Renowned for its world-class shopping and cosmopolitan lifestyle, most travelers visit Dubai to experience its luxury hotels and interesting sights like the world’s biggest skyscraper, Burj Khalifa. Despite being known as “The City of Gold”, Dubai is also growing in popularity with outdoor enthusiasts. From sea kayaking to wreck diving, enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in Dubai.
7 Outdoor Activities To Try In Dubai
Camel Riding and Overnight Camping
Step back in time and follow the footsteps of the nomadic Bedouins, the first inhabitants of the United Arab Emirates. Feel the pulse of the ancient desert as you trek through the Arabian Desert on camelback. During your journey, discover the wildlife found only in this region. Visit traditional Bedouin villages and learn about life in the desert. Enjoy cultural activities like henna tattoos and belly dancing. Or try your hand at bread making. Experience the splendor of an Arabian sunset and wind down for the night by sitting next to a campfire. Gaze up at the stars before calling it a night.
Have you ever dreamed of drifting across ancient sands? On a quad bike tour, experience one of the most exhilarating outdoor activities in Dubai. Accompanied by an expert guide, overcome your fears and hit the gas. Zoom across the rolling hills of the Arabian Desert. Race your friends through the largest sand dunes in Dubai or marvel at iconic sites like Fossil Rock and Big Red Dune. Be sure to take plenty of action shots! After, enjoy some R&R sipping on coffee and nibbling on dried fruits in a Bedouin-style tent. Sand-dune bashing is another exciting way to discover offbeat Dubai.
Hot Air Ballooning
Head out early to experience the unforgettable sunrise over the red sand dunes of the Arabian Desert at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. As you soar, enjoy the cool breeze and breathtaking landscape views. Gaze out at the Hajjar Mountains. Spot gazelles, wandering camels, and oryx in their natural habitat. Some tours even include a falconry demonstration. From the basket, watch falcons fly up to 4,000 feet. Falcons are one of the fastest animals in the world. After, drive to a Bedouin camp and enjoy a hearty gourmet breakfast.
Dubai’s long beaches make it an ideal destination for water sports like kite surfing – a mixture of surfing, wakeboarding, and paragliding. Head to Kite Beach at Wollongong Beach, one of the most popular spots in town for kite surfing, beach tennis, and kayaking. Nessnass Beach is great for beginners since the waters are calm. If you’ve never been kite surfing before, take an introductory lesson. This is a quick, safe and fun way to get started. Or consider tandem kite surfing with an instructor. Advanced lessons are also available. December to April is the best time to experience kite surfing and other watersports in Dubai.
A few hours away from Dubai’s hectic malls, restaurants and bars, catch a glimpse of UAE’S stunning landscape while exploring the hiking trails. With a diverse and virtually unscathed terrain, you can soak in the boundless beauty of rolling hills, small mountains, palm trees, and natural springs. Explore trails like Shawka Dam Loop, a 6.21-mile loop at the Shawka Dam or Jebel Hafeet, a 7.45-mile hike near Al Ain.
On the Shawka Dam, hike and wadi wade through shallow streams. Take in the scenery and keep an eye out for dragonflies, toads, fish, and birds. You’ll also have plenty of wildlife to keep you company including camels, goats, and donkeys. Besides hiking, you can also cycle, run or walk at Shawka Dam Loop.
Want to free-fall 13,000 feet above the Arab Peninsula? Go skydiving!
While skydiving isn’t for everyone, it’s certainly one of the most daring adventure activities in Dubai. This daredevil’s dream starts with an ascent over Palm Jumeirah and ends with you jumping out of a plane accompanied by a trained instructor. From high above, see the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s skyline, and the sand islands. When it comes to experiencing a spectacular aerial view of Dubai, this is something you won’t want to miss. An alternative would be skydiving indoors at iFLY Dubai.
Cruise the pristine waters of the Arabian Gulf on a jet ski at 40 mph. For more inspiration including flyboarding and speedboat tours, check out these 50 fun activities to do in Dubai.
When to book your adventure to Dubai?
The best time to plan your trip to the United Arab Emirates is during the winter months from October to April. Ranging from the upper 70s to the low 80s, visit in January for the coolest temperatures.
In winter Dubai’s clear blue skies and white sand beaches are perfect for exploring the great outdoors. Although you can expect a few days of rain, winter is actually Dubai’s peak travel season.
Danielle is a travel finance strategist, author, speaker and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27 and has traveled to 26 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her own terms.