Turks and Caicos’ legendary beaches are not only idyllic for adult visitors, but also wonderful for children of all ages to discover and explore. The beaches in Providenciales (Provo) are especially perfect for kids because of the super shallow and calm water, which are all located in a truly beautiful setting.
Compared to the north coast at Grace Bay Beach and Leeward Beach, the ocean on the south coast is a little warmer and the stunning waters here are turquoise, shallow and tranquil.
Close to Chalk Sound National Park on Providenciales you’ll discover the still Sapodilla Bay and Taylor Bay beaches. The terrific Turtle Tail Beach is another great location, offering very similar conditions to Sapodilla Bay and Taylor Bay. Of course the world famous Grace Bay Beach, Bight Beach, and Leeward Beach are also outstanding.
SWIMMING AND SNORKELING
Turks and Caicos is an extremely popular location for scuba divers, particularly because of the extensive surrounding barrier reef and also a spectacular 7,000 foot (2134 meter) underwater drop-off called ‘The Wall’.
If you’re visiting with younger kids, a laid-back snorkeling trip will give the whole family an opportunity to explore the beautiful reefs and wonderful marine wildlife.
There are various boat charter companies offering full or half-day snorkeling trips and excursions which include; masks and snorkels, lunch, snacks, water, non-alcoholic drinks and rum punch (for the grown ups).
If you’re staying on or close to one of the main Provo beaches, most skippers pick up passengers right on the sand and ask your boat charter company to collect you from the beach. If you’re renting a family house, the skipper will be happy to pick you all up from a beach close by to your family accommodation.
Long Bay Beach on the southeast side of the island is a little more of a private beach experience with super soft sand and flat, shallow waters that continue off the coast for a long distance. This is a wonderful location for families, and especially those with young children who are searching for relaxation. Long Bay Beach is a short drive or cab ride away from Grace Bay.
Alternatively, on the central north coast and right next to Grace Bay is the beautiful Bight Beach. Being so close to Grace Bay means it’s easy to get to on foot. Once there, you’ll find calm, clear waters with seagrass about 75 feet out and is protected from the wind. There’s easy access, has free parking, covered picnic areas, bathrooms and a children’s park.
BOAT TRIPS AND EXCURSIONS
Boat trip charters can be a brilliant day out for kids. With a wide range of different boat trips to choose from and, depending on what works well for you and your family, you’re able to tailor your day to suit you.
There are a wealth of destinations and beaches to discover – reef snorkeling and swimming in secluded spots , and many boats offer beach BBQ’s and refreshments, wake tubes riding, and water slides.
A beautiful boat trip destination is Half Moon Bay, which has a large sandbar that’s filled in between two uninhabited islands, with a pristine beach on its north side and a sunning shallow and sheltered lagoon to the south.
Other deserted beaches to visit include Water Cay, Pine Cay, and Fort George Cay which offer super soft pure white sand and translucent oceans, and there’s also the coastline to explore with trees for shade, and scurrying iguanas to spot.
LEARNING A NEW WATER SPORT
The Turks and Caicos Islands is a perfect location to pick up a new water sport, with its warm shallow waters, fine weather and the shelter provided from the barrier reef making it ideal for children to learn sailing, kiteboarding and scuba diving.
Sailing in Turks and Caicos is a very popular for both local and visiting kids. Hobie Cats are the most common boats to sail and many resorts usually have at least a couple of these fun little catamarans. The Provo Sailing Academy (PSA) has several different types of boats available including Hobie Cats, Picos, and Lasers, all of which are great for children to learn in and very easy to sail.
Long Bay Beach is an ideal location to learn how to kiteboard with its shallow waters stretching right out into the ocean, together with the constant cross-shore trade winds that travel all the way across the Atlantic ocean from north Africa. The professional instructors at Kitesurf TCI and Kite Provo at Long Bay beach will get kids out on the water within just a few hours of expert coaching and tuition.
For teenage children, scuba diving courses are available with the experienced instructors at Dive Provo, Grace Bay Beach who offer a two-day Discover Scuba Diving Resort Course. Students can take additional dives on the second day or apply parts of the course toward an Open Water Diver Certification course.
VISIT THE IGUANAS AT LITTLE WATER CAY
The small uninhabited nature reserve island at Little Water Cay near Leeward on Providenciales is the best place in the country to see the exceptionally special Turks and Caicos Islands Rock Iguana.
There are around 2,000 of these large lizards which are critically endangered, and visiting Little Water Cay offers you the chance of seeing this threatened species in its natural environment.
Many boat trips, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and eco tours visit Little Water Cay, so if you’re already planning on one of these activities, it’s probably not necessary to make a special trip to the island.
At Little Water Cay you can stroll or swim in peace and quiet, and enjoy watching these incredible looking lizards. Many family-friendly boat tours have on-boat slides and high diving boards which are fantastic for spotting teeming tropical fish and, if you’re lucky enough, barracudas and sharks.
GO HORSEBACK RIDING ON THE BEACH
Horseback riding on the beach is a great experience for children of all ages and is extremely popular.
There are two main stables in Providenciales: Provo Ponies is located in the Long Bay region and you’ll find Unique Tours stables near Blue Hills Beach, which is 10-15 minutes from Grace Bay/Turtle Cove and Leeward area.
Both stables are extremely well-equipped for rides with children, with gentle ponies and horses, and very knowledgeable and experienced guides.
The guided rides typically take place on the beach, and there’s the option to wade out in the stunning and shallow clear turquoise waters.
A guided kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding eco-tour gives kids a chance to experience Turks and Caicos’ unique tropical environment, and an amazing opportunity for children to see marine wildlife up-close in their natural habitat.
Common sights in the nature reserves on an eco-tour include; green turtles, stingrays, starfish, conch, and baby lemon sharks and nurse sharks. The red mangrove habitat islands of Mangrove Cay, Donna Cay, and the Princess Alexandra Nature Reserve are close off Providenciales and easily accessible in a kayak or on a paddle board.
The iguana sanctuary at Little Water Cay (Iguana Island) is also within easy paddling distance. These large herbivorous lizards are relatively approachable, and kids love getting a close-up look of these fascinating animals.
KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN PROVIDENCIALES
There are numerous excellent restaurants in Provo boasting award-winning chefs and fine dining, many of which welcome guests of all ages. As you can imagine, freshly caught seafood is always high up on the menu and there are plenty of culinary options for foody families.
On Provo, the two widely recognised family restaurants that stand out in particular are Bugaloo’s and Da Conch Shack. Both restaurants offer a relaxed vibe where kids can play in the water or search for conch shells on the beach while they wait for their lunch or dinner (and the adults can enjoy a relaxing drink or two).
Although Bugaloo’s and Da Conch Shack are well known for serving conch, there are various other options on offer such as burgers, fries, chicken fingers and mac ‘n’ cheese for fussy eaters.
Bugaloo’s is a busy restaurant and bar (afternoons are quietest) and famous for its award-winning conch dishes. Families can choose to sit on the outdoor patio where giant trees grow amid tables made from overturned fishing boats.
Telephone enquiries: (649) 333-7321
Da Conch Shack
Da Conch Shack is also a local intuition offering both traditional Turks and Caicos food alongside modern family favorites. Watch fisherman dive right in front of you for conch whilst you enjoy the daily mix of music from live bands and DJ’s playing some great tunes.
Telephone enquiries: +1 (649) 946-8877