10 best winter sun holiday destinations for 2021
Looking for a winter sun holiday with kids? We did the research for you and, from basking on beaches in the Seychelles to family safaris in South Africa, we’ve found all the best winter sun holiday destinations for families all over the world in 2021. Now you just have to decide where you want to go.
Why go? Morocco is great for winter sun holidays. Average temperatures of 20°C are ideal for surfing and sunning on the Atlantic coast’s long, sandy beaches. And inland, comfortably warm weather makes exploring Marrakesh much more fun with kids. Short flights from the UK are another reason to consider Morocco this winter.
Where to visit?
- Taghazout for big Atlantic beaches and good surf schools.
- Essaouira for the world famous citadel and historic souks.
- Agadir for golden sands and luxury family resort hotels.
- Marrakesh for the ancient medina, Atlas Mountains and Koutoubia Mosque.
- Dakhla for vast dunes where the Sahara meets the Atlantic.
Top tip: kids will love the astonishing Jemaa el Fna night market in Marrakesh.
Flying time: Direct flights from UK to Morocco take from 3 hours, 40 minutes.
Why go? Visit the Seychelles for winter sun and average temperatures of 28°C, quite a few of the world’s most photographed beaches, giant Aldabra Turtles and heavenly Vallée de Mai – said to be the original Garden of Eden. Kids will love island hopping, jungle ziplining, cycling instead of driving and some of the most spellbinding pirate history in the Indian Ocean. The Seychelles is also famous for magnificent walking trails and it’s an iconic winter holiday destination for diving and snorkelling.
Where to go?
- Mahé for jungle adventures in Morne Seychelles National Park.
- Praslin for World Heritage Vallée de Mai.
- La Digue for Anse Source d’Argent Beach.
- Silhouette for its extraordinary cloud forest and giant turtles.
- Cousin Island Reserve for over 300,000 nesting birds and earth’s largest lizard population.
Top tip: don’t miss a ride in a colourful ox-drawn wagon on La Digue.
Flying time: Direct flights from UK to the Seychelles take from 10 hours, 15 minutes
Why go? Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean which makes it both fascinating and very reliable for winter sun. Temperatures hover around 27°C, even in January and February, and there’s plenty of clear, blue skies. As you might expect, Havana is a dazzling, majestic and musical city but don’t miss out on Cuba’s beautiful beaches, lagoons and even swimmable caves – the country’s coastline runs to over 5000km.
Where to go?
- Havana for vintage cars, colonial architecture and music everywhere.
- Varadero for big, golden Caribbean beaches and family resorts.
- Trinidad de Cuba for cobbled streets and incredible history.
- World Heritage Viñales Valley for horseback tours through the rainforest.
- Caya Coco for white sand beaches, lagoons and all-inclusive resort hotels.
Top tip: Choose the north west coast of Cuba and mix Havana with a family beach holiday.
Flying time: Direct flights from UK to Cuba take from 10 hours.
4/10 Canary Islands
Why go? Winter in the Canary Islands is similar to summer in the UK. The weather’s mostly warm with average temperatures around 20°C and there’s a chance of breezes – not for nothing are Lanzarote and Tenerife top European surfing destinations. Every island is geared up for family holidays and you’ll find plenty to do and see with kids, even in January and February. And it’s a great time of year to get into more strenuous activities like climbing and walking or even a spot of camel trekking. Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and La Palma are the main holiday islands and each one’s highly recommended for winter sun and beautiful beaches.
Where to go?
- Tenerife for luxury beach resorts, charming little cities and Mount Teide – Spain’s highest mountain.
- Gran Canaria for the Maspalomas Dunes and lively Las Palmas.
- Lanzarote for Timanfaya National Park and phenomenal surf beaches.
- Fuerteventura for more beaches than anywhere else in the Canary Islands.
- La Palma for Dark Skies stargazing and magical Los Tilos forest.
Top tip: Explore inland on Tenerife it’s a completely different, and enchanting, perspective on the island.
Flying time: Direct flights from UK to the Canary Islands take from 4 hours.
Why go? The Maldives is where to choose if you want winter sun with temperatures around 30°C and you like the idea of having your own private holiday island. The world’s most famous archipelago lies in the Indian Ocean so it’s great for water sports, sailing, snorkelling and truly remarkable diving. Luxurious doesn’t even begin to describe the glorious resort islands here and families are indulged with everything from marine conservation adventures to dolphin cruises, enchanting kids’ clubs, fabulous restaurants and almost deserted, sugary white sand beaches.
Where to go?
- North Ari Atoll for authentic island resorts and fast transfers from Malé International Airport.
- South Ari Atoll for some of the world’s best diving.
- Biyadhoo Island for flawless house reefs and manta ray sightings.
- Niyama Island for dedicated kids’ areas, water sports and family activities.
- Baa Atoll for its heavenly UNESCO World Biosphere beauty.
