Header image: Swim-up rooms at all-inclusive resort Sandals Negril, on Seven Mile Beach.
A visit to Jamaica is incomplete without spending some time in Negril, a town that’s loved by most for its amazing beaches and family-friendly atmosphere. It’s located on the far western side of Jamaica and is one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Jamaica (together with Montego Bay and Ocho Rios). While in Negril, must visit stops include Seven Mile Beach, Mayfield Falls, and the Blue Hole Mineral Spring.
Not sure what to do during your vacation in Negril, Jamaica? Here are our top picks of the most exciting things to do in and near Negril. Enjoy!
The Roots Café buzzes with activity on Wednesday nights when their live bands play some classical reggae tunes that you are sure to enjoy. You’ll find lots to eat and drink here, and returning guests get to take a little trip down memory lane, as they may see old pictures of their friends and families at the bar.
Caribbean off-road safari anyone? If you’re on a vacation in the islands, you might as well take it all in, and there’s no better way to do this than on an off-road safari. Discover Jamaica in its purest form and learn about the history and culture of this island. Along the way you’ll get to see local landmarks, many on the wild side, where you’ll spend some time at local waterfalls, and bathing in refreshing natural pools. This experience takes you off the beaten track in the best way possible.
Jamaica is well known for its talented athletes, many of whom have been setting records worldwide. Unsurprisingly, the island hosts its own marathon – specifically a Reggae Marathon, annually during the first weekend of December. The Marathon, Half-Marathon and 10k take off at the Long Beach Park and continue along Jamaica’s famous Seven Mile Beach with upbeat Reggae music to keep runners energized.
Margaritaville is an exciting spot in Negril, where you can kick back, relax and enjoy the ambiance. The kids will absolutely love it there! Expect island food, refreshing margaritas and some reggae music. Why not spend half a day in Margaritaville? There are cozy private cabanas on the beachside, a lively Tiki Beach Bar and water trampolines for you and your family island crew.
Sweet Spice is an authentic Jamaican restaurant that has been praised for homely ambiance and scrumptious local food. The wooden candy-striped structure can be found on White Hall Road, along the western coast of Negril. Inside, there are a variety of dishes you can choose from, such as ackee and saltfish, oxtail, curried meat as well as fruit and vegetable juices. Your taste buds will thank you.
Jungle Night Club is a great escape for adults looking for some fun. Every Thursday and Saturday, the party begins at 10 pm at the Jungle Night Club in Negril. This popular night club is perfect for a night of partying; doors close at 4 am and you get to take full advantage of the seven bars and hip hop, reggae and dancehall music before then. There are two floors that can accommodate many as well as a VIP lounge, seating area and a patio and sports bar.
The former 1770s sugar plantation can be found within the hilly terrain of Petersfield at Shrewsbury Estate in eastern Negril. As the name suggests, it is named after the river which flows through it. The caves, which are about 70 feet underground, offer a cool, refreshing mineral bath that you can enjoy whilst taking in the beautiful landscape. There is also a large sinkhole suggested to be “bottomless” by locals. Both locals who visit and tourists who visit often find themselves in awe of this deep blue mystery.
If you manage to lure yourself and the kids away from your resort while in Jamaica, then Zest is definitely worth a visit. Zest is a gourmet restaurant overlooking the spectacular cliffs of Negril. Chef Cindy Hutson and Delius Shirley offer an assortment of dishes- both Caribbean and international- that are prepared with delicious seasonings and spices that are sure to excite your palate. Zest restaurant also has locations in Grand Canyon in the Bahamas and Miami, so if you happen to be in those areas, you can check them out there as well.
This impressive structure was built in 1894 and stands at 66 feet above ground and its light illuminates 100 feet above sea level. It currently stands as the tallest structure in the parish of Westmoreland and offers a bird’s eye view of the lush greenery nearby and the glimmering Caribbean Sea. Visitors can stop by the Lighthouse Park or grab a bite at the Inn nearby that offers local dishes you can enjoy before or after your tour of the lighthouse.
This amusement park, which is the largest waterpark on island, offers a range of activities that are both safe and family friendly. For instance, the waterslides are one of the biggest attractions, but paintball lovers can also enjoy a good game. There is also tubing, go kart racing and even kayaking. Kool Runnings Adventure Park is part of the World Water Park Association and they have ensured that the lifeguards on duty are internationally certified.
