Last-minute planning goes out the window when kids are in the picture, and holidays are no exception. Which is why we’re already on the case thinking up some great beach destinations for this year’s school holidays. From safe sandy shores that have become firm family favourites on the Mediterranean, to further flung holidays in the USA or Dubai, plan a holiday the kids are never going to forget.
There are plenty of gently shelving beaches around Dalaman that are just right for family holidays. You can encourage the kids to get messy for a change at the sulphur mud baths in Dalyan, and for older families you’ll find all the watersports and activities you could want in Marmaris and its more laid-back neighbour Icmeler.
We’d be doing all kids a disservice if we didn’t mention the home state of Disney World. But families needn’t be confined to Orlando with so many family friendly beach resorts within a few hours’ drive. Daytona is good for beachfront activities, while laid-back Anna Maria Island will give you a taste of old-time Florida on the Gulf Coast.
If you’re booking a spring school holiday, Tenerife’s year-round sunshine makes it a clear choice. The south-west holds the most popular beaches, though families may want to opt for chic Costa Adeje or leisurely Los Gigantes over lively Playa de las Americas.
4. The Algarve
Portugal’s southern coast is simply littered with golden sand, child-friendly beaches. If your family likes their sunshine holidays action-packed Albufeira is the destination for you. Or you can opt for compact Carvoeiro with its pretty cove beach or the easygoing fishing village, Olhoa d’Agua.
Dubai’s pristine beaches are a popular choice with families. And why not when this gleaming city offers soaring temperatures, incredible aqua parks such as Wild Wadi and Aquaventure, and camel rides on the beach. Beyond the sandy shores the world’s tallest building will impress all age ranges.
Ever-popular Majorca has beaches to cater to every family, from purpose-built Palma Nova’s action-packed seafront promenade to the pretty coves at old fishing village Cala d’Or. If you’re all about building sandcastles on the beach you’ll find some of the longest stretches on the island at Alcudia and Cala Millor.
Child-friendly accommodation is plentiful in Zante, as in Greece kids are welcomed by hospitable locals. Being a small island, Zante is easily navigable, so you can stay in charming seaside resorts like Tsilivi or quiet Alykanas, and visit other fine beaches including the loggerhead turtle breeding site at Laganas Bay.
8. Costa Blanca
Colourful Benidorm is the biggest draw for the families flocking to the Costa Blanca, offering a frankly unbeatable combo of Blue Flag beaches near to the Terra Mitica and Aqualandia theme parks. If you’re looking for a quieter family getaway try the old port town of Javea or explore the thousand-year-old castle in Denia.
Art museums might make most kids (and adults!) groan but not the crazy creations by Canarian artist Cesar Manrique dotted across Lanzarote. Exploring the alien lunar landscapes is another great family adventure, if you manage to drag yourself off the soft white sands at Playa Blanca or Costa Teguise.
10. Sharm el Sheikh
Another year-round sun destination, the appeal of Sharm’s beaches lies both above and beneath the waves. Simply add a snorkel and your family can spend hours spotting the colourful fishes in the Red Sea reefs. There are plenty of all inclusive resorts which lay on lots of entertainment – convenient for families.