The Ultimate Abu Dhabi Beach Guide.

Abu Dhabi may be a surprising recomendation for a beach holiday, but it is also a perfect one! The Emirati state is perfectly located on the Arabian Gulf and has a range of man made and natural stretches of beautiful white sands to make this UAE city an amazing beach destination. Do you want to go to the beach in Abu Dhabi? Here is your ultimate guide to Abu Dhabi’s beaches, and everything you need to know about taking a beach holiday in Abu Dhabi!

Abu Dhabi is an amazing city with a lot of surprises for travellers who venture away from Dubai and I genuinely fell in love with the city on my first visit, enough to come back again and again. As a city break destination Abu Dhabi has a lot to offer, with gleaming glass and chrome skyscrapers, mega project landmarks and a gleaming, futuristic sheen that oozes wealth and abundance across the whole city, and a slow, laid back vibe it has retained from its former fishing village heritage, but one thing that surprises a lot of travellers, including myself is the beaches.

There are a dozen beaches to choose from, both private resort beaches and public beaches, and although the beaches at Abu Dhabi may be largely artificial, but they are also beyond stunning. Perfectly clean, with celebrated Blue Flag status water, safety measures with lifeguards and floating fences put in place to help swimmers, great changing facilities on many beaches and plenty of options for things to do, there is a beach day for every interest in Abu Dhabi!

Beaches In Abu Dhabi.

The Corniche Beach.

Michael Huxley Cornich Beach Abu Dhabi

Corniche Road, Downtown, Abu Dhabi Island.

This is Abu Dhabi’s main public beach and is where the majority of travellers will head down to at some point The Corniche beach is also one of the most popular with locals and dominates a large part of the citys waterfront, arcing around the pleasant corniche close to the Emirates Palace and Marina Mall.

The Corniche beach is seperated into three areas with three seperate entrances. The middle area is free public access where anyone can go on and just enjoy themselves, the beach is spotlessly clean and can get busy on the weekends with people sunbathing, playing volleyball or just enjoying some watersports. There is also an area specifically for families and young children, with lifeguard patrols, shallow wading depths close to the shore and floating barriers in the sea so children are safe as well as spacious changing areas, and there is a quiet area which is perfect for those looking to escape the noise of the other beaches.

The main beach is free whilst the family beach and the quiet beach cost AED 10 each, or around £2 GBP. Children are half price and kids under 5 go free.

Radisson Blu Beach Club.

Abu Dhabi Corniche Beach

Corniche Road, Downtown, Abu Dhabi Island.

This is another beach club right on the corniche offering a lot of facilities for a relatively small fee. Attached to the Radisson Blu Hotel and Resort right at the western end of the beach, the pleasant date palm fringed area has a number of swimming pools, restaurants and cafes as well as n on site spa with a range of massages if you really want to pamper yourself. There are lifeguards on duty here and kids play areas too which makes it vert popular with local families. Prices start at AED 120 though so again, balance that with the free beach right next door!

Nation Riviera Beach Club.

Skyline of Abu Dhabi from the Corniche beach

Corniche Road, Downtown, Abu Dhabi Island.

Right on the Corniche itself this 200 meter stretch of private beach is a pleasant place to unwind, with beach access through a series of manicured gardens and the Cabana Beach Bar And Grill serving up some amazing seaside fare. The Nation Riviera Beach Club is attached to the St Regis Hotel and costs around AED 105, or just over £10 GBP, and offers access to facilities, a pool and play areas for families, but honestly unless you want specific family facilities the free beach is literally just a walk down the sand.

Sadiyat Beach Club.

Shati Al Sa’diyat Street, Sa’diyat Island.

This private stretch of beach is very expensive at around 250 AED for a day pass, but is also very exclusive and very secluded. The beach club has a private pool, plenty of facilities and a lot of restaurants and lounges to choose from. If you want to go flashpacker for a day or two and relax, this is a good option.

Sadiyat Public Beach.

Corniche Beach Abu Dhabi

Shati Al Sa’diyat Street, Sa’diyat Island.

A much better option is the Sadiyat public beach right next door to the expensive resort! It is the exact same stretch of stunning white sand and you can enter for a minimal cover fee of around 25 AED which is around £5GBP. Still expensive by public beach standards but a fraction of the private price. There are well maintained changing and showering facilities here too, which is generally what the fee covers, and food and drink can be brought on the beach if you want to have a picnic. The best reason for coming here though is the sand dunes behind the beach which are protected nesting areas for hawksbill turtles. There are raised walkways and barriers to protect the turtles, so beachgoers won’t disturb them.

Yas Island Beach Club.

Yas Leisure Drive, Yas Island.

Yas Island is Abu Dhabi’s party island and its beach, a long, curved stretch of white sand framing a turqoise bay, is considered one of the best in the city. This is a private beach and normally costs around AED 50 for adults and half that for children, but is completely free for anyone staying in any of the Yas Island hotels. As you would expect from a party beach Yas Island Beach Club caters very well to a younger lively crowd, but has a lot of facilities for families too.

The white sand has neat rows of sunbeds and cabanas breaking up the volleyball nets, with seperate swimming pools for adults and children along the waterfront, as well a ton of restaurants, food kiosks, the uniquituous party DJ booth and of course water sports rentals, not to mention the odd private chalet or two.

