The Turks & Caicos capital and seat of government, Cockburn Town is a bougainvillea-fringed, laidback tropical beauty with shabby-chic colonial buildings and dusty unpaved streets.
Cockburn’s major highlight is the National Museum, full to the brim with shipwreck flotsam, tools and artifacts formed from shells, and displays on the island’s original Lucayan people. Don’t miss the collection of washed-up bottles and the poignant messages contained inside.
More recent exhibits focus on the impact of NASA’s Space Program, including displays on the night sky and the personal memories of astronaut John Glenn, who splashed down just offshore in 1962, the first American to orbit the earth.
The museum itself is housed in the whitewashed and red-roofed Guinep House, a historic colonial building constructed almost 200 years ago from the salvaged timber of shipwrecks.
The island’s superb beaches aren’t far away, along with coral-reef diving from the island’s west coast. Guarding the waters north of town is the historic National Trust-listed lighthouse, built in Britain in 1852. The lighthouse is a popular spot for whale-watching in February/March.