land in North Eleuthera, you’ll go through a quick customs check, and then grab a taxi to the Three Islands Ferry Dock. The taxi ride is just about a minute long to the ferry dock. From here, you’ll take a boat ferry to Harbour Island. The ferry ride is just about 5 minutes long, and was a fun and exciting way to start the trip! Once you arrive on the island, you can grab a taxi to your hotel. Harbour Island is just 3.5 miles long and .5 miles wide, so it’s easy to navigate by the preferred means of transportation on the island – a golf cart.
Renting a golf cart for the week is a must! You can choose to have the golf cart delivered to the government dock, if you wish, so you can start using it immediately! I definitely recommend renting the golf cart for the entire duration of your trip. There are several rental companies on the island – to name a few, try Conch & Coconut, Michaels Cycles, Ross Rentals, and Majors Rentals. (We rented a golf cart through our hotel from Ross Rentals).
We booked our trip about two months in advance, and found that many hotels were already fully booked by that time, but we were excited to secure a one-bedroom cottage at the Pink Sands Resort. This resort is comprised of about 29 individual cottages. It sits right on Pink Sands Beach, so we loved being able to walk (just about a minute walk!) or golf cart directly to the beach from our cottage. The grounds of the resort were lush with beautiful tropical plants and palm trees.
They have two restaurants on the property: Blue Bar & Restaurant – a beach-front restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch (we ate here almost daily for breakfast or beach-side lunch), and Malcolm 51 – a beautiful restaurant serving dinner (we ate here the second night of our trip). Overall, we had a great experience at Pink Sands Resort, and I would definitely recommend it!
One of my favorite parts about our cottage was waking up each morning to the sound of birds chirping. I took a video of it one morning so that I could remember that sound forever! We also were woken up to the sound of roosters each morning… Harbour Island is known for having roosters roam the streets!
There were some other hotels that we were hoping had availability but did not, which were The Dunmore, The Ocean View Club, and Coral Sands. We actually ended up eating at restaurants at each of these hotels throughout the week, and I can say with certainty that I would highly consider staying at any of these properties, as well, especially The Dunmore! More on that later in the post…
While Harbour Island has a lot to offer, the beach is truly what draws visitors to the island. I wrote in a previous blog post about just how incredibly blue the ocean water is – it took our breaths away when we first saw it! Photos don’t even do it justice, it is truly special. Combined with the blush pink sand, it is a stunning combination and one that is sure to stay in your memories forever.
There are two “sides” of the island: the eastern side, which is where the long stretch of Pink Sands Beach is, and the western side, which faces the harbor. Because the beach is relatively expansive and there are not large resorts on the island, we found that the beaches were not crowded at all, which we loved.
Our hotel offered beach cabanas, so we spent the majority of each day relaxing by the beach. I couldn’t get Michael away from the beach and our cabana… I think he would have spent the night out there if I would have let him!
Here are our highlights from the trip, in case any of you are planning to a trip to Harbour Island soon!
What We Did on Harbour Island:
Relaxed on the Beach
We spent the majority of each day at beautiful Pink Sands Beach. Funny story: upon arriving to our hotel, our bellhop drove us to our cottage, and we passed by a pool, to which Michael commented ” oh there’s a pool”, and our bellhop immediately said “oh, no one ever swims in it”. We thought it was funny, but once we saw the beach, we knew why – it is absolutely magical!
Explored The Island
Each day started with venturing out on our golf cart to grab coffee and explore Dunmore Town and the rest of the island. This was always such a fun way to start each day! There are so many hidden gems and always something new to see around every corner. I loved the watercolor-hued homes off of the Bay Street area, especially.
Went on a Snorkeling Charter
We chartered a boat with Tyman’s Charters on the second to last day of our trip! It was truly one of our favorite days while in Harbour Island. Tyman and his daughter, Breanna, took us to swim with sea turtles and stingrays – what an experience! They were very knowledge about the island and took us to all of the best spots! We couldn’t get over how crystal clear the water was the entire time we were out there. I highly recommend chartering a boat during your visit – it’s a great way to see the island and the surrounding areas!
