Turks and Caicos consists of 40 different islands and cays, only 8 of which are inhabited. The beaches on this island chain are pristinely beautiful thanks to the third-largest coral reef system on the planet. The reefs surround Turks and Caicos, protecting the beaches from ocean surges and keeping the coastal blue calm and clear. Grab some SPF and a pair of shades, we're taking you to Turks and Caicos' best beaches.

Grace Bay Beach: Grace Bay Beach is 1 of Turks and Caicos' most well-known and beloved beaches. The stretch of fine sand starts in the island town of Leeward and runs 12 miles to Thompson Cove. Many hotels and resorts have cropped up here including the luxurious Grace Bay Club and our beloved Coral Gardens. Grace Bay Beach is part of the Princess Alexandra National Park and, therefore, offers peace, quiet and nature-friendly water sports. Sailing, catamarans and snorkeling are all encouraged, but water skis and jet skis are off-limits. Grace Bay Beach offers fantastic snorkeling: 2 spots that shouldn't be missed are Smith's Reef and Bight Reef.

Long Bay Beach: Tear yourself away from the inspiring beauty of Grace Bay Beach and head east to Long Bay Beach. Unlike Grace Bay, Long Bay is virtually free of hotels (for now). Opening directly onto Long Bay, the shallow waters of this beach are sheltered and waveless, making them perfect for lazy swims. Provo Ponies offers another picture-perfect vacation activity -- horseback riding along the beautiful coast of Long Bay Beach.

Malcolm Beach: Secluded Malcolm Beach is an oasis of calm and relaxation, but to get there you're going to need your sense of adventure. The traditional way to get to Malcolm Beach (sometimes referred to as Malcolm Roads Beach) is by traversing the twisting, bumpy Malcolm roads in a rented 4x4. The reward is worth the journey, but if off-roading isn't your style, you can book a room at the adjacent and peaceful Amanyara Villas. Another plus to booking a villa at Amanyara is that the resort will provide guests with excellent snorkeling equipment for Malcolm's crystal waters, part of the Northwest Point Marine National Park.

Chalk Sound National Park: Chalk Sound is a landlocked lagoon featuring Sapodilla and Taylor Bays, 2 shallow, warm-water coves. The soft, silty bottom of Sapodilla extends almost 100 feet out into the bay, providing an endless playground for young children or the perfect setting for a romantic walk. Chalk Sound National Park comprises a large part of Provo's uninhabited Western half and is the island's best natural attraction.

Pine Cay Island: Pine Cay is a privately owned 800-acre jewel in the Turks and Caicos island chain. It is also home to the Meridian Club, a private island resort with 2 miles of immaculate white-sand beaches. And the Meridian offers an abundance of activities to enjoy its sun-drenched sugary shores: sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving and biking. Meridian will also arrange day trips and excursions so that you can explore Provo, Grand Turk, and Middle and North Caicos while calling the cottages and villas of the resort home.

North Caicos Island: This island is the most verdant of the Turks and Caicos chain and is only 12 miles from Provo, reachable by plane or boat. That makes it a great day trip location for those staying on Provo.

Sandy Point Beach: Sandy Point beach is a pristine crescent of white sand and blue waters. The seclusion of the beach provides the perfect environment for bird-watching. For those feeling more adventurous, nearby caves once used by the Lucayans are available for exploration.

Whitby Beaches: Also on North Caicos are the Whitby beaches, offering shallow coves perfect for snorkeling. Pelican Point beach, in front of Pelican Beach Hotel, is a quiet spot on untouched beaches where amblers can find conch shells of all shapes and sizes.

Grand Turk Island: Grand Turk is home to some of the chain's most beautiful beaches and is also the capital island of Turks and Caicos. The island is rich with history including many Colonial-style buildings and ruins, and the Turks and Caicos National Museum.

Governor's Beach: Governor's Beach is Grand Turk's most celebrated stretch of sand. Within Columbus Landfall National Park, it has wonderful snorkeling opportunities and great picnic spots underneath shady pines. It's also located near the Grand Turk Cruise Center, which makes it a popular day destination for passengers.

Pillory Beach: The Bohio Dive Resort is located on Grand Turk's Pillory Beach, 1 of the most celebrated diving beaches in the world. The resort is beautiful, intimate and friendly; offering fishing, nature watching, bike and scooter rental, and yoga. Book 1 of the resort's 12 rooms or 4 private suites, and enjoy being steps from the beach, dive shack, pool and pool bar.