Tips and Inspiration Top family-friendly vacation destinations from the UAE

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Top family-friendly vacation destinations from the UAE

Traveling with kids shouldn't restrict where you can go on vacation. So whether you’re up for a long-haul trip or something much closer to home, we’ve got something for everyone.

To help you plan for all the family, we’ve broken down our destination list into four categories:

  • Family-friendly vacation destinations under 3 hours from the UAE
  • Family-friendly vacation destinations under 4 hours from the UAE
  • Family-friendly vacation destinations under 6 hours from the UAE
  • Family-friendly vacation destinations over 6 hours from the UAE
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Best family-friendly destinations under 3 hours from the UAE

Muscat, Oman

Flight time from the UAE: Around 75 minutes

Airfare: From around *Dh640 per adult

You can reach the capital, Muscat, on a flight from the UAE in around one hour, so it’s a great short vacation destination if you want to avoid long haul. There are loads of hotels in Oman that are well set up for families, including the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa which has its own family “wing” with dedicated interconnecting family rooms, games consoles and DVD players! There are several swimming pools at the hotels, as well a ton of activities and a Cool Zone Kids Club. Muscat is a short drive from the hotel and there’s a lot to keep the whol family busy. The Oman Children’s Museum is a popular thing to do with kids, as is the Muscat National Museum, which has its own fair share of interactive exhibits.

Read more: Top attractions and things to do in Muscat

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Family-friendly destinations: Muscat, Oman

New Delhi, India

Flight time from the UAE: Around 3 hours

Airfare: From around *Dh608 per adult

While India might not be your first thought when it comes to family-friendly vacation destinations near the UAE, don’t write it off. Cities like Delhi and Mumbai are well set up for tourists, including the smallest ones. Lots of Delhi’s best sights (including Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar) are winners on many fronts. They have interesting backstories, full of mystery (and usually a bit of scandal!), open green spaces, attractions such as boating lakes, and sometimes children’s parks. There’s also some newer Delhi attractions including KidZania, the Nehru Planetarium and Funky Li’l Munchkins, a soft play and trampolining park. One of the great things about living in the UAE with children is the opportunity to expose them to new and interesting places and cultures. And it doesn’t get much more interesting and cultural than India!

To read about other family-friendly India holiday destinations, check out this article: Best places to visit in India month by month

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Family-friendly destinations: New Delhi, India

Petra, Jordan

Flight time from the UAE: Around 3hrs 45min

Airfare: From around *Dh921 per adult

If your children are slightly older they probably would – and should – appreciate the wonder that is Petra. The ancient city is truly one of the most magical places on earth and should be on everyone’s bucket list, kids included! We recommend it for slightly older children because of the travel time, the flight to Amman is around three hours, and Petra is another three hours’ drive from Amman. As well as ticking the Nabatean city of Petra off your bucket list, you and the family could also swim in the Dead Sea and take an authentic mud bath.

For an insider’s guide to Petra, click here.

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Family-friendly destinations: Petra, Jordan

Best family-friendly destinations under 4 hours from the UAE

Cyprus

Flight time from the UAE: Around 4 hours

Airfare: From around *Dh1,150 per adult

Cyprus is approximately 4 hours from Dubai and as far as family-friendly vacation destinations go, it’s near perfect. It has loads of historical sites, such as Aphrodite’s Rock and Saint Hilarion Castle. The latter is believed to be (one of) the inspirations for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle, giving it a somewhat magical feel! The island also has some beautiful beaches which are safe for swimming and scuba diving, as well as loads of little towns and villages with boutique shops and independent restaurants. To make the most of it, consider renting a car and doing a road trip. If you’re traveling with kids, pack plenty of snacks, books and games!