Al Bateen Beach.

Khalifa Al Mubarak Street.

Al Bateen Beach is a free, public access beach so it gets quite popular with locals. It is one of the smaller beaches in Abu Dhabi but no less picturesque, and is a favourite viewing spot at sunset thanks to its views over Hudariyat Island and Hudariyat Bridge. The Blue Flag Beach is great for swimming and watersports and has a well maintained stretch of sand that has specific areas for playing volleyball or other sports.

Al Bateen Ladies And Family Beach.

Khalifa Al Mubarak Street.

Right next to the public access beach (basically a cordoned off area at it’s southern end) is an area specifically for women and families only. The cost of entry is AED 25 for women, or around £5 GBP, and AED 5, or £1 GBP for children aged 3 to 12. Boys over the age of 6 are not allowed. This is a smaller area than the public beach but is still pretty large and can, according to a local so I don’t know how true it is, accomodate up to 1000 women. Honestly though I never personally saw many people using it when I was there and most just seemed to use the public access beach insead, probably due to the lack of services and attractions beyond good changing rooms and toilets, which are all further up on the main beach, but if you want the segregated beach for any reason, it’s there.

Nurai Island.

Access from Nurai Island Welcome Center, Al Dhiba Street, Saadiyat Island.

Nurai Island is the ultra luxury option among ultra luxury options in Abu Dhabi. The privately owned island is home to the Zaya Nurai Island resort and anyone staying there obviously wouldn’t be worrying about access fees to the private beach club! But to the rest of us commoners the price is an eye watering AED 480, or around £95 gbp. When you consider the fact that this includes transport to and from the island and around 90% of this cost is redeemable against the islands spas, restaurants and activities, it makes it a much more viable option for travellers who want to spoil themselves and splash out on the experience for the day. The beach itself is stunning, and you could easily imagine yourself being transported to the azure waters and white sands of Bora Bora, but it is the world class seafront spa and facilities people really come here for, and if you can budget for it, the beach really is beautiful.

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Resort.

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Hotel, Khor Al Maqta.

This is another beach resort with all the usual facilities you would expect, swimming pools, restaurants and play areas, and the pristine white sand beach is perfect for sunbathing and swimming in the crystal clear ocean, but it is worth mentioning for the views over to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque across the bay!

The Corniche.

Abu Dhabi Corniche Waterfront

You can’t talk about beaches in Abu Dhabi without talking about the Corniche itself too. The Corniche is 8 kilometres of beautifully gentrified and manicured waterfront and boasts spectacular views out to the Arabian Gulf and Abu Dhabis gleaming skyline, and strolling along the boardwalk is the perfect way to enjoy some of the best parts of Abu Dhabi.

Following the curve of the bay, the gentrified boardwalk end at Emirates Palace and the Marina Mall, but has a huge number of manicured gardens, parks, childrens play areas and open air gyms and basketball courts that are free for anyone to use. If you are in Abu Dhabi for any length of time and want to take care of your health it is a great place to come for a run and get a few workouts in..

Abu Dhabi Corniche Waterfront BasketBall Court

If you aren’t up to exercising in the desert heat though, taking a picturesque stroll down this truly beautiful stretch of road is genuinely one of the true highlights of viusiting Abu Dhabi. And for the foodie travellers out there the road has countless world class restaurants and greatfood trucks along the way.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Do The Beaches Have Facilities?

Yes, all the beaches have well maintained changing facilities and toilets and those attached to beach resorts have access to food and entertainment facilities too. Even the free public beaches are relatively close to anything you may need however.

Are The Beaches Easy To Get To?

Abu Dhabi is generally very easy to get around and relatively compact, so the beaches are rarely more than a short taxi ride away from most central locations depending on which ones you want to go to, and island beaches have specific boat transport.

Is It Safe To Swim At The Beach?

Yes it is safe. Many of the beaches have Blue Flag Status and are manned by lifeguards. There are cordoned off areas and shallow areas specifically for children too.

Are The Beach Resorts Worth The Price?

It is all relative but unless you really want to access specific family friendly facilities or beach side bars, the public access beaches are just as good.

Is There A Dress Code On The Beach?

Yes, but it is not as strict as many may assume. Public beach areas are generally more relaxed than the city itself and shorts and T Shirts or tops that cover the shoulders are considered acceptable for walking on the beach, and one or two piece swimsuits can be worn in the water. Most beaches have well maintained changing facilities so you can change when you arrive. If you move away from the public beaches to go and get something to eat or go for a walk on the corniche you should wear at least shorts and T shirt or a sarong and a top that covers your shoulders. The private resorts are even more accepting as to what is considered acceptable attire.

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.

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What Can Travellers Wear In The United Arab Emirates: Dress Code Do’s And Don’ts For The UAE.

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Why Dubai will never be more than a transit stop for me.

Michael Huxley is a published author, professional adventurer and founder of the travel website, Bemused Backpacker. He has spent the last twenty years travelling to over 100 countries on almost every continent, slowly building Bemused Backpacker into a successful business after leaving a former career in emergency nursing and travel medicine, and continues to travel the world on numerous adventures every year.

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