There are some adorable shops and boutiques on the island. The Blue Rooster was my favorite. They have a beautifully curated collection of clothing, accessories, and housewares, set in a blue and white lover’s dream of a cottage! I wish I had had more space in my luggage, as I would have done a bit more shopping there. 🙂
I purchased the monogrammed straw bag shown in the photo above from A and A Hidden Treasures. Alice and her daughter are the owners of the shop, and they handmake straw gifts and bags. I emailed them a few weeks before our visit to request a bag with my new initials, and picked it up when we arrived so that I could carry it all week!
If you’re looking to pick up snack items or beer/wine, the Pigly Wigly and Bristol Wine & Spirits are right next door to each other so you can make an easy pit stop! We stopped here and purchased a few things for our cottage on the first day.
Where We Dined:
Every single meal we ate on Harbour Island was wonderful – we didn’t have one bad meal! Here’s where we dined:
The Blue Bar and Restaurant: This was the beach-front restaurant at our hotel, The Pink Sands Resort. We enjoyed breakfast here on several mornings of our trip – the views were simply wonderful and the food was delicious!
Cocoa Coffee House: We had coffee and breakfast here two times during our trip. The breakfast sandwiches were delicious (get the egg, turkey bacon, and cheese on a croissant!). Cocoa Coffee is located right across the street from Valentine’s Marina, which is where many of the water activities/boat charters take off from, so it’s the perfect spot to head to before venturing out on the water!
Romora Bay: We had lunch here to first day of our trip! The calamari fritters and the chips and salsa appetizers paired perfectly with a glass of rosé (and a Kalik for Michael).
The views are amazing there – it’s also the perfect place to enjoy happy hour cocktails at sunset, which we ended up doing later in the week. We had dinner on another night and had the best time! The food was absolutely delicious (I had the local catch of the day, Mahi-Mahi). The atmosphere here was so much fun – live music and the most beautiful sunset!
Coral Sands Hotel: I had heard great things about the restaurant at Coral Sands hotel, and it definitely did not disappoint! I had the lobster salad sandwich and a glass of rosé (they chill their wine glasses so it’s extra refreshing), and Michael had a burger and fries – both were absolutely delicious, and I’m craving this right about now!
Beachside at The Blue Bar & Restaurant: Lunch on the beach is the way to go! Our hotel offered beachside lunch from The Blue Bar & Restaurant. We had the coconut shrimp (amazing) and painkillers for beverages on several days during our trip, served right to our cabana. (Dwight was our server on most days during our trip, and he was awesome!)
The Landing: We had dinner here at our first night on Harbour Island, and it was one of my very favorite evenings. We sat on the porch with a beautiful view of the sunset, and had the best meal! I highly recommend, it has such a great atmosphere, and the food is excellent.
Malcolm 51: This was the restaurant right on site at our hotel, and it did not disappoint… we truly felt like we were in the islands in this beautiful space. You’ll see what I mean from the photos below! The restaurant opens up to the outdoor space, so you feel like you’re dining outside even when you’re not. It was a special experience!
The Dunmore: This was my favorite meal of the trip. There is nothing quite like the atmosphere at The Dunmore. The entire property is absolutely beautiful, and the restaurant is no exception. I fell in love with the decor and brought back a ton of decor inspiration… I’m hoping to stay here on our next visit! Back to dinner… we sat outside on a small deck overlooking the ocean and enjoyed the most beautiful sunset and meal! They even brought out a lamp for the deck for lighting…
Ocean View Club: This was Michael’s favorite meal of the trip. The Ocean View Club is a boutique hotel with a restaurant overlooking the ocean. We sat outside on the porch, and enjoyed the prettiest pink sunset over Pink Sands Beach! The meal we had here was delicious, and I loved the decor here, as well. The decor and atmosphere is bohemian/eclectic, and I think their website says it best: “the atmosphere is more like that of a house that is well-lived in” … Agreed!
A few other restaurants that we didn’t have time to try were Acquapazza Risotorante and Runaway Hill for dinner, and then The Queen Conch for lunch (we heard raving reviews about this place, and planned to eat there on our last day but ran out of time as we didn’t realize how early we had to be at the airport!).
A few tips for dining on Harbour Island:
- Most of the restaurants include gratuity in the bill – I just recommend checking this as you’re closing your tab!
- Reservations are recommended!
- Request to sit outside where you can, as there is usually a beautiful view to be taken in!
It was so difficult to fit a full week’s trip into one post, but I hope it is helpful! If you are considering a trip to HI and have any questions, feel free to comment below. Have a great weekend!
Shop My Outfits from the trip Here: