Family on the Beach

The 5 Best Family Holidays the Kids Will Love

21 Dec 2018 By Ellie Roddy
Family on the Beach

There’s nothing better than escaping the stress of everyday life and leaving the day-to-day tasks at home to relax in the sun and spend quality time together with your family.

As opposed to arguing about homework, you’ll be splashing each other in the pool. Rather than staring at your phones or tablets, you’ll be exploring a new country. And, instead of slaving away over a hot stove, while your kids are in the other room watching TV, you’ll sit down at the table together and share stories as a delicious meal is served up for you.

So, where are you going to go? Here are some of the best family holidays to help you decide.

1.Menorca

Cala Pregonda Beach on the island of Menorca with shallow blue water and golden sand

The idyllic island of Menorca is far more serene than its neighbours, which has helped to earn it the reputation as one of the most family-friendly destinations. This is partly due to the fact it’s a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which means it is protected from over-development and will remain unspoilt. Although it’s the second largest Balearic Island, you can drive across it in little over an hour, making it easy to discover everything it has to offer.

Where to stay? There are family-friendly hotels across the island but you might like to book into Carema Club Resort. This accommodation has its own Splash Park as well as other activities including mini golf, rock climbing and direct access to the beach.

Family-friendly beaches: The island boasts 134 miles of coastline – more than Ibiza and Majorca put together. The calm, azure Mediterranean sea is ideal for little ones to paddle in, while the golden sand is perfect for building sandcastles.

Son Bou, the longest beach on the island, has shallow water and plenty of watersports for you to try. Neighbouring Santo Tomás Beach has a far more laid-back vibe and there’s a playground and picnic area.

Things to do as a family

  • Snorkel or dive at Pregonda near Es Mercadel
  • See colourful fish via a glass bottom boat at Mahon Harbour
  • Watersports including paddleboarding and kayaking
  • Head up Monte Toro – the island’s highest point
  • Walk or cycle around the island on the coastal path
  • Horse ride in the lush countryside
  • Fly down the slides at Aquacenter or Aquarock waterpark
  • See animals at Lloc de Menorca Zoo
  • Take a day trip to Majorca

Top tip: The ancient coastal path, known as Camí de Cavalls, is 116 miles long and circles the entire island. It’s split into 12 sections, which are between three and eight and a half miles long – plan which one to join ahead of time to find remote beaches.

Need to know: There are two ferry routes to Majorca: Ciutadella to Alcudia or Mahon to Palma. Depending which route you take this will either be an hour or two and a half hour journey.

Flight time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Ideal destination for: Little ones

2. Lanzarote

The striking volcanic terrain of Timanfaya National Park on the island Lanzarote with a blue sky in the distance

This Canary Island has a volcanic landscape that will surprise and delight kids and adults alike. Its lunar terrain is among the reasons it has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. While you enjoy the unique backdrop, you’re guaranteed beautiful weather – Lanzarote enjoys around 3,000 hours of sun a year and average temperatures of 22 degrees.

Where to stay? The Princesa Yaiza Hotel is situated in Playa Blanca and benefits from direct access to the sandy beach. Kids will love Kikoland where mascots, Hooky, Cooky and Kiko will accompany them.

This 10,000 square metre space is perfect for children up to 16 years old and is split into five sections to appeal to individual age ranges. Among various activities, there is a swimming pool and an amphitheatre for shows.

Family-friendly beaches: Playa Bastian in Costa Teguise, Playa Flamingo in Playa Blanca and Playa Chica in Puerto del Carmen are three of the best beaches on the island for children. All of them boast calm water and soft sand, so the kids can play while you soak up the sun.

You’ll find bars and restaurants just off the back of the beaches where you can grab a spot of lunch and watch your little ones. If you want to see the black sand beaches with your own eyes, then head to Playa Quemada.

Things to do as a family:

  • Visit Timanfaya National Park to explore Montañas del Fuego
  • Experience a bumpy camel ride
  • Come face-to-face with animals at Rancho Texas
  • Explore the Pirate Museum
  • Take a submarine safari at Puerto Calero
  • Splash around Aqualava in Playa Blanca
  • Surfing lessons at Playa de Famara
  • Watch a film at Starlight Rooftop Cinema
  • Explore Cueva de Los Verdes – the longest lava tubes in the world
  • See 4,500 cacti at Jardin de Cactus

Need to know: Aqualava is open 365 days a year from 10am. There’s a bus service you can take advantage of to reach the waterpark on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Entry is around €21 for adults and €14.50 for children.

Flight time: 4 hours
Ideal destination for: Little ones

3. Cyprus

St. Hilarion Castle in Cyprus surrounded by a rocky terrain overgrown with wild bushes

Blue Flag beaches and beautiful weather attracts more than 3 million people a year to Cyprus’ stunning shoreline. The island is relatively small so it is easy to explore all it has to offer from ancient ruins in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Paphos to Aphrodite’s Rock, which legend says is where the goddess of love rose from the water.

Where to stay? Olympic Lagoon Resort is situated on the beachfront in Paphos. There are themed pools including the Mayan Temple pool, which features waterfalls, whirlpools and slides.

Come evening, the little ones will love the Rock N’ Roll Diner, an American-themed setting where you can listen to 50s music as you tuck into your burger. After dinner, there’s evening entertainment including discos and musicals.

