While Jamaica is famous for its rum, Bob Marley and the emergence of reggae music, and jerk chicken, this Caribbean Island is arguably just as well known for its stunning beaches.
Its location near the equator gives it that much sought after eternal summer vibe, and when you mix permanent hot sunny weather with a tropical island, you can guarantee the beaches will be stellar.
With a total population of only 2.8 million, there’s plenty of beach space to go around.
Check out this list of the best beaches in Jamaica:
1. Cornwall Beach
For guests staying at the Royal Decameron, Cornwall Beach is a little slice of quiet paradise, perfect for a day of relaxation.
Located near Montego Bay, this area is not far from the Hip Strip, for everything from restaurants and shopping, to basic city exploration.
If you do choose to stay on the beach, you’ll never be too far from the bars – for a fruity cocktail – or beach shacks selling delicious local food.
The water is crystal clear and the sand is soft and white, meaning you might not want to venture far from your beach lounger for the entire day.
2. Mammee Bay
Mammee Bay is the place to be if you’re looking for a little bit of luxury.
Half-private and half public, this beach is only a 15 minutes drive from Ocho Rios.
The views of the coastline from this beach are unparalleled, meaning sunset is a stunning time of day.
The nearby Bamboo Blu serves up fresh and scrumptious local food.
After dinner, bonfires light up the beach, where dancing and music are always on offer.
It’s hard to say no to grilled lobster, fresh fruit cocktails, and lazing the day away on a sun lounger.
If you’re feeling adventurous, this part of the island is particularly popular with windsurfers and many other water sports.
3. Boston Bay Beach
Located on the northern side of the island, to the east, lies Boston Bay, a beautiful little gem tucked away in the corner of the country.
Named for its fruitful banana trading between Boston, MA and the bay that would eventually be named for the well-known New England city, Boston Bay became established and experienced an economic surge that would develop into a thriving community.
Today, the Boston Bay Beach is one of the few beach areas in Jamaica that attracts surfers, with an ideal setting for waves and boards.
It’s also an area well-known for jerk chicken and pork – food stands line the beach selling these local delicacies.
Many consider this area to be the origin of the jerk flavoring for which Jamaica is famous.
This a great spot to catch some waves and then indulge with a little something local to eat or drink.
4. Frenchman’s Cove
Frenchman’s Cove is unique in that it is where the river empties into the ocean, making for calm and relaxing swimming – whether in the secluded little bay area or further out towards the ocean.
The small bay is heavily populated with small colorful fish, making for an entrancing swim.
There is an entrance fee, but this is a family-friendly beach; it’s a great stopover for the day if you are traveling with children.
There is a resort nearby – Frenchman’s Cove Resort – if you are undecided on where to stay for the night.
Dining is available in the immediate area and delicious beach-style food such as jerk chicken, burgers, and fresh steamed fish are all on the menu.
There are also clean facilities nearby.
5. Winnifred Beach
This is a great, family-friendly public beach with lots to do and see.
Past the white sand there are sea urchins, but if you tread carefully and are able to get past this spiky line of defense, you’ll soon find yourself in a tropical coral reef paradise full of colorful fish and bright aquatic plants – making this a great spot for an afternoon of snorkeling.
Beach shacks line the sand, offering fresh food (like red snapper) and drinks.
So if you’re keen on staying into the evening, know that you’ll be well taken care of when it comes to your appetite.
Vendors often pass through selling their wares and artisan crafts, if you’re in the market for souvenirs.
6. Seven Mile Beach
This heavenly stretch of soft, white sand is an untouched paradise once roamed by pirates, according to legend, but today it is a favorite for travelers and locals alike.
Located in Montego Bay, this beautiful stretch of tropical beach is located a stone’s throw from hotels and restaurants to suit a variety of budgets, styles, and preferences.
Ideally located for stunning sunsets and tranquil waters, thanks to one of the Caribbean’s many reefs, whether you’re stopping by for the day or taking a little jaunt down from your hotel, it’s an idyllic place to spend your time.
