With its excellent range of well-equipped hotels and attractions for all ages, Dubai is a fabulous family destination. Perhaps the best thing about it is that there really is something here for everyone - a spot of luxury for parents, adrenaline-spiking rides for teens, fun-filled theme parks for younger kids, and great food for everyone.
This massive advantage can also be a problem when it comes to planning your holiday in Dubai, but keep reading and fear not as I'm here to help you pick the very best spots so you can relax and plan a wonderful family for the whole family. I assure you, paralysis by analysis will not be an issue.
My recommendations for the very best options to enjoy Dubai as a family
In fact, there's almost an overwhelming amount of choice here. So, to narrow it down, I have picked out some of the very best options of places for families to stay, eat and have fun in Dubai.
Atlantis, the Palm
This five-star hotel is famously family-friendly, combining luxury accommodation with a host of on-site attractions for kids. In fact, there's so much to do here, including swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Bay and enjoying a few shrieks and thrills at the Aquaventure Water Park, that you could easily spend your entire break just at the resort!
Plus, with a kids club, huge range of restaurants and family accommodation, including luxurious family suites, you can rest assured that your whole family's needs will be well catered for.
Best place for breakfast
Lime Tree Cafe
There are some great spots for breakfast with the kids, but Lime Tree Cafe definitely stands out among the best. Located on Jumeirah Beach Road, it has a range of healthy dining options, including homemade muesli and fruit, as well as more indulgent items such as pancakes and muffins. There's plenty for parents, too, plus a lot to keep kids occupied, including toys, books and crayons.
Best place for lunch
You'll find this charming little cafe and bookshop on Al Wasl Road. A perfect spot for lunch, BookMunch has a host of cosy nooks for kids (and parents) to enjoy reading a few books without any obligation to buy - though it's worth bearing in mind that if any get mucky, you may need to pay for them. The kids menu is packed with playful food options, including cloud fluff (mashed potato) and ocean nibbles (breaded fish) that makes dining as fun as it is tasty for little visitors.
Best place for dinner
Nestled in Atlantis, the Palm, this great Italian restaurant has everything families could ask for. Its aquarium views provide endless entertainment for the kids (not to mention a relaxing backdrop for adults), while the authentic Italian fare provides simple yet stunning food the whole family can enjoy.
Dubai is famous for the quality of its waterparks, so no matter where you pick, it's hard to go wrong. Atlantis's Aquaventure, however, definitely stands out among the best. For the youngest visitors, the Splashers Children's Play Area is packed with fun things to do, including a variety of little water slides, water cannons, climbing frames and more.
For older kids and adults, meanwhile, there are plenty of hair-raising rides that will have you all shrieking with delight. Be warned, Leap of Faith is only for the bravest visitors! There are also some great spots to relax too, including a 700-metre private beach.
Tip: For those travelling with young children, it's worth paying a visit to the new Legoland Waterpark, which has been specially designed for families with kids aged two to 12.
Best Theme Park
A movie lover's dream, Motiongate is one of several new theme parks in Dubai, and it's bound to become a firm favourite among families. The park is partnered with Sony Picture Studios, DreamWorks Animation and Lionsgate to create all kinds of exciting film-themed rides and experiences.
Perhaps the best thing about this park is the sheer range of experiences on offer. In addition to rollercoasters and other traditional rides (all with a movie twist, of course), there are interactive play labs, water rides, multimedia theatre and more. Plus, there are attractions for all ages across the park's five zones; for example, in the DreamWorks zone, you'll find plenty to do around hit family films such as Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon.
Best theme park for younger kids
Any parent who has taken their brood to a theme park knows that it can be hard to find somewhere that caters well to younger visitors; often, so many of the rides just aren't suitable for small children. However, the newly opened Legoland Dubai is designed for kids aged two to 12.
Containing six themed zones, this attraction is wonderful for families. Here, you can do everything from learn how Lego bricks are made to earn a Legoland Driving Licence.
Depending on the hotel you're staying at, you might be able to splash about on a private beach whenever you please. Even so, it is still worth visiting Kite Beach, which seems made for families. Providing a host of activities both on and off the water, it is somewhere you can try kite surfing and kayaking, play beach tennis, bounce about on an outdoor trampoline, or even just relax on the sand. This level of variety means there's enough to keep even the most restless of children occupied all day, and there are plenty of cafes, toilets and changing areas to make it a practical choice for parents too.
Best indoor attraction
Catering to kids of all ages, SEGA Republic is one of the region's best-loved indoor theme parks. Unsurprisingly, its focus is video games, so there is a huge range of arcade games and similar attractions on offer - but that's not all. For instance, there's the Lazeraze laser maze, which is brilliant for older kids, while younger visitors will have plenty to keep them occupied with a four-level soft play area.
Best cultural experience
Saruq Al-Hadid Museum
Don't miss the opportunity to soak up a little culture as a family while you're here. One of the best places for kids to get to know Dubai's culture while oodles of fun is the Saruq Al-Hadid Museum.
Displaying finds from the Rub Al-Khali desert, this museum lets you discover all kinds of exciting treasures from the Iron Age, including jewellery, stoneware and fossils. What really makes this place stand out, however, is just how well it makes these treasures interesting and accessible to children.
Indeed, this interactive museum provides a Children's Trail through the gallery, as well as theatrical films and even a "dig" experience, where kids can have a go at being an archaeologist by digging out treasures for themselves.
Guaranteed family fun in Dubai
These are some of the very best options for your family holiday to Dubai, but remember, there are plenty more just waiting to be discovered. So, if you're looking for a destination that has something to offer every member of the family, Dubai is the place to pick.