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21 Awesome Things to Do in Grand Turk in 2024

Searching for the best things to do in Grand Turk? This post has you covered – whether you’re visiting on a cruise or spending your vacation on Grand Turk!

On the southeastern tip of the Turks and Caicos chain of islands is Grand Turk—a charming island with a population of approximately 4,831 people. Grand Turk is the capital and cultural center of the country!

It may be small in size (just 10 kilometers long), but it’s a bustling paradise destination for tourists sailing through the Caribbean since it’s the only one in the country with a deep-water cruise port.

Check out the top tours to take in Grand Turk!

Like its neighboring islands, Grand Turk’s defining feature lies in its diverse and exquisite beaches. It happens to be a world-renowned scuba-diving destination and is surrounded by the third-largest coral reef in the world.

There’s the unbelievable clarity of the turquoise waters when the weather’s calm and sunny, as well as the rich traces of history, seen in its colonial buildings, old salt Salinas, and in the bougainvillea-shaded Cockburn Town.

You’ll need more than a day to cover the island’s best attractions, and here’s where you can start!

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Places to Visit & Things to Do in Grand Turk

Swim and Picnic on Governor's Beach

Swim and Picnic on Governor’s Beach or Pillory Beach

Just between the Grand Turk Cruise Center and Cockburn Town is one of Grand Turk’s best beaches—Governor’s Beach. It features unrivaled turquoise waters, fresh, fine sand, and a shore littered with casuarina trees for shade.

The Governor’s Beach is part of the larger Columbus Landfall National Park, which is dedicated to Christopher Columbus’s landfall in 1492.

The beach offers a gentle slope into the ocean, which makes it an excellent choice for swimming and snorkeling. The marine life here is abundant, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a stingray or sea turtle.

Some lucky guests will sometimes have the whole secluded beach to themselves, so it’s best to stay for an hour or two and bring a full picnic basket for the best experience.

Pillowy beach in Grand Turk with palm trees and turquoise water.
Pillory Beach on Grand Turk – view from the Osprey Hotel.

While Governor’s Beach is the most known beach in Grand Turk, I would argue that Pillory Beach is just as nice and even quieter! This white sand beach is on a sheltered coastline and features amazing blue waters.

Grab a drink at the Osprey Beach Hotel and enjoy the calm waters! (Or better yet, stay overnight at the Osprey!)

Two drinks on a table next to a beach.in Turks and Caicos.
Our drinks at the Bohio in Grand Turk! (Note: the Bohio is now closed.)

Enjoy Some Rum Under the Sun

Every day is happy hour when you’re in Grand Turk! The paradise island’s tropical atmosphere and orange sunset make for good times with friends over cocktails and signature drinks.

One of the best places to do so is Margaritaville, a lively beachfront bar and restaurant that’s become a favorite among both locals and tourists. Here, you can sip on a variety of rum-based cocktails while taking in the stunning ocean views. The swim-up bar is a particular highlight and allows you to enjoy your drink without ever having to leave the crystal-clear water.

If you’re looking for a more local experience, directly on Governor’s Beach is Jack Shack, which serves their signature Bambarra rum punch (best paired with conch fritters). Sandbar Restaurant and Osprey Beach Hotel are also favorite happy hour spots with breathtaking sea-front views.

Purple bougainvillea on a white wall with a window in Grand Turk.

Stroll Front Street, Duke Street, and Queen Street for Instagrammable Snaps

Grand Turk’s rich history is etched in most of the British-Bermudian architecture found in Cockburn Town.

The town’s main streets, Front Street, Duke Street, and Queen Street, are lined with well-preserved Bermudian-style architecture that dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Front Street, in particular, is a picturesque locale that offers a glimpse into the island’s history. Duke Street and Queen Street are just as charming. Lined with quaint pastel-colored buildings, these streets offer plenty of Instagrammable moments.

Guests can stroll along Front Street, Duke Street, and Queen Street to look for Instagrammable snaps including bougainvillea-shaded rental villas and old stuccoed limestone buildings with the spectacular ocean as a backdrop.

Don’t miss the opportunity to capture the wild donkeys that roam freely around the island. These friendly creatures are a part of the island’s charm and are always ready for a photo op.

Grand Turk Lighthouse on top of a hill.

Explore the Scenic Grand Turk Lighthouse

Built in 1852 to lessen the incidence of shipwrecks off the northern coast, the Grand Turk Lighthouse remains the most iconic landmark of the island to this day and is the only one in Turks and Caicos.

The lighthouse is now defunct, but the scenic coastal grounds with limestone cliffs are open for visitors. Also, one of the main attractions is the light keeper’s house, that’s now been turned into a gift and snack shop.

Discover Historical Finds at Turks and Caicos National Museum

Located on Front Street in Cockburn Town is the Turks and Caicos National Museum constructed in 1991 in the Guinep House. Its main exhibits are centered on the Molasses Reef Wreck (1500s European caravel shipwreck) and the early indigenous settlers called the Tainos.

The museum also houses interesting artifacts including a Duho seat and canoes used by the early settlers, the old Fresnel lens from the lighthouse, and ancient wreck diving paraphernalia.

