Just the very mention of Jamaica makes you think of an idyllic, tropical, Caribbean beach paradise, doesn’t it? Dazzling white sand, lazy coconut trees and the most translucent water you will ever see – we’ve all dreamed about the beaches of Jamaica at some point. Jamaica beaches are lovely, and around 50 are public, while hotels, resorts or private individuals privately own the rest.
Arguably at their best along the North Coast, especially the region that stretches from Montego Bay to Port Antonio, the beaches in Jamaica offer something for everyone. So whether you want to snorkel or jet ski, go for long walks, see a beautiful sunset, or just lay down on a towel and relax, here are the best beaches in Jamaica to showcase the perfect spot for you.
- 20 Jamaica Beaches
- Best Jamaica Beaches In Port Antonio
- Best Jamaica Beaches In Ocho Rios
- Best Montego Bay Beaches
- Best Jamaica Beaches In Kingston
- Best Jamaica Beaches In Negril
20 Jamaica Beaches
Best Jamaica Beaches In Port Antonio
1- Pellew Island Beach
Often referred to as ‘Monkey Island’ because there was once a few imported monkeys running around, Pellew Island Beach is better-known today for its tropical fish.
Offering some of the best snorkelling opportunities in the whole of Jamaica, this idyllic beach can be reached by boat or via kayak from nearby San San beach.
It has a distinct castaway feeling, perfect for those who want to get away from it all, and the water is crystal clear.
But be careful of the spiky sea urchins on the seafloor and be mindful of that when you enter the ocean.
2- Boston Beach
Boston Beach is a typical relaxed, laidback, quintessentially Jamaican beach.
A beach where palm trees lightly sway as the crashing waves lap against the shoreline, it’s a relaxing spot to lay in the sun with a plate of jerk chicken and a cocktail, as reggae music plays in the background.
If you want to do something a bit more adventurous, there are some good waves to surf here, while the sand is perfect for walking on.
This beach is all about chilling out and forgetting about the pressures of daily life.
3- Frenchman’s Cove
You might remember Frenchman’s Cove from the 1986 film Club Paradise that starred Robin Williams.
One of the world’s most beautiful beaches, this secluded gem is the kind of beach you would see on a screensaver.
With golden sand and translucent water flanked by a gorgeous canopy of emerald trees, this beach was once popular with Hollywood A-list celebrities.
It is unique because it also accommodates a river that meets the ocean so that you can swim in both.
4- Winnifred Beach
Winnifred Beach is one of the livelier beaches in Port Antonio, especially when it comes to the weekend when scores of locals and tourists alike descend upon it.
It’s an excellent place for people-watching, as this secluded bay provides a real sense of what life on the island is like as there is always something happening.
It’s a decent spot for snorkelling because of coral reefs that are easy to access, while horseback riding is popular too.
If you like beach cricket, there is usually a game or two taking place on the sand around you, while there are plenty of food stalls just off the sand that serves up delicious local fare.
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Best Jamaica Beaches In Ocho Rios
5- Low Cay Beach
Famous for accommodating the vacation home of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, who would come to the island to write and unwind, Low Cay Beach in Oracabessa Bay is a gorgeous cove, which is the perfect spot for a day of rest and relaxation.
The property was subsequently taken over by Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records and transformed into a chic resort with 26 beach huts.
So you can live like a celebrity in this fabulous region if you can afford it.
Swim or paddleboard in the lagoon or kick back and make the most of its tranquillity.
6- James Bond Beach
Talking of James Bond, the famous film Dr No was filmed in the coastal area now known as James Bond Beach.
Located just east of Ocho Rios, about a 20-minute drive from Sandals Ochi (Sandals largest all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean), the beach is sensational.
It’s in no way a shrine to James Bond – you won’t find any memorabilia stalls here. But what you will see is a stunning panorama of moss-green mountains, aquamarine waters and golden sand that is a great place to relax.
If you fancy something a bit more energetic, hire jet-skis, kayaks, paddleboards and windsurfing equipment, as well as take a tour on a glass-bottom boat.
7- Mammee Bay Beach
Mammee Bay Beach is a beach that is half privately owned and half public.
Located just 15 minutes from Ocho Rios, whichever part you can go to, you will be in for a treat.
Surrounded by lush green mountains and featuring white powdery sand and sparkling electric blue water, this beach is a good spot for windsurfing and wakeboarding.
At dusk, the sunset colours are amazing, while as the night falls, it’s a great place to light a bonfire and dance your way through the night with friends.
8- Turtle Beach
Ocho Rios’ main beach extends for about 1640 ft (500 m) along the east side of Ocho Rios Bay and is a stunning white sandy beach near the cruise port.
Turtle Beach is popular with families but there’s an entry fee of about US$6, which is justified for the beach has security it offers.
You can rent sunbeds and umbrellas. And there’s a decent range of water sports activities like scuba diving, kayaks, and jet skiing.
There is also a roped off safe swimming area in the sea which is warm and flat.
You can buy food and drink on the beach, and there are plenty of shady picnic spots under palm trees to eat it at.
The beach offers amenities that are well maintained, like toilets, showers and changing rooms.
9- Pleasure Cove Beach
One of the more secluded beaches near Ocho Rios is Pleasure Cove Beach.
It’s a public beach that features soft sandy, shimmering water and a tranquil atmosphere; it’s a fabulous beach to relax with a good book and some music.
The water is excellent for wading, and it’s one of the prettier beaches you will want to photograph.
There are also many food vendors selling jerk chicken and other local delicacies.
