High season for east and west coast beaches. Low prices, lovely people, fascinating culture, exquisite food and of course magnificent beaches to suit all budgets from Phuket to Pattaya and Phi Phi; see Thai beaches map and beach pictures.
- India: Goa beaches. A tourist magnet but still fun. The least crowded stretches are north of the Chapora River.
- Maldives Islands: Endless spectacular silky sand beaches on coral atolls with equally spectacular resorts and astronomical prices.
Most visitors come on packages, staying at one of the 90 otherwise
uninhabited resort islands. Resorts are well set up with beautiful
beaches and clear azure seas, great for snorkeling and diving. There
are no cultural experience at all, just luxury and escapism with
no hassle. Photos.
- Ngapali Beach, Chaung Tha Beach beach, Ngwe Saung Beach, Myanmar.
Very little developed, very reasonable prices, very nice locals,
very unpleasant military junta.
- Oman: Muscat beaches (Arabian Sea). Over 1,000 miles of coastline with
endless unspoilt sand and very few tourists.
- Seychelles: Anse Lazio, Praslin island, Anse Source d'Argent, La Digue Island,
Ile Souris, east coast of Mahé island. Pricey but incredible
'paradise' island resorts including one of the world's most photographed
- Unawatuna, Sri Lanka. An ideal destination for a beach and culture holiday.
- South Africa's east coast is a low-cost, low jet-lag, sea-food and wine paradise, with action-packed city beaches such as Durban and totally peaceful, undeveloped beaches like Nature's Valley. In February beach business is slackening off but the place is still a delight for Europeans escaping mid-winter.
The Caribbean is home to hundreds of striking beaches and magnificent beach
resorts; the climate is superb in February and relatively uncrowded. If you're on a tight leash check our Best Budget Islands page headed by the brilliant white strands of the Dominican Republic with loads of things to do when the beach begins to bore, lively, lovely and culture-rich Jamaica at number two and Puerto Rico at three, just like home for Americans, no passports needed, plenty of burgers and spectacular beaches!
Red Sea beaches
Egypt's Red Sea beach resorts as well as Israel's rather tired Eilat are competitively priced, the sun is endless, the coral is a blooming joy, the sea's at it's coldest but still 20°C and day trips to Luxor are sensational if you can handle crowds or go it alone.
The Red Sea's average air temperature is 20°C in February (16°C at night) and water temperature will be around 20°C, with low humidity and little chance of rain.
- Bondi or Manly,
near Sydney for convenience, style and surf.
- Byron Bay, between Sydney and Brisbane, for a neo-hippie 'alternative'
- North Stradbroke Island, near Brisbane,
for wildlife walks, quiet beaches and good surf.
- Noosa Heads, Sunshine Coast, a tranquil, dispersed town with great, soft
beaches, parks and surf.
- Fraser Island's Lake
McKenzie, with clear freshwater surrounded
by tropical rainforest and the purest white sand.
See also Beach
- South Africa's east coast is a low cost, low jet-lag, sea-food and wine paradise, with action-packed city beaches such as Durban and totally peaceful, undeveloped beaches like Nature's Valley. In March beach business is coming to an end so there are plenty of bargain deals to be made for Europeans getting away from short, grey days.
- USA: the Florida Keys will be getting warm by February but waters may still be cool.
- The Canary Islands, enjoy a climate of perpetual summer with sunshine as standard and temperatures between 18C (64F) and the upper 30Cs; there are beaches of all types available, activities, nudist, family, surfing, wild town sand, back-to-nature coves.
The southern sections of islands tend to be the warmest and Fuerteventura and Lanzarote the sunniest. La Palma is the wettest island. Water temperatures are not very high, ranging from 18C in winter to 22º C in summer.
Africa, Camps Bay, with stunning views and easy access from
lovely, low-cost Capetown but cold water.
- Datai Beach, Langkawi Island. One of the world's most secluded
and picture-perfect hideaways.
- Pantai Teluk Belanga (Emerald Bay), Pangkor Laut. A luxury resort
on a perfect crescent bay of a tiny private island.
- Fine beaches on both Pacific and Caribbean coasts and not too busy in February; there are also amazing sights nearby, fantastic food, exotic drinks and all at bargain prices.
Myanmar (aka Burma):
Beaches along the Bay
of Bengal such as Ngapali Beach, Chaung Tha Beach and Ngwe Saung along the Bay
- Honda Bay, Palawan, Philippines. An area of outstanding natural
- Malapascua Island, Cebu. Relatively unknown but highly rated on
the world's best beach/dive.
- Muelle Bay, Puerto Galera, Mindoro Island. An ideal place to do
island-hopping on to pristine beaches.
- White Beach, Boracay Island (picture above right). The sand is
exceptionally white, soft and never gets hot, with a huge variety
of small, friendly accommodation.
Ne, near Phan Thiet, is a resort area known for its
spectacular sand dunes and low prices.
- Hon Chong Beach, Ha Tien; a seductive beach near the Cambodian
- Bai Tam (Long Beach), Phu Quoc Island. The secret jewel of Southeast
- Palau, the Rock Islands known for their coral rock formations, colourful underwater life and stunning beaches. It is a great destination for snorkelling and diving.
Beaches that are not a good idea in February
The worst time for much of the Pacific but there are bright spots. e.g. SE Australia,
Mexico (for both, see above); the Rock Islands, Palau are good in
December but south Pacific such as the Cook Islands, Fiji and Samoas are going through a wet patch. Check Pacific beaches for more information.
Indonesia: Generally south Bali is where the best beaches are, including the huge stretches of Kuta and Legian and the newer, classy resorts on the Bukit Peninsula, though from December to Feburary is not an ieal time to go due to heavy rain.
No chance! The weather's cold and the sea is colder.
Madagascar: Ile Sainte Marie. An idyllic island resort fringed by peaceful beaches, though the cyclone season is from February to March.