The 5 Best Places to SUP in Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos is probably one of the best places in the world to paddle board thanks to its crystal clear warm waters, miles of soft white sand beaches, and plenty of shallow areas for beginners and kids.
We toured the best Stand-Up Paddleboard spots in Turks and Caicos in June 2021 to see what the pros and cons were for our family of four, spending ten days on Provo. We rented a mini-van to carry around four STAGE inflatable boards for our family, including an 8 foot board for our six year old and a 9 foot board for our 13 year old. We mainly used the STAGE 2-Side paddle, but occasionally converted them into single paddles as well. Most days during our trip the wind was about 15 - 20 MPH, so lighter winds would probably improve the conditions we experienced.
Grace Bay Beach - Providenciales
Grace Bay is the main beach in the Provo area, stretching for miles and home to many resorts. There are no facilities available to you unless you are a customer of a restaurant or guest of a resort, however there are various spots to park and either go rent a board or inflate a board out of your car. If you buy some drinks or lunch, you'll be able to access a restroom, but no shade or chairs are available for rent out on the beach.
The first beautiful section of Grace Bay is roughly three miles long and perfect for paddle boarding in almost every way. Even, in breezy conditions like we had, this stretch of beach is hard to beat. We also tried out several other locations miles apart from the Coral Gardens up to the Flamingo Restaurant. The Flamingo had a little parking lot with beach access, and every part of the beach had endless crystal clear water, calm enough for our kids to paddle in safely. We never had to deal with strong currents, but occasionally we would experience surface currents from the winds, but overall Grace Bay is just a stunning area to spend the day.
Summary: Outstanding beach, beautiful calm water, facilities for guests and patrons, decent parking, and rental options available.
Sapodilla Bay - Providenciales
Sapodilla Bay was a pleasant surprise; we had heard it was over crowded, loud music, and too many jet skis. However the music wasn't too loud, we actually enjoyed it, and thought it enhanced the vibe of the area. The jet skis seemed to go outside the bay and always were away from us, the local vendors were very nice, and we had a great day paddle boarding here.
There are SUP rentals at Sapodilla Bay, so there were quite a few fellow paddlers out on the water, but we had almost half of the entire bay to ourselves most the day. The water was clear, warm, and shallow enough for our youngest to cruise around safely and confidently. We experienced almost no surface currents of any kind the day we were there. The soft sandy bottom was comfortable to walk around in, there were chairs for rent right off the water, with food and drink a steps away.
Summary: Great atmosphere, perfect water for any level or age of paddleboarder, no bathroom or shower facilities, some food vendors, decent parking, and rental options on site.
Taylor Bay - Providenciales
We had heard how wonderful Taylor Bay is from multiple sources and overall it just wasn't a perfect day for our family there. The bay itself is picturesque, calm, and less than two feet deep most places, but the water was almost too shallow. Maybe at high tide and with less wind conditions this bay would have been more impressive, but because of the shallow waters we had to remove our fins from the SUP boards just to be able to navigate around. The winds were just strong enough that the kids were able to only paddle across the bay once and then had to walk back over and do it again. It was easy to get bored and tired of this process.
We were with some locals who helped us to find Taylor Bay more easily, but it would have been much tougher on our own. We ended up parking in a neighborhood road close to an unmarked beach access path. The atmosphere felt very private, like we weren't welcome there, and only the people renting villas near the beach felt entitled to be on site. You do have to carry your boards down from the road to the water, which is not too far, only about a 5 minute walk. There were no facilities to be found at all. No vendors, bathrooms, showers…. Nothing at all.
Summary: Tough to find, rocky entry of 10-20 feet, no parking lot, possibly best at high tide, no facilities, however great for kids and/or people trying to learn in a private area with extremely shallow waters.
Chalk Sound National Park - Providenciales
We entered Chalk Sound from the Las Brisas restaurant where we heard they rent paddle boards, have a small parking lot, and might be a good spot for lunch (conditional facilities). Chalk Sound was actually within walking distance from Sapodilla Bay. The staff at this restaurant were not very friendly which was very uncommon in the Provo area. We would not go back, but it was a good spot to launch our boards from and gave us easy access to launch our SUPs. I'm sure there are many areas you could enter the water, but we only had time to explore Chalk Sound from this stop.
The water was shallow, clear, warm, and an amazing shade of blue. The whole area is gorgeous and felt very unique. We loved paddling around this area and the little islands popping out of the shallow waters. When the wind picked up it was a little tough for the kids to get where they wanted to go, but the breeze would always mellow out and we could make it around okay. It seems you could paddle for miles in this area and almost never see anyone.
Summary: No beach, nice water, shallow areas, unique experience, facilities with conditions, decent parking, and rental options onsite.
Mangrove Cay - Turks and Caicos
To paddle at Mangrove Cay requires a crossing over a channel that separates this small mangrove island from Provo. On a normal day with calm waters, and no wind, it can be done in 10-15 minutes, but on a windy day with choppy water it requires more time and effort. It might make sense for many people to just book with a small tour group and experienced guide, which is what we did. We found our tour group experience was great because we were able to learn local information about where to park and where to launch from, the best time of day to go, as well as interesting knowledge like Mangrove Cay conservation ideas, knowledge of the area, and identification of various sea life; plus paddling with a small group can be pretty fun. After going on a tour once you might feel comfortable enough to go on your own next time.
You must go at high tide to even make it through the Mangrove area, low tide would be impossible! You will see other groups at hide tide making their way through, mostly kayaking. The water is shallow, clear, and warm so you can be careful not to step on the many urchins and jellyfish around. Small fish, turtles, and even baby lemon sharks are visible.
There are no facilities anywhere. From the time you park on the street to the time you leave in your car there is nowhere to use a restroom, get a drink, get shade, etc; so make sure to come prepared!
Summary: Super fun experience, but no facilities, no rental boards, and mostly just tours for access and directions. Not great for beginners due to the channel crossing.
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