Top tip: Look for all-inclusive family resorts which include water sports.
Flying time: Direct flights from UK to the Maldives take from 10 hours, 25 minutes.
Why go? If it’s frosty in the UK, it’s summer in Mauritius and that means temperatures of 30°C and up to eight hours of sunshine a day. Occasional rainstorms keep this lovely island green and glowing and also add to its spectacular, swimmable waterfalls. If kids are up for jungle adventures, wildlife spotting, pirate legends and endless water sports, Mauritius could have been custom-designed for them. Drama defines the landscape which covers just about everything from towering volcanic mountains to rainforests, and it’s in the Indian Ocean, so on top of winter sun, the beaches are stunning too.
Where to go?
- North west coast for all-villa resorts and the island’s best beaches.
- North east coast for quieter beaches and island hopping.
- Grand Baie for lively holiday town fun.
- Port Louis for traditional island life.
- South west coast for Le Morne Brabant and Black River Gorges National Park.
Top tip: The best beaches in Mauritius are found along the island’s north coast.
Flying time: Direct flights from UK to Mauritius take from 12 hours.
Why go? Plenty of warmth and calm weather are just two reason reasons to have a winter sun holiday in Florida with kids. Temperatures sit at about 25°C most days and you can expect up to eight hours of sunshine. Orlando and its many, many theme parks is big pull for families. But don’t ignore the lovely Gulf Coast for barrier islands, beaches and fun cities. Miami and Palm Beach are glossy and packed with winter activities for kids. And if you’ve a moment left, try the Everglades National Park or a mini family road trip from Key Largo to Key West.
Where to go?
- Orlando for theme parks and family villa holidays.
- Gulf Coast for white sand beaches and islands like Captiva and Sanibel.
- The Everglades National Park for gators and airboat tours.
- Key West for Dry Tortugas National Park.
- Miami for Little Havana and South Beach.
Top tip: Don’t forget to book early, Florida is always popular during UK school holidays.
Flying time: Direct flights from UK to Florida take from 9 hours, 45 minutes.
Why go? Kerala has almost no rain in winter, average daily temperatures of 30°C and the sun shines for about 10 hours a day. Perfect weather in the South Indian region that’s known for its captivating waterways and traditional houseboat holidays as well as lovely Malabar Coast beaches. If you’re feeling adventurous, the Ghat Mountains are in Kerala and it’s also home to Periyar National Park – known for its excellent tiger reserve.
Where to go?
- Kochi for its mix of charming old town and lively harbour city.
- Kerala Kuttanad for family holidays aboard traditional houseboats.
- Malabar Coast for winter sun on beautiful beaches.
- Periyar National Park for tigers.
- Munnar for historic tea plantations.
Top tip: Head to Mararikulam for best beaches in Kerala.
Flying time: Direct flights from UK to Kerala take from 9 hours, 45 minutes.
9/10 South Africa
Why go? South Africa should be top of every winter sun wish list for families. With daily average temperatures of 26°C and up to 11 hours of sunshine a day, the weather’s great for beaches. But winter’s also good for family safaris in Kruger National Park or marine safaris on Durban’s Dolphin Coast. And it’s the perfect season for a road trip along the dramatic Garden Route – or at least far enough along to see the boisterous Boulder Beach penguins.
Where to go?
- Cape Town for Table Mountain National Park and Robben Island.
- Western Cape for the Garden Route, Boulder Beach and Cape of Good Hope.
- Limpopo for Kruger National Park.
- Durban for beaches and the Dolphin Coast.
- Port Elizabeth for Addo Elephant Park.
Top tip: There’s only a two hour time difference between UK and South Africa which means no jet lag.
Flying time: Direct flights from UK to South Africa take from 11 hours, 40 minutes.
Why go? Dry heat, cloudless skies and average daily temperatures of 25°C put Egypt firmly into the top 10 pick of winter sun destinations. Try Luxor for the spectacular Valley of the Kings, sailing on the Nile and 10 hours sunshine every day. Or head to the Red Sea and lively beach resorts like Hurghada or Sharm El-Sheikh for water sports, luxury family hotels, diving and more endless sun in winter.
Where to go?
- Luxor for the Valley of the Kings, Luxor Temple and Nile cruises.
- Hurghada for Red Sea beaches and resort hotels.
- Sharm El-Sheikh for luxury family resorts, kids clubs and water sports.
- Marsa Alam for resort beaches, coral reef diving and sea turtles.
- Dahab for world-class diving on the Gulf of Aqaba.
Top tip: Look for small group, family tours to see the monuments at Luxor with kids.
Flying time: Direct flights from UK to Egypt take from 5 hours, 30 minutes
Looking for more extraordinary family holidays? Discover 6 surprising adventures to have in Spain with kids this summer. And remember to follow Family Traveller on Instagram and Facebook for travel news and ideas – or just to say ‘hi’.