Winter has come – and with it the UAE’s outdoor season. This means that your activities, previously restricted to air-conditioned spaces, are about to get a lot more varied and interesting.
For a city that functions indoors for seven months of the year, Dubai offers no shortage of things to do outdoors. If you’re in need of a little bit of inspiration, here is a list to help get you started.
Cycling at Al Qudra Lakes
A mere 30 minutes from Dubai is the wildlife sanctuary of Al Qudra Lakes, with its rolling dunes, free-roaming fauna, and quaint picnic spots. Surrounding the lakes is a cycle track – 86 kilometers in length – where you can also rent a bike if you don’t have one.
The recent addition of a Last Exit food-truck stop makes this the perfect all-day outing.
Ziplining at Jebel Jais
Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah rises 1,934 meters above sea level, earning it the title of the UAE’s tallest mountain. It also happens to be home to the world’s longest zipline, which will propel you through the air at speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour at a height of 1,680 meters above sea level.
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Picnicking in a Park
If you’re craving some time in nature, grab a good book, a picnic blanket, and some snacks and head to your nearest park. If you’re not sure where that is, check out this list of green spaces in the UAE.
Working Out at Skydive Dubai
Other than being home to Skydive Dubai’s operations, this space now boasts an outdoor gym complete with a running track, monkey bars, and climbing ropes. If you’ve already gotten your workout in that day, this is also a great spot to kick back and watch some of the city’s best callisthenic athletes at work.
Horse Riding in the Desert
There are a number of riding schools across the UAE, but look for one that will organize desert treks, like Al Sahra Desert Resort Equestrian Centre, preferably at sunrise or sunset. You can thank us later.
Kayaking in Hatta
The Hatta Dam, located about an hour and a half away from Dubai, is one of the most picturesque spots in the country, especially at sunrise. Head to Hatta Kayak to rent pedal boats, water bikes, or kayaks for a trip out on the lake. The surrounding landscape is also well known amongst the UAE’s trail-running community.
If you’re considering a trip to the mountains of Hatta, there are a number of other activities on offer, from archery and axe throwing to mountain biking and hiking. As for where to stay, look no further than the Damani Lodges and Sedr Trailers.
Standup Paddle Boarding Around Burj Al Arab
The Surfhouse Dubai is at the center of the emirate’s surfing community. Under one roof, you’ll find surfboards, SUPs, yoga sessions, and Single Fin, a café serving up some of the city’s best breakfast, poke bowls, and vegan dishes. The Surfhouse is a three-minute drive from the beach, from which you can set off for a tour around the adjacent Burj Al Arab or simply paddle out to sea.
Kayaking Through the Abu Dhabi Mangroves
Abu Dhabi’s mangroves are a protected wildlife habitat and home to a rich ecosystem that includes several fish species, sea birds, sea snakes, and turtles. Noukhada offers guided kayaking tours along the coast, during which you’ll be accompanied by a conservationist who will talk you through the diverse fauna and flora on your way. Longer day trips with barbecue lunches are also available.
Snorkeling Around Snoopy Island
Drive North to Fujairah and you’ll find Sandy Beach Hotel, a local institution of sorts that has been around since 1978. Rent a bungalow for the night and spend the day snorkeling around Snoopy Island. The waters here are filled with rainbow coral and fish, turtles, and the occasional harmless shark.
Quadbiking Through the Desert
Rent a quadbike through one of the many companies operating in the UAE and set off into the dunes. Packages can include camping, barbecues, and more. But remember: safety before fun.
Slingshoting on Kite Beach
After the world’s biggest mall and its tallest building, Dubai is now home to the region’s fastest human slingshot (you read that correctly). Head down to Kite Beach for XDubai’s latest thrill, which will catapult you at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour over sand and water.