FOR A QUINTESSENTIAL ARABIAN ADVENTURE
While quad biking and sandboarding are popular with kids, don’t miss out on a truly immersive Arabian experience. Have a taste of the Bedouin life as you hit the dunes – ride camels, witness majestic falcons soaring across the skies and try to identify glittering constellations such as your own star sign or well-known Orion and Canis Major. Ecotourism desert safari company Platinum Heritage offers a wide range of desert tours that include camel safari rides, falconry experiences and an overnight desert camping.
Or head to Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, UAE's largest unfenced nature reserve, and explore the native wildlife such as Arabian oryx, sand gazelles, foxes and wild cats there.
FOR THE WATER SPORTS LOVERS
If your family loves to make a splash, Dubai has it all when it comes to water play options – diving, kayaking, jet-skiing, and more. For a start, head to five-star Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) centre The Pavilion Dive Centre at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and get geared up to discover exotic marine life and ancient wreckage around the Arabian Gulf. The instructors there conduct lessons catering to different ages and skill levels. Training for free diving is also available here.
FOR A TASTE OF THE WILDERNESS
Plan a day trip to Hatta, located about 130km south-east of central Dubai at the foothills of Hajar Mountain. The town is home to stunning views of the Hatta Dam and its surrounding rugged mountainscape. Opt for a slow-paced hike or sweat it out over an adrenaline-powered mountain biking sesh along one of Hatta’s hiking and biking trails. It’s a perfect activity for the whole family after indulging in all the delicious local Emirati food. Your glutes and quads will thank you for it. Alternatively, you may want to relax and enjoy the surrounding view while kayaking in the lake formed by Hatta Dam.
FOR THE RACING ENTHUSIASTS
Make a pit stop at Dubai’s camel racing mecca, the Al Marmoom Camel Race Track. Located next to Al Marmoom Heritage Village and the Al Lisaili area deep in the desert, it is the biggest camel race track in the city. From your grandstand seat with the rest of the family, enjoy the heart-pumping spectacle of 60 camels racing to the finish line. Racing season runs between October and April. Swing by earlier and get a family photo taken with the competing camels for a travel memento.
Alternatively, opt for a day of horseback riding at Al Jiyad Stables. The family-run business, located in the desert region of Saih Al Salam, is home to over 120 horses and offers professional riding lessons for all skill levels. Modern riding clubs are also available in the form of equestrian centres. Hop on the saddle and gallop through the desert as you head towards Dubai’s magnificent horizon.
FOR A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
You may not have a magic carpet to fly you across the golden Arab desert, but you can enjoy majestic Dubai from a hot air balloon instead. Spot travelling camels, oryx and other wildlife in the distance, and be in awe of emerald oases from thousands of feet above ground. It is an experience guaranteed to give you a different perspective of the city, and everyone will enjoy the unforgettable views.
For more information on how you can curate the perfect outdoor family adventure, visit www.visitdubai.com.