Beaches Vacation: Review & What I Packed!

December 17, 2019

I’m Julie.
After my life transformed through style, my mission became sharing that process to help women experience that same magic - to live out the life of their dreams, too.


What a trip! As many of you know who follow me on Instagram, I got AWFUL back spams two days before we left – so bad that I was considering not even going. BUT – I’m so happy I was able to go. We had this vacation planned for a year! {The day to day from our trip are saved in the highlights on my Instagram page named “Turks 1 and 2” so you can see it all in action!}

Last year we went to Beaches Ocho Rios and had probably the best vacation just the 4 of us that we ever had. That trip was VERY last minute and when we booked it we didn’t realize that it was a two hour drive from the airport once we got into Jamaica. WOOPS! But despite the long drive, it was just incredible. So while we were there, we booked Beaches Turks and Caicos for the following year because we loved it that much that we were ready to book it again a year out. Now that we’ve been to Beaches Turks – we are planning to go back with the kids every year.

Let me explain why…

But first, the difference between Beaches Ocho Rios and Turks

Ocho Rios, like I said – was a pain to get to. But once you were there – it was amazing. It was like Turks, but on a smaller scale. There weren’t as many restaurants to choose from, it wasn’t quite as updated, the place was MUCH smaller, the water park was smaller, but in a way, that was nice because it was so intimate and it didn’t take long to walk back to your room etc. The beach wasn’t as nice as Turks was and wasn’t nearly as big, but the people were amazing, the room was not as updated, but was plenty big. Everything else was generally similar. Turks was like Jamaica, but on steroids lol. Here are some pics from our trip last year to Beaches Ocho Rios.


Beaches Ocho Rios December 2018


First of all – the trip to Turks from New York was SO easy. Direct flight – a little over 3 hours, no time difference, and about 10 minutes from the airport once we got there. So in terms of traveling out of the country – it was very easy – even easier than going to the west coast for us.


our first night!


Overall, 9/10 for me! The reason we loved the actual resort so much is because it was KID HEAVEN! But not so much kid heaven that parents don’t really enjoy it, too. It was ALSO just as awesome for us. I usually don’t love all-inclusive resorts, but this one is a different story.


Pools & Beach…

There were so many pools that by the last day, there were still pools we hadn’t gone to lol. Each one had sort of a different “vibe”. There were huge pools with swim up bars and little areas for babies and there were more “higher end” feeling pools that were more “modern”. The beach was AMAZING. The water was so clear that Steven actually thought it was the pool lol. The sand was soft and the water was calm so the kids were able to swim no problem.


The water was so blue!

There was also a really big water park with a lazy river that was definitely the favorite for our kids. There were big water slides that even us parents could have fun on, smaller ones for toddlers, splash pads – you name it.

And the best part? Right next to the water park was a macaroni and cheese truck AND a milkshake truck. The kids could go themselves and get what they wanted in the middle of their water park fun.


Mac and Cheese + Milkshakes at the water park!

Also – our fave – right next to the water park is also this old school looking diner where you could get burgers, pizza, ice cream, popcorn, cotton candy – you name it – around the clock!

Every day around 3pm we’d go get ice cream – root beer floats and sundaes – as our mid-afternoon snack – and then we’d always go back there after dinner for more. Because – I mean – it’s vacation – so it’s kind of like your birthday – you can eat anything you want 😉 Eating on vacation is sort of like monopoly money – it’s not real when you’re on vacation lol. The calories aren’t real 😉

mid-afternoon ice cream

More stuff for kids!

They had two camps that were completely included and were packed with amazing activities all day long. One was for the younger kids and one for 5-7 year olds. We didn’t take advantage of them because our time there was pretty short and we wanted to spend all our time with the kids, but if my back had been better and we wanted to get a workout in – we definitely would have taken advantage of it.

There were boat rides, banana boat and tubing for older kids, glass bottom boat, snorkeling etc., that were included, so Adam took the kids on a glass bottom boat (I get super easily seasick so didn’t go!) but it was nice that it was included and the kids really enjoyed it.


Kids swimming in the lazy river and getting ready for snorkeling!


There was entertainment every night. Our first night there was a parade, there were shows, Sesame Street characters galore, a beach party with dancing that was so much fun and catered to the kids. If you have teens or older kids – also so much for them. There’s a whole teen lounge, a whole video game room – any age kid would LOVE this place.


The food…

SO – if I had to say ONE thing that was not absolutely amazing – I would give the food a 7 out of 10. NOW – I do have to say – the breakfasts were great. There were many many breakfast buffets to choose from or you could order at some a la carte and breakfast was perfect. The coffee was great – there were a million options for where to eat – so that was wonderful.

There were also restaurants we ate at for lunch that we really loved – like the Greek restaurant – Neptunes – and Barefoot by the Sea (we ate in the sand and they had tables for kids) were VERY good. So you sort of have to find the places you like – and there are SO many so you can eat your way through the place.

