Jubail Mangrove Park
Jubail Mangrove Park Image Credit: Jubail Mangrove Park website

Dubai: Weekend is back! With temperatures getting better, parents are back to making outdoor plans to enjoy with children. Here’s a list of seven budget-friendly places across the UAE to explore, including historical landmarks, beaches and more.

1. Jubail Mangrove Park Boardwalk, Abu Dhabi

Jubail Mangrove
Image Credit: Supplied

Enjoy the breathtaking Jubail Mangrove Park Boardwalk, which stretches for about two kilometers. This is an adventure spot that the entire family can enjoy together. With three unique trails through mangrove plants to explore, it has plenty of educational opportunities to learn about Nature, and rest stops along the way.

Adults pay an entry fee of Dh15, and children from 3 to 12 years can enter for Dh5.

2. Al Ain Palace Museum, Al Ain

Al Ain Palace Museum
Al Ain Palace Museum Image Credit: Visit Abu Dhabi website

This is one of the best reinstated museums in Abu Dhabi and an important historical site in the UAE. It was home to the Founding Father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The palace and private residence provide insights into the lives and culture of both the ruling family and the community until the country’s transformation after the discovery of petroleum. The oldest building in the palace dates back to 1937. The palace was renovated in 1998 and opened its doors as a tourist and cultural museum in 2001. The museum opened its doors to visitors in 2001. Parts of the museum were restored using environmentally friendly building materials including clay and plaster stones, as well as palm tree elements for roofing rooms, ceilings, doors, and windows, all locally sourced.

Entry to the Al Ain Palace Museum is free.

3. Masfout Castle and Museum, Ajman

Masfout Castle
Image Credit: WAM

Masfout, a wonderful picnic spot that is often overlooked, belongs to the emirate of Ajman. It borders Oman, the emirate of Sharjah, and Hatta, an exclave of Dubai. The Masfout Castle or Fort stands atop a hill and is open to visitors as a museum. The Masfout Museum has attractive displays and a lot of information about the fort’s history. Don’t miss the great view over the valley. Nearby, you will also see the Masfout Castle, which is a watchtower, and has a better view over both Masfout and Hatta. The area is open from 8am to 8pm daily and can be accessed for an entry fee of Dh3 (Children under the age of six enter free).

4. Souk Madinat, Jumeirah, Dubai

Souk Madinat Jumeirah
Image Credit: Supplied

A re-creation of an ancient marketplace with traditional Middle Eastern style and ambience, located in the heart of Madinat Jumeirah, this spot is great for a family with small children. The Arabian-inspired leisure and shopping destination is also known for offering breathtaking views, worthy of a photograph and perfect for a postcard. There are also green spaces outside where families can sit and relax while children play.

Entry and access to public spaces in the Souk are free of cost.

5. The Walk and The Beach, JBR


Take a walk along the outdoor mall at The Walk or pack a picnic basket and watch the sunset with your family at The Beach, at Jumeirah Beach Residences.

Entry and access to public spaces are free of cost.

6. Al Bithnah Fort, Fujairah

Al Bithnah Fort
Al Bithnah Fort Image Credit: Supplied

This fortress in Fujairah is worth a visit. The historical monument attracts UAE residents and tourists in equal numbers. The fort has played a significant role in the history of the Emirates, particularly in the emergence of Fujairah as an independent emirate in the early 20th century. Entry to the fort is free.

7. Al Rafisah Dam, Sharjah

reader picture
Tourists enjoy the view of the mountains at Al Rafisah Dam Image Credit: Nabil Naz/Gulf News reader

Heading toward Khorfakkan on the Sharjah – Khorfakkan highway opens up a vista of the beautiful Al Rafisah Dam. Originally built in the 1980s, the dam has had an upgrade with a new visitor centre and rest area. There is a rest area, a mosque, outdoor play areas for children, a parking lot, a supermarket, and a popular restaurant with a lake view. Part of the redevelopment has restored the nearby Wadi Shea Fortress and the surrounding old plantations. A kilometer-long walkway, fringed with palm trees, circumventing the dam, wends its way along the mountain’s edge, through the plantations up to the fort.

Entry to the dam area is free.