Best Kids' Beach Vacation: Turks + Caicos
Even if it sounds crazy at the time, book that vacation. DO IT. You might wonder how you'll manage all of the logistics, but it will work out! Life to oh so short. Almost every time we've made the decision to book a vacation I've thought soon after, gosh that's going to be too much money...or maybe we shouldn't leave the kids for so long...or are we crazy to take them with us on this kind of a trip?! And every time it's been amazing - a plethora of truly irreplaceable memories that Jeff and I will cherish and talk about forever and ever.
When Ella was six months old, we took her to the island of Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos. Good thing we went then too, ha! About two days after we got back she started crawling and that would've been an entirely different kind of trip as you probably know. It's definitely more of a jaunt to the Caribbean, especially when we are just a skip away from Hawaii here on the West Coast. But there is something really wonderful about the calm, clear, shallow water of the Caribbean when you have little kids. They can splash and play freely in about 1-2 feet of water, with little to no waves to worry about.
We noticed a few things about Providenciales that really set it apart from other Caribbean islands we've visited. It's an island we will definitely visit again and again. Here's why!
1. The island doesn't feel crowded. Apparently the locals feel like it gets busy during high season, but even tourists like us are saying where is everyone?!! because it really doesn't feel busy or touristy. Jeff and I have been to other islands that are much, much worse with cruise ships everywhere and mass beachgoers (no thanks). Providenciales has a quaint, local feel.
2. The beaches are the best we've been to yet. The water is shallow and so warm. Our favorite beaches for kids:
- Sapodilla Bay
- Taylor Bay
- Grace Bay
Grace Bay is definitely where most of the hotels are. This is where we stayed, but a lot of people also choose to stay on Chalk Sound, Turtle Cove, Taylor Bay, or Sapodilla Bay in a vacation house. Every place has its pros and cons!
3. Lots to do if you want to explore. The Turks and Caicos has the third largest barrier reef in the world! If laying around the pool or beach reading a book for ten days isn't your jam, there is tons to do (me? Put me next to the beach with three good books and never make me leave). Jeff is somewhere in the middle. He did a lot of snorkeling right off the shore, and then we also took an afternoon snorkeling trip on a catamaran and saw all kinds of ocean creatures. He said it was absolutely amazing!!
Another afternoon, we all hopped onto a little water taxi to another island, called North Caicos. We rented an off-road Jeep for the day (and yes we needed it). Rugged terrain might be an understatement. I was trying to not freak as Ella's tiny head sloshed around in her carseat, and tropical branches thrashed inside the car windows at us. Just when I was about to shreek okay enough already! all of a sudden the branches cleared and we were at the most breathtakingly beautiful coastline, called Three Marys Cays. Mama really needed a cocktail after that adventure so we stopped at the quaintest spot called Last Chance Bar and Grill...pretty sure it's the only one on the whole island!
Other things to keep ya busy on the island if you're active folk: kayaking through mongroves, scuba diving, fishing, island hopping, hiking, mountain biking, sailing, water skiing, wakeboarding, and of course - EATING (okay, and let's not forget drinking...the rum punch flows like water here).
4. The island has quite a few really amazing restaurants. I think since it's an island, people assume the food won't be great but we focused on eating at the top-rated restaurants on Tripadvisor, and were not disappointed. Make reservations, as the popular ones are so for a reason. A couple of our favorites were da Conch Shack and Coco Bistro, but we seriously loved everywhere we ate.
5. Too many more reasons to list! The weather is an average 85 degrees year-round with sunshine pretty much every day. The sunsets are out of this world. The island has a very relaxing and chill vibe to it. The locals are so lovely and friendly. We Americans get to drive on the opposite side of the road (British territory) - woot woot. The trip was just grand in all aspects...plus we were lucky enough to have Grandma Susie and Grandpa Terry along with us, which of course Ella loved and so did we. If you're considering a visit here - I vote yes. :)