When you’re planning a family holiday, it’s easy to focus on Europe. The likes of Spain, France and Portugal offer great weather and top beaches – and, of course, they all come with a short flight. We get it. It’s natural that flight time plays a part in your decision, especially if you’re travelling with young children. But that doesn’t mean you’re tied to the continent. There are some fantastic family holiday spots out there – and some of them are just a few hours away. To help you broaden your search, we’ve rounded up the best family destinations outside Europe. Take a look.

Morocco

Flight time: 3 hours 35 minutes

If Turkey is on your list of possible holiday destinations, take a look at Morocco. Despite being in Africa, Marrakech is actually closer to the UK than Istanbul. A direct flight from London to Marrakech takes just three-and-a-half hours – that’s quicker than flying to Rhodes, Cyprus or Tenerife. But the short flight isn’t the only attraction. Morocco is home to sprawling beaches, mouth-watering food and amazing architecture. It’s a great option for families because kids can experience different cultures and flavours, while staying on the same time zone as the UK – so they’ll be awake enough to take it all in.

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Marrakech, Morocco
Family holiday Dubai

Dubai

Flight time: 7 hours

Dubai has well and truly cemented its reputation for being one of the world’s best family destinations. As well as offering excellent resorts – most of which have action-packed kids’ clubs and tot-friendly beaches – Dubai has loads of family attractions. Thanks to its varied theme parks, this city is a hit with toddlers, teens, and everyone in between. Little ones will love going to LEGOLAND® and playing on the beach, while older ones can zoom down waterslides and browse the town-sized shopping malls. Don’t be put off by the heat, either. Everywhere in Dubai is air-conditioned, and temperatures float in the manageable high-twenties and low-thirties between November and March.

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Orlando

Flight time: 9 hours 30 minutes

The USA’s theme park capital needs no introduction. With thrilling rollercoasters, magical worlds and fairy tale characters, Orlando is one of the most-loved family destinations on the planet. There’s something for kids of all ages – and there are even more Disney attractions opening this year. But it’s not all about the theme parks. You can dine in Orlando’s fantastic restaurants and explore child-friendly beaches, or get back to nature at Crystal River. Home to wild manatees, this protected area is a 90-minute drive from the city – just the right distance for a family road trip. Tempted? Read our money-saving tips for hiring a car.

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Orlando family holiday

Kenya

Flight time: 8 hours 35 minutes

If your children love wildlife, Kenya is a must-visit family destination. Most animal-tastic countries (think South Africa, Costa Rica and Thailand) are at least 11 hours away from the UK – but a direct flight to Nairobi takes less than nine hours. Plus, there’s only a two-hour time difference, so jet lag is minimal. Once you’re in Kenya, you can go on safari in search of the Big Five – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo – not to mention giraffes, cheetahs and crocodiles. For a real wildlife spectacle, head to Kenya in summer when over a million wildebeest, zebras and gazelles make the Great Migration from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara.

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Abu Dhabi

Flight time: 7 hours

Dubai may be the Middle East’s headline family destination, but Abu Dhabi is the rising star. There’s so much to do here for families, with everything from record-breaking rides to chilled-out water parks. Yas Island is the major attraction. Home to Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld, the entire island is dedicated to adventures and entertainment. You can explore immersive lands, meet cartoon characters and whizz on state-of-the-art rides. If you’re a family of adrenaline junkies, hit up the world’s fastest rollercoaster, Formula Rossa – it reaches 150 miles per hour in just 4.9 seconds.

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Abu Dhabi rollercoaster

Undecided where to go? Compare flights for different family destinations to find the best deal.

Beat jet lag with our handy tips. And, if you’re flying with young children, read about how to keep kids happy on the plane.

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