10- Dunn’s River Falls Beach
Dunn’s River Falls is a notable attraction in Jamaica that you must check out while you are there.
If you do go to see the spectacular 180 ft (54 m)-high and 600 ft (182 m)-long cascade, you should also take the opportunity to visit the excellent beach near it too.
Dunn’s River Falls Beach is breathtaking and makes for a fabulous day out if combined with the falls.
It’s a lovely spot to snorkel or swim and explore the attractive white sandy beach at your leisure.
11- Bamboo Beach Club/Reggae Beach
Formerly known as Reggae Beach and now going by the name of Bamboo Beach Club, this quiet bay is surrounded by the lush mountain edges of St Mary and St Ann.
For most of the week, the beach is pretty deserted, which means you will get to enjoy the golden sands, swaying palms trees and aquamarine waters away from the crowds.
But come Friday night, this Jamaican beach transforms into a party zone, with live DJs and bands, people dancing and a bonfire until 1 am.
Best Montego Bay Beaches
12- Aqua Sol Beach
Aqua Sol Beach is an excellent beach for families because it’s adjacent to the Aqua Sol Theme Park.
The enormous seaside amusement park has a range of fun water-based activities and tennis, go-karting, and volleyball.
The pristine white beach is perfect for lazy sunbathing under the Jamaican sun.
There are also glass-bottom boats, jet-skiing and banana boat rides you can go offshore.
The beach is also very close to downtown, so you can get something delicious to eat, or explore the shops, in between bouts of sun-tanning.
13- Doctor’s Cave Beach
Doctor’s Cave Beach is a famous beach whose waters were once believed to have healing properties.
Even now, some people still believe this, which is probably why there are always so many people swimming in it.
The beautiful beach is well-maintained by the Doctor’s Cave Beach Club, which charges a small fee to go to the beach.
Despite it always being busy, you should have no trouble finding yourself a quiet spot to lay down your towel.
Located close to ‘Hip Strip’, a visit to Doctor’s Cave Beach also puts you right in the heart of the town’s main bars, restaurants, and shops.
14- Sandals Montego Bay Beach
Sandals Montego Bay Beach is the personification of a tropical paradise.
Think fine powdery white sand, stately palm trees and crystal-clear translucent waters.
As it is a private beach, there are usually only a handful of people there, but those who visit get to enjoy an immaculately groomed beach that is the perfect place to lay on a lounge with your music on and forget about the world.
15- Cornwall Beach
Adjacent to Doctor’s Cave Beach, Cornwall Beach is not the biggest beach in the world, and you will have to pay $5 to access it.
It’s peaceful and secluded and offers a lovely place to swim.
As it is close to Hip Strip, it can get busy here, so if you want to get a beach lounger for the day, it’s worth securing one in the morning.
If you are there on a Sunday evening, a sunset party usually gets in full swing where you can indulge in a ‘bottomless’ mug of Appleton Rum.
Best Jamaica Beaches In Kingston
16- Fort Clarence Beach
Fort Clarence Beach is a lovely spot not far from the city centre and it’s quieter than other beaches in the area.
The beach has beautiful white sand with rolling dunes and lush coastal grasses.
It’s a popular spot for horseback riding, swimming and even nesting turtles.
Don’t be discouraged by the knowledge that this beach is in a place called Hellshire, for it is a lovely place to enjoy a picnic and a family day of fun.
There is plenty of parking, the beach is patrolled by lifeguards and has several beachside dining options.
17- Hellshire Beach
Hellshire Beach is a stunning beach with black sand in some places and the Blue Mountains hovering in the distance.
The aquamarine water is also crystal clear, and there’s an awesome vibe.
This beach is all about great music and food, both of which are showcased in abundance by beach vendors who sell the likes of pepper shrimp, fresh lobster and peanut cake directly to you while you chill on the sand.
For those in need of one, you can even choose to do a reflexology session or enjoy a massage on the beach from a resident Rastafarian masseuse.
18- Lime Cay
Accessed by a short 15-minute boat ride from Port Royale, Lime Cay is a small island located just off the coast of Kingston.
A very popular beach with locals at the weekend, the beach here is known to disappear below sea level at high tide.
However, as this is one of the best places to snorkel in Jamaica, don’t let that put you off.
The reason to visit this beach is that it is usually pretty secluded most of the time.
If the crowds of Kingston get a bit too frenetic for you, this is the best place to escape.
Best Jamaica Beaches In Negril
19- Bloody Bay
Granted, Bloody Bay isn’t the most charming of names for a beach. But it is nonetheless a very pretty one, not to mention popular because it is near a resort area.
A visit here should coincide with sunset, which is a spectacular sight, and several cruises leave around this time to take you further into the bay to see it.
Bloody Bay is a renowned spot for kayaking, snorkelling and other water-based excursions, whilst its shallow waters are perfect for kids to swim in at any time of the day.
20- Seven Mile Beach
Easily the longest and one of the most picturesque beaches in Jamaica is Seven Mile Beach.
Situated close to some of the most exclusive luxury resorts in the whole of Negril, common folklore has it that pirates once dominated this beach.
Today it features a vast expanse of immaculate sand and stunning electric blue waters that stretch as far as the eye can see.
The perfect beach for walking and watersports is also a renowned foodie destination.
With plenty of excellent oceanfront restaurants serving up delicious jerk chicken and other such delights, you can even choose to eat directly on the beach under an umbrella.
21- Couples Negril
An adults-only retreat, Couples Negril is one of several resorts with their own private nude beaches in Jamaica.
The focus here is on romantic candlelit dining and private experiences in the sun, with a section of the beach open for nude bathing.