Sun, sand and sea you can enjoy without spending a dirham
Dubai is blessed with long stretches of golden sands that can be enjoyed at no cost whatsoever, so you don’t always have to splash out on a beach club to catch some rays. Thanks to the city’s often-complicated road system, many of them remain quiet and undiscovered – here’s our pick of the best.
JBR Beach Dubai’s most popular beach simply can’t be beaten for its convenient proximity to The Walk, which features plenty of juice bars, burger joints and gelato counters. A day out at JBR remains many Dubaians’ weekend staple. The Walk at JBR (beach access available at several points along the road).
Kitesurfing Beach Dubai’s sportiest beach is a favourite with soccer and volleyball players, kayakers and – the clue is in the name – kitesurfers. It’s situated just after the World Project Office: walk left past the soccer posts to reach the sea. Corner of 2d and 35a street; behind Saga World, Umm Suqeim 1.
Jumeirah Open Beach Formally known as Russian Beach, this is Dubai’s original public beach, which has been attracting bathers for years. Longer and wider than most of its neighbours further up the coast, the beach also has a 1.8km running track. There are showers and public toilets (but bring your own paper), and 24-hour shops in case you need to stock up on refreshments. Just past Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Palm Strip Mall. Turn into 47a Street from Jumeirah Beach Road to get to the other end of the beach.
4x4 Beach So named because it’s a popular place for drivers to park up and take in the view. This spot, next to Jumeirah Beach Park, also boasts a huge expanse of sand and a picturesque bay view. At the corner of Al Athar Road and Beach Road, next to Jumeirah Beach Park, Jumeirah 2.
Bu Qtair Beach A small, quaint peninsula distinguishable for its floral bins and memorable for Bu Qtair, the famous fresh seafood dining shack. Turn down 11a street from Jumeirah Beach Road; drive down 2b street and you’ll arrive on the sand just after fish shack Bu Qtair.
Palace Beach You’ll have to career off road to reach Palace Beach, but many savvy JBR types do so to escape the tourists, and for the great views of the Palm Jumeirah. Turn off Al Sufouh Road and dodge the shrubs to arrive at the golden sand. Turn right into the slip road after the bus stop on Al Sufouh Road (just before Hessa Street and about 500m before Media City).
Umm Suqeim Park Beach Popular with tourists in search of ‘holding up the Burj Al Arab’ shots, the spot also known as Sunset Beach is a destination for seasoned surfers and windsurfers, who can be spotted in the early mornings. There’s also a park next door if you fancy some greenery. Off Al Thanya Street, next to Jumeirah Beach Hotel, opposite Umm Suqeim Park (follow the sign for the park).
Mercato Beach This small, quaint bay, off Jumeirah Beach Road, almost looks like a lake because of the reclaimed land in front of it. This hidden gem also boasts soccer nets. Turn into 13a Street (part of a slip road just opposite the Children’s Garden Nursery), Jumeirah 2.