It's nearly impossible to plan a holiday in Jamaica without setting foot on a gorgeous Caribbean beach. We've compiled a list of the 10 best beaches on the island to help you decide where to lounge, play or dine in the sand.
Frenchman's Cove — Photo courtesy of Jamaica Tourism Board
Frenchman's Cove, Port Antonio: One of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, secluded Frenchman's Cove is surrounded by lush gardens. A fresh water river runs into the ocean here, which can make the water colder than other parts of the island but still a dream to swim in. Hungry? Dine at the jerk hut with food made to order. A small entrance fee applies. Frenchman's Cove has been seen in popular movies such as Treasure Island, Club Paradise and The Mighty Quinn.
Boston Beach, Port Antonio: Famous for finer-than-fine white sand and ocean calmed by an offshore reef, Boston Beach is a favorite of families for snorkeling and picnics. Plenty of lodging is nearby. Note: there are no bathrooms so plan accordingly.
Winnifred Beach, Port Antonio: It's friendly, laid-back and a favorite of locals. Winnifred Beach is a half moon-shaped stretch of sand with clear, bright-blue water and a small field perfect for playing football. Vendors sell drinks, food, jewelry and hand-crafted items. The beach is cared for by an informal local association of shopkeepers who clean it daily. Horseback riding tours are available on the weekends.
Reggae Beach, Ocho Rios: Considered one of the island's best kept secrets, Reggae Beach is about 10 minutes east of busy Ocho Rios. It's renowned for Friday after-work jams, reggae music and great Jamaican hospitality. If you're looking for a true cultural experience, put this secluded 250-acre beach on your list. It doesn't attract a tourist crowd.
Puerto Seco Beach, Ocho Rios: Puerto Seco Beach in Discovery Bay is on record as the first place Christopher Columbus set foot on Jamaica. The shallow water makes it great for kids. Also nearby is Columbus Park, an open air museum of Jamaican history, and the Green Grotto Caves, an attraction named for green algae that lines its walls.
James Bond Beach, Ocho Rios: Ian Flemming wrote more than a dozen James Bond novels and short stories on his adopted island of Jamaica. From James Bond Beach, take a guided waverunner tour past Goldeneye, the author's former residence turned luxury resort. Scenes from Dr. No were filmed on this beach, which is an entertainment complex with a bar, concert stages, three beaches and a large field.
Doctor's Cave Beach — Photo courtesy of Jamaica Tourism Board
Doctor's Cave Beach, Montego Bay: One of the most famous beaches on the island, Doctor's Cave Beach is also part of the protected Montego Bay Marine Park. Tropical fish are often seen swimming close to the surface. The beach can get crowded, a small fee applies and no radios, vendors or footballs are allowed. It's named because medical professionals in the early 1900s believed in its healing waters.
Cornwall Beach, Montego Bay: Crystal clear water and beach gear are provided at Cornwall Beach. The area is relatively new, available for private functions and less crowded than Doctor's Cave Beach. Lockers, showers and changing facilities are available. A small fee applies for beach entry.
Seven Mile Beach — Photo courtesy of Jim Smith
Seven Mile Beach, Negril: With turquoise water and miles of soft white sand, it's no wonder that both locals and tourists flock to this slice of paradise. Home to major all-inclusive resorts, the numerous dive sites just offshore are a draw for scuba enthusiasts. Glass-bottom boat rides, water skiing and other water sports are popular here.
Treasure Beach, South Coast: A sleepy stretch of untamed beaches and fishing villages, Treasure Beach is less traveled than others. Dark and white sand stretches, secluded swimming spots, private coves and rocky shores are all mixed together on this six-mile beach. Locals line up for fresh-caught fish brought in each day.
Now that you know where to go, don't forget the sunscreen.