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What You Need to Know About Planning a Family Getaway to Jamaica

Convenient all-inclusive resorts and kid-friendly activities make the island a hit with the whole gang.

U.S. News & World Report

What You Need to Know About Planning a Family Getaway to Jamaica

With non-stop flights and plenty of all-inclusive packages, Jamaica offers an affordable family retreat.(Getty Images)

There are plenty of warm-weather destinations that beckon to families with child-friendly and educational activities and easy accessibility, but Jamaica, with its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, thrilling excursions and mouthwatering culinary creations, stands out from the pack. Across the island, you'll find an abundance of family-friendly resorts where travelers can find a suitable match based on price, all-inclusivity and amenities. Plus, with plenty of direct flight options from major hubs across the U.S., Jamaica offers a convenient Caribbean getaway.

"Whether traveling to relax and unwind with family, Jamaica offers live music on the beach, outdoor excursions, a vibrant culinary scene, world-class attractions and more," says Jamaica's director of tourism, Paul Pennicook. "With non-stop flights available from most major cities across the U.S., plus great travel deals and packages from hotels, it is convenient and affordable to plan that last-minute weekend getaway or a long relaxing vacation to destination Jamaica."

With that in mind, here are four tips every parent should know for planning a fun-filled Jamaican family getaway.

Choose a Multi-Resort Area

By selecting a multi-resort area, families can stay at one property and take advantage of privileges at a sister resort. At the IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Suites in Montego Bay, for example, families can not only take advantage of specialty restaurants, many lounges, a beautiful beach, well-maintained grounds and superlative service, but also enjoy access to its sister property IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Beach, which has its own pool and restaurants. Plus, the whole gang can take advantage of complimentary on-site activities, such as non-motorized water sports and tennis, as well as a lazy river and kids club, along with the ocean-facing infinity-edge pool at IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Suites. However, it's important to keep in mind that guests staying at the IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Beach property do not have access to the facilities of the IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Suites, so if you want additional amenities, consider springing for a stay at IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Suites.

"Parents can leave their wallet and stress at home, and the entire family can take advantage of a wide range of activities at the beachfront property," says Claudia Simon, director of marketing at IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts. After guests soak up the Jamaican sun, evening plans can begin, with nightly entertainment including live shows, or guests can "dance the night away in the disco," Simon says.

Avoid Peak Travel Times to Secure the Best Bargains

Like most Caribbean destinations, during holidays, peak weeks and school breaks, Jamaica's lodging rates tend to rise. Still, affordable pricing can be found by relying on deal-focused sites, following the hotel chain you prefer on social media platforms and checking pricing often. For example, Half Moon, A RockResort, a 400-acre luxury resort, is offering a special deal. For travel through December 16, 2016, Half Moon is offering an "Endless Summer" promotion, where guests receive 25 percent off all room, suite and villa categories along with a $150 resort credit per room. Villa guests may earn up to $1,050 resort credit, but keep in mind, blackout dates can apply.

Consider Other Options for Multi-Generational and Larger Family Groups

Beaches Ocho Rios and Beaches Negril are all-inclusive resorts catering to families. There are several unique room and suite categories to accommodate families with available occupancies of up to 12 people. The Beaches Ocho Rios Pirate's Island Waterpark was recently expanded to include a kid's area with six slides and a tube slide, body slide and speed slide. "The key to planning a perfect family vacation in Jamaica is to make sure you're planning the perfect family vacation for your family. Beaches Resorts – and there are two in Jamaica, do that so well from our Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street aimed at the pre-school set to Island Impact, our voluntourism program for teens," says Beaches Resorts spokesperson, Debbie-Ann White. "Best of all, everything's included so families can focus on each other and not what they're spending," White adds.

Plan Daytime Activities for Everyone in Your Group

During the day, adults can tour the rugged and beautiful Blue Mountains while the kids embark on a downhill bicycling tour or hike. Tour operators, such as Chukka Caribbean and Island Routes, also offer water sports, ATV tours, water tubing, horseback riding and more. With over 100 acres to explore, Mystic Mountain is the ultimate rainforest experience. Visitors can explore its unforgettable ecosystem or indulge their adventurous side by gliding through treetops during a canopy ride or partake in a bob-sled mountain ride. One must-see is Dunn's River Falls, one of Jamaica's national treasures. Visitors of all ages can capture great photos and climb the illustrious fall. Do keep in mind, however, that cruise passengers often book excursions here, and it can get crowded during the peak season.

For a unique encounter, consider checking out Dolphin Cove – just across the road from Dunn's River. Dolphin Cove is a 3-acre marine park where nature lovers can interact with dolphins, sharks and stingrays.

And, who doesn't love venturing to a water park to escape the hot sun? Kool Runnings Adventure Park offers 10 water slides, some towering as high as 40 feet in the air. Jamaica also offers unique heritage tours and museums, from the Bob Marley Museum to the Green Grotto Caves, the National Gallery of Jamaica and walking tours in the historical town of Falmouth.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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