Family vacations come in all forms. Sometimes, you want to conquer a city, hit every kid’s museum and unique local attraction. Others, it’s a bucket list theme park, or camping somewhere remote. And then there’s the vacation where you escape someplace tropical for some fun in the sun and low-key, quality time together. If that last scenario speaks to you, and you’re looking for an elegant yet easy-going spot with luxurious accommodations, The Shore Club on Turks & Caicos’ Providenciales is calling.

photo: Mimi O’Connor

Turks & Caicos: Iconic Caribbean Beauty Turned Up to 11
Obviously, the Caribbean overall scores high on the “beautiful tropical destination” scale, but Turks & Caicos, with its breathtaking, turquoise water and pristine white beaches is beyond stunning. (The otherworldly blue of the sea can be attributed to a variety of factors, including its depth, the white sand, and a lack of algae.)

And it doesn’t just look pretty: the water is welcoming—74 degrees at its coldest—calm, and nearly bath-like, making jumping in, for a quick dip or fun water sports (more on that later) pure pleasure.

As for the T&C vibe, it of course varies depending on where you stay, but in general, this island is less tourist and party destination, and more serene, relaxed, and welcoming escape where the good things in life are savored.

photo: Mimi O’Connor

The Shore Club: Your Luxurious Home Base (Which you may not want to leave)
Looking to treat the whole family? Settle in at The Shore Club, the first resort on pristine Long Bay Beach, and part of The Hartling Group, which also operates The Palms and The Sands at Grace Bay. The property is refined, but not at all stuffy, making it a fantastic retreat for families wanting to spend some quality time together. (We saw many families with small children relaxing the day away, poolside, on the shore, at one of the on-site dining options, etc.)

photo: The Shore Club

Sleeping Arrangements
Accommodations include flexible suites with adjoining rooms (so you and the kids can have your own sleeping space); comfortable and spacious apartment-like residences with full kitchens, living areas, and deluxe bathrooms, or live really large (perhaps for a family reunion, a special birthday or anniversary group) and stay in a private villa, complete with its own pool and hot tub. (When we say “special” we mean special: these townhouse-like residences are incredible, and go for anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000 a night, depending on the season.)

photo: Mimi O’Connor

Activities at The Shore Club
It would be possible to check in at The Shore Club and never leave until it’s time to go home—particularly if you’re staying in one of the apartment-like suites with a full kitchen.

On-site diversions include four pools, each with a special feature or two (stylish cabanas and food service, a swim-up bar, wicker-like chairs suspended a few inches above the water, adults only, etc.)

Taking advantage of the secluded-feeling Long Bay Beach is easy, as it’s a quick stroll to the shore. Once there, guests can use the hotel’s kayaks, paddle boards, and hobie cats, relax in a lounge chair, and even order up a beverage to cool off. There are also bikes on site for guests to use, tennis courts, and fitness center.

Jungle Jam at The Shore Club; photo: Mimi O’Connor

The Shore Club With Kids
While it’s certainly an upscale resort, you don’t need to stress about kids being kids here. Both the staff, and the other families with small children on vacation, help create a kid-friendly atmosphere that’s still sophisticated and pleasant for adults.

However when you do want a break from the kids, The Shore Club’s free kids club, dubbed “Jungle Jam”, will keep kids ages four to 10 entertained. (Children under four must be accompanied by an adult.) Open from 9 am to 5 p.m., with both dedicated indoor spaces and an outdoor play area, Jungle Jam engages kids with activities such as arts and crafts, science play, board games, movies, and more. See an example Jungle Jam activities here.

The Dune Spa; photo: Mimi O’Connor

Don’t Skip the Dune Spa
While the spa at The Shore Club’s sister property The Palms is a full-service facility offering treatments, classes and more, a visit to The Shore Club’s streamlined Dune Spa, found at the end of winding paths lined with lush tropical foliage, is a special experience.

Guests receiving treatments arrive at the spa’s main building—which is actually two repurposed shipping containers, although you’d never know. After a rinse under the sun in the outdoor shower and changing into a robe, a your spa professional leads you down yet another path to a single, elevated cottage: your treatment room. Pick your aromatherapeutic essence and let go. (Insider tip: this lovely setup is actually a temporary solution while a more substantial spa is constructed on site, so don’t delay!)

Additional wellness options include classes, the option for private sessions with trainers, as well a fitness studio and lap pool. (Hop the resort shuttle to The Spa at The Palms for Boot Camp, Yoga, and Pilates classes.)

The Courtyard at The Shore Club; photo: The Shore Club

Foodies Welcome Here
Who knew? Turks & Caicos is a bit of a food snob haven (and we mean that in the very best way). There are several good dining options at The Shore Club, for both you and the kids, with kid’s menus that go beyond mac and cheese and chicken fingers.

For an inspired fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine using fresh seafood and organic produce, there’s Sui-Ren, a candle-lit fine dining spot off the resort’s central courtyard. The courtyard itself is a welcoming space with outdoor lounge seating for drinks or snacks, and it’s where the impressive complimentary breakfast buffet is served each morning.

Casual dining and small bites, still thoughtfully prepared and served, can be had poolside at either The Rope Bar (named for its striking light fixture made of the material), or Sea Grapes, where there’s also a swim-up bar if that’s your thing. (We highly recommend the fish tacos and sushi rolls.)

Hop in a cab to sample cuisine from local chefs—many of which hail from elsewhere and bring an international flair to menus. Head to Cobaya for excellent contemporary cuisine in a casual setting, and Provence for unforgettable French dining. Hit up Cocovan for fresh tacos, mac and cheese bites and cocktails served from an Airstream trailer.

photo: Mimi O’Connor

What To Do (Besides chill)
Outside of The Shore Club, there are options on both land and sea in Turks & Caicos.

The island is a prime spot for snorkeling and scuba diving, thanks to Bight Reef, or Coral Gardens, which is perfect for beginners. Book a trip with a tour company like Caicos Dream Tours  to get you to a good spot, and visit other points of interest like “iguana island”, which is just what it sounds like.

Then explore the island’s mangrove forests, gliding by baby turtles, colorful fish, lemon sharks and other friendly sea creatures, and take in myriad tropical birds; we recommend making the trip with the mom and pop business WaterPlay TCI, who know what kids like because they have one. Still more seaside adventures you can book include kite-surfing and riding a horse known as a “Provo Pony” in the sea.

One of the adoptees at Potcake Place/ photo: Mimi O’Connor

Try Not to Miss…
If you’re there on a Thursday, don’t miss the weekly Fish Fry, a festive community gathering of vendors, music and dance, and local food and drink.

Another must-stop for animal lovers: Potcake Place, a Turks & Caicos dog rescue organization (the dogs are dubbed “Potcakes”), located in the shopping district of Grace Bay. You can sign up to walk a dog here, or give the puppies baths in the mornings—get there early, there are lines. We’ll warn you: if there’s been any talk of getting a dog in your house, this is a dangerously cute zone, and dogs are adopted by visitors all the time. (They’ve got a pushpin-filled map of the United States to prove it!)

The Shore Club
13 Sea Breeze Close
Long Bay Beach
Providenciales
Turks and Caicos Islands
888-808-9488
Online: theshoreclubtc.com

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—Mimi O’Connor

We were guests of The Shore Club but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.

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