Inside: How to plan the Caribbean vacation of a lifetime at Beaches Resorts with your teen kids.
“I'm going to the nightclub”, our 11 year old informed us. He was living large, dancing the night away in Club Liquid, Beaches' on-site underage dance club, every night. Beaches Resorts makes your family's wildest vacation dreams a reality, in a safe all-inclusive paradise. I was so excited to bring my whole family, teens and all, with me to attend the Social Media on the Sand conference at Beaches Resorts this last fall. I've gathered all the tips I wish I knew before we booked this trip with our teen kids to help you make the most of the all-inclusive family vacay you've ever had.
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How to make the most of your all-inclusive family vacation with teens
You might think Beaches Resorts is just tor the littles, with all the Sesame Street and child themed attractions in many of their ads and on the website.
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Cookie Monster will take a photo with anyone, even me! Rest assured, Beaches Resorts offers your teens and tweens a taste of independence in a fun, safe environment. Your kids will get an opportunity to make memories with the family and on their own, set against the backdrop of a tropical paradise! Plus, there's something for moms too … MOMventures: Only at Beaches Resorts. Where kid's have fun while mom lays in the sun! Get your tan on at Beaches Resorts, with up to 65% off.
The trick to a happy teen experience is to give them room to breathe. Plan activities together for those family experiences they'll remember into adulthood. And plan alone time to give them the opportunity to spread their wings and experience the tropical paradise from their own eyes.
Check out the Beaches website as you plan your vacation to identify activities your teen or tween might be interested in doing. Sit down and look at the website with them to get them on board and excited about planning the trip.
Did you know? Beaches Resorts has one location in Turks & Caicos and two locations in Jamaica. Check out this full tour of Beaches Negril in Jamaica.
Keep these tips in mind as you plan your activities:
- Set times to do your own thing
- Establish a central meeting place and time
- Make sure everyone has a keycard to get in and out of the room
- Use an app like marco polo or walkie talkie to communicate without using cell mins
- Book classes ahead of time like getting scuba certified
Let's get into the nitty gritty …
Planning family activities together at Beaches Resorts
You know the familiar eyeroll you'll get dragging your teen to another “lame” parent-planned activity. But you're on a family vacation so you want to spend at least some of that time together, right?
Best family activities on Beaches Turks & Caicos:
- Excursions off site – we went on an island tour with Island Routes and saw Prince's house!
- Water sports
- Pool time
- Water park – lazy river and slides
- Lawn games
- lounging at beach or by the pool
- Red Lane spa massage and pedicure
- Entertainment and shows
- Karaoke night
- Glass bottom boat ride and Catamaran boat ride
- Volunteering at a local school with the Sandals Foundation
- Fish Fry and other family meal night events
Go over this list with your teen and select a few activities that they think would be fun to experience with the whole family. You're more likely to get buy-in if they know what to expect as far as family time.
Build in free time for everyone to do things on their own
There are lots of opportunities on beaches resorts for some solo activities or just chill time. Resist the temptation to over-schedule yourself and your family. Everybody needs a little bit of downtime between activities so that they can be fully engaged when you are together. And your teen will appreciate knowing they can be in charge of their schedule for at least part of the trip.
Check out this list of activities perfect for alone time:
- Library – yes, Beaches Turks & Caicos has a gorgeous modern library!
- Beach, lounging, walking, or floating in the water
- Sailing lessons or boat trip
- Walk around the resort
- Gaming in xbox lounge
- Water trike
- Night time parties
Our son had an absolute blast at one of the Alice and Wonderland themed dance party one of the nights. I had no idea he was dancing up on the stage until someone recognized him and told me.
These are the kinds of experiences your kids are going to remember forever!
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And don't forget about some alone time for mom and dad. My husband tried to teach me how to snorkel. It was a total fail but a hilarious memory that he and I now share together.
Planning Meals with the Family at Beaches Resorts
Set up some meal times where you'll eat as a family and other meal times where the kids can go out on their own.
We usually got breakfast and dinner together and then everybody was on their own for lunch.
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Our kids were really loving the all-included Beaches Resorts lifestyle, ordering juice and coffee and smoothies with breakfast every day. Order all the drinks, kids!
Let's say that your kids aren't early risers and they like to sleep in. In that case, you might want to let everybody be on their own for breakfast and the family will meet together at lunch. After the dance party, the kids slept in while my husband and I snuck off to breakfast at Barefoot In the Sand, one of the 21 international restaurants on Beaches Turks & Caicos.
