Beloved by the hippies of the 1960s, Seven Mile Beach is still as beautiful as ever, but it's no longer the idyllic retreat it once was. Resorts now line this beach, attracting an international crowd. Nudity, however, is just as prevalent: This beach promotes a laid-back lifestyle and carefree ambience more than any other in Jamaica or, perhaps, in the Caribbean. Clean aquamarine waters, coral reefs, and a backdrop of palm trees add to the appeal. When you tire of the beach, you'll find all sorts of resorts, clubs, beach bars, open-air restaurants, and the like. Vendors hawk everything from Red Stripe beer to ganja.
Except for the crowds and harassment, this is one of the prettiest beaches in Jamaica -- though the harassment can be a big turnoff. One Frommer's reader found the constant hassle "high-octane -- never ending. I was offered everything almost on an hourly basis from the hustler himself to drugs. A simple 'no' often wouldn't do."
In the spirit of the place, topless bathing is common along the entire stretch of the beach, although a small section near Cosmo's Restaurant officially condones total nudity. Many of the big resorts also have nude beaches. The hottest and most exotic is found at Hedonism II, although Grand Lido next door draws its fair share. When these hotels rent "rooms with a view," theirs is no idle promise: Nude beaches at each of these resorts are in separate and "private" areas of the resort property. Security guards keep Peeping Toms at bay; photography is not permitted. Most of the resorts also have a nude bar, a nude hot tub, and a nude swimming pool.
If you want to escape the hair-braiders, hustlers, aloe masseurs, nude bodies, reggae music, and the rest, escape to Long Bay Beach Park at the far northern end of Negril Beach. Out beyond the hotel belt, this stretch of beach is set against a backdrop of picnic tables and changing rooms. We've found it the least crowded of all Negril's beaches, even during the busy winter months. On our latest visit, we didn't even detect a whiff of ganja here.
If you have kids in tow, take them to Anancy Fun Park on Norman Manley Boulevard, close to the Poinciana Beach Resort. It offers an array of activities ranging from miniature golf to a merry-go-round, train ride, pedal boating, fishing, and other attractions. The park is open daily from sunup to sundown, charging no admission -- you are charged, however, for rides or activities. The park is corny but recommended for children.
A favorite retreat for us -- and we're letting you in on a secret -- is the half-moon-shaped Bloody Bay Beach lying beyond Long Bay Beach Park. Nude bathers do frequent the place, and because of its relative emptiness there is some danger of a possible mugging or theft, even during the day. That's the only downside; otherwise, it's wonderful. Use the center of the beach, near an open-air barbecue where the smell of jerk pork permeates the air.
The Naked Truth -- Nude bathing is allowed at a number of hotels, clubs, and beaches (especially in Negril), but only where there are SWIMSUITS OPTIONAL signs. Elsewhere, the law will not even allow topless sunbathing.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.