Family Travel: Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa
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Variety rules for the 8 and up crowd with tennis lessons, pajama parties, team soccer, lots of beach, pool, and waterpark action, dodge ball, talent and fashion shows, board games, mini-disco events, and Tie & Dye parties.
Even your teens and tweens will be happily in the mix. Beaches, it seems, has gone all out to ensure eye-rolling is kept to a minimum with enticements like their Scratch DJ Academy (scratching, mixing, mock battle of the DJs); the Xbox 360® Game Garage (a maze of metallic kiosks with 32-inch plasma screens and the latest games); Liquid, the Resort's under-21 aqua-themed dance club; and "Trench Town," the ultimate teen hangout with high-tech attractions like electronic basketball, laser hockey, giant flat-screen TVs, a state-of-the-art sound system - as well as plenty of space to simply stretch out, talk, text, and tweet.
Also at your disposal: Ultra Nannies catering to the ultra-young: 0 to 11 months.
A magnet for divers (and diver wannabes), Turks & Caicos, with 19 dive sites, has a scuba ally in Beaches. While other destinations charge as much as $1,500 for dive excursions, here these outings are complimentary and include equipment from masks to tanks, twin diesel custom-built boats, and guidance from Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI)-certified staff. Meanwhile, kids 8 years and older can take their first plunge in the Bubblemaker Program, and there's a secondary Seal Team. Also available for those 10 and up: an intensive four-day course that comes with the title "National Geographic Diver."
Treasures of All Kinds
A wonderfully unique resort offering, the Martha Stewart Crafts Studio is a hands-on workshop where parents and kids come together and unleash their inner artists. Taught by talented staffers schooled in Martha's most popular crafting techniques, classes in glittering, scrapbooking, punch & stencil fashion, and postcards are no-pressure fun - and net some amazing gifts and souvenirs. ($12 for the postcard class; $15 for all others.)
Want to see your little ones cut loose at the picnic to end all picnics? Then the Treasure Beach Party, a beach blast of a dinner, is a must. Rows of family-style tables invite guests to socialize after trolling the many food booths serving up both intriguing Caribbean dishes and American faves (guaranteed to appeal to even the most "unadventurous" eaters). And fun is a constant with a tossing game for the very small (with Sesame Street-themed prizes), endless rum-laced punch for the not-so-young, and an eclectically magical stage show with music, dancing and kid participation.
For some wet and wild fun, head to the resort's water park, now a staggering 10 times larger than its first incarnation. This aquatic playground has seven new slides (for a total of nine), a mind-boggling surf simulator, water cannons, cranks, and spray features, plus a 650-foot lazy river.
Dining options include a diverse collection of eateries spanning a cavalcade of dining options (at Beaches T&C they're known as the "Sweet 16"), from a '50s-style diner and British pub to French, Italian, Southwestern, and Japanese cuisine. Naturally, seafood and Caribbean specialties are part of the mix, as are brick-oven pizzas and a Chocolate Extravaganza buffet.
For further info about Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa, including in-room amenities, special rates, and Beaches Rewards Club, visit www.beaches.com.
Also see: Warm Weather Vacations for Families