Dubai: It’s weekend again! With evening temperatures dropping to 29 degrees Celsius and relatively pleasant day temperatures, parents are looking forward to making outdoor plans with their children. Last weekend we shared this list of 7 places under Dh15 or free, to visit with family. This week we bring to you a fresh list of six free UAE spots to explore, including historical landmarks, beaches and more.
1. La Mer beach, Dubai
Enjoy a mini break with your family at the La Mer beach, located in Jumeirah 1, between Jumeirah Bay and Pearl Jumeirah. Pack a picnic basket and relax on the beach while your little ones build a sand castle. Although the La Mer beach remains open from 10am to 10pm, Sunday to Wednesday, and from 10am till 12am, Thursday to Saturday, you are allowed to swim only till sunset. After this, the other retail facilities, spas and La Mer cafes and restaurants are open, but swimming or relaxing on the sun-beds will not be possible. While access to the beach is free, you can rent cabanas, try your hand at paddle boarding, surfing or a range of other water sports for additional costs.
2. Wadi Shees, Khorfakkan
Nestled between the Hajar mountains on the east coast of the UAE lies Wadi (valley) Shees. A perfect place to relax and explore the Hajar mountains, this hidden gem is accessible from the new Khorfakkan road 142. 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 is an abandoned settlement west of Khor Fakkan in Sharjah. Hike up the stairs to discover the life of ancient villagers who constructed houses in Najd Al Maqsar settlement using palm fronds. You will encounter breathtaking views of the mountains and lush valleys of Wadi Shees.
The Najd Al Maqsar village consists of thirteen old houses dating back to hundreds of years, constructed using stones and mud to build the walls, and palm fronds to cover the roofs. The most famous monument of the Najd Al Maqsar village is the historical Al Maqsar Tower, which was built about 300 years ago at the top of the mountain. The area
4. Al Ain Oasis, Al Ain
Al Ain Oasis covers 1,200 hectares and provides a unique insight into the region's inhabitants who began taming the desert 4,000 years ago. Located in the centre of Al Ain, the oasis is a 90-minute drive away from the capital and free to enter. Here, visitors can get up close to a traditional falaj, an ancient irrigation system that today nourishes local grasslands and over 147,000 date palms and fruit trees.
5. Hatta dam, Dubai
Hatta is an exclave of Dubai, situated just 90 minutes away from the Emirate of Dubai. Located near the Hatta Fort Hotel and the popular outdoor activity centre Hatta Wadi Hub, this body of water lies nested among the rugged peaks of the Hajar range. The spot is especially popular in the cooler months, and also has activities for children who will love the sight of ducks by the water. While the dam area can be accessed for free, there are paid boats and kayaks for families to enjoy.
6. Dhayah fort, Ras Al Khaimah
Dhayah Fort is a castle-like structure in the northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. The hidden gem is listed on the Unesco World Heritage Tentative List and stands amidst the arid mountains and fertile date Wadis of Ras Al Khaimah. The fort forms the centre of this lush oasis and boasts spectacular views from the mountains across palm trees and green lands to neighbouring Oman and down to the sea.
At the base of the fort lie 12 large Wadi Suq tombs. Apparently, the Ras Al Khaimah Department of Antiquities and Museums intends to turn this entire area into an archaeology park. Note that the climb to Dhayah Fort is uneven and rocky. It is not accessible to prams, wheelchairs and other mobility aids. There is no lighting, so it’s advisable to visit the fort during daylight hours.