We are constantly on the lookout for the perfect beach getaway. Caribbean always checks all the boxes, but it’s sooo hard to get there from Denver. It always involves a stop (with the exception of seasonal Cayman Airways to Grand Cayman) and sometimes that stop is even overnight or a red-eye flight. Despite the inconvenience of an overnight in Chicago, er thought family friendly Turks and Caicos was perfect!
Turks and Caicos remains an unknown to many families. When most American families think Caribbean, they think of USVI or BVIs. Or Jamaica or Puerto Rico. However, this British Overseas Territory has plenty to offer a family for a relaxing beach vacation. And it’s getting more popular! The islands that encompass Turks and Caicos are Providenciales, Grand Turk, North Caicos, South Caicos, Salt Cay and Middle Caicos. The most popular island with tourists is overwhelmingly Providenciales, home to Grace Bay Beach, consistently voted World’s Best Beach by numerous tourism awards.
Where to Stay
Providenciales offers so many options for family friendly stays. The majority of the island is a condo type accommodation, with a few exceptions. And these condo accommodations come with kitchens for the most part. A kitchen will help save on your budget because Turks is expensive. And many families prefer a multi bedroom set up with a kitchen due to nap schedules, teen hunger, etc. Family friendly Turks and Caicos checkbox number one!
The Palms Turks and Caicos: We LOVED the Palms. Situated right on Grace Bay Beach, you’re greeted with a gorgeous, open air lobby with a British colonial feel. The grounds are stunning and tropical, there is a fantastic breakfast restaurant AND one of the best dinner restaurants on the island, and a fabulous pool with a swim up bar, looking right out onto the white sands of Grace Bay. Of course there is a kid’s club. Rooms are spacious one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens. There are many different room configurations so it’s worth chatting with your travel agent and the hotel reservations about what works best for you. The spa is great and the staff is amazing. We also liked that we could walk down the beach and be in town within ten to 15 minutes.
Grace Bay Club: Another absolutely stunning resort with a slightly different feel. Instead of an all white Colonial feel, Grace Bay Club is warm and elegant. Also right on Grace Bay Beach, this resort offers suites and residences, has several pools, including an adult pool and boasts the “longest bar in the world”. They also have private villas all over the island, a kid’s club and a fantastic concierge.
Beaches Turks and Caicos: For those wanting an all-inclusive option, Beaches is definitely the best choice on the island. They do family friendly right! Plenty of different room configurations, tons of restaurants and tons of activities. The resort is made up a a few different “villages”, each with it’s own special charm. Beaches is definitely the most expensive all-inclusive on the island and there is a reason for it!
Shore Club: Swanky. That’s the only word I can think of to describe Shore Club. NOT located on Grace Bay and instead located on Long Bay Beach, Shore Club offers a slightly different experience. The beach is great, but definitely narrower and windier – it’s very popular with kite boarders, which is fun to watch. A great kid’s club, a FANTASTIC bar and several pools. The resort also offers several different room type configurations, as well, and the restaurant Sui Lin is amazing. I still dream about it. I loved the adult, ritzy feel of Shore Club. And rather liked the beach because it wasn’t nearly as crowded as Grace Bay. The Shore Club also has absolutely amazing villas on property for parties with larger groups. Each villa comes with its own butler, a bar stocked to your liking, a private pool, private beach area and has a VIP experience one soon won’t forget.
West Bay Club: This condo type resort offers great accommodations at a lower price for the budget conscious. It offers more of a boutique setting for families and is right on Grace Bay Beach. The complimentary bicycles are a fun amenity and there are plenty of complimentary non-motorized watersports also. The resort offers everything from studios to four bedroom units.
What to Do
Aside from the obvious activity of lying on the beach, what is there to do in Turks and Caicos? Plenty! Although I do consider it a sleepier island in the Caribbean, there is plenty for a family to entertain themselves.
