The world-famous Grace Bay Beach is located on the northeast coast of the island of Providenciales. This pristine beach is the hallmark of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the recipient of many designations, awards, and accolades.
Grace Bay currently holds the position of World Travel Awards’ World’s Leading Beach Destination, and 2nd place in Trip Advisor’s World’s Best Beaches. Over the previous decade, Grace Bay has taken first or second place in these two competitions 19 times.
The entirety of Grace Bay is excellent and breathtaking, with clean turquoise water and soft white sand, and no rocks, seaweed, or pollution. An extensive barrier reef is located about a mile (1.6 km) offshore, and protects Grace Bay from the ocean swells of the Atlantic, which helps to keep the water at the beach calm and safe.
Grace Bay Beach is home to nearly all of the large and luxury resorts on Providenciales, and much of the boat and water sports traffic that takes place near Providenciales occurs in the shallow waters between the beach and barrier reef.
Many sources cite Grace Bay as being 7 or 12 miles long (19 km), yet in reality it’s only a little over three miles long (4.8 km). On its east side, Grace Bay Beach continues as Leeward Beach, and on the west end as the Bight Beach. It’s possible to walk the entire 7 miles (11.2 km) from Leeward Going Through Point (also known as Emerald Point) near Little Water Cay, to Turtle Cove Marina and Smith’s Reef. The inlet canals of Turtle Cove Marina and the residential neighborhood of Thompson Cove, and a few outcrops of limestone ocean cliffs near Blue Mountain interrupt the beach, which would otherwise continue another 7.5 miles (12 km) past Blue Hills, Wheeland, and finally to Northwest Point and the Northwest Point National Park.Grace Bay Beach is part of the Princess Alexandra National Park, which also includes the Bight Beach, Smith’s Reef, the Bight Reef (Coral Gardens), Leeward Beach, Little Water Cay, Half Moon Bay, and the eco-tour destination of Mangrove Cay.
The Origin of the Name Grace Bay
Grace Bay Beach was named after Grace Jane Hutchings, wife of Hugh Houston Hutchings, Commissioner of the Turks and Caicos from 1933-1934.
Want to watch a glorious sunset or capture the perfect photo? As may be expected, the sunset over Grace Bay can be amazing. Some great places to watch the show include the dock at Ricky’s restaurant (the Sandcastles beach access), located on the eastern side of Club Med, and at the Forbes Point beach access near the Sands Resort. The Stubb’s Point (also known as Pelican Beach or Sunset Beach) access on Leeward Beach is another great place in the area to see the sunset.
A sunset cruise on Grace Bay can be an incredible way to watch the show as well, and is one of our top recommended things to do.
Sargassum and Seaweed
Grace Bay Beach, and the adjacent coasts of Leeward Beach and the Bight Beach are very rarely affected by sargassum and seaweed deposits. This is due to the typical east-southeast wind directions, which blow the floating offshore.
The Bight Beach has lush seagrass beds which grow in sheltered parts of the bay, and sometimes bits of this seagrass do wash onto the beach. In most situations, if the seaweed is present, it’ll be a narrow strip left at the high tide line.
Grace Bay Hotels, Resorts and Villas
Many of the best-known resorts and hotels in the Turks and Caicos are located on Grace Bay Beach.
The first beachfront on Grace Bay was Club Med Turkoise, an adults-only all-inclusive resort that opened in 1984 and is still open today. This expansive resort is located on one of the finest stretches of Grace Bay, and offers a wide collection of activities and water sports at great rates.
The first luxury resort in the islands was the Grace Bay Club Resort, one of the properties in the Grace Bay Resorts Collection. The original hotel building still stands, yet the resort has greatly expanded since. One interesting feature at this resort is the infinity pool overlooking Grace Bay. Later additions include the Grace Bay Estates, which are condo residences, built to the east of the main property.
Due to the premium of the frontage on Grace Bay, only a very few villas are beachfront on the coast, with the most notable example being Coral House, which is located on the far eastern edge of Grace Bay. Leeward Beach and the Bight Beach, which are directly adjacent to Grace Bay on the east and west sides, are home to some beautiful beachfront villas and vacation rental properties.