Tip: Want to take the kids to the waterpark every day? Children of all ages love the Pirates Island waterpark that comes with Beaches Negril. The best part? It’s all included in your stay.
3 Dives Restaurant and Bar is a popular spot in western Negril that offers some of the best jerk chicken in Jamaica. The delicacy is accompanied by its own special sauce when served to guests looking to enjoy a hot meal and the view of the sunset. There are two bars at the restaurant, so guests often come by to chill and have a few drinks. In addition to the jerk chicken, grilled lobster with butter and callaloo is also offered. Vegetarians shouldn’t feel left out either, as they can also enjoy some callaloo with rice and peas.
Seafood lovers can head down to Bongos restaurant at the Sandy Haven Resort in the Negril Beach Hotel Zone. Visitors can enjoy a romantic dinner or casual meal outside on the terrace, where delicious shrimp and lobster is available when in season. Treats such as mango cheesecake and conch fritters are served but guests also love to indulge in other appetizers and the various local and international dishes that are offered.
Want to have unlimited seafood included in your stay, each and every day? Book a room at Beaches Negril and enjoy ‘Stew Fish’ on the beach or their popular sushi bar ‘Soy’. Also check out the other 7 restaurants available at the resort.
Rick’s Café is a bar and restaurant that is situated on a cliff 35 feet high in the western part of Jamaica. The adventurous can jump off this cliff and into the cool, deep blue waters below then enjoy the beautiful landscape or explore the cove nearby. If you’re not into the cliff jumping aspect, that’s definitely OK. You can sit back in the lounge area; grab a bite to eat or even chill in a cabana as you take in the breathtaking sunset during your Rick's Cafe experience.
This private island located just off the coast, is situated between Seven Mile Beach and Bloody Bay. Visitors can enjoy a fun day trip and explore the waters of Booby Cay, by engaging in a cool swim in the waters or coming face to face with marine life by scuba diving and snorkeling. Sunbathing is always an option and the privacy of Booby Island makes it suitable for just that. Be sure to bring along your camera and binoculars to watch the birds and capture some images of the island. Don’t forget to try out some lobster or fish too that can be prepared on the beach just for you.
Unless you’ve tried zip-lining before, you probably haven’t been as close to the treetops as you will be during this experience. Soar through the jungle for this exhilarating adventure that’s worth trying at least once. Island Routes offers a zip-line canopy tour from Negril where you’ll go from platform to platform experiencing various aspects of the jungle via zip-line. You’ll start off with a safety briefing and soon be well on your way to the action. The Canopy Tour is about two hours long, and arrangements will be made for resort pick up and drop off.
This pirate themed shack is located just off the coast of Half Moon Bay. A short boat trip of about USD 5 dollars can take you to this unique location, where the adults can indulge in some island rum punch and dance along with the kids to the local beats. The kids will find the pirate theme of the bar exciting, and even the servers make for an exciting adventure.
Long Bay Beach Park lies to the north of the famous Seven Mile Beach in Jamaica. The park, which is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., requires a small entrance fee for visitors, between USD1-3. Long Bay Beach Park is ideal for some quiet time and even a family picnic because this private beach isn’t as crowded as others on the island. There are picnic tables, changing rooms for your convenience and watersport activities to keep everyone happy and occupied.
Visitors can join captain and crew as they head out off the coast of the island to some of the best spots for some deep-sea fishing. In the Jamaican waters you can catch dolphin fish, tuna, marlin, mahi mahi and plenty of other tropical fish that are sure to make a delectable meal. The warm sun makes for an exciting day and Island Routes tours offers a great half day deal where you can indulge in this deep-sea sport fishing adventure.
YS Falls is a top attraction in Negril, and people love it because there’s more than one waterfall in this space. There are seven waterfalls at YS Falls, natural pools, and lush gardens waiting to be explored. Swing from the rope swing into the water for some added excitement, or even go zip-lining over the Falls. This unspoiled area on the south coast of Jamaica is yours to roam and enjoy!
Insider tip: Bring along your water shoes (if you have them) for your YS Falls tour. YS Falls is located a mile and a half from Negril.
