Dubai: It’s weekend again! Evening temperatures falling to 29 degrees Celsius, and pleasant day temperatures, parents look forward to outdoor activities with their children. This list of 7 places below Dh15, or free, was shared last weekend with our family. We bring you this week’s list of six free UAE destinations, including historical landmarks and beaches.
1. La Mer beach, Dubai
Enjoy a relaxing family vacation at La Mer beach. It is located in Jumeirah 1 (between Jumeirah Bay, and Pearl Jumeirah). Take a picnic with you and let your kids build a sand castle. The La Mer beach is open from 10am-10pm on Sundays and 10am-12am on Thursdays and Saturdays. However, swimming is restricted to sunset. The other retail shops, spas, La Mer cafes, restaurants, and spas are still open after this time, but you will be unable to swim or relax on the sun-beds. Access to the beach is not charged, but you can rent cabanas and try paddle boarding, surfing, or any other water sport for an additional fee.
2. Wadi Shees, Khorfakkan
Wadi (valley Shees), nestled between Hajar mountains, is located on the east Coast of the UAE. This hidden gem, which is easily accessible via the Khorfakkan road number 142, is a great place to relax or explore the Hajar Mountains. Following 500 metres of winding walkways, visitors can look over the beautifully designed Shees park, which has a fun children’s play area, along with dedicated barbeque pits, benches under tree shades, and a 25-meter-high manmade waterfall. Shees park can be accessed free of cost and is about an hour’s drive from the Emirate of Sharjah.
3. Najd Al Maqsar, Khorfakkan
Najd Al Maqsar, a deserted settlement west of Khor Fakkan, Sharjah. To see the lives of the ancient villagers who built houses in Najd Al Maqsar using palm fronds, climb up the steps. The stunning views over Wadi Shees’ lush valleys and mountains will amaze you. Najd Al Maqsar village comprises thirteen houses built hundreds of years ago. The walls were constructed with stones and mud, while the roofs were covered with palm fronds. The Al Maqsar Tower, a historical monument at the top the mountain, is the most well-known landmark of Najd Al Maqsar. The surrounding area
4. Al Ain Oasis Al Ain
Al Ain Oasis spans 1,200 hectares. It offers an unparalleled insight into the area’s inhabitants, who began to manage the desert around 4,000 years ago. The oasis is located in Al Ain’s centre and is free to enter. It is only a 90-minute drive from the capital. Visitors can see a traditional falaj which is an ancient irrigation system that nourishes local grasslands, over 147,000 date palms, and fruit trees.
5. Hatta dam, Dubai
The Hatta Dam is an exclave in Dubai that can be reached within 90 minutes from the Emirate. This body of water is located near Hatta Fort Hotel (link), and the popular outdoor activity center Hatta Wadi Hub. It lies among rugged peaks in the Hajar range. This spot is particularly popular during the cooler months. There are also activities for children, who will enjoy the sight of the ducks at the water’s edge. The dam area is free to access, but families can rent kayaks and boats for a fee.
6. Dhayah fort, Ras Al Khaimah
Dhayah Fort is a castle like structure located in Ras Al Khaimah, the northern Emirate. This hidden treasure is on the Unesco World Heritage Tentative List. It stands amid the arid mountains of Ras Al Khaimah and the fertile date Wadis. This lush oasis is centred around the fort, which offers spectacular views of the mountains, green lands and palm trees to Oman and down to sea.
12 large Wadi Suq graves can be found at the base the fort. The Ras Al Khaimah Department of Antiquities and Museums plans to make this area an archaeology reserve. It is difficult to climb up to Dhayah Fort. It is not suitable for prams, wheelchairs, or other mobility aids. There is no lighting, so it’s advisable to visit the fort during daylight hours.