Get out of the city: Best day trips/weekends from Dubai

The lovely cool breezes and fluffy clouds that came after the rains last week have inspired us to get out and do something different. Now is the best time to explore a bit further afield and make the most of the amazing place we all call home.

Whether you’re looking for something different to do with visitors, or simply looking for a weekend escape for yourself from the hectic city (with or without friends and family!) we are fortunate enough to have a multitude of unique destinations at only an arm’s reach from Dubai.

I always find a long weekend out of the city rejuvenates me, the fresh air, a bit of exercise and a change of scene are enough to give me a real boost, and I know (even if just from Facebook) that others feel the same. Whether camping or staying in five star hotels, getting away gives you the chance to indulge in different activities and see something different.

Camping in the desert

See the real desert and get off road into the dunes, stop the car (ideally facing down a slope and on slightly firmer sand) and pitch your tent. It’s very cheap (burgers, marshmallows and you’re set) and incredibly cheerful (there’s nothing like watching the sun set over the dunes or spotting a shooting star before the moon rises).  If you’re unsure of where to go and not so confident about leaving the path, try Al Qudra Lakes (near Bab Al Shams) where there are amazing secluded spots not too far from the track.

Get underwater in Fujairah

Fujairah is a charming old seaside resort located on the east coast of the emirates. It is one of the least densely populated, mainly rocky and mountainous and enjoys more rainfall than Dubai and Abu Dhabi so is a lot less dusty! Fujairah is well known in the UAE for relaxed beachside hotels, camping on the beach and the fantastic snorkeling and diving (you can see turtles and reef sharks on a short snorkel from the shore).

A number of dive operators offer boat trips to further destinations to see wrecks and and view the marine life. The new roads mean that travel time is short and comfortable, though a trip along the old road gives the opportunity to stop at The Friday Markets for fruit/vegetables, pottery or carpets! You can organise a day trip through Arabian Adventures if you’re not sure of the area.

The Musandam: The Fjords of Arabia

The Musandam Peninsula is an enclave of Oman, located at the top tip of the northern emirates. It has two main tourist destinations; Khasab on the West Coast (accessible by driving along the coast through Ras Al Khaimah) and Dibba on the East Coast (accessible by driving across country, through the mountains, and to the other side of the country). Both are amazing places to visit with stunning scenery and much to see and do.

Dibba provides excellent snorkeling and diving, including day-long dhow trips for divers and snorkelers which can be arranged from any of the main operators in Dubai. It is also a great place for hiking and offroading, although this has been made more difficult in recent years with the changes to border crossing restrictions. Make sure you have a booking with a hotel or dive company in order to ensure you can get across the border (they submit your visa copy in advance).

Khasab is often referred to as the Norway of the Middle East due to its rock faced mountains that plunge direct into the seas – the fjords of Arabia. Further away, but with fewer restrictions in terms of visas, Khasab needs at least a two-night stay. Here the most popular activity is dolphin-watching trips, whether for a day or overnight, sleeping on the boat and swimming/snorkeling in the fjords. In both Dibba and Khasab you can do fishing, sail on traditional dhows, dolphin watching and much more. 


This beautiful country has so much to offer, it’s easy to reach through the overland borders at Hatta or Al Ain, and there are some great camping spots, hiking and canyoning routes and off-road drives through the mountains and wadis (dried out river beds) – for the best advice and directions, it’s advisable to pick up a copy of the Offroad Explorer.

The biggest and well known cities in the country are Salalah and the capital, Muscat. Muscat is a four-hour drive from Dubai or 50 minute flight so can be done with a minimum of two nights, whereas the drive to Salalah takes around 24 hours (flights take two hours) so is generally recommended for longer breaks such as the Eid public holiday. Salalah is very unique in that it is very green and with much cooler weather all year round than the rest of the region (thanks to the khareef rains). Both places are again great for hiking due to the cool weather thanks to their mountainous locations, and there are many hotels to stay, including the luxurious Chedi Hotel.

Hopefully we’ve given a few ideas for an escape here, personally I’m already planning my next camping trip and can’t wait to actually be able to cozy up around a fire because we need the heat – it doesn’t happen often here!

Wishing you lots of fun adventures


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