Family-friendly beaches: In Paphos, you’ll find Coral Bay, one of 57 Blue Flag beaches, which boasts shallow water, plenty of facilities and various watersports including parasailing.

Konnos Bay is also great for youngsters as it is protected from the elements, ensuring that the water is calm. Alternatively, you might like to visit Fig Tree Bay, one of the most picturesque beaches, where golden sand leads down to the shallow, azure waters.

Things to do as a family:

  • Experience the thrill of the rides at Aphrodite Waterpark
  • Horse riding at Eagle Mountain Ranch
  • Step back in time at the dinosaur park in Ayia Napa
  • Visit St Hilarion Castle which served as inspiration for Snow White
  • Splash around at WaterWorld waterpark
  • Explore Tombs of the Kings
  • Sail across the Blue Lagoon and stop to snorkel in the clear water

Need to know: The Dinosaur Park is open daily from 5pm. It closes at 11pm on weekdays and midnight at weekends. Entry fee is €3 per child.

Flight time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Ideal destination for: Little ones

4. Tenerife

Siam Park's Thai-themed attractions on the island of Tenerife in Spain with its biggest ride Tower of Power standing high above the park

One of the many benefits of travelling to Tenerife, especially with younger children, is there’s no time difference. So, you won’t need to re-adjust your body clock or struggle with jet lag. Plus, with glorious weather all year round, including winter highs of 22 degrees, you can take your holiday at a time to suit you.

Pass Playa de las Americas, which is known as the party capital of this Canary Island and make your way to neighbouring Costa Adeje, the best destination for families. While this is a good place to base yourself, the island is small enough that you can easily explore it all.

Where to stay? You might like to stay at Gran Meliá Palacio de Isora which is nestled on the beachfront alongside Mount Teide. At this hotel you can opt for a specific family experience in RedLevel for Families.

As well as being a stone’s throw from the beach, this hotel boasts Europe’s longest saltwater infinity pool. Plus, there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained including Mar de Nubes, an area specifically for children between 3 and 12.

Family-friendly beaches: Tenerife is known for its beautiful beaches – it’s said to have some of the best in Spain. One of the most popular for families is Playa las Vistas Beach in Los Cristianos. The water here is calm and it has all the facilities you could need.

Other parts of the shoreline you may like to visit with the little ones are Playa la Pinta and Playa de las Teresitas. While you’re here you may also want to see some of the stunning black sand beaches this island is famous for including Los Gigantes.

Things to do as a family

  • Ride a see-through tube inside a shark-infested tank at Siam Park
  • Jump on a boat at Puerto Colon marina and head out to see whales
  • Take the cable car up to Mount Teide’s summit
  • See exotic birds among the animals at Loro Parque Zoo
  • Have a picnic at the botanical gardens in Puerto de la Cruz
  • See turtles and dolphins as you kayak along the coast
  • Meet the cheeky monkeys at Monkey Park
  • Swing through the trees at Forestal Park

Need to know: The Thai-themed waterpark, which is situated in the Costa Adeje, has been voted the best in the world by TripAdvisor. It’s open 365 days a year from 10am until 6pm. Tickets are roughly €40 for children aged 3 to 11, €56 for adults and entry is free for children under 3 years old.

Top Tip: The Teide By Night experience is a wonderful way to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the nine-hour tour you will head to various viewpoints and watch the sunset, stargaze and enjoy dinner in one of the highest restaurants in the country.

Flight time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Ideal destination for: Tweenagers

5. Florida

Low angle view of a huge rollercoaster in a Florida theme park with a blue sky in the background

A holiday to Orlando, Florida will be a magical experience for both children and parents. You’ll be in awe as you wander around this magnificent destination. From meeting your favourite Disney characters to seeing the big screen come to life, this is a holiday that will create memories that last a lifetime.

Where to stay? There are lots of themed hotels but one the kids will love is Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. There are seven pools, a tropical beach theme and a Marina, where you can enjoy the pontoon boats and canoes. It’s also ideally located right in the heart of Walt Disney World, minutes from the theme parks.

Family-friendly beaches: If you choose to stay in Orlando you’ll be around an hour from the coastline. You can choose between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf, which is perhaps the best side for children because the water is calmer.

The most family-friendly are Siesta Key, which is close to Sarasota and has shallow water and various watersports on offer, and Clearwater where there are plenty of family-attractions surrounding the soft, white sand and a sunset festival on Pier 60.

Things to do as a family

  • Experience the magic at Walt Disney World
  • Ride the roller coasters at Universal Studios
  • Visit Ripley’s Believe it or Not and WonderWorks at International Drive
  • Fly down the slides at Disney’s Blizzard Beach
  • Explore the themed sections of Legoland
  • Relax on the lazy river at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
  • Get up close and personal with sea creatures at SeaWorld
  • Go kayaking at Wekiwa Springs State Park
  • Learn about alligators at Gatorland

Top tip: There are several theme parks that all offer something slightly different. So, do your research, plan your time and buy tickets in advance. If you want to avoid spending half your time queuing, you can also purchase a FastPass.

Flight time: 9 hours 20 minutes
Ideal destination for: Teenagers

So, where will your next family holiday be?

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