the Best Beaches

Turks and Caicos Islands are blessed with pristine white sands which tumble into clear, turquoise waters. The Caribbean archipelago is surrounded by the third-largest coral reef in the world which serves to protect the 40 islands from ocean surges. In recent years the islands have gained some recognition for their beautiful beaches - in 2012 the World Travel Awards voted the islands the world's best beach destination. However, its coastline remains largely unspoilt and with an average temperature of 27-29'C from November to May and above 30' for the rest of the time, all that's left to do is pack your swimming suit and hit the beach. Here are our top ten Turks and Caicos beaches:

Grace Bay 1. Grace Bay (Providenciales): Grace Bay is the center of Turks and Caicos' tourism industry - and with good reason. The 12 miles of white sand offer travelers plenty of space while still allowing access to amenities and activities. Take your pick from watersports like snorkeling, diving, paddle boarding, kayaking and at night relax under a coconut palm with a cocktail.

Malcolm Beach 2. Malcolm Beach (Providenciales): Unless you are staying at Amanyara Villas, the resort closest to the beach, this stretch of sand has to be accessed by 4x4 or by tour boat. But it's worth it when you get there. The inlet is positioned in the Northwest Point Marine Park meaning there are excellent snorkeling opportunities in case you get bored of tropical beach paradise.

Sapodilla Bay 3. Sapodilla Bay and Taylor Bay (Providenciales): On the less-populated Western side of Providenciales, Sapodilla Bay and Taylor Bay run parallel along the coastline. Both bays have shallow, warm water making them perfect for children. And the location, just beside the Chalk Sound National Park, provides a pretty spectacular drive.

Governor's Beach 4. Governor's Beach (Grand Turk): Governor's Beach is Grand Turks most famous attraction. This is where mammoth cruise ships land and visitors get their first taste of Turks and Caicos beauty. The beach offers great snorkeling, and shady spots for picnics. There are also chairs and beds for rent.

Gibbs Cay 5. Gibbs Cay (Grand Turk): Gibbs Cay is more famous for its snorkeling than its beaches. But this little cay has more to offer than its stingray population. There is a long stretch of white sandy beach backed by a gently ascending green hill. If you have kids this beach will provide hours of fun for them and a relaxing spot for you.

Mudjin Harbour 6. Mudjin Harbour (Middle Caicos): Often overlooked by tourists, Middle Caicos offers some beautiful beaches. Mudjin Harbour is a collection of rocky limestone cliffs snaking in and out of the sea. White sandy coves and interesting caves dot the headland. The rougher surf has carved some beautiful rock formations, including Dragon Cay. This is an adventurer's playground.

Bambarra Beach 7. Bambarra Beach (Middle Caicos): In 1841, a ship called Bambarra washed up on the shores of the Middle Caicos and provided the name for this beautiful beach which stretches into the horizon in both directions. An expansive sand bottom tidal flat emerges at low tide. The lack of major development here makes it a perfect spot for a secluded swim. The beach plays host to the Valentine's Day Cup and in June there is a Crab Festival.

Sandy Point 8. Sandy Point (North Caicos): All of the beaches on North Caicos are found off the 8.5 mile long north coast and Sandy Point is the most westerly along that stretch. As the name suggests, Sandy Point is another postcard-perfect Turks and Caicos beach, with white sand and clear blue sea. Nice for sunbathing, walking and relaxing.

North Caicos beach 9. The four other North Caicos beaches: Running east from Sandy Point are Three Mary's Cay, Pumpkin Bluff, Whitby Beach and Horsestable Beach. Three Mary's Cays is famous for its snorkeling, Pumpkin Bluff is a beautiful rocky headland tumbling onto white sand, Whitby beach has the best swimming on the island while secluded Horsestable Beach is a popular bird-watching location. Grab a cap, a bottle of water and some good shoes and walk from first to last to get a real sense of the diversity of the Turks and Caicos beaches.

South Creek 10. South Creek (Salt Cay): Salt Cay has a small population and lots of interesting beaches waiting to be explored. At South Creek, channels of clear, warm water intersect golden, marshy sand. It is a fantastic beach for sightseeing and walking but not so popular for sunbathing. One of the best spots on the archipelago to gather shells.

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