The water really is as clear and turquoise as it looks, and the beaches are really as deserted as they seem within the coral-based archipelago of The Bahamas. Once you slow down enough to get on island time, there’s so much to explore, from some of the world’s best fishing to deserted island hopping. Get a feel for the sun-drenched utopia that could be yours—whether it’s Harbour Island‘s pink-sand beaches or Nassau‘s cultural landmarks—just a 35-minute flight from several Florida locales.

Read: Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway

Divided into three acts, “Bimini,” “Cuba,” and “At Sea,” the first book of this posthumously published trio of novels introduces painter Thomas Hudson on the tranquil Bahamian isle of Bimini. Hudson’s rigorous work schedule is interrupted when his three sons show up, and plenty of fishing, swimming, and drinking ensues.

Read this if you enjoy character studies and the simple, direct writing style for which Hemingway is known.

Read: An Embarrassment of Mangoes by Anne Vanderhoof

Live vicariously through this husband and wife pair as they leave their “type-A lifestyle” and careers behind to chase a Caribbean dream on their 42-foot sailboat. Anne Vanherhoof’s intimate recount of the beauty—and deliciously exotic food—they find in the Bahamas will have you packing your flip-flops and your appetite.

Read this if you dream of leaving it all behind.

Watch: Splash

A fun throwback featuring a young Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah, the 1973 classic Splash was filmed on stunning Castaway Cay located near Abaco. Get swept up in the love story that unfolds between Hanks’ character and a beautiful mermaid played by Hannah, all while enjoying the sun-drenched beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Bahamian paradise.

Watch this for a slice of vintage movie magic.

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