Beaches Turks and Caicos: The All-Inclusive Resort Perfect for Families

No stress, no logistics to worry about—Beaches Turks and Caicos is the family-friendly resort where your kids can hang with their favorite Sesame Street friends.

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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, before two years of lockdown and the mind-numbing weeks and months of home schooling while also holding down a remote, full-time job, and all of the usual tasks of single parenting—I had never taken an all-inclusive resort vacation.

From my skeptic's point of view, the ease and simplicity of all-inclusive resorts went against everything I expected travel to include: museums, cultural experiences, perhaps some ancient ruins, and a bit of voluntourism for good measure.

Sitting poolside (or beachside) for a week, margarita in hand, and letting go of the reigns in terms of how each day would unfold was not something I had ever managed to do. As my family's vacation planner-in-chief, I prided myself on taking charge and treating my son to immersive, cultural, and educational trips that I spent hours and days carefully researching and mapping out.

But that was all before a global pandemic transformed life and the most mundane of daily tasks became a stressful and logistical nightmare. After nearly two years of having to carefully think through the life or death consequences of simply going to the grocery store, let's just say I'm a changed person.

I didn't realize just how much the pandemic had impacted my vacation preferences, however, until a recent visit to the all-inclusive Beaches Turks and Caicos resort in the West Indies.

Beaches Turks and Caicos: Swim, Relax, Repeat

Located along a 12-mile stretch of white sandy beach on the northern shore of the island of Providenciales, Beaches Turks and Caicos is a sprawling and bustling ode to fun in the sun.

After shuttling on a red-eye from California and arriving at the resort slightly bleary-eyed, my son and I were gobsmacked as we took our first look around at a property that includes 10 swimming pools, four whirlpools, a 45,000-square-foot water park, scuba diving facilities, beach volleyball, tennis and basketball courts, and an assortment of playgrounds. All of these amenities and activities are spread throughout five architecturally and culturally-themed accommodation villages—Key West Village, Italian Village, French Village, and Caribbean and Seaside Village—making us feel like we had just been parachuted in from the drab and dreary pandemic-impacted world to a tropical island Disneyland.

The buzz of freewheeling fun was almost sensory overload. Adults and children splashing in the many pools, coasting by on rafts, perched at swim-up bars enjoying colorful frozen drinks. For a 9-year-old who hadn't gone much further then his own neighborhood for two years, the options were suddenly endless and his eyes widened with a mixture of sheer disbelief and (what I'm pretty sure was) pure joy.

Within minutes after check-in, our swimsuits were on and we were diving into the nearest pool to get in on the action. After that we took a stroll on the beach to get our first look at the crystal-clear turquoise water that makes Turks and Caicos so famous. And as the first few hours of our vacation unfolded, I saw something emerging that had disappeared over the past two years: a free-spirited 9-year-old boy, enjoying everyday childhood fun.

Sesame Street Friends and Kid-Friendly Activities

In the days leading up to our Beaches Turks and Caicos getaway, I spent plenty of time online investigating all of the possible activities to fill our vacation schedule and make the most of our time. And Beaches Turks and Caicos certainly offered an abundance of options for visitors in search of a jam-packed vacation. Beaches Resorts' partnership with Sesame Street is one of the biggest draws for families of toddlers. Seriously, nothing can beat daily Sesame Street live shows or Elmo and friends popping up mid-day at the beach.

For kids a little older, Beaches offers scuba diving lessons, water skiing, snorkeling excursions, kayaking, windsurfing, hydrobikes, and paddle boarding. There are also optional Caribbean adventure tours ranging from visiting an island inhabited only by iguanas to sunset catamaran cruises and ATV island adventures.

We started off our first full day at the resort ambitiously enough with early morning snorkeling at a nearby marine reserve. Located a 10-minute walk down the beach from our resort, my son, and one of his friends (who had joined us on the trip, along with his mother), explored an impressive diversity of colorful marine life, all of which could be observed within just a few feet of the shoreline. But after about 30 minutes bobbing around in the water, our snorkel gear was packed up and we shifted gears.

For the remainder of the day we simply enjoyed swimming in the ocean, resting on the beach, and playing in the many pools. When we were hungry or thirsty, we simply strolled over to one of the resort's food stands, restaurants, or poolside bars. After snacking to our heart's content, it was back to the beach or the pool, or a perhaps a hammock in the shade, to continue whiling away the hours and watching the waves roll in and out. And before I knew what was happening, this became a familiar pattern that we would repeat for much of the week: Swim, snack, relax, repeat.

Though the old me had been sure that at least one activity had been scheduled each day—a catamaran cruise on one afternoon, a glass bottom submarine ride on another—the balance of our time, and dare I say the most enjoyable hours, were spent simply unwinding and decompressing from two, long hard years.

Much to my surprise, the lack of over-scheduling and the minimal planning or thought required to navigate each day felt great. Freed from the logistical details that typically bog down a travel experience, we were simply able to relax.

Admittedly, it wasn't easy for me to relinquish the see-it-all and do-it-all approach. It took me a few days to fully adjust. But at some point along the way, I had the epiphany that this was exactly what my soul had needed. Not to mention, exactly what my son needed.

The All-Inclusive Resort Value Proposition

There are some 1,500 all-inclusive properties around the world. These properties, according to hospitality data company STR, only sell rooms as complete packages that bundle overnight accommodations with amenities and services such as food, beverages, activities, and even gratuities.

In the case of Beaches Turks and Caicos, there's the already-mentioned voluminous selection of water activities as well as plenty of land-based fun including board games, shuffleboard, lawn chess, croquet, bocce ball, and golf. For kids there's also a Kids Camp, Xbox play lounge, and Liquid—a nightclub for teens.

As for dining, there are 21 restaurants to choose from within the resort, which meant we never had to stress about where we would eat at any point during our stay or how much it would cost. The selection of dining options was also varied enough that we could all find food we liked. As one fellow guest we dined with one night said, the all-inclusive concept "is like a cruise ship, except you're not out at sea."

"You have endless entertainment and dining options," said this fellow resort guest, a Texas resident with two young children in tow. "You don't have to spend a lot of time thinking about what you'll do each day or finding a restaurant each night for dinner, not to mention how much it will cost. It's all right here for you. There's very little effort required."

Indeed, that has long been the value proposition of all-inclusive tropical resorts. And Beaches Turks and Caicos offers that in abundance. More importantly, after two long, stressful years, and limited opportunities to be with loved ones, an all-inclusive getaway proved to be the ideal entre back into travel.

Beaches Turks and Caicos Review: Just What We Needed

Our relaxing stress-free days of fun in the sun went by far too quickly. But there was one final moment that reinforced for me as a parent that this getaway was exactly what the doctor ordered. Among the resort's many amenities is a Kids Camp. Open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. the camp offers a safe, fun place for kids to play when adults want to schedule an independent activity of their own, a spa visit, or simply some time to relax while the kids have their own fun.

On one of the last evenings of our stay, my friend and I checked our sons into the club while we enjoyed a truly memorable sushi dinner. A few hours later, when we returned to pick up our kids, we were led into Liquid nightclub, where they were all gathered on a dance floor having a dance contest.

I stood in the corner watching quietly as music played and my son, smiling like I hadn't seen him smile in years, was dancing his heart out surrounded by children his age. After several minutes of observing, my son finally saw me in the room and came running over and said, "Mom, I'm having the best time. When can we do this again?"

After a global pandemic and two long years that many of us are still recovering from, I couldn't have asked for more from a vacation.

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