For the kids who love soaring above rainforest canopies to the ones who will happily spend the day splashing in the waves, the island nation of Jamaica is not just a playground for adults. The Caribbean country also known as the "Land of wood and water" is a paradise packed with lush green rainforests, turquoise blue coastlines and the world-famous Blue Mountains. So bring the kids and experience Jamaica in a whole new way.   

Here are some of the best things to do with children of all ages in Jamaica.

A woman and a young child are in silhouette as they walk on the beach at sunrise
Build sandcastles for days at any one of Jamaica's beaches © Kylie Sheridan / Lonely Planet

Is Jamaica good for Kids?

Boasting kid-friendly, all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios – Jamaica is an excellent vacation destination with kids. But with a rich, natural landscape that the island offers much of the adventure children can experience outside the four walls of the all-inclusive.

With wildlife at every turn, Jamaica is also an excellent place for kids to learn about native birds, coral reefs and various fruits and flora on nature walks.

Kid-friendly resorts come complete with snorkeling, mini-water parks, large pools, kids clubs and supervised arts and crafts. Some resorts also have nannies available upon request, while others include nanny services in the room rate, so be sure to call ahead to find out.

The best time to go to Jamaica 

A good rule of thumb to ensure you have a great experience in Jamaica is to call ahead to verify the amenities you desire are indeed available. Don't take the website at face value (unless it's been recommended to you), especially if it doesn't appear updated.

Getting around is easy via private transfers and pre-arranged taxis. If you are traveling with a car seat and/or stroller, be sure to double-check that the vehicle picking you up from the airport or taking you on excursions is suitable.

Best things to do in Jamaica with kids

Turtle River Falls & Gardens

This oasis in Ocho Rios is the perfect place for freshwater fun and relaxation. Turtle River Falls and Garden has a total of 14 waterfalls for you and the young ones to climb and splash around. What makes the 15-acre tropical garden special is its relative obscurity, making for an intimate rather than touristy experience. The walk-in aviary on the property offers children the opportunity to feed gorgeous cobalt blue peacocks while admiring other species of birds. 

Budding biologists will get a kick out of searching for turtles and other wildlife on the grounds. Pack a picnic for the family as there is no restaurant on site.

Wide shot of Seven Mile Beach with white sands and calm seas in Negril
Seven Mile Beach is the country's most popular spot © isthatitsme / Budget Travel

Beaches

Negril's well-known Seven Mile Beach offers up the most tranquil waters, perfect for kids to snorkel, swim and line the shores with sandcastles. Many of Jamaica’s beaches in tourist beach towns like Ocho Rios and Negril offer activities along the beach like paddleboarding, jet-skiing and glass-bottom boat tours. Beaches are also a great place for kids to get a crash course in Jamaican cuisine, as open-air cooking on a grill is the way it’s done by the seaside.

Check out Pirates Island Waterpark in Negril and Ocho Rios; the waterparks are complete with fantastic water slides for older kids and whirlpools and lazy rivers for the younger ones.

Have a picnic off the coast of Negril, at Booby Cay Island, where snorkeling and beach picnics are always a good idea.

Top 15 beaches in Jamaica 

Green Grotto Caves

Designated as a national landmark in Jamaica, Green Grotto Caves in Ocho Rios is a labyrinth of underground caverns filled with mystical history and an abundance of beauty. Said to be the home of the first inhabitants of Jamaica, the Tainos used these caves for rituals. 

The caves have also been frequently used as hideouts – by the Spanish during the English takeover of Jamaica in 1655, by runaway enslaved people in the 18th century, and between the two world wars by smugglers running arms to Cuba.

If you have mini explorers in tow, they will love the helmet and torch gear needed to trek down 45 ft to the emerald-colored Grotto Lake. Entrance fees include tour guides who will point out the indigenous fruit bats that call the caves home as well as detail the rich history of the caves and the island as you journey through. Children as young as four can take part in a tour.

Clouds create shadows on Jamaica's blue mountains
Bring the kids for a hike (or bike ride) down the Blue Mountains © David Neil Madden / Getty Images

Hiking and biking

Famous for its world-renowned coffee and beauty, Jamaica’s Blue Mountain National Park is sure to elicit curiosity and glee. From hiking steep terrain to biking down rolling hills, exploring the sprawling Blue Mountains is a great way to spend the day with kids of all ages.

There are two hiking trails–the Blue Mountain Peak Trail, which takes about four hours to the mountain's highest point at 7,401 ft, and the Holywell Nature Walk, which has five walking trails for all abilities.

Hikes begin at the mountain base outside of Kingston and can be arranged through your hotel. If you and the kiddies enjoy camping, it's possible to do that here with the help of a guide. Sunrise tours are also available that begin at 2am with plenty of breaks along the way for rest and pictures.

If hiking is not your kids' jam, cycling through the mountains is a wonderful way to be in nature, taking in various flowers and hummingbirds that call these mountains home. The ride is mostly downhill, leading to a waterfall perfect for a swim.

13 best places to visit in Jamaica 

Jamaican children play in Devon house park in Kingston
From ice cream to beef patties to mansion tours, there's no shortage of activity at Devon House © Mladen Antonov / AFP via Getty Images

Devon House

Ice cream at Devon House is more than a quick stop for ice cream; it’s a full experience. A national heritage site, Devon House is one of Jamaica's most praised landmarks because of its rich history and cultural diversity. Built in 1881, it was the home of the first Black Jamaican millionaire – George Stiebel, who earned his riches from gold mining in South America. 

Today, visitors may tour the mansion and pop in other shops, including Devon House Bakery, home to the delicious Jamaican beef patty and other savory or sweet treats. 

Devon House I Scream is the spot for a cool treat with over 25 creamy flavors like vanilla and cookies and cream to more fruity flavors like mango and guava. Take advantage of samples to experiment with new flavors and combinations. Kids can explore the bounty of space among the lush green gardens of the estate.

Mystic Mountain

Since opening in 2008, Mystic Mountain has been the top spot for families. Located near the cruise pier in Ocho Rios, Mystic Mountain makes for the perfect day trip for cruise tourists.

If ziplining is on the list of your kid's must-do, they can do that here along with bobsledding, made famous by the country’s 1988 Olympic bobsledding team and the film Cool Runnings. Bobsled riders will zip more than a half-mile through the lush rainforest on gravity-powered bobsleds with the ability to stop using brakes to take in the panoramic views of the pristine coastline and hummingbirds indigenous to the island.

For ziplining, children must be five years old and for bobsledding, there is a minimum height requirement of 36 inches (91.5 cm). After kiddies have used all their energy, they can recharge at the on-site restaurant.

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