Photo Courtesy of a TripAdvisor Traveler/4Corners                  .
                SunsetBlack RiverOcho RiosLime cove beachegret on the dockLeuke barPlage de Negril

Families will love:

  • Long stretches of coastline
  • Delicious Jamaican specialties and Reggae bands
  • Seven-mile stretch of soft sand in Negril

Families underestimate the size of Jamaica. Driving from one end to the other can take close to six hours. Yet, within its confines are some of the finest stretches of coastline in the Caribbean, offering the lush Blue Mountains that rise from its core. In Montego Bay and Negril, ladies with baskets of tropical fruit perched on their heads stroll the beaches, slicing and ... more
Families underestimate the size of Jamaica. Driving from one end to the other can take close to six hours. Yet, within its confines are some of the finest stretches of coastline in the Caribbean, offering the lush Blue Mountains that rise from its core. In Montego Bay and Negril, ladies with baskets of tropical fruit perched on their heads stroll the beaches, slicing and dicing sugary pineapples or butter-soft papayas faster than a chef at a Japanese steak house. Next to arrive will be the "knotty dread" lady, who will caress your temples and cornrow your hair a la Bo Derek in "10". The beach is always packed with sellers and their pampered clientele.

A recent slate of high-end, all-inclusive resorts have opened just outside of Ocho Rios and have, once again, made the town a top family destination. Hang at the beach to swim and sail, or head outside the resort to climb Dunn's River Falls. Guides escort families up through the cascading water as they climb the 600-foot-high waterfall. Other nearby excursions include taking a tube down a clear stream in the mountains above the city, horseback riding along a quiet stretch of the coast and taking a drive to the birthplace of reggae legend Bob Marley.

To escape the crowds, families head to Port Antonio. Tucked in the foothills of the Blue Mountains overlooking twin harbors, the town has attracted such luminaries as J.P. Morgan, William Randolph Hearst and Errol Flynn, who sailed in on his yacht, fell in love with the place and proceeded to buy 60-acre Navy Island -- the lush, windward side of the island where the mountains slope down to such enchanting beaches as Frenchman's Cove. The highlight of a Port Antonio stay is a bamboo raft trip on the Rio Grande River, which rises in the mountains behind town. There's no whitewater there, just a gently flowing river that snakes between hills that are thick with spiky stalks of sugarcane and vibrant Poinciana trees.

Whichever side of the island you choose, make that extra effort to leave the premises of your all-inclusive resort. To fully experience a Jamaican vacation, you have to go outside the walls to dine on wonderful Jamaican specialties, listen to live Reggae bands, and meet the people.

Be sure to check out our exclusive Caribbean Vacation Guide for Families, offering plenty of useful information about various Caribbean islands!

Written by Stephen Jermanok less

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