If you're looking for the best beaches in Abu Dhabi, look no further.
It is a bustling city with glamorous skyscrapers and breath-taking architecture, but it also makes for the perfect sun, sea and sand destination thanks to its beautiful beaches.
Whether you’re a resident in the city or a passing tourist, you can spend your days dipping in and out of crystal clear oceans and soaking up the sun (when the weather allows it), enjoy evenings watching a picturesque sunset over the Arabian sea or be the life of the party at one of Abu Dhabi’s popular beach clubs.
The capital is home to an array of both private and public beaches that are all worth a visit. Here are our favourites…
Okay, so this stretch of sand is located on the Corniche but with its outdoor gym, basketball and volleyball courts, shops, restaurants and gaming area deserves a bit of special attention. A great place to stroll and relax, it's open every day from 7am.
Free. Daily 7am-sunset. Corniche.
Al Bateen Beach
This family-friendly spot enjoys a great location and it’s ideal for a quiet day chilling out. The waters are calm and the views from the 800m stretch of sand are equally soothing. If you're feeling active, you can hire kayaks or stand-up paddleboards and get out on the water. There are also a handful of cafés, around 100 car parking spaces and plenty of lifeguards on duty so you can refuel and let the kids go and paly while you recharge.
Free. Open daily 8am-sunset. Al Bateen, Khalifa Al Mubarak Street, off Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street.
Al Maya Island & Resort
If you want to relax but also like a party atmosphere then this could be ideal. You can catch a boat from a dock next to the Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana and then take a 20-minute jaunt over to this resort, a truly isolated spot on an island off the coast of the Corniche. On Fridays there is a party atmosphere where you can lie on one of the many sun loungers, sit around the poolside bar, hit the dance floor and party to tunes being spun by top DJs, or jump into the massive pool and socialise around the swim-up bar. Saturdays have more of a chilled vibe, with groups enjoying a small getaway from the mainland.
Dhs100 shuttle boat service on Saturdays includes entrance and use of facilities. Fri-Sat 10am-8pm, www.almayauae.com.
You’ve probably driven past it lots of times but have you ever spent a day on the beach on the Corniche? The pristine beachfront is a fantastic family spot on which to enjoy a relaxed day. It’s divided into three sections: Al Sahil is for singles and groups, Gate 2 is for families and has a quiet zone and Gate 3 is for families, especially children. The seaside boardwalk is four miles long and the walkways are paved and dotted with benches and gardens that overlook the ocean. Surrounding the Corniche beach there are children’s play areas, separate cycle and pedestrian pathways, cafés and restaurants. There are also plenty of free sports facilities on offer, including volleyball courts and football pitches and three playing fields. And if your family likes a bit of adventure then take a speedboat or jet-ski off the Corniche, or why not try snorkelling?
BAKE Beaches open daily 8am-8pm. Dhs10 per adult and Dhs5 per children under 12. Kids under five go free. Dhs25 per lounger. Public beaches open daily 8am-8pm. Free.
This huge island opened its beach back in 2018, and while the rest of the island remains untouched, the space just over the hulking Hudayriat Bridge is a popular spot. There are food trucks and sports facilities from the island and the 600 metre-long beach is open daily from 8am to 7pm and is free to use for the public. There are also three new slipways for boats and jet-skis, making it a must-visit for thrill-seekers in the capital.
Free. Open daily 8am to 7pm. Hudayriat Island.
Saadiyat Public Beach
Saadiyat Island’s serene natural shores is one of the most picturesque places in the emirate. The 400m beach is a great spot for a day out to enjoy Abu Dhabi’s clean, warm turquoise waters. To make the beach experience even more enjoyable and relaxing, there are showers and changing rooms, together with sun loungers, towels and lockers for rent. Managed by BAKE, you’ll have 300 loungers to choose from, a towel and locker rental service, as well as showers and changing rooms.
Open daily 8am-sunset. Dhs25 per adult and Dhs15 per child aged six-12. Kids under five go free. Sun lounger and an umbrella: Dhs50 (weekdays), Dhs75 (weekends and public holidays). Saadiyat Island.
Styling itself as a “beach playground” big on beats and brunches, Yas Beach is a must-visit location. The club is home to restaurants and a bar, as well as being a spot to enjoy plenty of watersports. There's a fee to get in, but it's also free if you're staying at any of the hotels on Yas Island.
Open daily 10am-7pm. Dhs60 (adults, Sun-Thu), Dhs120 (adults Fri-Sat, public holidays), free (kids 11 and under when with an adult). Yas Island (056 242 0435).
Zaya Nurai Island
You could spend your life travelling the world and you’d struggle to find a beach which tops this one for pure, indulgent luxury. Take a ten-minute private boat ride from Saadiyat Island and you're there, what seems like a million miles away from the city. Take a leisurely stroll on the beautiful beach or plunge into an adventure with one of the water sports on offer. But if you’d rather unwind and let your worries slip away then opt for a day at Zaya spa, where treatments start from Dhs220. There are also plenty of dining options to choose from including Frangipani, which offers dishes that use organic and seasonal produce, Mexican spot Dusk, Levantine seafood joint Hooked and pool and beach bars Smokin' Pineapple and Ginger Mermaid. You can stay here, too, but for most of us an Instagram pic on the seaside swings are enough. It costs Dhs480 per day, but you get Dsh420 of that back to spend on food and drinks on the island.
Dhs480 per person, including boat transfer. Open daily 10.30am-11pm. Advanced booking required (02 506 6274).