As winter starts to settle over most of us in the US, our moods drop, our energy levels dissipate, our skin pales, and our hearts start wishing for the warm sun again — at least for those of us who are summer babies and suffer from self-diagnosed seasonal affective disorder. Don’t let the snowbanks and looming months of scarves and earmuffs get you down this year. Escape it all for a week, round up your other winter-weary friends and family, and book a ticket to year-round sunny Turks & Caicos.
Why Turks & Caicos
This tropical Caribbean island is nestled between the Bahamas, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, made up of over 40 islands and uninhabited cays. With the Atlantic Ocean surrounding the Turks & Caicos islands, you’re greeted with the classically clear, exquisite ocean waters meeting over 230 miles of white, plush sand beaches.
While some of the islands only have a mere 100 residents, we find that Providenciales, the largest island on Turks & Caicos, nestled along Grace Bay, is their equivalent of New York City, home to resorts, the friendliest island people, quaint and colorful shopping centers, and overall, a clean and quiet, yet bustling city, one that we not only could vacation to every year with ease, but one that we would seriously consider picking up the family and moving to!
With English speaking natives, the US dollar their currency, smoothly paved, well-maintained roads reminiscent of home, and a quick flight from anywhere on the East Coast, Turks & Caicos makes an exotic tropical vacation only feel like you’ve traveled a million miles across the world. Whether you rent a car or bicycle on the island or travel by taxi, getting around and seeing the sights or simply stocking up on food at the local grocery store for the week is made incredibly easy and convenient, by far one of the most commuter-friendly Caribbean islands we’ve visited. While many choose to stay put in their resort of choice during a Caribbean getaway, leaving the premises on Providenciales, Turks & Caicos is safe as can be, is cleaner than many US cities, and offers a wide selection of family friendly shops, excursions, and restaurants, all within a short distance of many popular resorts.
During the winter months, you can expect a mild, humidity free temperature of 80-84 degrees during the day (bliss!), and a few degrees cooler at night — which makes slipping on a light sweater during an oceanside dinner give us all the good feels! With very little rainfall, which is not always great for the locals, but ideal for vacationers, and the hurricane season ending late November, Turks & Caicos is the place to head for a winter break.
Stay at Ocean Club Resorts
Ocean Club Resorts is one of our favorite places to stay while on Providenciales, especially when the whole family is in tow. While many Caribbean resorts attract the single, party hard, spring break-ers, Ocean Club Resorts provides a quiet, safe haven for those couples and families who crave the simple pleasures of a tropical vacation: sun, sand, and sleep.
Located on Grace Bay Beach, this award winning oceanfront resort has two locations, with just a short shuttle ride or beach walk apart, giving you even more options and amenities during your stay. No matter which resort you stay at, you are welcome at the other one, enjoying all of Ocean Club Resort’s amazing food, activities, and views.
Stay at one, be a guest at both!
Ocean Club, the original resort property, was built in the mid 1990’s and offers their guests stunning views, delicious food, and cozy accommodations. Relax poolside or beachside on the pink and white lounge chairs, taking in the stunning views and feeling the warm salty air on your skin, then order a drink from the casual Cabana Beach Bar & Grill before your on-site spa appointment. After your peaceful afternoon, dress to the nines and enjoy a classy, amazingly high end dinner at Ocean Club’s second restaurant, Opus.
- Two pools with barbecue areas
- Two restaurants, Cabana Beach Bar & Grill – open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and Opus – open for dinner
- One tennis court
- Fitness Center with Spa Tropique
- Less than 90 suites
Ocean Club West
The sister resort to Ocean Club, Ocean Club West, is about one mile down the beach, accessible by a complimentary shuttle or a short 15 minute walk. While similar to Ocean Club, this resort is a bit more sophisticated in style and enhancements.
The wide beach, dotted with pink umbrellas and lounge chairs, is just a short stroll from your room, and a rock’s throw from their one brand new restaurant, Solana. Lounge in the hammock for an afternoon snooze, take a paddleboard or kayak out for a bit of vacation exercise, or rest poolside amongst the lush foliage and winding water.
- One pool with barbecue areas and central gazebo
- One restaurant, Solana – open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Fitness Center with Spa Tropique – one spa room on-site
- Two tennis courts
- 64 suites
When choosing your room for your stay, there isn’t a bad one, and it’s really a toss up between the two resorts. Featuring all condominium-style suites, Ocean Club Resorts are beyond ideal for family travel. Choose from a more intimate Studio Suite for a couple’s getaway or a Three Bedroom Suite for the ultimate home away from home. Each room has a kitchenette/full kitchen and a normal range of in-house toiletries, making the transition from your snow covered front door to your 80 degree paradise pad seamless. Many rooms also have a washer and dryer, complete with laundry detergent. Stock your kitchen for the week with island goodies and staples from the local grocery store that is within walking distance from Ocean Club West.
Besides live music on a handful of nights, the entertainment options at Ocean Club Resorts are limited, unlike many other Caribbean resorts where on-resort nightlife is abundant. This appeals to couples and families who don’t want a rowdy scene and would rather enjoy peaceful, quiet evenings strolling the beach by starlight or taking a secret midnight dip in the empty pool. Due to the limited number of rooms on each property, you can be guaranteed a quiet, low-key vacation experience without too many people or noise, even during peak season.
If you still want to take one night out on the town, there are a few nightlife local spots, a casino located right between Ocean Club and Ocean Club West, and Providenciale’s year-round weekly Thursday night Fish Fry in town, where locals and tourists alike come together for a shopping, dining, and dancing extravangaza that is not to be missed while visiting the island!
A round anyone?
It wouldn’t be a Caribbean vacation without a round of golf, and Ocean Club Resorts accommodates those who have to get in 18 holes before hitting the beach. The Provo Golf Club is a mere seashell’s throw from Ocean Club and is ranked in the top four golf courses in the Caribbean.
And for the youngest guests…
Ocean Club Resorts welcome their younger guests with Seafari, a self-guided exploration of their resorts. Knowing that families visit Turks and Caicos from all over the world, this resort wants their guests to feel right at home by learning about their vacation environment. In addition to frolicking carefree in the sand and sun, Seafari provides a fun and educational game for curious explorers.
At check-in each child is given a Seafari guide that identifies plants and species that can be found on Ocean Club Resorts properties. Their luxurious surroundings host beautiful wildlife that makes it an ideal destination for families. Once young guests have their Seafari guides, they begin their hunt to find friendly creatures, like rock iguanas and geckos, hermit crabs, hummingbirds and mourning doves, and the islands famous bottlenose dolphin, Jojo – while learning fun facts about each one along the way. Successful adventurers are rewarded with prizes for completed searches.
It doesn’t have to feel like winter during the winter, even if it’s just for a week. Escape the winter blues by moving your summer vacation to the winter this year, and make sure the friendly, high class island of Turks & Caicos is on the top of your go-to list. This is one island that you will longing to return to, year after year!
Photo Credits: Dani Nicole Photography