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11 Top-Rated Beaches in Jamaica

Jamaica is the Caribbean island nation defined by reggae music, jerk chicken, unmistakable Blue Mountain coffee, and of course, jewel-toned beaches. With more than 900 kilometers of coastline, Jamaican beaches range from long sandy stretches, like popular Negril Beach, one of the Caribbean's best beaches, to the more secluded and tucked away coves surrounded by cliffs, and oftentimes, cliff divers.

Set sail on a sunset cruise, try your skill at windsurfing, head out for a snorkeling adventure, or just do nothing at all on the soft, white sands. No matter what kind of beach experience you enjoy, there is a reason Jamaica is known for its stunning sun-and-sand experiences. Honeymooners, vacationers, solo travelers, and adventurers enjoy Jamaican beaches as much for the African culture as for the tropical breezes. Find the best stretch of sand for you with this list of the top-rated beaches in Jamaica:

1 Negril Beach

Negril Beach
Negril Beach
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One of the most popular beaches in Jamaica is Negril Beach, also called Seven Mile Beach. The famously long, white-sand beach is on the west coast, stretching approximately five miles despite its "seven mile" nickname. Due to the popularity of Negril Beach, it is often crowded with sunbathers, swimmers, and water sport enthusiasts. It is easy to find kayak and sailboat rentals to head out onto the water for the day. Many resorts in Negril, like Catcha Falling Star, are all-inclusive, with high-end amenities and luxury accommodations with plunge pools and suites. Your Jamaican beach experience is not complete without enjoying an oceanfront lunch of jerk chicken on your lounge chair from a local vendor. Also, be sure to check out the rest of the attractions and things to do in Negril.

2 Doctor's Cave Beach

Doctor's Cave Beach
Doctor's Cave Beach
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If golden sand is your style, Doctor's Cave Beach in Montego Bay is a must-visit. The tranquil beach has an almost perfect year-round climate of 80 degrees. There is a ban on radios and vendors at Doctor's Cave beach, so the atmosphere is quiet, with only the sound of crashing waves instead of reggae music. It is this purist beach vibe that vacationers enjoy. The beach is clean, and facilities are modern, with changing areas and equipment available for rent, like lounge chairs and umbrellas. The beach is popular for water sports but most activities, like kayaking and snorkeling, are booked as tours. While the beach is quiet enough for a nap in a chair, it is a great beach for enjoying a glass-bottom boat ride to explore the rich marine life and coral in the area. Montego Bay has plenty of resorts with sea-view villas, like those at the Round Hill Hotel & Villas that put the ocean right outside your window.

3 Frenchman's Cove

Frenchman's Cove
Frenchman's Cove
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There is a reason that Frenchman's Cove in Jamaica has made appearances in movies like Club Paradise and other films because it is a tropical paradise. The lagoon-style beach is located in Port Antonio and used to be a secluded beach retreat for the Hollywood elite. What makes Frenchman's Cove so appealing is the quiet stream that converges into the turquoise ocean. The pristine sandy beach feels exotic next to the calm, bath-water-temperature lagoon. It is a quieter beach scene than other locations in Jamaica, which is exactly why it is popular with those who know about it. The eclectic Geejam resort has suites and villas surrounded by palms and plenty of windows to bring the beach to you, even while you are in your room.

4 Bloody Bay

While the name of Bloody Bay is not so appealing, the destination itself is a nice retreat from the more populated Jamaican beaches. Bloody Bay is segmented into private sections of beachfront resorts, like Sunset at the Palms, where guests can go from their luxury treehouse accommodations directly to a quiet and protected beach. Rentals for kayaks and water sports gear are conveniently located close to the water. The soft, white sand on the beach leads to shallow swimming areas where you can float on a raft or just walk on the sandy bottom in the water. Several sunset cruises and snorkeling excursions leave from Bloody Bay, so you do not have to travel far to plan a full agenda of activities.

