February is a great time for heading out for a well-deserved winter break from the inevitable post-festive season blues and skies like an old, wet dishcloth. Not only are the prices of everything from plane tickets to hotels and theme parks at all-time lows in off-season destinations, but there’ll be less crowds in many places and the welcome you’ll receive will be warmer than usual when they’re spoilt for choice. Here are a few of the hot spots this coming February, from snow activity holidays to bathing in the rays of a sun that has forsaken the home skies for some months and doesn’t look set to return anytime soon.
Romance in Thailand
In Thailand the average February temperature is an impressive 28 degrees Celsius and there are 9 hours of sunshine each day, making this an ideal place to come for a short romantic break away from the slate-grey skies back home. Recharge your drained batteries and reignite the passion in slices of paradise like Phuket – if the palm-fringed beaches, turquoise waters and immaculate stretches of white sand don’t hit the spot then nothing will.
Family fun in Florida
A fun family break at the world famous Orlando and Disney World theme parks of Florida, where the daily average temperature for February is 23 degrees Celsius, will be a welcome re-run of Christmas excitement for the kids and give parents a much-needed break too. The excellent beaches of Clearwater and St Petersburg are great for outdoor activities and there are loads of family restaurants and other venues to make Florida the perfect winter getaway.
Winter sun in Cancun
If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, as they say, then chasing the fugitive sun to a paradise like Cancun is a realistic option. It’s 23 degrees Celsius here in February in south-eastern Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula and Cancun gets a full 7 hours of glorious sunshine each day. It’s a top destination for idyllic Caribbean holidays, with fabulous beaches offering activities like diving in the north and quiet relaxation in the east. See the stunning Mayan temples and pyramids of Chichen Itza on a day trip from the beaches, and enjoy delicious Caribbean seafood at numerous colourful eateries across the region.
Dubai for a great city break
Dubai has a desert climate and is sunny throughout the year. But in the summer the heat can be overpowering and February is one of the best times to come and enjoy the beaches, clubs, hotels and shopping in a comfortable 20 degrees Celsius. Jumeirah beach has watersports even in the winter months, and there are plenty of souks or markets to explore in Dubai. A stroll around the perfume, spice and fish souks is an adventure in itself, with all sorts of exotic Arabic produce on offer, and the recently opened Dubai Mall is the biggest in the world, with over 1200 outlets of all kinds. For a break from city life you can take an exhilarating Desert Safari around the dunes which surround the city in a 4X4.
Ski in France
On the French ski slopes in February you’re guaranteed great snow conditions and blissful peace from the crowds of the earlier high-season. There are also great deals going at this time of year, and with loads of space to practice freestyle and learn the tricks if you’re new to the sport you can have a fabulous time at Chamonix, Meribel, La Plagne or any of the other world-class high-altitude resorts of France. Tignes has a particularly good choice of red and blue runs, and Chamonix is great for off-piste enthusiasts.