Get the whole family involved in the Reggae vibes by embarking on a family catamaran cruise that promises a day of fun. Snorkeling, music, and tasty treats are all part of this experience that showcases the best of Jamaica, and to top it all off you’ll get to spend some time at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville which offers water trampolines, a chance to dip in the ocean, and much more! Sign up early with Island Routes as this tour fills up fast!
There are few things as enjoyable as river tubing in Jamaica, and this is one experience that you want to get under your belt while on the island. Meander down the Great River in a tour that alternatives in speed as you glide over the rapids, taking in the awesome views along the way learning about Jamaica’s history. This tour is as fun as it is relaxing.
Many Caribbean islands offer a chance to visit historic plantations that were upon a time a significant part of everyday life. The Rhodes Hall Plantation is one such venue in Jamaica, and the 18th-century estate and working fruit plantation is located on the coast near Negril. Horseback riding tours of the estate are available, as are hikes, beach excursions, and tours near the crocodile infested mangroves!
There’s always a live band playing somewhere on the island, and if you’re into Reggae music, it can be fun seeking out the best spots to take in some live music. In Negril, you can head down to Alfred’s Ocean’s Place on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday evenings for live performances. Roots Bamboo on Wednesday nights and Bourbon Beach on Monday evenings are great options as well. Most all-inclusive resorts will have live Reggae Nights at the resorts as well.
Hummingbirds are truly fascinating creatures, and any tour that involves them is bound to be just as intriguing. A visit to Barney’s Flower & Hummingbird Garden in Hylton Avenue will not disappoint nature enthusiasts, as you’ll get a chance to get up close to these fast moving and beautiful birds, in their natural habitat. Have the kids hold a bottle of sugar water outstretched to feed the birds, and that way they come even closer and you’ll have a chance to get great photos. Some visitors to these gardens are lucky enough to spot the Jamaican national bird, the Doctor Bird, which is also known as the Swallow-tailed Hummingbird.
Floyd’s Pelican Bar is named after the owner and local fisherman, Floyd Forbes, who, in the early 2000s, expanded his man cave into a tourist attraction. The driftwood structure can be found about a mile from the south coast of Jamaica in Parottee’s Bay. A twenty-minute trip by boat can get you to the bar, where you can enjoy a cold drink and a lobster or fish meal. Guests can also take a quick swim in the waters around the bar or simply go sunbathing on the beach. Island Routes offers a catamaran tour departing from Beaches Negril and Sandals Negril which stops off at Pelican Bar!
If you’re planning on going to Jamaica just for the food, then this is a tour you don’t want to miss out on. Learn some of the tips and tricks to authentic and delicious Jamaican cooking in the hills of Little London, and even how to perfect some international favorites. Vegan or vegetarian? Have no fear, you’ll just need to specify your dietary preferences in advance and options will be made available.
The Caribbean is a great place to try scuba diving for the first time if you haven’t already, and Beaches Resorts even makes it easy for you (and the family!) to get PADI® certified during your vacation if you so choose. After paying the regular fees for certification, you’ll be free to go on dives with the resort (max. two free dives a day). One thing is for sure, you’ll enjoy exploring the marine life beneath the waves in Jamaica with your knowledgeable guides. The minimum age to get PADI® certified is 10. What a great adventure for the whole family!
Almost as beautiful, but a little more on the quiet side compared to the famous Seven Mile Beach, Half Moon Beach in Green Island, Hanover will grant you the peace you seek. Relaxing in hammocks, eating fresh off the grill lobster and snorkeling off a tiny island out in the ocean are all possible within the Half Moon zone, as is just relaxing and enjoying the beach. Half Moon Beach is about a 12-minute drive from Negril.
Don’t knock it until you try it is worthwhile advice for anyone who may be a little skeptical about the name of this beach. The name dates back to a somewhat violent whaling past, but this beach is now far from its past, and today it’s just a beautiful place to enjoy the ocean with lots of shade, and calm, warm sea. This beach isn’t usually very crowded, so you’ll have more space to yourself. You can check out the nearby shops for snacks or drinks during the day.
