Family camping has certainly come a long way since the days of flimsy tents and canned foods – at least in the UAE. So if you and the family are looking to take advantage of the cooler weather and hit the road for an outdoor getaway, here are our picks of some of the best… Read More
Summer has been a long one (for obvious reasons – let’s just keep it at that), but with the weather getting more and more gorgeous by the day, we can finally take advantage and enjoy some of the wonders that the outdoors offers us. So put on your adventure shoes as we explore the most amazing spots in the UAE where you can enjoy nature as you go on a mountain hike, experience the thrills of the desert or even see wildlife up close and personal.
1. Half Desert Road
You read that right – there’s a half road right here in Dubai. This stretch of highway has yielded to the powerful forces of nature, and is almost always buried under sandy dunes blown in from the surrounding desert.
While you can’t take this road as a route to your destinations, you and the family can go there for a bit of desert-themed fun. Sand-boarding, dune-bashing, and of course, Instagrammable photo-snapping are some of the cool things you can do there.
The vast wilderness is also chock-full of wildlife, and provides an excellent opportunity for your little scientists to explore local fauna and flora.
2. Dubai Safari Park
Explore this gorgeous home to thousands of animals where you and your little ones can visit four different villages: Arabian, Asian, African, and Safari village. Your whole family can even enjoy an interactive experience while you feed giraffes, meet the animals over at the Kids Farm or huddle up for The Bird Show. Various food and drink stalls are available throughout the venue.
3. Love Lake Dubai
Take a trip to the desert and check out a man-made lake in the shape of two intertwined hearts. The word LOVE is spelled out in trees right in front of it, making for a perfect spot to spend some time with your loved ones.
Take a long stroll, watch the colourful fish, snap wonderful shots at cute and quirky nature props, and even have a family picnic!
In Abu Dhabi
4. Jubail Mangrove Park
Step into a stunning mangrove sanctuary where you can take a stroll on a meandering boardwalk to witness some exciting views of nature. Choose one of three routes (the shortest is 1km, and the longest is 2km long) and stop at the six educational sections, which include a floating platform with a see-through net to catch a glimpse of the marine life underfoot, a viewing tower and a beach platform where you can get your feet wet.
Lookout for the different types of birds, fish and crabs, and look down into the clear water with its unblocked views of mangrove roots and marine life. They’ve also created a play area for children, viewing terraces for great family photos and kayaking as well.
5. See The Milky Way From Abu Dhabi
Head out for a totally unique adventure with the family and catch a glimpse of The Milky Way.
This location, just under an hour and a half out from Abu Dhabi towards Al Ain, has been recommended by families across the UAE to be the perfect spot to view the stunning galaxy.
Don’t forget to bring your camera and a picnic blanket so you can lie down as your gaze the night sky above.
6. Rahal Ranch
Ever hear of a ‘Horse Whisperer’? Well you won’t have to look very far to find one, because Abu Dhabi’s Rahal Ranch has one of the world’s best. International Horsemaster Ali Al Ameri is a world renowned expert in handling and training horses, and he’s even coached movie stars in Hollywood blockbusters.
Take your kids down for riding, show-jumping, and dressage lessons from one of the world’ best horseback riding experts, and if you or one of your children are more experienced riders, you can even learn to ride like an action movie star!
But even if you’re just looking for a change of scenery and short stay in nature, the Ranch overnight bookings at one of it’s chalets. You and the children can enjoy the simple farm life, feed the animals, ride the ponies and horses, and enjoy the peace and serenity of this local gem.
7. Fossil Dunes Abu Dhabi
Just a short 30 minute drive out of Abu Dhabi’s city centre, you’ll find gorgeous fossil dunes shaped throughout the years by deserts winds. The dunes are accessible throughout the day but for some amazing shots, head there during sunrise and sunset.
You can access some dunes with a saloon car, however, a 4×4 is best if you want to explore the dunes further into the desert.
Visit Mleiha for an adventure deep into the deserts of Sharjah where you can uncover the secrets of the region’s ancient Bedouin culture. At this archaeological center, your entire family can learn about life in the region in years gone by as well as take a closer look at the wide variety of artifacts on display. Mleiha is not just about archaeology, in fact, you can find a variety of unique and fascinating species of mammals, reptiles, insects, plants and desert succulents that are not easily found elsewhere.
You can choose to explore the center indoors, or go on one of their thrilling outdoor discovery adventures such as the Guided Archaeological Tour where you set off an incredible journey into the worlds of the past; the Fossil Hunt Expedition where you put on your palaeontologist’s hat and dig into human history with your own hands, or even explore ancient Stone Age caves by foot to take in the beautiful surroundings from the safety of wooden walkways.
9. Fossil Rock, Sharjah
Dune bashing, buggying, camping are just some of the adventorous and immensely fun activities that you can enjoy at Fossil Rock, Sharjah. It is just an hour away from Dubai and it’s beautiful to see.
You can set up camp and light a fire after you get tired of all the fun. There is also a huge red dune there that will be great for buggying and perhaps sand boarding.
(Access Fossil Rock from Mleiha side as the road on the other side is covered in sand dunes)
In Ras Al Khaimah
10. Challenging Adventure - Outdoor Adventure Activities
Challenging Adventure in Ras Al Khaimah gives you and your family the opportunity to engage with nature surrounded by the magnificent mountains of RAK. You can book half-day, full-day or overnight activities, and you’ll be accompanied by a qualified instructor who will make sure you and your kids enjoy your time in absolute safety.
Choose from a wide range of fun adventures including Rock Climbing, Abseiling, Kayaking, Trekking, and so much more. Plus, opt for the overnight package for a camping experience like no other!
11. Wadi Shawka
Explore the wild mountainside with your family and enjoy hiking trails, cycle paths, natural pools and camping spots. The best time to go is during the cooler winter months as there is a chance for multiple and larger pools of water.
12. The Dunes Camping & Safari
Whisk your family away on a one-of-a-kind camping trip where you can soak up the majesty of the desert, and experience all that RAK has to offer from awesome mountain scenery, to local beaches, and historical sites. Select from a wide range of packages that cater to your needs and tastes, guaranteeing a tailored experience like no other.
Your and the kiddies can enjoy thrilling activities such as a camel ride across the dunes, morning desert safari, guided quad-bike tours and even a family glamping experience which includes a barbecue dinner and entertainment, breakfast, camel-trekking, and sand-boarding.
13. Jais Sky Tour
Fly over the awe-inspiring cliffs and canyons of Jebel Jais, as you zip from platform to platform in this unique experience. Covering a total distance of 5km via a series of 7 ziplines, ranging from 337M to just over 1KM, the Jais Sky Tour will give you a panoramic, bird’s eye view of the towering Hajar mountains.
Navigate your way through the sky averaging speeds of 60kmph and find yourself at the UAE’s highest sky bridge, 1250m above sea level. Here you can pause to take a photograph before you walk across the length of 15m bridge and continue the last part of your zipline journey.
In Al Ain
14. Al Ain Oasis
UAE’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Al Ain Oasis, is considered one of the world’s oldest permanently inhabited settlements, dating back more than 4,000 years. Nowadays, you and your family can explore shaded pathways that wind through over 145,000 date palms, check out the Falaj irrigation system, and learn more about the Oasis at the Eco-Centre.
Restaurants, cafes & shops in the area are open daily from 12pm to 9pm
15. Al Ain Zoo
A unique zoo and home to over 3,500 animals, this wildlife park is a great family destination full of adventure. Spend the day feeding animals, watching amazing animal shows, and learning about these incredible creatures in a fun and engaging way. Even add in a safari tour if you’re feeling extra brave.