There’s close to 1,000km of soft, sugary shoreline in Dubai. That’s a lot of good times with the brood. Whether you want to curl up with a book while the kids splash about or fling a Frisbee and hope the little ones won’t injure any sunbathers, you can do. Get ready to lather on the lotion and make the most of the coast.
If you like eating and fun, which pretty much ticks all of the boxes on most families’ lists, then this beach is for you. All you need is a car – although most are 4x4s as the name suggests – a picnic, inflatables for the kids and all the gear for a day in the sun. There are no restaurants or toilets around – which is why we recommend bringing your own refreshments. Cars can drive through the empty car park right up to the beach from sunrise to sunset. The massive expanse of sand stretches from the road to the shore (great for sand running, which is an intense workout) and the bay arches around make for a picturesque view.
Free, Al Athar Road, Jumeirah 2.
Al Mamzar Beach Park
If you don’t mind a good drive, this park on the Sharjah border is well worth it. With a choice of four beaches, along with a large lawn, sports pitches and a small skate park, there’s something for the whole family. You can jog, Jet Ski, barbecue, swim in the sea, swim in the pool, wallow in air-conditioned bungalows, roller skate, have a kick about or simply build sandcastles at this beautiful beach. There are more than 25 pits to grill on (bring your own barbecue supplies), complete with wooden tables and chairs, 1,600 palm trees, 300 coconut trees and 6,000 types of plants and foliage surrounding this picturesque bay.
Pack a picnic, claim a barbecue spot for a budget lunch or pick something up from one of the many outlets. The park has toilets and changing rooms, or you can even rent a chalet for the day from Dhs150 if you want to make yourself at home. There are plenty of facilities and spots to eat at this beach – which will cost. There’s free parking on site, too. Mondays and Wednesdays are women only.
Dhs5 per person, Dhs30 per car. Near Century Mall, Al Mamzar (04 296 6201).
We bet you’ve never, ever heard of this one. Easily the busiest and among the most popular in Dubai being a stone’s throw from Dubai Marina, there’s a fantastic time to be had here. Finding your own private patch of sand on this beach is possible all day, but be warned it won’t be a massive one.
However, it’s a huge stretch of coastline starting from Zero Gravity and extending all the way to the breakwaters near the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort without interruption. Stroll the entire route and you’ll pass jet skiers, flyboarders, swimmers, bathers, ice cream huts, beach volleyballers, joggers, snorkelers and fitness buffs, big and small, taking on the inflatable Aqua Park.
There’s an abundance of restaurants, breakfast spots, cafés and entertainment areas including a cinema, fairground arcades and playgrounds. Facilities include beach bed rental, showers and changing rooms. Plus, there’s plenty of activities to entertain the whole family, including Splash Pad, a soaking-wet play area for little splashers.
Free. The Beach, opposite JBR, thebeach.ae (800 637 227).
This huge, wide beach boasts plenty of room for you, your family, friends, neighbours, neighbours’ friends and more to gather on. Teeming with activities including everything from skate parks to mini bungee jumping, high-rope courses and a running track, there’s never a dull moment at this beach.
Watersports are also popular and include kayaking, paddleboarding and water-skiing to turn a lazy day into something much more adventurous. Not only is the beach packed with activities, it’s also home to plenty of cafés for a break before the kids’ next round of adventure. Want to walk or jog along the coastline? Kite Beach’s 14km track is the perfect spot.
Free. Off Street 5a, behind Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim, kitebeach.ae (800 637 227).
The kids jump at the name of this one alone. One of the city’s newcomers – La Mer is known for its top seaside restaurants, cafés and plethora of ice cream parlours. The picture-pretty shoreline is lined with brightly painted beach huts and open for swimming from sunrise to sunset. While patrolling security forbid anyone from a dip in the dark, you can still sit on the beach and listen to the sound of the waves long after the sun sets. It’s perfect to chill out on after a hard day’s slipping and sliding around the family-friendly Laguna Waterpark.
Free. La Mer, Jumeirah 1, lamerdubai.ae (800 637 227).
