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North or South? First Timer to Cat

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5 posts
2 reviews
North or South? First Timer to Cat

I'm planning our first vacay to Cat Island. So excited but so much to learn beforehand. I'm tentatively looking at a private rental for a large group of us down at the southeast tip of the island, It appears that there isn't really a bad choice on Cat Island, but I don't want to screw up. For you veterans and long-time C.I. visitors, do you have or can you recommend a preferred location? Off the beaten path of course is always a good thing, but I don't want to be isolated from nearby restaurants, bars, and of course beautiful beaches. So Arthur's Town, New Bight, Old Bight? Ocean side or the calm water side? Much appreciated!

11 replies to this topic
Laurel, Maryland
Level Contributor
418 posts
106 reviews
1. Re: North or South? First Timer to Cat

Almost by definition, anywhere you stay on Cat Island will be isolated. You will almost definitely want to rent a car, which puts a lot of things all within reach (though, if you're staying on the southeast end of the island, you're not going to be popping in for happy hour at Shanna's Cove on the northwest side too often -- Cat is a long island, and while the roads are in passable condition, those 46 miles take a long time to cover).

That said, there are clusters of activity like restaurants and shops. If you are staying in the southeast, you'll have access to Greenwood's and Hawk's Nest; New Bight will give you Fernandez Bay Village and the food kiosks near the regatta site; etc. There is very little night life to speak of -- it's mostly what you make yourself. And there are beautiful beaches EVERYWHERE.

Whether you want the gentler Exuma Sound side beaches, or the waves of the Atlantic Ocean is entirely up to your taste. To me, they are both great. My husband and I stay at Fernandez Bay on the calmer side of the island, which gives us access also to the mangrove creek so we can paddle to our heart's content. But we hit an Atlantic side beach almost every day. Basically, I want it all!

So, I would suggest you choose a house that meets your needs and trust that you will find what you want. And if you're like me, you'll keep coming back.

Gastonia, North...
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3,997 posts
59 reviews
2. Re: North or South? First Timer to Cat

I can’t think of more than a couple rentals on the windwardside of the island.

I think the creeks on Cat are one of the biggest assets. Stay somewhere close to one of the few creeks on the island. I stayed in Bennett’s Harbour and kayaked around Alligator Creek. Sooooo many turtles and sharks and rays! Pigeon Cay has home rentals and there is a restaurant on site although you may need to check if they are serving food. When I was there summer before last they were only cooking if they had enough diners. Staying here would give you access to Alligator Creek as well. Orange Creek is gorgeous too as is the one near Old Bight, Joe Sound Creek I believe it’s called.

Burlington, Vermont
Destination Expert
for Burlington
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3,131 posts
12 reviews
3. Re: North or South? First Timer to Cat

Good advice above. There aren't a ton of rentals on Cat so the best strategy is first to narrow down to the rentals that meet your needs in terms of size and amenities, and then look at location.

The only thing I'll say about southeast, is that the beach in front of Port Howe was one of the only that we thought wasn't very nice. If you look on Google satellite view, you'll see very dark water along there right up to the sandy beach which was all shallow water and weedy. It's still a great location with easy access to many great beaches nearby, but if swimming out front at your rental is a priority, I'd check to see if you happen to be in this weedy area.

Florida Panhandle...
Level Contributor
1,612 posts
3 reviews
4. Re: North or South? First Timer to Cat

I second the Bennett's Harbour area. Wislon Bay is gorgeous with decent snorkeling. Close to Yardie's. Orange Creek is not that far and neither is the trip south to the store and regatta fish shacks. Oh... the hike to Man O War is up at Shanna's, so you'd be closer.

Edited: 15 May 2018, 02:28
Level Contributor
82 posts
8 reviews
5. Re: North or South? First Timer to Cat

I also would recommend Pigeon Cay and Bennett's Harbor. It is remote and the beaches are some of the best I've ever found. The creek is amazing for kayaking and snorkeling. There are a couple restaurants close by and it isn't far to the north end. Even the drive south to The Bight is only 30 minutes. If you have any questions feel free to message me.

Marble Falls, Texas
Level Contributor
81 posts
5 reviews
6. Re: North or South? First Timer to Cat

Wanted to thank you for all your posts. We stayed at Rollezz last year to check out Cat Island. We return this week and have rented a home on Wilson Bay - Simplicity after scoping out the entire island last May :)

East Brunswick, New...
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69 posts
29 reviews
7. Re: North or South? First Timer to Cat

Thanks for the informative posts.

Did you stay on Pigeon Cay?

Where staying in Sundance next year.

Pickens, South...
5 posts
8. Re: North or South? First Timer to Cat

How was your stay? We absolutely LOVED Simplicity last year and will be returning this July! Any great tips/finds that you want to share?

Marble Falls, Texas
Level Contributor
81 posts
5 reviews
9. Re: North or South? First Timer to Cat

We also loved Simplicity and will be returning next July! We had beautiful weather (no rain) in our trip. The only complaint was that there was very little fish this visit as the weather had been bad for two weeks prior to our trip so the fisherman hadn’t been fishing. We of course had two lunches at Shanna’s Cove, dinner at Yardies and the Smoke appt, and tried a new restaurant right down the road (Da Island Kitchen) at Pompey. Good conch fritters and grouper. Hope you have a wonderfully trip. Oh and sea glass hunting on the north side (down Dickey Road).

Pickens, South...
5 posts
10. Re: North or South? First Timer to Cat

So glad you liked it! Thanks for the heads up about Da Island Kitchen!

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