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Beaches Turks & Caicos offers a 5 star global gourmet dining experience. You can eat at buffets, go to take out counters or food trucks, and have a sit-down restaurant experience. Here are our favorite restaurants & eateries:
- Soy Sushi Bar – fresh all-you-can-eat sushi made to order. The rice balls were our family's favorite.
- Bombay Club – this Indian themed restaurant had the most incredible mango drinks, Naan, and Tikka Masala.
- Jerk Shack – get your Caribbean jerk fix with traditional jerk meats and sides in this beach side shack.
- Mr. Mac Food Truck – Food trucks are new at Beaches Turks & Caicos and Mr. Mac is exactly what you'd expect, offering a variety of mac n' cheese balls that are to die for!
- Neptune's – Michelle from Honest & Truly turned me on to their fabulous salmon eggs benedict. It's no longer on the menu but they'll make it if you ask! I also loved the octopus salad on lunch menu.
- Sky Restaurant – Dine on the 2nd floor overlooking the entire 12 miles of Grace Bay Beach, named 2019 #1 beach in the world by TripAdvisor. The beignets and benedicts are excellent.
Read more about the restaurants in this thorough review by Always Bring Suncreen.
One night we had dinner together at Neptune's one night and our 20 year old daughter tried wine for the first time:
Let the kids know ahead of time which restaurants you plan to eat together at as a family so that they can then choose other places to experience during their solo meal times. A few of the restaurants on the resort have an age limit and are open to adults only. Make sure your kids are aware of this when they're planning their solo meals.
Drinks Are All-Included – Here's How to Make the Most of It!
When Beaches Resorts says that they're all inclusive, they really mean it! All drinks are included at no extra cost, even alcoholic drinks.
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The kids can order non-alcoholic drinks or virgin drinks at any of the 15 bars. This allows your kids to get in on the action with a fruity tropical drink without getting in any trouble. We really enjoyed going to the swim up bars and ordering foofy drinks for the whole family.
Don't worry about your teens trying to do any underage drinking; the bartender's do card anybody who looks young. The drinking age at all beaches resorts, located in Turks and Caicos and Jamaica, is 18 years old. If your kid looks anywhere near 18, they're going to get carded. Our 20 year old was carted multiple times on the trip, which I was really thankful for knowing that the bartenders were being responsible.
If you want two drinks, you can get two drinks!
Tip: Make friends with the bartenders and find out if they have their own signature drink. Ask for Andrew at the swamp bar in the Italian Village pool and get his signature drink (adults only).
Make a Communication Plan
You're on an island in a foreign country … I get it, you want to keep the kids close by and in contact.
Most cell phone plans don't include international calling but you can text. We found that the texting service was not reliable across the resort.
Luckily, Beaches Resorts is equipped with Wi-Fi. I recommend using a walkie-talkie style app like Voxer, to communicate with your family during the trip. Before you go on the trip, make sure that everybody has the app installed on their phone and that they know how to use it.
In case everything fails, set a common meeting time and place every day for the family to gather.
Agree on a Budget and Spending Plan
While most everything is included with your trip, shopping,spa treatments, and excursions are not.
With all the shopping and excursions, it's really easy to go over budget on your trip. Set a budget ahead of the trip and make sure everybody's on board with this spending plan. By pre-planning many of the excursions and activities you want to do, you can anticipate expenses like scuba gear rental or catamaran rides.
You'll be able to add charges to your room without using cash or card during your trip. You can allow the kids to have access to spending as well through this method. Just notify with the front desk when you check into the resort.
If you tend to make a lot of impulse buys, pre-book as many of the activities as you can to help prevent overspending.
Kids asking for loads of souvenirs? Remember this:
- and balloons
… are all free. Yes, your kids can get free balloons at Beaches! We caved and bought each of the kids a sweatshirt … but seriously, don't forget the free souvenirs.
Check out this post on what to pack to avoid having to buy a swimsuit or replace a pair of forgotten goggles while you're at the resort.
Your fam will leave the island relaxed and tan! Be sure to watch out the window of the plane and wave goodbye to Beaches Resorts on the far left …
Final note …
With a little prep & planning, get the whole family on board for the most fabulous vacation you've ever had, at the all-inclusive Beaches Resorts. Book now and receive up to $355 Instant Booking Bonus Towards Your Beaches Resorts Vacation! Don't be surprised to see your kids laughing and splashing in the pool when they think you're not looking, no eye rolls in sight. And mom, don't forget to scrapbook the trip *wink wink* (peek at my Beaches Turks & Caicos scrapbook pages here!).
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