Local Tip: 5 Family Activites in the Turks & Caicos
By Sue Nickason
We moved a little less than a year ago from Canada to Providenciales (“Provo” to the locals), the main island in the Turks & Caicos chain and the destination for most visitors. We’d enjoyed several activity-packed vacations in Provo before moving here. But settling in has given us the time to really explore and enjoy the islands with our 6-year-old.
Here are our five our favorite activities for families on Turks & Caicos.
1. Explore “The Bight”
Lower Bight Road is home to The National Environmental Centre (NEC). Opened in 2007, the center does a great job of explaining the natural habitats and ecosystems of the Turks & Caicos Islands. My daughter especially likes the exhibits that explain sharks, snakes and other local sea creatures.
The excellent Children’s Park across from the NEC has slides, swings and jungle gyms as well as plenty of shade for parents. You’ll find cold drinks in several nearby shops and the beach is just a few feet away. When we’re done on the swings and the jungle gym we cool off with a dip in Grace Bay.
2. Hit the Local Beaches
We’ve done a bit of exploring and have finally chosen Long Bay Beach is our favorite.
Located on the east side of the island, Long Bay has waves but small children can still have fun exploring its clear, shallow waters. Its reliable, gentle breeze makes it a favorite spot for kite boarders—the colorful sails contrast beautifully with the turquoise waters. We often take a kite with us for onshore kite flying, too.
Grace Bay Beach, the most famous destination in the Turks & Caicos, sits along the broad pocket that is the north side of Provo. There’s less wind, smaller waves and a gentler surf for youngersters who are just learning to swim. Grace Bay is bright and hot during the day, though, so be sure to stake out a spot with some shade.
With Older Kids: Take a scenic horseback ride along Long Bay Beach.
Planning a Trip? Use Our Hotel Guide to Turks & Caicos!
3. Take a Gerry Ride
This past spring we had the chance to take our daughter on the new ferry service that allows travelers to travel from Provo to South Caicos and back in a single day.
We went to watch the annual May regatta, an island-wide celebration that features big parties and boat races. But at any time of year you can enjoy its less touristy, more local vibe. Walk around historical Cockburn Harbor and enjoy watching flocks of Flamingos in the saltpans. My daughter’s favorite part, of course, was the ferry ride itself.
With older kids: South Caicos has excellent fishing and SCUBA diving.
4. Explore the island
One of our favorite Sunday excursions takes us to Chalk Sound and Taylor Beach. No matter how often we go we’re amazed at how clear and calm the surf is. We wade way out in shallow water hunting for starfish. When we’re hungry we brush the sand off and head to lunch at Las Brisas, a fantastic waterfront restaurant at Neptune Villas. If you still have energy after lunch you can rent kayaks there, too (we haven’t yet, but it’s on our to-do list).
5. Take Some Grown-Up Time
If your resort has baby-sitting and you manage to swing some couple time, head to my favorite mommy retreat, the spa at The Regent Palms. After trying some of their many fantastic services, enjoy a bite to eat at the resort’s gourmet food store (which my daughter refers to as the fancy treat shop).
Sue Nickason does marketing for The Shore Club, a vacation community on Provo’s Long Bay Beach, and several Turks & Caicos resorts.