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5 Tropical Vacation Spots

Keep family travel costs low by heading to one of these sunny destinations during the off season.

By Laura Manske

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Jamaica

Everyone dances in Jamaica -- young and old, native and visitor. In this lush, diverse land peopled by offspring of Europeans, Africans, Chinese, and East Indians, reggae music unites. A family vacation surrounded by the island's crystal waters will put the mojo back into your moves.


Alfresco family fun: Saddle the kids up for Chukka Caribbean Adventures' Horseback Ride 'n Swim Tour, near Montego Bay (chukkacaribbean.com). A guide leads you through rainforest, countryside and, lastly, onto a beach and into the surf! If wheels are more your speed, pedal straight for Blue Mountain Bicycle Tours (bmtoursja.com; ages 7 and up), whose downhill routes offer views of seascapes and waterfalls. Family members looking for a lazier ride can float the tranquil Martha Brae River on a 30-foot bamboo raft (jamaicarafting.com).


Kid-friendly culture: Introduce your kids to the heart of Jamaica through the Jamaican Tourist Board's Meet-the-People program (meetthepeople.visitjamaica.com). Citizen volunteers invite visitors into their homes for a meal; the program aims to build cultural understanding. Then nose around Montego Bay's Rose Hall Great House, where 19th-century sugar plantation owner Annie Palmer allegedly practiced voodoo (imexpages.com/rosehall). Despite its gore lore, this estate's dungeon and gardens are among the most fascinating historical sites in the Caribbean -- and a sure bet for curious teens. Same with Kingston's Bob Marley Museum, set in the entertainer's original recording studio (www.bobmarley-foundation.com/museum.html).


Unpack your bags: The 224-unit, all-inclusive Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club (from $205 per adult, $105 per kid under 16; beaches.com; 888-BEACHES) offers golf for kids, Pirate's Island Waterpark, and a teen disco. To be closer to Montego Bay, try Iberostar Rose Hall (from $165 per adult, $87 per kid ages 3 to12; iberostarrosehall.com; 888-774-0040), which has balconies or terraces off all of the rooms.


More trip tips: visitjamaica.com

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