You’ll also find the ‘Message in a Bottle’ exhibit here, which is a collection of messages found in bottles that have washed up on the shores of the islands over the years. Each message tells a unique story, adding a personal touch to the museum’s collection.

Victorian-era Her Majesty’s Prison

Visit Her Majesty’s Prison

Another historical attraction in Cockburn Town is Her Majesty’s Prison, a colonial prison built in the 1830s housing both men’s and women’s wards. It closed in 1994 but has been opened as a historical attraction to curious visitors since; guests can tour the waterfront complex and the main cell block of the prison.

Today, visitors can tour the prison grounds, which include the original cell blocks, the warden’s office, and a small museum showcasing various artifacts from the prison’s operational days. You’ll find everything from old uniforms and keys to fascinating historical documents and photographs.

One notable feature is The Bell Tower used to ring five times a day to signify the prisoners’ start and end of work back in the day.

A woman snorkeling with sting rays in Grand Turk.

Snorkel with the Stingrays in Gibb’s Cay

Gibbs Cay is a small and beautiful 7-acre island just off Grand Turk’s eastern coast. Its main highlight is the friendly and majestic stingrays that appear to greet visitors upon landing on the cay.

Guests can snorkel and freely interact with them in the shallow waters, but those unsure about this rare encounter may stay on the shore and enjoy the vista views. 

The clear waters make it easy to see the stingrays as they glide through the water, and you might also spot other marine life such as sea turtles or a variety of colorful fish.

After your snorkeling adventure, take some time to relax on the beach or explore the rest of the cay. You might even find some conch shells to take home as a souvenir of your trip.

A rocky cliff overlooking the ocean in Grand Turk.

Take a Day Trip Tour of Uninhabited Cays

Since Grand Turk’s tourism mainly revolves around cruise ships, it can get pretty crowded. Those looking for a secluded spot to enjoy the pristine waters and beaches in peace can sign up for a boat excursion complete with a barbecue and drinks.

Gibbs Cay is a popular destination, but tourists may find Long Cay, Round Cay, and Cotton Cay just as spectacular.

Horseback riding on tropical beach on Turks and Caicos islands.

Go Horseback Riding

A favorite land sport mixed with a scenic beach element. Guests can wade through the crystal turquoise waters and enjoy the rest of the tour of Grand Turk on horseback.

The tour usually begins with a brief introduction to horseback riding, teaching you the basics of controlling and communicating with your horse. Then, you’ll set off on a leisurely ride, taking in the island’s natural beauty. Along the way, you may see wild donkeys, a common sight on Grand Turk, and other local wildlife.

Those joining the riding tour may be wary of the washed-up seaweed found on some beaches, but it’s a great experience nonetheless. Ride Da Rhythm offers a 60 to 90-minute beach ride on Governor’s Beach, Pillory Beach, and East Side Beach.

A glass of beer on a table in front of a beach in Grand Turk.

Go for Beers, Burger, and Local Fish on Jack’s Shack

Dining options on the island are limited compared to the wide range of cuisines offered in Providenciales, but the local selections are flavorful and in tune with the Old Caribbean atmosphere.

A popular island-style hangout is Jack’s Shack which is only a short walk from the Cruise Center Beach. Tourists can go for beers, Jamaican-inspired grilled burgers, seafood, and jerk dishes.

*Note: I also highly recommend the food at Osprey Beach Hotel. It’s a 10-minute drive from the cruise center and worth the extra travel. Their breakfast is AMAZING.

A man riding a surfboard in at FlowRider, Grand Turk.

Master the Surf at FlowRider

FlowRider is another popular water attraction situated at the Grand Turk Cruise Center next to Margaritaville. High-pressure waters jetted at high speeds create a thin layer of artificial waves on a contoured slope where guests can surf, bodyboard, or kneeboard.

The constant waves created by the machine allow you to practice your surfing skills without the unpredictability of the open sea. Plus, it’s a fun and safe way to enjoy the sport without the risk of encountering marine life.

It may take a couple of tries to get the hang of it, if nothing else, there’s the large lagoon-like pool to swim in.

Aerial view of a Catamaran sailboat in the ocean.

Go on a Catamaran Boat Ride

Another fun way to enjoy the island’s hidden coves and beaches is through a catamaran sail. Guests can control the pace of the excursion—either to just relax and enjoy the ocean breeze or go snorkeling in one of the cays. The stunning panoramic vista views also make for an Instagram-worthy reel and keepsake photos.

Party bus on Grand Turk

Join a Party Bus Tour

If your idea of an awesome Caribbean vacation includes beach hopping paired with live music and happy hour drinks, then you’ll fit right in on a party bus tour.

With a camera in hand, take snapshots while touring Grand Turk’s famous historical landmarks and panoramic beaches on a colorful open-aired bus with friends and try some of the local rum flavors afterward.

The tour often includes stops at popular local bars and eateries, where you can taste more local delicacies and mingle with the locals.

