The prospect of lounging on a white-sand beach during the winter is beyond irresistible. Here is a roundup of warm-weather destinations chock-full of family-friendly activities on land and by sea.
Sanya enjoys near 80-degree temperatures all winter long. After taking a break from beach activities, gather the family to explore cultural sites such as Bing Lang Gu (Betelnut Tree Valley) and Miao Cultural Heritage Park. Here, families can explore the jungle habitat and stop at a village where resident Li and Miao people perform traditional bamboo dances.
LAGUNA NIGUEL, CALIFORNIA
It’s one of the most famous beaches in the world, but Laguna Beach is also a beautiful bird sanctuary and marine-life refuge. In fact, all of Laguna’s marine refuge system is a protected reserve, meaning that nothing can be fished or removed from the area. Learn more about the area’s ecosystem and its animals at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which rehabilitates marine mammals and is free and open to the public.
AMELIA ISLAND, FLORIDA
Located along 13 miles of pristine Atlantic coastline, while the water might be a little cold this time of year, Amelia Island is also home to historic Fort Clinch, a well-preserved 19th-century seaside fort that was once a key location in the Civil War. Kids can learn more about the battles fought and victories won, as well as gain insight into the day-to-day life of the island’s 19th-century residents with tours by actors in period costume.
One of Tenerife’s greatest assets is its natural beauty. The Los Gigantes rock formation is a solid family destination; at the base is a quiet black-sand beach, Playa los Gigantes. The dramatic 500-meter cliffs are best viewed by boat, as is the life aquatic: Tenerife is one of only four spots in the world with year-round dolphin- and whale-watching.
Families who want to ramp up the thrill factor can visit the two water parks on the island — Siam Park, with its wave pool and intense water slides, and Aqualand, with its popular dolphin show.
This coastal retreat is a tranquil playground for kids and a perfect cultural home base
for adults, within driving distance of the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and the Wailing Wall. Families vacationing in Herzliya for the fabulous sunshine and warm weather can swim and surf in the same waters where swordfish and sea turtles roam. Herzliya is also home to a world-class marina and offers myriad sailing opportunities.