Amazing Snorkeling: Turks has one of the best reefs in the world, affording guests a wonderful snorkel or dive experience. Caicos Dream Tours has several different types of boats and options for snorkelers and divers. Ours had a slide from the top of the boat to go directly into the clear blue water! We saw an amzing amount of fish and I can only imagine Scuba diving is even more stunning! Our tour also involved a stop at Half Moon Bay to witness our guide catching conch and making us a conch salad for that evening. It was truly magical.
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding and other water sports: If you like SUP or kayaking, look no further! Caicos Dreams also does kayaking, SUP, Kite Boarding, and sailing! Kayaking in the mangroves offers fun and education, teaching about the ecosystem of the islands. They offer both group and private options for all.
Fishing: Not being fishermen ourselves, I have no idea what it’s all about! But in talking with clients, it seems that BITE ME Sportfishing is the popular way to go in the islands. They have full and half day outings, and options for snacks or full lunches while you while away the hours waiting for a bite!
The Famous Island Fishfry: This is not to be missed on a family friend Turks and Caicos vacation! Every Thursday, the island has its world famous Fish Fry, or “Junkaroo”. The event features live bands, cultural activities, and restaurant and souvenir vendors. The event is from 5:30pm to 9:30 pm and quite raucous! The entire family will have fun at this event. Check here for a full view of what Fish Fry is all about.
Aside from the amazing water sports, Providenciales also has great shopping for the fashionistas in your family, and super spas.
Where to Eat
My favorite part! Food! Turks and Caicos islands have such amazing food. I really consider it a foodie destination and I think a of families don’t know that. There really is something for everyone, from fine dining to “hole in the wall”, casual places.
Thai Thai Thai: I could eat Thai food day and night. And Providenciales had one of the best Thai restaurants I have ever had! And many people don’t even know it’s there. Look no further than Thai Orchids! So so good. A small place tucked around a corner in Regent Village, these friendly people serve up delectable dishes such as Pad Thai, Grilled Beef Salad, Siam Rolls and Crispy Duck. Even the wine was fantastic. The owner, JP, is from Bangkok and brought Thai food to Turks 20 years ago.
Sui Ren: Located in the Shore Club Resort, Sui Ren was some of the best food we had on our trip. The restaurant combines Peruvian and Japanese food and there can’t possibly be a better combination! Fresh seafood, organic produce, and an outside atmosphere that can’t be beat! I loved loved loved this place. Best for a couple rather than a family though. Definitely get the Parmesean Crusted Crab Cakes.
Coco Bistro: Coco Bistro is one of the most popular restaurants on the island so it’s worth it to make reservations before you arrive in Turks. The outside garden boasts the largest Palm Grove on the island and is the perfect atmosphere of romance and casual. It’s also within walking distance to plenty of resorts. The menu is very “island” in feel….think lots of fresh seafood and fantastic wines.
72 West: This great, casual option is perfect for families and is located in The Palms Resort. Set right along the beach, the tables are between the infinity pool and the sand – the perfect beachfront setting! It’s also a great casual option and has a kid’s menu that will please the whole family.
Parallel 23: This restaurant was one of the highlights of the trip. It’s definitely on the nicer side, but has a kid’s menu. There is both an inside and outdoor area and service is perfect. And the wine is amazing.
Hemingways on the Beach: This fun, casual restaurant is located in The Sands Resort (which, incidentally, is also a more budget friendly resort option). It’s right on Grace Bay Beach and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner! Lunch is the most popular so get there in plenty of time! Conch fritters and Conch Chowder are the best on island!
It’s worth noting that Providenciales kind of shuts down around 10:30 or 11. Late night bars just aren’t a thing, which is why I say it’s more of a laid back island than some other Caribbean choices, but that makes it all the more family friendly, in my opinion. Sometimes when I go to Caribbean, I feel the need to see everything and be chock full of activities. Turks offered the perfect balance between activities and sitting on the beach! And is it ever gorgeous. The sand was like sugar and the water was the absolute perfect temperature. We can’t wait to go back and visit some of the other islands in the island chain!
Need help planning a family friendly Turks and Caicos getaway? I’m here to help! As an independent travel advisor for Departure Lounge Travel, I make it my mission to create the perfect vacation for you! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.