Go on a Full Island Tram Ride or Tour Bus Ride

For guests staying for a limited time, a tram ride can cover much of Grand Turk’s attractions and interesting landmarks.

The first stop lets visitors shop for souvenir items and try local Caribbean dishes; the tram then drives toward the northern part where the Grand Turk Lighthouse and Bermudian architecture buildings are located.

The next stop is the salt ponds and through the eastern portion of the island for unparalleled beach views.

A Guided ATV Tour can also be a great option to see the island in a limited time.

A tray full of grilled lobsters sitting on a table.

Try a Hearty Lobster Lunch

Lobster season starts from August to March, and guests traveling to the island during these months can try a hearty lobster lunch fresh from the sea to the table.

There are several restaurants and beach shacks around the island that serve this crustacean in different styles. You can have it grilled, steamed, or even in a creamy pasta. It’s usually served with a side of local vegetables or rice and peas for a complete and satisfying meal.

A three-course menu starts with a lobster bisque followed by a 16 oz rock lobster entrée that’s been grilled to perfection. The dessert is a unique treat in the form of a freshly baked Turks rum cake.

A group of divers are scuba diving near a coral reef at Grand Turk Wall.

See the Grand Turk Wall

Grand Turk houses one of the most coveted scuba diving and snorkeling spots in the world—the Grand Turk Wall—with depths plummeting to 7,000 ft. It’s the best location to spot the rarest sea creatures and varieties of coral not seen by many.

Several local diving centers offer excursions to the wall, and provide all the necessary equipment and guidance for a safe and enjoyable experience. Make sure to bring your underwater camera to capture the awe-inspiring views of this underwater cliff and its vibrant inhabitants.

Since diving and snorkeling are year-round activities, lucky divers may also get the chance to encounter sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, and humpback whales (when in season) passing through the wall.

Enjoy Grand Turk Cruise Center’s Facilities

The only 13-acre cruise point in Turks and Caicos for cruise lines and excursions. It features shops, restaurants, and a lagoon-like swimming pool with a swim-up bar for tourists to enjoy during their stop.

Fronting the complex is Cruise Center Beach (SunRay Beach), but those who want a less crowded spot can go to Boaby Rock Point (for snorkeling), White Sands Beach, or Governor’s Beach.

A woman riding a bicycle on a beach in Grand Turk.

Explore Grand Turk thru Scooter or Bike or Golf Cart

At only 6.5 miles long (10.5 km), Grand Turk’s roads are mostly paved so getting around the best attractions is a breeze.

Cruise guests may want to rent compact rental cars or scooters or golf carts due to time constraints, but those staying for a day or two can cycle through the island’s historical interests like The Grand Turk Lighthouse, Her Majesty’s Prison, and Turks and Caicos National Museum with beach stops in between.

A palm tree in front of a cabana.

Rent a Poolside Cabana at the Cruise Center

One of the low-key activities for guests who just want to relax is to rent a poolside cabana at the cruise center. Enjoy the comforts of having a private space furnished with a table and comfortable sitting area.

Just a few steps from the rental is a small deck with lounge chairs overlooking the pool. Also provided in the rental package is waiter service for those who want to purchase drinks and snacks.

Want to get away from the cruise center for a quiet day at the beach? Then go for a day at the beach with lunch and drinks for cruise guests!

A young Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) practices breaching in the Caribbean Sea. Atlantic Humpbacks migrate to the Caribbean to give birth then head to New England to feed.

Humpback Whale Watching

There’s nothing quite as awe-inspiring as witnessing the majestic humpback whales in their natural habitat. During the winter months, from January to April, the waters around Grand Turk become a playground for these magnificent creatures. 

They migrate to the warm Caribbean waters to mate and give birth, providing an unforgettable spectacle for visitors.

Embark on a whale-watching excursion to see these gentle giants up close. Several tour operators offer boat rides that take you out into the ocean where you can marvel at the humpbacks as they breach the surface, their massive bodies silhouetted against the sky. 

Some lucky visitors may even have the opportunity to swim alongside these gentle giants, a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

GRAND TURK, TURKS AND CAICOS - NOV 23: Replica of Friendship 7 Mercury space capsule in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos, as seen on Nov 23, 2015. John Glenn's spacecraft landed in the vicinity in 1962.

Visit Replica Park & Friendship 7

Immerse yourself in the rich history of Grand Turk by visiting the Replica Park and Friendship 7. This unique destination is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and space aficionados alike.

The park is home to a replica of the Friendship 7 space capsule, which was piloted by astronaut John Glenn during the first American-manned orbit of Earth in 1962. 

After his historic flight, Glenn’s capsule splashed down in the waters near Grand Turk, and the astronaut was brought to the island. 

The replica of the capsule and a monument dedicated to the mission can be found in the park.

What is your favorite thing to do in Grand Turk? Let me know in the comments!

Check out the top tours to take in Grand Turk!

20 Awesome Things to Do in Grand Turk in 2022


  1. Just a heads up that Bohio closed in 2022, and the zip line closed in like 2019

    1. Lindsey Puls says:

      Thank you! That’s a bummer Bohio closed, that was such a pretty location.

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