The sushi restaurant we actually liked a lot more than we thought and definitely make a reservation at the hibachi restaurant. The entertainment was above and beyond. We had the greatest time! Also – a hidden gem was the Jerk Chicken Shack on the beach. If you like jerk chicken – absolutely awesome and right on the ocean.

With all of this said – I’m from New York and Adam is from New Orleans and I wouldn’t say we’re 100% foodies, but we sort of are lol so we are pretty particular about food. I’m sure you’d find plenty of people who would rave about the food.


We stayed in the Caribbean Village – LV1 – Seaside Honeymoon One Bedroom Concierge Villa Suite. We had a separate bedroom for me and Adam and a sitting area with another TV and beds for the kids (it was like a trundle/pull out bed on the bottom which they had lots of fun with). We had a huge bathroom, huge wrap around porch, fully stocked beverage fridge with anything we wanted, tons of waters, etc. It was amazing.

Here’s what I’ll say about which “area” to stay in because there are different options. The vacation is not cheap, so choose the room you can afford, even if it’s the smallest one. You will not be in the room that much because there’s so much to do and it’s so much fun – so if you can afford the least expensive room and are able to do that, then do it. If you do have a bigger budget to work with – it did appear that the Key West Village had the most updated rooms – and of course, the bungalows/houses looked unbelievable and right on the beach so if you’re going with a group, that would be SO much fun (this is the most expensive option though)!

The staff could not have been nicer. Olivia asked why everyone called her “princess” – that’s the kind of over the top nice everyone was. So warm and friendly.


This is a pricey vacation, but to us, making those memories was worth it. It was equal parts fun and relaxing, the kids had the greatest time ever and will always remember it, and we didn’t have to worry about a thing while we were there because everything we could imagine was included. We stayed for 4 nights, and for us, that was enough. I could have done another night, but it’s totally doable for just a long weekend. If you can swing taking the kids out of school for 2 days and taking 2 days off of work, it would be way less expensive than during the vacations when everyone is off and traveling. We will absolutely be back!

Outfit roundup from the trip below with links to all! I didn’t want to pack too much and also wanted to be comfortable – even more so because it was a family vacation, but as always, I wanted to feel good and put together! Hope this can be a helpful style guide for the next time you travel someplace warm! Everything I wore was very very affordable!

Travel Style!

  • Night One

  • Night Two

  • Night Three

  • Night Four

  • Day One

  • Day Two

  • Day Three

  • Day Four

I packed one jean jacket for night that went with everything and wore it every night and two tanks I could tuck in to white and black denim and two printed skirts – floral and leopard.

I liked bringing different prints for different, easy looks every night, and I brought one pair of low block heels that went with everything!

Packed 4 bathing suits that are my most flattering and comfortable and that gave me full coverage while I was with the kids plus two kimonos and jean shorts.

I wore most of what I brought! I did some fun statement earrings and an arm party every night, a simple crossbody that would go with everything – and I was all set! Links to everything by day/night below!

Night One

Jean Jacket – My absolute favorite. Soft and stretchy, slightly cropped and distressed so goes with everything. True to size. Silk Tank: AMAZING – a must have in your closet and double lined at the top so not see through! True to Size. Black Denim: Love these. Gold stripe down the side, frayed at the bottom – amazing fit. Size down one! Easy Sandals! Lightweight statement earrings!

Night Two

Same Jean Jacket, leopard skirt (you could go up a size) and my favorite most comfy block heels ever (true to size). Lightweight statement earrings!

Night Three

Floral maxi skirt. I’ve had this for years and still love it. People stopped me to compliment me on it! So feminine and easy to wear to feel instantly pretty. True to Size. Fun statement earrings.

Night Four

White distressed denim, snakeskin top, block heels, and denim jacket. All true to size! Easy hoops you can wear with anything!

Swimsuits and Kimonos!

Teal Swimsuit – comes in multiple colors and THE most flattering suit I own! SO affordable and everyone raves about this suit! – True to size.

Blue and White Stripe One Shoulder Swimsuit – looks designer without the price tag and incredibly comfortable. True to size.

White Kimono – this one is almost identical and so pretty in person – you can wear it with shorts, over a dress – you name it. Kimonos are the best.

Floral Kimono – probably my number one selling item ever! You’ll wear it over and over and can’t beat the price. Too good!

My favorite swimsuit – classic, flattering, comfortable. It’s a staple go-to suit for me for the past few years.

Other Vacation Necessities

Olivia’s leopard bathing suit

Adorable toddler boy suits

Great toddler girl skorts!

Toddler water shoes: necessity! Toddler Girl Water Shoes, Toddler Boy Water Shoes

Packing Cubes! Game changer!

Hair Tool I can’t live or travel without!

BEST travel bag of all time and BEST backpack that I used as a pool/beach bag as well as to travel with!

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Julie Kraus | Stylist
〰️ I help you take the struggle out of style
Founder of CHIC▫️Podcast Host▫️Mom of 2