Filled with stories of a fascinating history of salt production, this old-fashioned village is the gateway to one of the Bahamas’ most beautiful beaches.
William’s Town is the southernmost settlement on Little Exuma. This quaint town is best known for its ruins of a former plantation home and a nearby beach that is touted as one of the region’s most stunning stretches of sand. Watch local fishermen bringing in their catches and see the haunting remains of the town’s salt lake.
Check out the unusual Salt Beacon, located on the Queen’s Highway on the outskirts of William’s Town. This 30-foot-tall (9-meter) Tuscan-style pillar was built in the 18th or 19th century to help guide ships to the salt port. Exuma’s salt-raking industry flourished for hundreds of years until refrigeration was developed in the 20th century. Look for a small plaque describing the beacon, as well as a lone cannon once used to defend the site against pirates.
The land at the base of the Salt Beacon is an excellent lookout point, offering views over the ocean and inland to the Great Salt Pond. Look over this eerie body of water, where salt was harvested before overseas shipment.
Don’t miss the picturesque hilltop ruins of the Hermitage, an 18th-century cotton plantation. The Hermitage spans 970 acres (390 hectares) and is the last surviving example of many plantations once dotted across the Exumas. Look for wild cotton growing around the property, a reminder of the slaves who once worked on the land.
Near the Hermitage are a somber group of Loyalist tombs. Read the inscriptions to see that three of the graves are marked with the names of Loyalist families, while the fourth is mysteriously unmarked, possibly belonging to a slave.
Ask for directions to the Tropic of Cancer Beach, down an unmarked rocky road northwest of town. It is often described as one of the Bahamas’ most beautiful beaches. You’ll likely be the only visitor enjoying this secluded strip of sand. Aside from being a serene place to relax, the imaginary Tropic of Cancer meridian line runs across this beach.
To reach William’s Town, cross to Little Exuma from Great Exuma. You’ll find it about 19 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of George Town.