Perched on the edge of the Arabian peninsula where the endless desert meets the clear ocean, Dubai is a beach-lovers paradise. Popular beaches with stunning city views draw the crowds, but there are hidden bays and deserted sands to be explored as well. Whatever your beach style is, we’ve rounded up Dubai’s best beaches, including some gorgeous hidden gems.

1. Enjoy Family Days Out At Jumeirah Beach Park

Half beach and half shaded parkland, Jumeirah Beach Park has a huge variety of facilities to create the ideal family day out. Picnic benches in the shade of palm trees overlook the bone-white sand of one of Dubai’s most popular public beaches. It’s the perfect spot for an al fresco lunch between paddling in the sea. There are kids play areas, public barbeques and beach volleyball to while away entire days here.

2. Admire The View At Umm Suqeim Beach

For the iconic view of the sail-like Burj Al-Arab hotel, head to Umm Suqeim Beach. Also known locally as Sunset Beach, this is a great place to watch the sun dip below the water and is known as the best spot for uninterrupted views of the Burj Al-Arab. There’s a running track so you can enjoy the stunning view as you keep fit, or just relax on a rental sun lounger.

3. Keep Active At Kite Beach

As the name suggests, Kite Beach is the place to be for watersports in Dubai. During the day, the sky above the turquoise sea is filled with rainbow sails from kite surfers and paragliders. There are plenty of other adrenaline-pumping activities across Kite Beach, from stand-up paddle-boarding to beach volleyball, and waves big enough to surf.

4. Get Romantic At Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s Cove Beach

Relax with your significant other on this luxury hotel’s private slice of sand. Far from the active, family-oriented public beaches of Jumeirah, this is an adult-only segment of paradise. The Beach Cove club has an exclusive feel to it, and food and drink are served at your lounger, so there’s no need to move. Or chill out under the shade of a brilliant white umbrella with a drink or a spot of lunch.

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Cost: From US$27 for a double beach mattress.

5. Discover The Secret Of Black Palace Beach

Secreted between Palm Jumeirah and the Burj Al-Arab, the pristine sands of Black Palace, or Al Sufouh Beach make up one of Dubai’s best hidden bays. Cloaked by a line of palm trees, it’s easy to miss the narrow path the leads to this section of the city’s most popular beach front, leaving it far less crowded than the other public beaches in the area. Facilities aren’t as good as Jumeirah or Mamzar Beach Parks, but it’s a small price to pay for often deserted sands. The calm water is perfect for swimming, paddling and exploring the underwater world by snorkel.

6. Set Your Own Pace At Al Ghantoot Beach

Found on the outskirts of Dubai, just off the road towards Abu Dhabi, there’s a practically deserted sweep of sand at Al Ghantoot’s beaches. A few luxury hotels like the Golden Tulip line the beachfront here, so there are plenty of places to try watersports or pause for a luxurious lunch. Where parasailers and windsurfers fill the water at Kite Beach, you’ll find a more laid-back, spacious vibe at Al Ghantoot.

7. Make It An All-Day Event At Mamzar Beach Park

Home to a sprawling sweep of beach that meets luscious, manicured gardens, Mamzar Beach Park is another great place for families. Stuffed with facilities, you could spend all day at this stretch of coast and not get bored. If swimming in the sea isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy all the beach-side delights and have a dip in the public pool to cool off instead. There are loads of secluded barbeque areas hidden in the trees, so you can stay refuelled throughout the day.

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Top Tip: Trekking across the sand to the most northerly bay of this beach park is where you’ll find the least crowds.

8. Combine Adventure And Relaxation At Aquaventure Beach

Within the sprawling grounds of Aquaventure Park you’ll find Dubai’s only private beach within a waterpark. Adults can relax in a private cabana or on exclusive garden seating while kids enjoy the flumes and river rapids of the waterpark. There’s ziplining, volleyball and all manner of water sports to keep kids of all ages and teenagers entertained.

9. Visit The Best Beach In The World (Islands)

Cast out in the Persian Gulf off the shore of Jumeirah’s beaches, man-made islands in the shape of the world map are a spectacle from above. Head to Lebanon Island to find an exclusive beach club where white sand slips effortlessly into the calm sea. The South Side Beach boasts spectacular views across to Dubai’s skyline, and chilled Ibizan beats are paired with exceptional service. It’s the ultimate luxury escape from the city. Private boats run every hour from Jumeirah Fishing Harbour 1 and the entrance fee to the beach club starts at US$55 for adults and US$27 for children.

10. Embrace A Hub Of Activity At Marina Beach

With camel rides on the sand, vendors offering all manner of water sports and the shops of the centre of Dubai just steps away, there’s so much to do at Marina Beach. This is a lively hub of activity at the heart of the city. One of the busiest public beaches, you’ll find a huge variety of shops and cafés lining the sand so grab a drink at a café and stare out at the sea, or shop up a storm with an exceptional beach-view.

11. Uncover A Hidden Treasure At Jebel Ali Open Beach

While the crowds flock to the beaches on and around the Jumeirah Palm Islands, there are hidden bays to be found at the base of the Jemel Ali Palm Islands. Most sweeps of sand here belong to luxury hotels, but the Jebel Ali Open Beach is a public section where you’ll find all the facilities of Dubai’s popular public beaches, like barbeque areas and changing huts, but without the crowds.

12. Embrace Hippy Chic At La Mer Beach

The colourful wooden huts on La Mer beach set this quiet spot up as a chilled-out but fun place to spend the day. The shops, cafés and ice cream stands in the streets of the Laguna beach-side complex provide everything you need for a relaxing day. On the sand painted wooden boats and surf boards give this place a hippy-chic vibe.

13. Hit The Hottest Spot In Dubai At JBR Open Beach

Stretching out in front of the Jumeirah Beach Residence apartments, the JBR Open beach has the widest selection of water sports and activities in Dubai. You can try anything from banana boating, surfing and wakeboarding on the water or camel riding, volleyball and just relaxing on the sand. The Walk at JBR Open Beach is a stretch of shopping and dining extravaganzas, and is the place to be in Dubai. Sand sculptures and street art fill the area, so there’s always something to look at.