The desert city has dozens of glittering golden strands of sand to tempt you away from your hotel. Some are ideal to soak up the eternal sunshine from the comfort of a sun-lounger and immerse in the azure Arabian Gulf, while others offer the chance to take to the waves with all sorts of watersports, or simply watch the sunset and dine in a beach-side boutique by the water.
A mix of private bays, beach parks and public stretches of sand dot Dubai’s long shore. Here’s the scoop on the top seven sandy shores to suit every type of traveller, no matter what sort of beach day you’re looking for.
A guide to Dubai’s best beaches for…
Watersports – Kite Beach
Just off Jumeirah Beach Road in the Umm Suqeim area of the city, the 2km-long Kite Beach is perfectly designed for an active day down by the sea with all kinds of sports and activities on offer. Its offshore winds have made it a prime spot for wind-surfing and kite-surfing, but you can go paddle-boarding and kayaking here too, and there’s a dive centre with two-day courses ideal for travellers. Up on the beach there’s also volleyball and trampolining, and beyond the sand there’s a skate park and retro food trucks such as Salt, renowned for its gourmet snacks.
Family – Al Mamzar Beach Park
A landscaped beach park on a little peninsula to the south of Dubai Creek, Al Mamzar has a relaxed beach community atmosphere with five golden arcs of sand watched over by life guards, and shallow shelving waters ideal for little ones. Popular with locals and ex-pats, the area covers more than 100 hectares and includes places to eat and play, as well as chill in the sun. There are air-conditioned beach cabins for day rental, picnic areas and barbecue facilities shaded by trees, and bikes and buggy carts that you can hire to explore the winding pathways and shoreline. Camel rides, a roller-skating arena, three swimming pools plus a toy train that circles the park are ideal for families. There’s a small entrance fee, but the clean changing rooms, showers and toilets are free.
Beachside bustle – La Mer
Twin bays of blonde sand – North Beach and South Beach – flank the relatively-new and stylish seaside development of La Mer that manages to channel a cool mix of California and the Mediterranean. Located on the waterfront of the Jumeira 1 district, between Pearl Jumeirah and Jumeirah Bay, the beaches have a boutique aesthetic, with hammocks dangling above the water, pretty beach huts with toilets and family facilities, cute bucket showers and driftwood benches. You can hire rattan sunloungers and parasols, cabanas and day rooms, and try motorized watersports at South Beach, while Sea Spice beach club offers luxury service on an exclusive section of sand. Behind the beach, a selection of smart eateries, cafes and ice cream parlours keep visitors well fed and watered, while the boutique stores selling everything from street wear to beach bags are great if you fancy a break from the beach.
Peace and quiet – Black Palace Beach
Black Palace Beach is a little off the beaten track making it the ideal secluded spot to escape the bustle of the city. Hidden beside the royal residence of Al Sufouh, a pathway leads from the road to the serene enclave of Black Palace Beach, also known as "Secret Beach". An undeveloped bit of coastline, there are no visitor facilities but you can swim in the calm waters in silence and meditate on the strange contrast with the sail-shaped structure of Burj Al Arab and man-made island of Palm Jumeirah on the horizon.
Swimming and snorkelling – Jumeirah Beach
One of Dubai’s most popular beaches, Jumeirah’s shelving sands and clear blue waters make it ideal for a refreshing swim parallel to the shore, where you can also don a mask and snorkel to spot subtropical marine creatures weaving between the soft corals, seagrass and rocks.
Views – Sunset Beach
Unbeatable views of Dubai’s most iconic structures give this urban public beach in the Jumeirah 4 area a scenic edge, and as its name suggests, it’s also a great place to watch the glowing orange red and purple Arabian sunset. There’s always something happening on the wide fine sands of Sunset Beach, also called "Umm Suqeim Beach", and its gentle waves make it a good place to try surfing, with surf-boards available to rent from Surf House Dubai nearby.
Exclusivity – Cove Beach
A private stretch of sand in the shadow of the Burj Al Arab, Cove Beach’s creamy palm-tufted sands are attached to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, but anyone can buy an all-access day pass to the beach club with its luxury loungers dotting the creamy palm-tufted sands. The beach offers service straight to your sun-lounger, chic chill-out areas with sunshades, and a stylish eatery where you can enjoy light bites from the Mediterranean-inspired menu. Its Sea Lounge beach bar is the ideal spot for a sundowner after relaxing on the beach all day.
It is a shore thing in Dubai
The Beach by JBR is another long and lively expanse of sandy shore that’s popular with Dubai residents and visitors alike. Fringing The Walk promenade at JBR, it’s lined by eateries, juice bars and fast cars, and you can find camel rides, banana boats, and even an inflatable waterpark here, making it ideal for a fun and carefree day by the sea. Encircled with immaculate slices of sand, the unique man-made island of Palm Jumeirah is well worth some of your beach time too. Although the beaches are all owned by hotels, each offers day passes via luxury beach clubs where you can relax in style.