The biggest perk of the year-round sunshine and wonderful weather is the endless hours you can spend on the beach working on your tan and listening to the gentle waves rolling onto the sand. With an entire city stretched out along over 100kms of coastline, you have plenty of options.
There are 12 public beaches, most of which are free. There are also dozens of hotel and resort beaches where day passes can be bought if you’re after more of an exclusive holiday-feeling with beach-side service.
Here we’ll look at some of Dubai’s top public beaches. So which one is right for you?
Al Mamzer Beach Park
Situated in Deira, this special spot is close to the Dubai/Sharjah border, and is perfect if you’re based in that part of town. Calm waters with plenty of rocky outcrops and bays make this one of the best beaches for snorkeling. Crabs, fish and sometimes even special sightings such as rays in the shallow waters remind us just how abundant marine life is around the Gulf.
Four stretches of sand, as well as shady trees and rolling grass areas means that there is something here to please everyone. There are basketball courts, football pitches and even a small skatepark for the active types. Kiosks sell a selection of beach essentials such as suntan lotion as well as the compulsory snacks and drinks.
A diner near the entrance sells more substantial meals such as burgers. That said, many people pack a picnic and make a day of it. There are barbecue stands which are in high demand throughout the afternoon and evening.
Entry into the park is 5dhs per person, or 30dhs per car. The park is open from 8am to 10pm and is exclusively for women and children (boys under 6) on Mondays and Wednesdays. For more information, click here.
This suntrap is on the Jumeirah Beach Road stretch, having recently shot up the ranks of the hottest spots to be after a facelift last year. As part of the Dubai Corniche project, the area now also features beach tennis and volleyball as well as a running track. There is even an inflated assault course out on the water!
Cute cafes and food trucks have set up shop and now offer a selection of treats which can’t be found anywhere else in Dubai. For a novel sweet indulgence, try Wanna Banana. You can custom make your frozen banana dessert with a variety of flavours and toppings and although pricey, it is the perfect (almost guilt-free) way to cool down on a hot day.
The beach got its name due to its popularity with kite surfers, and while this is still the case, the popular Dubai sport has been moved slightly further down to protect the swimmers and other beach-goers. For information on current beach conditions, as well to read about or book activities such as paddleboarding, visit The Kite Beach. Waves can be a bit bigger here than along some of the other beaches, so bear this in mind if you’re visiting with children.
Jumeirah Open Beach
With an unparalleled location for convenience, this beach is one of the city’s most popular free beaches. The large open expanse provides plenty of space and well maintained facilities such as toilets and changing rooms. Also known as Russian beach, this is a particularly busy spot with tourists, due to its photographic location; the iconic Burj Al Arab stands proud on its own island beyond the water.
The main stretch of road behind the beach offers an ever-increasing number of cafes and restaurants to fill you up during the day but getting a taxi from the beach during the afternoon rush-hour can take some time. At the time of writing, a large part of the beach was closed off for a mysterious project, but it was forecast to re-open in the near future. If the Corniche Project further down the road is anything to go by, then we await the upgrade with eager anticipation!
Jumeirah Park Beach
Situated quite centrally in Dubai, this stretch of beach has been incorporated into Jumeirah Beach Park. An entrance fee of 5dhs per person (or 20dhs per car) applies, but that contributes to the significant cost of maintaining the park and beach.
The beautiful setting and large expanse of greenery is a rare sight in Dubai, and many people love it because the beach is quieter than many of the others in the city. The sand is a welcome spot for sun-seekers, and then to take a break from the heat, many people move into the park to lay their heads under the trees and listen to the birds.
There are not many opportunities to buy food or drinks here, so it’s advisable to bring a picnic or snacks with you. That said, drinks and ice creams vendors do cycle around ringing their little bells. Large playgrounds keep children entertained and inbuilt BBQ grills throughout the park are always popular, especially in the evenings and on weekends.
Another benefit of Jumeirah Beach Park is that it was designed with Special Needs visitors in mind, making a visit here accessible and convenient for all.
JBR & The Walk
If you like your white sandy beach against a backdrop of modern high-rises and the surrounding convenience of restaurants and shops, then look no further. As the only one of its kind, JBR Beach boasts a prime location in Dubai Marina, with showers and changing room facilities, cabanas for hire and all the luxury you’d expect on a resort beach. Children’s play parks as well as free outdoor gym equipment and a padded running track make this a hot destination amongst the Dubai residents.
Always busy and buzzing, the beach is clean and safe for swimming. For those who prefer not to get sand in their shoes, there are grassy patches where you can throw down the towel, all the while knowing that a Starbucks or a frozen yoghurt is only a few steps off the beach.
Not only that, but as soon as you’re done relaxing, you can go for a meander along the 1.7km boulevard, window-shopping at more than 100 retailers. How’s that for convenience!