Sunset/Umm Suqeim Beach
A bustling, urban beach surrounded by some of the city’s finest high-rise hotels, with a kids’ playground and barbecue areas, Sunset Beach is located right next to Jumeirah Beach Hotel, in front of Umm Suqeim Park. There are plenty of restaurants and cafés surrounding it, too as well as changing rooms, Wi-Fi and plenty of lifeguards.
2C Street, Umm Suqeim.
One private beach, two pools and a number of peacocks add up to a special day at Club Joumana. There’s even a swim-up bar for the grown-ups while kids enjoy making new feathered friends. Granted, you might not find our feathered friends kicking back on the cabana next to you, but you’ll definitely see them parading through the resort at this family-friendly beach club.
If majestic birds aren’t really your thing, you can engage in the numerous watersports and activities on offer (for a fee) or take a walk along the pristine stretch of golden sand with the kids. Offering a creche, CoolZone Kids Club and ChillZone Teens Club, it’s no wonder young ones love this one.
Dhs150 (adults Sun-Thu), Dhs75 (kids Sun-Thu), Dhs200 (adults Fri-Sat), Dhs100 (kids Fri-Sat). Open daily 9am-7pm. JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort, jaresortshotels.com (04 814 5029).
This popular beach hangout upped sticks and moved from Jumeirah Beach Hotel to the brand-new Bluewaters island. Now part of the world-famous Caesars resort, it’s Dubai’s latest and shiniest beach club. However, despite its exclusive location, the prices and deals of the old spot in Jumeirah remain the same.
You can book a all the mattresses and sunbeds you need and spend the day soaking in the gorgeous views out to sea from the prime location. You’ll get a towel and water thrown in, too, and the cost is redeemable on food and beverages. Kids are welcome – except on ladies’ day.
From Dhs100 (Sun-Thu), Dhs250 (Fri-Sat). Open daily 11am-1am (pool and beach close at sunset). Caesars Bluewaters Dubai, Bluewaters Island, covebeach.com (050 454 6920).
DUKES Dubai Beach Club
Set at Dukes Hotel on the Palm, this one has plenty of activities for the little ones, including Dukesy kids’ club for kids aged up to 12 years old. Once they’re happily installed in there, it’s time for the parents to chill out on the 200m of private beach, wallow in the infinity pool (which happens to be the largest on the Palm) or float away on the Lazy River. With inflatable rings and waterfalls, it’s a fun and relaxed way to spend an afternoon.
Dhs200 (Sun-Thu), Dhs250 (Fri-Sat). Open daily noon-midnight (pool and beach close at sunset). DUKES Dubai, dukesdubai.com (04 455 1111).
RIVA Beach Club
Whether you’re looking to slurp up some poolside drinks, enjoy a beach day with the kids or get your game face on for a session of beach volleyball, RIVA makes for an excellent all-rounder.
The beach club was revamped this summer and now the restaurant and re-opened beach are operating in full swing. The brand-new, Mediterranean-inspired menu features dishes such as crab and avocado salad, grilled seabass and charred lamb chops, and you can digest them all in glorious, beached-whale style on one of the many loungers while the clan take a dip in the kids’ pool.
Sun-Thu: Dhs100 (adults), Dhs50 (kids); Fri-Sat: Dhs190 (adults), Dhs75 (kids). Open daily 7am-midnight. Shoreline Apartments Building 8, Palm Jumeirah, riva-beach.com (04 430 9466).
Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa
Little ones can enjoy the numerous slides, activities and playground at the Amura Kids Club. Dancing fountains, swimming pools with fun slides, books and toys keep them engaged, and qualified activity coordinators ensure safety.
The adults lay back by one of the many pools, or indulge in the 2,500-metre spa area (at an extra cost). The extensive range of food and beverage outlets mean that even the fussiest eater will be chomping at the bit, and the fun sports activities make this a hard destination to beat for families.
Dhs250 (including Dhs180 voucher towards food and drink, adults, Sun-Thu); Dhs100 (including Dhs65 voucher towards food and drink, kids under 11, Sun-Thu). Open daily 8am-8pm. Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, Palm Jumeirah (04 455 6677).