There are plenty of ways to make the most of the emirate’s favourite season…
Whether you’d prefer to stay close to the city or head into the desert, here are some of the best outdoor activities in Dubai that cost little to nothing…
Hop on a Dhs1 abra ride in Old Dubai
The Dhs1 abra rides in old Dubai should be on everyone’s UAE bucket list – at least once. They are a great way to explore both sides to the historic old town – from Deira to Bur Dubai. Many locals use the boats to get from point A to point B and avoid traffic but it is a charming experience, especially if you go around sunset.
Spot flamingos at Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is located just a few minutes’ drive from Dubai Mall. More than 20,000 birds of 67 species inhabit the area, which is most famous for its magnificent flock of flamingos. To see them, head to one of three viewing hides dotted around the perimeter of the sanctuary. The sanctuary is free to enter, and is open from 7.30am to 5.30pm during the winter season, and from 6am to 6pm between April and September.
Cycling down Meydan track
Cycle or run along this picturesque track in Dubai overlooking the iconic skyline. You can hire hybrid bikes from Dhs50 per hour and Dhs80 for two hours, or road bikes from Dhs70 and Dhs99 for two hours. All bike rentals come with a helmet, light, bottle holder and phone holder. The rental store and café is open from 5am to 11pm daily.
Splash around in Dubai Hills park
Located within walking distance from Dubai Hills Mall, this green space is the perfect place to spend the day outdoors, unwind, and explore. There’s a skate park, toddler park, older children’s park, a dog park, sports’ courts, splash pad, wave pool, and plenty of green space to run around. The park is free, apart from the splash pool which costs Dhs60 to enter.
Visit one of Dubai’s outdoor markets
The Ripe Market takes place at the Academy Park every year from October to May. Founded as a way of sourcing seasonal and local products, Ripe was created to bring the freshest and tastiest produce for residents to enjoy. The market takes place on Saturdays and Sundays, with an entrance fee of Dhs5. There’s a range of organic eateries, stalls filled with home décor, and jewellery, plus workshops, live entertainment, a children’s park, and more.
The Ripe Market, Academy Park, Al Sufouh, 9am to 9pm Sat, 9am to 7pm Sun, from October 15 until May 14. Tel: (ripeevents.com
Go camping in the desert
It’s officially camping season. Pack up the car and head out of the city to the beautiful Dubai desert. Beginners can set up camp in Al Qudra near the Love Lakes while more seasoned campers can head to the sand dunes of Liwa. Wherever you go, you’re bound to make memories to last a lifetime. Don’t forget the marshmallows!
SEE ALSO: Our cool guide to camping in the desert
Head to Hatta for a day of adventure
Hatta is one of our favourite spots for escaping the city with a myriad of adventures on your doorstep. From mountain biking to waterslides, a honey bee farm to a swan lake, it is the ultimate adventure haven. There’s an affordable new way to get to Hatta from Dubai: the Hatta Express Bus from Dubai Mall costs only Dhs25 per person and only takes one and a half hours. On arrival in Hatta, there’s the Hop On and Off bus from Hatta bus station to transport visitors around the main attractions, for just Dhs2.
Enjoy a local lunch on Jumeirah beach
Those who enjoy walking along Jumeirah 3 beach, will have probably passed the quaint Tent Jumeirah Restaurant. The local Emirati restaurant on the beach has some of the best views of the Burj al Arab as well as old Emirati fisherman memorabilia. Enjoy their fresh juices (Dhs21), seafood dishes, and traditional chicken shawarma (Dhs22) while relaxing in the sand.
Explore the Mangrove Beach in Umm Al Quwain
Roughly an hour from Dubai, this secret beach opened to the public in 2020 and is perfect for a beach day. With public amenities you can rent kayaks, paddle-boards and when you get hungry there is a cafe you can grab a snack. You and your loved ones can paddle in the water, snorkel or just kick back and relax on the sand. It’s Dhs20 to enter with your car, and you can camp here overnight for a fee of Dhs100. If you’re wanting to make a proper day out of it, you can also BBQ here as long as you leave the beach untouched upon departure. Guests won’t have to leave their fur babies at home, with this beach being pet friendly.
Pedal boats in Al Barsha Pond Park
Located next to Al Barsha Mall, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained at Al Barsha Park. Open from 8am daily, there’s a cushioned 1.5 kilometre running track and accompanying cycling path, both of which encircle the lake. Then there’s the basketball courts, gym equipment, bicycle hire, children’s play areas, bouncy castles, and pedal boats for hire.
Take your four-legged friend to The Pointe beach
You and your furry friends are now able to take a romantic stroll on Pointe Beach. With stunning views of the Atlantis, The Palm, the crescent and palm fronds, this will be your new favourite dog walking spot. Make sure to keep your dog on the leash at all times and to not take a dip in the sea.
Pointe Beach, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, open 10am to 11pm daily. thepointe.ae
Watch the sunset from Palm Jumeirah’s corniche
Whether you’re walking, running, cycling, rollerskating, or having a picnic on the wall – nothing beats the sunset from Palm Jumeirah’s corniche.