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Family-friendly destinations: Cyprus beaches

Nepal

Flight time from the UAE: Around 4 hours

Airfare: From around *Dh839 per adult

Admittedly, some family-friendly destinations near the UAE are more friendly than others, depending on the sort of traveler you are. If you’re an adventurous type, and your children are too, Nepal is a great vacation choice. There are loads of trekking routes around the country, much of which is suitable for older children (or younger children in backpacks), busy markets which are fun for any age, or temples and gardens to explore. If you want to give your children an experience they’ll never forget, consider treating them to the ultimate Nepal experience – a helicopter flight around Mount Everest!

For more ideas of what to do there, check out our article on the best things to see and do in Kathmandu

Family-friendly destinations: Kathmandu, Nepal

Sri Lanka

Flight time from the UAE: Around 4hrs 25mins

Airfare: From around *Dh931 per adult

At just over 4 hours from the UAE, Sri Lanka is a fantastic family-friendly vacation destination. It has beaches, temples, delicious fresh foods, jungle, bicycle trails, and lots of surfing. There are loads of beaches around the south coast, many of which are small enough for children to have a bit of freedom without being unsafe. Lots of the smaller hotels offer surfing lessons for all ages at very reasonable prices. If you don’t like the idea of a beach vacation, head into the mountains to the likes of Ella or Kandy, which are also fab for kids. Most of the locals travel short distances in a tuk-tuk, which has to be one of the most fun modes of transport for a child!

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Family-friendly destinations: Sri Lanka

Best family-friendly destinations under 6 hours from the UAE

Maldives

Flight time from the UAE: Around 4hrs 45mins

Airfare: From around *Dh1,035 per adult

The Maldives has a reputation for being a honeymoon paradise, but its pristine beaches and all-inclusive resorts mean it’s also great for kids. Male, the main airport, is a manageable 5 hours away from the UAE, and there’s plenty of options of where to go from there. Some hotels don’t allow children, while others go all-out to cater for them, giving you a chance to have a break. Some popular Maldive hotels with kids’ clubs include Constance Halaveli, Soneva Fushi (which has cooking classes and a lego room), and Shangri-La Villingili Resort & Spa.

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Family-friendly vacation destination: Maldives

Greece

Flight time from the UAE: Around 5hrs 25mins

Airfare: From around *Dh1,114 per adult

With its plethora of beaches, islands and cities, Greece is an excellent family-friendly vacation destination. And if your kids are remotely into history, it is the place to take them! Athens is home to some 5th century BC history including the immense Parthenon and the Acropolis. The city is very pedestrian friendly so wandering around with strollers shouldn’t be a problem. Islands like Mykanos, Rhodes and Crete are also very family-friendly with lots of safe and clean beaches and walkable villages to explore.

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Family-friendly vacation destinations: Greece

Best family-friendly vacation destinations over 6 hours from the UAE

South Africa

Flight time from the UAE: Around 8 hours

Airfare: From around *Dh1,480 per adult

Cape Town is a great city for kids. There’s loads for them to do in an around the city: an aquarium, museums, huge parks, penguins, walking and bike trails, whale watching, and much more. But if you want to give them a holiday to remember, consider taking them on an animal safari. There’s loads to choose from, including the famous Kruger National Park which is home to the Big 5 (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo). Reputable tour companies have strict rules about children but many are equipped to take older ones.

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Elefantes caminando en el parque de Addo
Family-friendly vacation destinations: South Africa

London

Flight time from the UAE: Around 7 hours

Airfare: Around *Dh1,014

If you’re looking for a European destination to take the kids, you won’t go wrong with London. It has more child-friendly museums and activities than you possibly fit into one vacation! There’s the National History Museum, the Science Museum, and the V&A Museum of Childhood, to name a few. Favorite famous attractions include Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. It’s a great city to visit all year round, and comes alive in summer when there’s free concerts and festivals held throughout the city to make the most of the dry weather! Children get discounted or free entry to lots of attractions as well as cheap travel. Check out local listings before you visit so you know what’s on.

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Family-friendly vacation destinations: London

*This article was published February 2019. Prices and information correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability. Always check with the airline before flying.

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