Grace Bay offers a full spectrum of accommodation ambiances and price ranges. Budget-friendly options can be found both on the beach and inland, and there are many 5-star luxury resorts, as well as perfect wedding and honeymoon resorts.
Excellent luxury resort options include the boutique Point Grace, Seven Stars Resort & Spa, The Palms, Grace Bay Club, and the family-oriented Beaches Turks and Caicos all-inclusive, which includes a water park, 21 restaurants, and a wealth of water sports and activities.
Some of the best deals can be had at the hotels such as the quaint Sibonné Beach Hotel, the all-inclusive Club Med Turkoise, Royal West Indies Resort, and inland at Villa del Mar, The Oasis at Grace Bay, Ports of Call Resort, and the Inn at Grace Bay.
The Turks and Caicos Ritz-Carlton resort is the newest property on Grace Bay and opened in June 2021.
Restaurants and Bars at Grace Bay
Some great and fun beachfront restaurants are located on Grace Bay Beach, including Bay Bistro, Hemingway’s on the Beach, Somewhere on the Beach, Asu at the Alexandra Resort, Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar at the Grace Bay Club Resort, and The Deck at Seven Stars. The only beachfront bar or restaurant not on the grounds of a resort is Rickie's Flamingo Café, near the Royal Turks and Caicos Golf Club.
Things to Do at Grace Bay Beach
Snorkeling at Grace Bay Beach
Grace Bay is home to exquisite and vibrant reefs, yet unfortunately, except for the Bight Reef (Coral Gardens), located on the far western edge of the beach, the reefs are too far out to swim to, and must be visited via boat.
The Bight Reef and Smith’s Reef offer a wealth of fish, turtles, stingrays, lobsters, and coral to explore, yet are a little too far to walk to from many of the Grace Bay resorts. A snorkeling cruise to the barrier reef off Grace Bay and Leeward can be a great experience, as the underwater sights are a little different from the interior bay reefs, and there are bright sea fans and intricate coral topography to discover.
Dangers and Safety Concerns
By far the greatest danger to swimmers is the reckless usage of powerboats. Tourists have been killed in the Grace Bay area by being struck by a boat. Most of this behavior is by small vessels offering banana boat and wake rides. Changes in the law require that such boats have a dedicated spotter, however, such mandated practices are often not followed, and it’s important to be aware of them.
Many of the north coast beaches on Providenciales suffer from these negligent boat operators who ignore the law and pilot their vessels recklessly, without attention, and significantly above the 15 mph (24 km/h) speed limit. You must constantly be on the alert for boat traffic in your area in order to avoid injury.
Grace Bay Beach is part of the Princess Alexandra National Park, which has a 15 mph (24 km/h) speed limit for power vessels. Many boat operators flagrantly ignore this rule. See Poisonous and Venomous Flora and Fauna, and Sharks in the Turks and Caicos for information on sea creatures that could harm you.
Hotels, Resorts and Villas
Grace Bay Beach Accesses
For persons that are driving to the beach, Grande Court 🡓, Forbes Point 🡓, Central 🡓, Rickie's 🡓, and the Regent Street 🡓 beach accesses offer the best balance of parking availability and beach quality.
Refreshments and Food
At the Rickie's 🡓 beach access, takeout food can be conveniently purchased at the adjacent Rickie’s Flamingo Café restaurant for those that want to dine at their own spot on the beach. For sit-down dining on Grace Bay Beach, there’s a very wide selection of choices, including Rickie's Flamingo Café, Cabana Bar & Grill, The Deck, The Grill, Solana, Coralli Restaurant, Hemingway's Restaurant, and Bay Bistro.
The Rotary Park 🡓, Forbes Point 🡓, Grande Court 🡓, and Central 🡓 beach accesses offer easy access between the parking area and the beach, with very little elevation change or obstacles for wheelchairs or carts beyond low curbs or ledges.
The Manor Street 🡓 and Rickie's 🡓 beach accesses have public restrooms onsite. Restrooms can be found at the many restaurants along the beach, yet some establishments may have a customer only policy for their restrooms.
Umbrellas and loungers can be rented from vendors at the Central 🡓 beach access.
Most resorts on Grace Bay Beach reserve their loungers for guests staying at the property.