The Caribbean paradise of Turks & Caicos has taken its place among the world’s premier resort destinations, home to 230 miles of soft, sandy beach, endless turquoise bays, and a 14-mile barrier reef. And while lounging on the beach all day is a perfectly acceptable way to spend each and every day, we highly recommend getting out and exploring the 40+ islands that make up the archipelago. Below are five not-to-be-missed day trips and island adventures to enjoy while in Turks & Caicos.

GIBBS CAY - Located a short distance away from Grand Turk, this small, seven-acre island is also known as Stingray City. Visitors to Gibbs Cay are welcomed by vast numbers of stingrays who appear whenever a boat arrives to interact freely with humans, and enjoy some of the fish and squid fed to them by tour guides. The stingrays have grown up around people and are extremely friendly, just as curious about humans as humans are of them. Tour companies to Gibbs Cay usually provide lunch and snorkeling on the south end of the island.

NORTH AND MIDDLE CAICOS - For those staying on Providenciales, a day trip to North Caicos and Middle Caicos, also known as the Garden Islands, is a must. Incredible beaches and tropical landscapes await on the islands, which are connected by road and easy to navigate by rental car. The islands feature limestone cliffs, miles of secluded coastline and cave systems, such as Conch Bar Caves, the largest non-submerged cave system in the entire Bahamas-Turks & Caicos archipelago.

CAVES, BLUE HOLES & SINKHOLES - Speaking of caves, Turks & Caicos has plenty, along with blue holes and sinkholes, making it a rich geological location to explore. Each attraction is home to its own unique flora and fauna. Underwater caves, blue holes and sinkholes are located throughout the islands, some are found inland and some at locations in the shallow sounds and mangrove wetlands. The Hole on Providenciales features a large 60-foot drop while the cliffs above Cooper Jack Bay Beach are excellent for viewing limestone sinkholes.  

GRAND TURK LIGHTHOUSE - The main historical attraction on Grand Turk, the only lighthouse in Turks & Caicos is situated at the end of a scenic coastal path. Built in 1852, the landmark is no longer operational, but the gift shop, old light-keepers house and grounds are open to visitors, including the path along the top of the marine limestone cliffs. While visiting you may even catch a glimpse of the Turks & Caicos donkeys who can usually be found wandering this part of the island.

PRIVATE YACHT CHARTERS - Exploring Turks & Caicos on land is stunning. Exploring it by sea is unforgettable. Grab some friends and family and charter a private yacht for a half-day or full-day excursion to one of the countless uninhabited cays and secluded beaches, such as Half Moon Bay Beach between Water Cay and Little Water Cay. The sandy islands feature incredible reef snorkeling, iguana sanctuaries and picturesque beaches to explore. Scuba divers will love French Cay, renowned for its incredible wall dives and nurse sharks.