Outdoor activities for families
By Mimi Slawoff
Jamaica (Courtesy Jamaica Tourist Board)
Whether you’re visiting Jamaica while on a cruise or staying at an all-inclusive family resort, you’ll find many kid-friendly activities that spotlight the cultural and natural features of this tropical destination. Explore Jamaica’s rainforests, rivers, beaches and backcountry on thrilling adventure tours with friendly local guides who also share local history.
These five land and water activities are among the top family-friendly adventures in Jamaica.
Tip: Be prepared for adventures by bringing closed toe shoes, swimsuits, sunscreen and bug repellent.
Good Hope Estate Park
Good Hope Estate Park (Courtesy Good Hope)
Explore this former sugar estate that was established in 1774 and is located about 20 minutes from Falmouth. Visitors can tour the 10-room house, which has original wood floors and period furniture, and has served as a hotel, a dude ranch, and a yoga retreat. The Chukka all-inclusive adventure pass includes a buffet lunch featuring Jamaica’s yummy jerk chicken, zip lining, river tubing, rum tasting and island buggy or ATV riding. Minimum age varies depending on activity.
Rafting on the Martha Brae River
On a warm, tropical day, nothing feels better than a gentle float down this scenic river. Do expect to get wet! While on rafts that are tethered together, your friendly guides entertain your family with songs, jokes and big splashes of water. The guides are great at interacting with kids. Kayaks are also available. Minimum age for rafting: 6.
Soar through the Jamaican jungle from platform to platform, often more than 1,100 feet above sea level. You’ll also trek on foot to learn about the diverse plants that thrive in this rainforest. Minimum age: 6.
Dunn’s River (Courtesy Jamaica Tourist Board)
One of the best ways to cool off under the hot Jamaican sun is on a family-friendly snorkel cruise where you’ll see corals, tropical marine life and schools of colorful fish. Tours vary. For example, the Dreamer Catamaran Sail & Snorkel Tour brings you to the Bogue Lagoons Fish Sanctuary. On the Dunn’s River Falls & Snorkeling Adventure Tour in Ocho Rios, families get to scope out colorful fish before hiking to a gentle waterfall. Remember to bring your water camera!
Dune Buggy Rides
Wear closed toe shoes and clothes that can get dirty on these exciting (approximately) 90-minute off-road adventures through Jamaica’s countryside or rainforest, depending on the tour. On narrated, guided tours you’ll ride in two- or four-seater dune buggies on rugged terrain with lush plants and scenic views. Planning to drive your own buggy? Bring your driver’s license.
Mimi Slawoff of Planetfamilytravel contributed this to MiniTime. She is a Los Angeles-based journalist and a seasoned family travel expert who explores the world with her three children and writes about their journeys.