I see there has been a similar discussion on this subject but our needs are twisted just a bit differently. So, sorry for any redundancy.....
We're looking at another big summer vacation (summer '15)--this time, to the Caribbean. Our family includes our two teenage "monsters" (girl age 15 and boy age 13) They are at the age now where they are a handful--demanding, "bored", embarrassed by us, etc. So, we have a couple of needs: our kids, and then what WE like (places with character, semi-off-the-beaten path BUT WITH enough activities, and great LOCAL joints to eat and drink at. Having said that, I want to avoid at all costs anything overly touristy. So, for us, that leaves out Nassau and Freeport. The Out Islands look great. Maybe either Eleuthera, Exumas, and/or Harbour Island. We're looking at 10-12 days I would say, and would consider up to two locations between those days (ie, two islands max). Things we would all enjoy would be beginner scuba diving (we are certified, kids would require classes) and/or snorkeling, water activities (maybe rent a boat for a couple of days and island hop if simple/easy, local restaurants (I am a borderline "foodie" especially if it is "local"), some light local history, biking, etc. You should know that we live on a barrier island in South Carolina so the beach, itself, is not the big draw like it might be for others. We LOVE the beach, but our trip would evolve on things AROUND the beach rather than catching rays on the beach all day.
Alternatively, the Turks and Caicos came highly recommended for families by a friend of mine who lives in Puerto Rico. Which place has more local "character" and local "culture" by which our kids (and both my wife and I) can experience? Are there other semi-populated islands of the Turks and Caicos that might have more "character"? With either place, we're NOT looking for the all-inclusive resort (I would rather stay home but a more mom-and-pop Inn or Lodge (a swimming pool would be good to include as well). As I'm writing this, I realize that one thing I am trying to "give" to our kids is, indeed, a new culture or way of life for them to experience. We have traveled to Belize and Dominica and both had very cool, dominant cultures that were memories for life.
Any feedback from those of you who've been to both places (and with teens) would be quite welcome.
Thanks to all!
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Bahamas Out Islands OR Turks & Caicos for family of teens?!