5 Ocho Rios Bay Beach

Ocho Rios Bay Beach
Ocho Rios Bay Beach
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Since Ocho Rios is a cruise port, you can often find tourists flocking to Ocho Rios Bay Beach to dip their toes into the calm Jamaican water. The clear, blue water and shallow areas for swimming make it a nice beach to visit. It is small, but a few eateries and shops are nearby. There are lots of excursions available, like kayaking to view marine life and snorkeling that can be booked from the beach vendors affiliated with resorts like the Moon Palace Jamaica. The beach is clean, with very little sea debris washing ashore. There are plenty of shells to find, especially in the mornings.

6 Hellshire Beach

Hellshire Beach
Hellshire Beach
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The popular Hellshire Beach near the capital of Kingston is a favorite among locals and vacationers. The beach has black sand in areas and is outlined by the Blue Mountains in the distance and crystal-clear, blue Jamaican water. It is an active beach scene that is popular for its festivals, as well as open-air concerts. Most of the better hotels, like The Courtleigh Hotel and Suites and The Spanish Court Hotel, are about 16 kilometers away from the beach, but transportation is easy in the capital. Ask your resort to pack you a beach lunch to take with you and dine by the ocean during your day on the sand.

7 Treasure Beach

Treasure Beach
Treasure Beach Alfred Moya / photo modified
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The southern shore gem of Treasure Beach is preferred by people who are looking to get away from the crowds. The nine-kilometer stretch of beach is a quiet retreat that has both sandy shoreline and sections of rocky terrain. The sand is a mix of light and dark, adding depth to the scenic views. The beach has a series of coves that are perfect to explore and watch the fishermen in their boats in the distance. Treasure Beach is laid-back, with small local vendors in stands selling jerk chicken and other local food. Many of the lodging options near the beach, like Jakes Hotel, Villas & Spa and Katamah Beachfront Guesthouse, are vibrant and eclectic, adding to the tropical mood of your trip.

8 Winnifred Beach

Winnifred Beach
Winnifred Beach
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The calm water at Winnifred Beach and coral reefs easily accessible for snorkeling are just two of the reasons visitors love it. Located near Port Antonio, it is one of the most popular beaches in the country. The sand is surrounded by trees, so there is plenty of shade, and you will find unique excursions available, like horseback riding tours along the coast. Since this is a public beach, you will share it with many locals, especially on the weekends. There are hotels, like the Tropical Lagoon Resort, located within walking distance of the beach.

9 Fort Clarence Beach

Fort Clarence Beach
Fort Clarence Beach Ericson Smith / photo modified
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Fort Clarence Beach is near the capital of Kingston, but unlike other beaches nearby, it draws fewer crowds. It is a nice beach for families given the calm swimming water and fewer tourists. The white sand and blue water makes this a perfect relaxation beach, with great spots for a picnic. Lounge chairs are available, and there is plenty of room for beach volleyball and building sandcastles. There are many hotels in Kingston, but if you are looking for suites, the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel and The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel are comfortable options that offer nice retreats after a long day in the sun.

10 Boston Bay Beach

Boston Bay Beach
Boston Bay Beach
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The eastern shore of Jamaica can see large waves, which is one of the reasons that surfers and those looking for a great view head to Boston Bay Beach. It is located near Port Antonio and is credited for being the origin of the famous Jamaican jerk food. In addition to incredible blue water and perfect surf, you will find some of the best local food stands for lunch. The beach is popular for surfing and windsurfing, and if you have ever wanted to try either, you can book lessons. Besides the stunning beach there are stunning resorts, like The Trident Hotel and Hotel Mockingbird Hill, that will cater to your every need.

11 Dunn's River Falls Beach

Dunn's River Falls Beach
Dunn's River Falls Beach
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One of the most stunning and exotic beach scenes in Jamaica is the treasure of Dunn's River Falls Beach. As its name suggests, there are spectacular falls to explore in addition to the beach area. Dunn River Falls Beach is near all the attractions of Ocho Rios and features a 180-meter-high cascade of waterfalls. People enjoy walking through the different levels of the falls, but the beach area is ideal for spending the day and snorkeling. The scenery is unlike anything else you will experience in Jamaica. The resorts in the area, like Jewel Dunn's River Beach Resort & Spa, cater to the spectacle of the falls and can assist with tours. For an added excursion, you can book a day trip on a boat around the area or a tour of the falls.

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