Island Getaways: A Philadelphian’s Guide to Vacationing in Turks and Caicos

The island’s hospitable vibes and resort culture cater to the relaxation-minded traveler.

A villa at the Shore Club. / Photograph courtesy of the Shore Club.

There are islands you can visit if you love adventure. And islands you can visit if you love nightlife. But what if you, like me, adore sitting? Sitting in a hanging wicker chair over a cool tiled pool, a few steps away from an elegant outdoor bar. Sitting in a chaise lounge, staring out at the ocean, watching kitesurfers dip and spin as the breeze changes. Sitting on the top deck of a party boat as it bounces along the clearest turquoise seas you’ve ever seen.

If that sounds like your dream vacation, take a three-hour flight from Philly to Turks and Caicos, where the island’s hospitable vibes and resort culture cater to the relaxation-minded traveler.

Sure, you could hike Dragon Cay for stunning views, or tour the historic Grand Turk lighthouse. You could visit the serene reefs that provide ideal conditions for scuba diving, paddleboarding and kayaking — the water is always warm, the cays are shallow and safe, and the scenery is soothing and green. There’s also the aforementioned kitesurfing — some of the hemisphere’s best, thanks to the temperate seas and cool winds that hit the island, which is nestled in the tropical Atlantic. But if you’d rather lounge than explore, this West Indies gem is beautiful, tranquil, and studded with hotel properties designed for ultimate luxury.

At the Shore Club (rooms from $925), for instance, there are four pools, including an adults-only one that faces the ocean and an outdoor lap version for any fitness-minded member of your party who didn’t get the relaxation memo. You can sit on the beach or, if the beach feels too far, in the shade of an outdoor veranda off your suite. Or rent a luxury villa that provides total privacy while still giving you the option to partake in the hotel’s amenities.

After a day on the beach, a nap in the suite, and a shower in the bathroom bigger than your first apartment, it’s mere steps to the upscale Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Sui-Ren. If the notion of moving that far violates your holiday ethos, the in-room dining delivers.

Want a change of scenery? Take the free shuttle (more sitting!) to the group’s other resort, the equally luxe Palms, sit by its pools and, if you really want to up your relaxation game, lie in its secluded outdoor spa area before ducking into a cabana for an exquisite massage.

You can also do some sitting surrounded by that perfect blue water; just charter a boat with Caicos Dream Tours. They’ll provide music, snacks and snorkel gear and steer you toward the perfect place to spot tropical fish and stingrays skimming along the ocean floor. Or make for the flat front of the boat to bask in the sunlight while staying very, very still.

These days, it takes a real commitment to completely unwind. To stop answering emails. To ignore the pressure to perform for social media. To allow yourself to be fully calm. Turks and Caicos is designed to make true relaxation as easy as possible, if you think you’ve got what it takes  to embrace it.

>> Click here for more island getaways from Philadelphia.

Published as “Island Time” in the March 202s issue of Philadelphia magazine.