Staying in Dubai all summer? If you’re looking for a quick summer escape but don’t have time for long and expensive holidays, this is for you!
Check out these nine easy-access day trips from Dubai and trust us, you will not be disappointed.
1. Jabal Al Jais
Located between Oman and the UAE, Jabal Al Jais is the tallest mountain in the UAE. This is a great daytime escape from Dubai’s heat and traffic, as it’s always a few degrees cooler and much quieter than it is here.
Jabal Al Jais also makes an amazing picnic spot offering great views (and even better photos) or even just a great place to enjoy the views while staying in the car during the hotter hours. Although it’s quite convenient to get to, we suggest heading there early if you’re planning on spending a few hours there, as it can get difficult to drive down the mountains after sunset.
2. Jebel Hafeet
Another great idea for a road trip is to head up to Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain – the emirate’s highest peak. The drive into the city itself is picturesque as the sand dunes take a reddish hue and vegetation sprouts up around you.
It’s an easy drive to get to Jebel Hafeet, which straddles the border between the UAE and Oman. At the base of the mountain is the Green Mubazzarah, which is a great stop off as a break between your drive from Dubai to the mountain summit. Enjoy a picnic in the lush greenery and hot springs before hopping back in the car for the windy drive up the 1,250m mountain.
If you love nature, drive the width of the country to the East coast, to this exclave of Sharjah on the border of Oman. The drive to the town itself is a picturesque as you snake your way through the mountains and enjoy views of the Gulf of Oman, but the final destination of this route is the main attraction.
Kalba is known for being a bird watcher’s paradise with its creek, mangroves and sandy beaches. A few years ago, Khor Kalba, the creek area, became a nature reserve to help protect the local species. While access is restricted – though there are rumours of it re-opening for limited visitors this year – you can stand on the bridge with with binoculars and spot breeding populations of rare birds including the Arabian Collared Kingfisher and Sykes’ Warbler.
For further tips, visit: uaebirding.com
4. Seawings Safari to Sir Bani Yas Island
Want to get out of here but too lazy to plan it out? Seawings Safari lets you sit back and organises your entire trip out for you! This starts off with a seaplane ride from Dubai Creek to a remote and historically important island in Abu Dhabi where you can take in some great views of both cities.
Upon landing, you are served some delicious lunch before you are taken on Anantara’s wildlife safari drive where you can meet gazelles, ostriches and giraffes amongst other animals. This is priced differently depending on the package you choose to get, however Seawings usually have some amazing offers and seasonal discounts.
5. Liwa Oasis
If you’re prepared for serious off-road driving, Liwa is a must. You’ll definitely need a 4×4 and desert-driving know-how as the Empty Quarter offers its own challenges. You’ll feel miles away as you drive through different coloured dunes and past date plantations. If you just want to drive, you could stick to the paved roads, but head off into the dunes for some bashing and then set up camp.
The area is also home to Tal Moreeb, aka scary mountain. We don’t recommend attempting to drive up it, but it’s certainly a fun challenge to attempt to run up its steep face.
6. Al Qudra
One of the easiest drives, and a perfect day trip for families, is the short drive to neighbouring Dubai where you’ll find an expanse of desert that’s become a popular attraction for residents.
Aside from the cycling track, you’ll fine a small food truck park, Last Exit. But our favourite road trip is driving around the series of lakes that are teeming with flamingos, black swans, ducks, herons, red-wattled lapwings, crab plovers and more.
The roads that skirt the lakes are flat so there’s no need for a 4×4. Find a tree, park up and enjoy a picnic and a splash in the lake. Just remember to clean up after yourself before you leave. There’s also a newer set of lakes known as the Flamingo Lakes with watch towers.
7. Jebel Maleihah
Better known as Fossil Rock, this outcrop features various marine fossils, hence the name, making it a prized archaeological site.
The drive to the mountain is fairly easy so is a great option for both beginners and experienced off-road drivers. You’ll head on a sandy track past camel farms and a wadi, but as you approach the rock the terrain will offer more challenging options for dune bashers. We recommend going on a clear day to watch the sunset and camp nearby.
Hatta, which is only an hour and a half drive from the city, is one of Dubai’s hidden gems. It’s the perfect getaway if you’re looking to go on a fun day trip with family or friends, especially now before it gets way too hot to be outdoors.
The rocky mountainous area is more that just a pretty view – Hatta is also home to lakes, a cycling path, the stunning Hatta Dam and even a brand new hiking trail. Rent out a paddle boat or a kayak to explore the waters.
Read all about it here.
9. Musandam Governorate/Peninsula
This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in the UAE. It is located along the shoreline of Oman, less than three hours away. Enjoy dolphin spotting as you take in some stunning sea views and try adventurous activities such as snorkelling, banana boating and fishing.
Various tour operators offers plenty of customised, reasonably priced day packages and is definitely a must do for those who are looking for an escape from the city life.