The Blue Hole Mineral Spring in Brighton District, Westmoreland Parish is a largely therapeutic spot, as you’ll be able to kick back and relax in the cool waters, in a peaceful environment. It can be found about 25 minutes southeast of Negril. Around the spring you’ll find white, clay-type mud, which is said to be good for your skin. Rub it right on for a massage of your own creation, soak it off, and later, cliff jump into the cold waters if you dare. The latter isn’t a must however, as there’s a ladder, and a spring-fed swimming pool for elderly or disabled guests.
Negril has some amazing snorkeling sites that you simply must dive into before you leave. The shallow Negril Reef has tiny jellyfish, conch shells and a variety of urchins and even some sea fans. At Half Moon Beach and Pristine Cove, you can marvel at the beautiful coral reefs, while Booby Cay Island features vibrant marine life and great visibility. Joseph’s Cave with its majestic limestone cliffs is also a great snorkeling location.
A trip to Mayfield Falls is a must while in Jamaica. While it isn’t located exactly in Negril, it’s close enough to make this list. This tour includes a river walk, cave explorations and a trip to the community of Mayfield. Along the way you’ll learn about the various plants and their medicinal value and get a chance to dip into any of the 44 mineral pools and 21 natural jacuzzis. The biggest is called the ‘Washing Machine’, and it won’t take you love to figure out why during the Island Routes Mayfield Falls River Walk!
ATV tours are a whole bag of fun, and it is highly advisable that you sign up for one with a reputable tour company like Island Routes during your Jamaica vacation. Prepare for a bumpy and fun ride in the Jamaican countryside, as you follow the trail on a historic estate. You’ll feel like you’re in no man’s land in some places, but every bit of the tour highlights the precise beauty of this island, and you’ll get to have refreshments and maybe even pick some fruits along the way as part of the trip.
Picutre: Beaches Negril all-inclusive family resort and waterpark, located at Seven Mile Beach.
Sometimes all you really need to do as part of a much-needed island getaway is spend some time at a Jamaican all-inclusive resort that has it all, like Beaches Negril (family friendly with waterpark) or Sandals Negril (adults-only). Lots of visitors to Jamaica swear by all-inclusive beach resorts, because every detail of their trip is handled in advance, leaving more time to enjoy the sunshine, sip on unlimited cocktails and enjoy the amazing restaurants of the resort - without having to carry around your wallet. In Negril this is especially true, as most things are happening within grounds of the resorts.
You love the beach and you love horses, and thus, a horseback riding endeavor on the beach is the perfect way to bring these things together. The horses love being out on the beach as well, and you’ll be able to see that for yourself as you go on a leisurely horse ride to the beach, even going into the water right on top of your horse. The horses are well trained and used to the tour, and with experienced guides, you and your family will be in good hands. Island Routes offers the perfect Horseback Ride n Swim in Negril.
The only thing more epic than a bar crawl, is the One Love Bus Bar Crawl, where you can check out lots of local bars along One Love Drive in Negril. “Bottoms up” are two words you’ll hear throughout the day on this party bus, as you try different drinks at the various bars, nibbling on bar snacks and other spicy treats to keep a hangover at bay! You must be of legal drinking age (18 in Jamaica) to join this tour.
A glass bottom boat tour is one step up from a regular boat tour as you’ll be able to catch amazing views of the undersea from right inside the boat. This is a great way to view marine life undisturbed as your boat glides across the ocean, and you enjoy the sights and sounds both above and below the waters of Negril. As this is a popular activity, you can usually find tours available on major beaches!
This is where it’s happening in Negril. Seven Mile Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and arguably the best beach in Jamaica. The portion of this area under the Seven Mile Beach name is only four miles long, but that is still extensive considering it is prime beachfront real estate complete with silky white sand, and crystal blue sea. There are a few all-inclusive resorts along this stretch, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the beach to their heart’s content.
Expert tip: Want to enjoy free unlimited cocktails on Seven Mile Beach? Stay at Beaches Negril or Sandals Negril. Both resorts are located directly on Seven Mile Beach. Even water sports are free for guests to enjoy! Go kayaking for as long as you want or enjoy the waters on a stand-up paddle board. At Sandals Negril even waterskiing is included, with free professional instructions for first timers. On the other hand, Beaches Negril comes with a fun waterpark.
As you can probably tell, you were right on track with choosing Jamaica for your family vacation. There’s just so much to do in Negril, and so much for your kids (if you bring them!) to explore that you probably won’t be hearing the end of Jamaica vacation stories for years to come!