Kids off to the beach at The Somerset Turks and Caicos

Kids off to the beach at The Somerset Turks and Caicos

DAY FOUR (Turks and Caicos) — Conch shell craft or shell necklace?

The kids club at The Somerset couldn’t be more different than the first-rate organized programs down the beach at Beaches, where there are more than 800 kids in house this week.

Here, Kaye-Ann Irving-Rigby, a trained teacher, runs complimentary program for kids as young as three—even if there is just one child in house.

They’ll make shell necklaces and bracelets, do crafts with conch shells, read local stories and play with the complimentary sand toys.  Maybe they’ll play beach volleyball, Irving-Rigby said.  Some days she’ll have just one child; last week she had 13.

One night a week there are bonfires on the beach for smores; another night movies and popcorn at 5 p.m.—just enough so parents and grandparents can get a break, if they choose.  “The kids really like the cultural activities,” she says  Ready to make a coconut palm weaving?  Sometimes, she adds, the parents and grandparents join the fun.

I like that Turks and Caicos is not only safe and that  beachfront hotels are just 15 minutes from the airport but that there are so many options—from the all inclusive huge Beaches with over 750 rooms to the Somerset with less than 60 to The BeachHouse, where we enjoyed a fabulous dinner with just 21 oversized suites where two young kids could easily sleep in the living room steps from the beach (did I mention they all have kitchens and there are “pampering pods” on the beach so you aren’t fighting over beach chairs).

The same management company runs The Alexandra Resort nearby—a 90 room property  that boasts the value it offers and the brand new Blue Haven Resort and Marina on the Leeward side of Providenciales that is ideal for those who are here for the water sports, whether kite-boarding, diving or kayaking  in the mangroves.

The suites are oversized and well appointed but because of its location away from the famous Grace Bay, families will think this place is a bargain.  The beach is very small but if you are going to spend your time diving, (the resort is right near the world’s third largest barrier reef), snorkeling, kayaking or fishing you won’t care.  You can also gawk at the huge yachts that berth here at the marina.

As a diver, I like the idea that I can walk from breakfast to the dive boat—and back to my room—without getting in a bus that has to make a half dozen stops on the way and the way back.

And while I haven’t found Grace Bay too crowded—I love being able to walk along the 12-mile beach to different restaurants—Blue Haven is great for those who truly want to get away from the crowds at a small  place (just 35 suites and 16 rooms) in sumptuous surroundings.  There is an effort, too, to celebrate local cuisine with the vegetables coming from local farms and conch from local fisherman.  Go spend a day at a deserted Cay nearby with a picnic; take the ferry from here to N Caicos and bike around the island.  Wherever you are staying, come Wed nights for an authentic Pig Roast.

I will next trip.