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ROAD & TRAVEL Resort Review: Turks and Caicos Ocean Club Family Resort

Traveling Family Style in Sun-Drenched Caribbean

by Mary Ann Anderson

"There I was, just snorkeling along and watching all of the underwater color,” a young mom named Sherra began excitedly sharing her aquatic adventure. “My son was right behind me, swimming along. All of a sudden, right in front of us, was a barracuda, staring at us, his mouth wide open, just a mouthful of teeth.”

Ocean Club Resort in Turks and Caicos, Caribbean

Talking more rapidly now, she placed her hand directly in front of her face for emphasis before going on, “I mean, he was right there! For a moment I was mesmerized, and then it hit me: I was face-to-face with a barracuda. That’s when I decided it was time to go!”

“Yeah!” Jory, Sherra’s son, chimed in with all the high-pitched enthusiasm that a six-year-old can muster. “We saw his teeth!”

The afternoon sun was fading as Sherra and Jory, still wet from their swim, were relating their story aboard a sleek sailboat that our group had chartered for the entire day. The sloop had just hoisted anchor from a tiny atoll where we had taken a few minutes to swim and snorkel in the shallow water after a scrumptious picnic lunch. As Sherra and Jory laughed about their special encounter, we set sail back to the dock at Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos Islands, from where we had begun our grand journey that morning.

In our group, there were moms and dads, singles and couples, children and grandchildren. While no one else had seen a barracuda except for Sherra and Jory, there were plenty of accounts of schools of gemstone-hued fish, conch, starfish, and sand dollars, all in the setting of a natural, never-ending aquarium.

Ah, the Turks & Caicos. At the intersection of the serene, luminescent Caribbean Sea and the tropical, often tumultuousness Atlantic Ocean lies this archipelago of vibrant, jewel-like islands, reefs, and cays that are perhaps the most beautiful and captivating in the entire world.

Turks and Caicos Beach

Frequently when sea and ocean collide, the result is a frenzied combination of cold winds and white-capped waves – think the North Sea and the Atlantic near Scotland or the Bering Sea and the Pacific near Alaska. But that doesn’t happen in the Turks & Caicos. In this magical place where sea and ocean easily merge together as one, the water is warm and translucent and as smooth as silk. Then when the sun hits the surface at just the right angle, reflecting and melting its rays into radiant, crystalline prisms of light that cloak the islands with an almost surreal glow, the realization hits that this is the very essence of beauty.

Much to the delight of its visitors and even the native islanders known as “Belongers,” the British-owned Turks & Caicos have always been a well-kept secret known but to few. That means the atmosphere is unspoiled, uncrowded, and definitely unhurried. Time means little here, so the first rule of the islands is to leave your watch at home.

Poised on fewer than 200 square miles of the Atlantic, the Turks & Caicos, with its exotic location, delicate coral reefs, natural luminescent light, dazzling water, underwater surprises (barracuda included!), and broad expanses of white sand beaches as soft as confectioner’s sugar, is the ultimate destination for just about everybody, but perhaps above all this necklace of islands is truly one of the most family-friendly in the Caribbean.

Here’s just a small sampling of what you and your family can do here: dive or scuba or snorkel, of course. That’s a given. But you can also fish, sail, take a beach cruise, and parasail or windsurf (or both!). Whale watching? Yep. Boat rentals? Check. Private charters? Certainly. Golf. Both the putt-putt kind and Tiger Woods kind. Eco-tours? Um, “natural”-ly. You can also explore an islet nicknamed “ Iguana Island,” known for its population of indigenous iguana, or even visit the slightly quirky Conch World Provo, which commercially grows conchs and bills itself as “the world’s only sea farm that raises Caribbean queens fit for a king.”

Snorkeling at Ocean Club Resort, Turks and Caicos, Caribbean

There are but a few resorts in the sparsely populated Turks & Caicos (there are only eight inhabited islands in the archipelago), but for a fabulous family-friendly, fun-filled vacation where you can sample everything from snorkeling and barracuda-and-iguana watching to golf (or do nothing at all), then reserve your room now at Ocean Club Resorts, comprised of Ocean Club and Ocean Club West, two luxury beachfront properties that are just a mile apart on Grace Bay Beach with its views of powdery sands and turquoise waters.

Offering everything from studio to three-bedroom deluxe suites, many of which have full kitchen and all of which have screened balconies or terraces and air conditioning for maximum comfort, a stay at Ocean Club Resorts is the natural choice for families who want the ultimate getaway vacation.

Included in your stay at either property is round-trip airport transfers, VCR/DVD and video library, three freshwater swimming pools with poolside barbecues, complimentary bicycles, complimentary rollaway beds, a lending library, a daily sunset happy hour, daily maid service, and children’s games and beach toys. If you want to be pampered, there’s even a spa that offers everything from manicures and pedicures to full-day packages. And though you’ll be hard-pressed to leave this lovely place, Ocean Club Resorts can arrange for other island activities and excursions.

1 Bedroom Studio at Ocean Club Resort

You can’t expect to come to the Caribbean with indulging the seafood, especially conch. You’ll find the Cabana Bar and Grille, a casual venue, and the Gecko Grille, a gourmet international restaurant, at Ocean Club, while Ocean Club West is home to the Seaside Café, offering both casual and gourmet dining, depending upon the time of day.

Dappled with hibiscus and gently-swaying palms, Ocean Club Resorts, while an exceptional choice and value for families, is also the perfect, intimate location for weddings, honeymoons, and anniversaries or just a simple romantic getaway for doing nothing more than relaxing and unwinding from the high energy society in which we live. And the Turks & Caicos, once not much more than a haven for pirates and early explorers from the high seas, now quietly beckons like a siren with its quiet charm and island mystique.

If You Go:

Getting from here to there: Ocean Club Resorts and the Turks & Caicos (airport city code PLS) is an easy connection from the United States. Nonstop service is available on Delta Air Lines (Atlanta), US Airways (Charlotte and Philadelphia), and American Airlines (Miami, Boston, and New York-JFK). Contact Delta at 1.800.221.1212 or, US Airways at 1.800.428.4322 or, and American at 1.800.433.7300 or

Helpful Information: For more information on Ocean Club Resorts, call toll-free 1.800.457.8787 or visit For more information on Turks & Caicos Tourism, visit