Seek out some winter sun or embrace the cold? That’s the dilemma for those wanting to make the most of the first half term of the year. And frankly, who doesn’t want to? After a hectic December, the long slog of January and several months of short daylight hours, we’re all longing to escape in one form or another.
From quick hops to long haul (yes it is possible, even with only a week to spare!), from icy adventures to desert escapades, we’ve picked out our top destinations for February half-term holidays with kids of different ages.
February half-term holidays – family favourites
With expert planning, this Central American country with its Caribbean coastline and dense jungle can work for half term: fly by day to Miami (just under nine hours), spend a night in an airport hotel, and fly to Belize (two and a half hours) to be in the jungle by lunchtime the next day. Belize also has the advantage of being small, so you can cover all its highlights in a short time, from Mayan ruins to jungle walks. For a week we’d suggest three nights in a jungle lodge in Lamanai and three in Caye Caulker, which thanks to its location on the Belize Barrier Reef has some of the world’s very best snorkelling and diving. Read more about Belize family holidays and Belize with Kids – top 10 activities.
Surprisingly, Atlantic Canada is very do-able in a week if you’re realistic – and choosy. Our top pick would be to fly into Toronto (about seven hours 40 minutes from the UK) and from there strike out on a self-drive trip to Niagara Falls (arguably at their most glorious at this time of year, when they’re covered by ice and snow), then to the Blue Mountains for skiing, sledding and other wintry fun. Investigate our Canada family holidays section sample itineraries, places to visit, customer reviews and more.
February is a lovely, sunny time of year for temple-viewing in Upper Egypt, including Aswan and Luxor – between them home to world-class historic sites including Abu Simbel and the Valley of the Kings, where Tutankhamun and other pharaohs were buried. Cairo (less than five hours from the UK) is cooler, making this a good time to sightsee there too – must-visits are the Pyramids of Giza and, hopefully by then, the long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum. Check out our sample itinerary, Highlights of Egypt (in seven days), and for inspiration see Egypt with kids – top 10 activities.
Also only a short hop (around three hours) from the UK, the Land of Fire and Ice is bracingly cold at this time of year but is blessed with all those lovely thermal springs in which to soak after all your icy adventures. With any luck, you’ll see some of those breathtaking volcanic landscapes between the shimmering Northern Lights, and there’s whale- and dolphin-watching to be had, too. Meanwhile, the capital Reykjavik is a fantastic place to hang out for a few days, with lots of cosy cafés, restaurants and boutiques to discover. Have a closer look at our example Iceland in Winter family trip.
You will need to factor in a bit of jetlag if you fly to India (flight around 8.5 hours) for February half term, but it’s worth it! And the weather at this time of year is perfect for exploring: not too hot, but very sunny. It’s entirely feasible to do a classic Golden Triangle trip – Delhi, Agra and the Taj Mahal, and the Rajasthani ‘pink city’ of Jaipur – within a week as well as to sneak in a night or two in a rural setting, perhaps staying in an old Maharajah’s palace drenched in atmosphere. Take a look at our customer reviews of their holidays in India and our India with Kids Top 10.
Jordan is fabulous at any time, but February offers cooler temperatures for exploring the ancient Nabatean capital and once-lost city of Petra, and the UNESCO-listed river valley of the Wadi Rum with its desert camps. This means that they have fewer visitors than in other seasons, and after exploring these world-class wonders, you can bask in the warmth of the Dead Sea. Flights take only five and a half hours and there’s only a two-hour time difference, meaning you won’t suffer any jetlag. See our 8-day Highlights of Jordan example itinerary, or visit our Jordan family holiday section for pricing, customer reviews and more.
February isn’t beach time in this North African destination only three hours 30 minutes from the UK, though you might like to spend a day in Essaouira with its gusty Atlantic beaches perfect for beach walks and horse-riding. And February is a great time for seeing the south, with blue skies over Marrakech, the Agafay Desert just south of it, and the foothills of the Atlas. That leaves scope for everything from haggling in souks and watching snake charmers in night markets to hiking, camel-riding and desert camping. Our Morocco family short break – perfect for half-term – combines all of these plus a day by the seaside.
Direct flights (10 and a half hours) to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula make even this a contender for the February half-term holiday. We’d start out with three nights in Valladolid to see Mayan ruins including Chichen Itza, combined with wild swimming in cenotes (natural sinkholes). From there you could head to the beach – Playa del Carmen or Akumal – for swimming near turtles, snorkelling and making a splash at Xel-Há water park. Check out our guide on the best activities to include when visiting Mexico with kids.
This is a great time to experience the wintry sights of this spectacularly beautiful Scandinavian country. Husky sledding, cross-country and downhill skiing, reindeer encounters, Northern Lights sightings, and ice fishing are all on offer amidst sparkling landscapes like something out of a fairytale – or a Disney movie! And when you’re not outside inhaling all the pure, fresh air, you can hunker down in your cabin on the edge of a fjord or immerse yourselves in the culture of hip towns such as Tromsø and Bergen. Our six-day Winter in Norway itinerary includes the options of a fishing trip into the fjords and downhill skiing at Tromsø Alpinpark.
Reliably warm, sunny and dry at this time of year, Oman is another world yet remains within an eight-hour flight time from the UK. Oozing traditional Arabian charm and hospitality, its beach life is on point, yet it’s so much more than that – a place of rugged mountains, dramatic desert dunes and evocative forts. It’s also ideal for kids of different ages, with a wide array of unforgettable activities and experiences on offer, including turtle-watching, snorkelling, camel-riding, hiking, and desert or beach camping. Check out our example itinerary, Oman Short Break, a top choice for February half-term holidays.
There’s no jetlag even if you fly 12 hours for a South African safari, as the country is only an hour or two ahead of the UK. February is hot and sunny, and hence a great time for a Kruger safari promising superb wildlife viewing (including the Big Five) from tented camps. Our weeklong dream itineraries in South Africa with kids would be two different safari lodges and three days at Victoria Falls, or three days in Cape Town followed by a four-day safari in the Kruger National Park. Find out about family holidays in South Africa including our favourite activities.
An 11-hour flight away, this island country – one of our top sellers – is similarly doable at the February half-term if you cherry-pick your destinations and experiences. We’d thoroughly recommend three nights in the Cultural Triangle (the centre of the island and home to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Dambulla) and three nights at a tea plantation. For the latter, we particularly rate the Knuckles Mountain Range (Knuckles Forest Reserve). Find out more about our favourite places to visit and things to do in Sri Lanka.
This most southeastly US state offers fun in spades, with Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort offering no fewer than six theme parks and three water parks between them. But make the nine-and-a-half-hour flight worth it by taking in other attractions too. Among our favourites are the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, with its immersive NASA-related displays and experiences, and Crystal River on the Gulf of Mexico coast, with swimming and snorkelling near the manatees who live in the hot springs of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. Or end your break with some time at picturesque Key West, with tons of ocean activities to choose from, including kayaking, boat trips, snorkelling, and much more. See our overview of USA family holidays.
Ask us about February half-term holidays for families in 2024
As parents ourselves, we know exactly what each destination offers for the family traveller – because we’ve been there with our own kids! If you’d like to know more about these or any of our destinations, we’d love to tell you about them. Call us on 01728 752751 or use our contact form.
You can also check out our blog section for more inspiration including: Holidays with teenagers, Multi-generational holidays, and holidays with toddlers. Or see our Around the World in Six School Holidays calendar for where to travel and when, or our Family Adventure Holidays round-up.
We always love to hear from families who have travelled with us, so please do continue to send us your photos and reviews of your February half-term holidays with us.
Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel
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