Bahamas’ tourist board coined a phrase that continues to inspire people to visit this island nation located just off the east coast of Florida. “It is better in the Bahamas,” is that phrase, representing an apt description of this exotic destination that is favored by tourists of all types including honeymooners. The Bahamas is also a destination marriage location, where the bride, groom, family and invited guests share the couple’s joy on one of 30 inhabited Bahamian islands. If you’re considering a trip to the Bahamas, there are good reasons to visit including seven that we have listed here.

1. Proximity – Just 50 miles off the east coast of Florida are the Islands of the Bahamas, the closest Caribbean nation to the United States. Nassau and Freeport are the busiest of the six airports serving the Bahamas, offering ease of access to the U.S. mainland. Flights from Miami take just 35 minutes and flights from New York are completed in under three hours, the same time it takes to travel to Miami. Trips originating in Los Angeles are about 7 hours long or just 90 minutes longer than it takes to get to Honolulu.

2. Passports and Visas– U.S. citizens traveling abroad are required to furnish a passport when returning home. In the Bahamas, you’re only required to show proof of identify and citizenship. And, unlike many countries, short term visitors to the Bahamas are not required to apply for a visa. Getting into and around the Bahamas requires less paperwork than most other countries.

3. Language – Yes, they speak English in the Bahamas, a country that received its independence from the United Kingdom in 1973. Most of the people are of African descent and some also speak Bahamian Creole, a rich tongue that derives many of its words from African languages. Pick up a few new words too including “benny” that describes a sweet cake you’ll want to make when you return home. Ask a Bahamian for her recipe!

4. Affordability – Because of its proximity to the United States, travel to the Bahamas is affordable. It isn’t uncommon to find discounted airfare during the nonpeak tourist months of May through September, but you can also find excellent fares in January, February and March if you book early. The islands are served both by local hotels and international chains including Sheraton, Wyndham, Comfort Suites and other hotels. Choose an out of the way place such as Eleuthera Island and you’ll find many places to eat and the beaches are free. Do you like casino life? Then Freeport or Nassau is where you’ll want to visit.

5. Entertainment – The Atlantis may be Bahamas’ must famous resort, but it it isn’t the only one. If you like nightlife, you won’t be disappointed. Besides the casinos, there are cinemas, bars, jazz clubs and, of course, the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts. Dundas is a national treasure, with private and public presentations of theatrical plays, dramas, comedies, operas and ballet. Street musicians and entertainers are also present wherever you go, bringing in some local color.

6. Nature – If you’re honeymooning in the Bahamas or part of a wedding party, you’ll want to take in the many natural attractions of this island chain. Get away from the main tourist areas and enjoy any one of many natural pursuits. Snorkeling, windjammer sailing, kayaking, hiking and of course swimming are among the many off the beaten path pursuits you can enjoy. The Bahamas is a bird lovers destination too, with more than 200 species that call this island nation home. Some species are endemic to the Bahamas and are not found outside of the Caribbean. Frolic with sea lions and dolphins, explore the Thunderball Grotto and enjoy the Garden of the Groves. You’ll be clicking your camera fast and furiously as you explore the natural wonders of the Bahamas.

7. Shopping – Wherever you stay in the Bahamas, you’re certain to come across a number of local treats that you’ll want to take back with you to the United States. A Bahamas seagrass basket outfitted with lotion, soaps, locally made pottery and a hand-painted wood ornament may have been delivered to your hotel room. Other delights include baskets featuring pina colada cake with PaSion teas and local jams. Merchants throughout the islands sell locally made goods and Bahama favorites including camp shirts, shorts, swim trunks, blouses, dresses and more. Check out the Androsia Batik Factory on Andros Island to see how local clothing is made.