Picture the endless white sands of Grace Bay Beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands and you probably think of honeymooners or even celebrities splashing about in the surf. After all, the Kardashians are a big fan of the region, and they did happen to be in town when I visited.
However, despite this flashy cache as an adults playground, the Turks and Caicos have plenty to offer families looking for a fun-filled break in the sun. These are the best activities, day trips, and events to enjoy with the whole family on your journey to Turks and Caicos.
The beach simply cannot be ignored when in The Turks and Caicos. Expect spotless, white sand and gently lapping waves, with perfectly pink conch shells washed up on the shore. Children can easily spend days building in the sand, swimming, playing and just generally being kids. But beyond the beach, there’s so much more to discover.
Book a half or full-day snorkel tour on Island Vibes Tours and discover an underwater world. Participants don’t need to be strong swimmers as life vests are on board, and you only need to dip your face into the water to see a fantastic array of wildlife.
Children aged 3-10 are half the cost of adult tickets and smaller children go free and can stay on board with a parent during the snorkelling section. The tour includes snacks, drinks, and stops at Iguana Island and another spot where you can go down the boat’s rooftop slide right into the ocean!
The conch (pronounced “konk) is hugely important to the island; it’s eaten as tasty food, used as decoration and is even on the national flag as a symbol of the island. You can learn more about this humble sea snail which has a very beautiful pink shell home at the Conch Farm and Museum, but unfortunately, it is currently closed after sustaining damage during Hurricane Irma. You’ll still have the opportunity to taste conch and admire the beautiful shells all over the island.
The Conch Festival held annually in November is a great time to try the delicacy. Remember however that it is illegal to export conch shells from the Turks and Caicos, although visitors are allowed to take up to three shells home purchased as souvenirs.
Little Water Cay or Iguana Island as it’s also known, is home to so many lizards which were once rampant across the Turks and Caicos but are now endangered. Kids will love to be so close to these little dinosaurs, but please remember not to feed them or otherwise bother these extraordinary creatures.
The Island is less than 500 yards from Providenciales and can even be reached by kayak from the Leeward Marina. Boardwalks loop around from one beach to another and allow you to get a really good look at the iguanas. The Turks and Caicos National Trust manage the area, but if you go with a tour operator, they will arrange a pass for you to explore the island. If you travel independently, you can buy a ticket from the National Trust office in Providenciales.
Kayak The Mangroves
Take a guided kayak trip through the mangroves near the protected Prіnсеѕѕ Alеxаndrа Nаtіоnаl Park with Waterplay TCI. Here you will all find a little peace and quiet in the secluded mangroves and learn more about the animals that live here. We saw turtles, small sharks and lots of beautiful birds.
Waterplay TCI also offers visitors the chance to explore the mangroves on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP.) The upright position taken on these boards allows you to scan the water for wildlife, which is one of the reasons the guides use a SUP even on the kayak tours.
It can take a little while to find your balance, but the guides are on hand to help you go from kneeling to standing as quickly as possible. Kids five and older can have a go themselves, but they should be competent swimmers to ensure their safety. Little ones can sit on your board with a lifejacket on and enjoy the ride!
Choose A Family-Friendly Property
When travelling with kids, it’s really important to choose a hotel that has kids in mind. The Ocean Club Resorts have two properties, Ocean Club and Ocean Club West, both located right on Grace Bay Beach and they understand the unique needs of families.
The luxurious suites here have plenty of space to spread out and come with a full kitchen so that parents can easily prepare meals and snacks for hungry kids. They even supply a washer and dryer to cut down on your chores once you get back home!
Children will love the swimming pool, but that’s far from the only amenity aimed at kids at The Ocean Club Resorts, they’ll also find watersports, beach toys, and board games to borrow. Parents will be relieved to find they can leave a lot of their gear at home and use the onsite cribs, strollers, high chairs, and baby monitors.
What’s more, children aged 12 and under are always free!
The Turks and Caicos Islands are an ideal retreat for family-friendly fun in the sun.