7. Doctor’s Cave Beach
Doctor’s Cave Beach has long been considered one of the nicest beaches in the country, famed for its calm and sheltered waters, pristine white sand, and turquoise-blue water.
The sand is edged by tropical trees and offers a bar, restaurant, changing rooms and shower facilities, along with club rooms reserved for beach club members.
Whether you’re looking to lounge or to be a little more adventurous, equipment to satisfy your needs can be rented, including chairs, umbrellas, and snorkeling necessities.
Being that the beach is part of Montego Bay Marine Park, it’s coral reefs are protected, so snorkeling at this location is sure not to disappoint.
8. Lime Cay
Lime Cay is a small island only a 15-minute boat ride from Port Royal, just off the coast of Kingston.
Owing to its occasional disappearance below sea level at high tide, it is not a habitable island but is a favorite spot for locals on the weekends.
For anyone able to access the island, its beaches are free of charge.
For a small fee, you may be able to convince a local fisherman to boat you over for the day.
Lime Cay is famed for its incredible snorkeling since this area is largely untouched – so be sure to bring your snorkeling gear.
If you happen to get out here during the week, no need to bring clothes; they are optional Monday through Friday due to the low likelihood of running into other people.
9. Bamboo Beach
Though Bamboo Beach was recently renamed from its original name of Reggae Beach, it retains all the elements that make it one of the island’s best-kept secrets.
It is known as a quieter option for an off-the-beaten-path experience and maintains the soul and spirit of Jamaica without being overcrowded with tourists.
Local bars, restaurants, and beach shacks are all nearby, with many of them serving fresh local fish and lobster as the primary foodie attraction.
Music and dancing are also prominently featured; daytime dancers and musicians add to the sunshine during the day whilst reggae music performed by live bands or DJs keeps the evening vibes mellow (complete with bonfire).
10. Bloody Bay
Located in the beach resort town of Negril, Bloody Bay is one of a few beaches that make up this stretch of shoreline.
Combined with Long Bay, these two bay areas together comprise Seven Mile Beach.
The Bloody Bay area houses the larger, all-inclusive resorts, while Long Bay to the south is home to smaller and more personal family-run hotels – offering a variety of accommodation styles to fit different budgets.
Water activities such as diving and snorkeling are very popular in this area, with many of the resorts offering direct beach access for these pastimes in particular.
West End Road towards the south of the beach offers vendors and some low-key restaurants.
However, this area is less developed than other popular areas on the island, adding to its casual island charm.
11. Ocho Rios
Ocho Rios is a town on the Northern coast of the island, famed for its use as a location in the first ever James Bond film (it even has a specific beach named after the notorious character). It is also well-known as being Christopher Columbus’ first venture on land during his fourth voyage.
Columbus Park commemorates this event, and museums nearby display artifacts from Spanish colonial maritime history.
Beaches line the area, including James Bond Beach, the aforementioned Bamboo Beach, and other quiet, lesser-known beaches such as Turtle Beach and Pleasure Cove.
Since this neighborhood is up and coming, with developments for larger and more private resorts underway, the area is fairly populated and restaurants and beach shacks can be found nearby.
12. Low Cay Beach
Home to the GoldenEye resort – named for James Bond writer Ian Fleming who would come here to relax between scripts – Low Cay Beach is beautifully located for a private Jamaican beach experience.
Guests at the GoldenEye resort (now owned by a Jamaican music industry executive) have their choice of any of the 26 beach huts, many boasting views of the ocean and the beach itself.
Low Cay is a sheltered area, only guests being privy to its shores.
The resort also offers a guests-only four-acre lagoon, where swimming and paddle boarding are popular daytime activities.
13. Burwood Beach
Located on the northwest coast of Jamaica, Burwood Beach is a place that has it all.
Though not secluded, the beach is still worth visiting.
It is located near the city of Falmouth, within walking distance, meaning that a walk into town opens up more possibilities for passing the time.
Fortunately, this means that food is never far away, with both beach shacks and restaurants (some serving Continental cuisine) available to satisfy your hunger.
Within close distance, there are activities like markets, museums, historical landmarks, and even a sports stadium, in case you feel like packing up and wandering into town to find something interesting to do.