Keen to spend a weekend away in the great outdoors? Here are the best camping options that are driving distance from Dubai…

White Sands Beach


Perfect for: Beach-loving campers

The lowdown: White Sands Beach isn’t an official area, but rather a nickname given to a stretch of coastline in Oman located between Fins and Wadi Shab. We won’t lie – it’s a long drive, but well worth it to pitch your tent on a cliff above an empty sandy beach and fall asleep to the sound of the waves. Plus, the remote nature of the area means you hopefully won’t have to share your spot with many other campers.

Things to do in the area: For water babies, it’s the perfect camping spot. Bring your snorkels and paddleboards for exploring the coastline (keep an eye out for sea urchins near the beach though). Be sure to visit Wadi Shab just a short drive away, where you can hike through the dramatic wadis and cool off by diving into the deep, emerald green pools.

Difficulty rating: 3/5. Medium. It’s not a complicated route, but the long drive is not one you’d want to take alone.

4×4 needed? Not essential, but recommended.

Time: Seven hours

Shipwreck camping spot


Perfect for: Campers that enjoy sunsets, long stretches of beach and clear water.

The lowdown: This remote stretch of coastline is a wonderful spot to get away from the crowds or head to with a big group of friends. Let your hair down, frolic in the water and watch the sunset on this tranquil beach front.

Things to do in the area: Here you can bbq and camp, or bring your own water sports equipment to kayak or paddle board. If your with enough people, this spot is perfect for a game of football, touch rugby or some ultimate frisbee.

Difficulty rating: 1.5 an easy to reach spot with minimal off-roading

4×4 needed? Not essential

Time: Three to four hours from most areas in Dubai



Perfect for: Desert adventurers and Star Wars fans

The lowdown: It’s been a couple of years since Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens hit our screens, and we’re still excited at the prospect of visiting one of the filming locations. Liwa is located in the Empty Quarter, or Rub Al Khali, the largest sand desert in the world. We can’t guarantee that you’ll find an abandoned Millennium Falcon, but you will experience incredible (and massive) sand dunes, miles of wilderness and some of the brightest starry nights you’ll ever see in the UAE.

Things to do in the area: We recommend renting a couple of fat bikes beforehand (you can pick one up from Adventure HQ for Dhs150 per day): there’s nothing better than zipping across the dunes on their puffy tyres, especially as the sun is setting. Experienced off-roaders will have a blast doing a bit of dune bashing, but keep in mind that this is not an easy area to get out of if you get into trouble: carry plenty of food and water, and don’t travel in convoys of less than three 4x4s, just in case someone needs towing.

Difficulty rating: 4/5. Medium to hard. It’s relatively simple to find, but you’ll need some off-roading skills if you want to head off the beaten path and into the dunes. It’s not one for beginners – we recommend travelling with an experienced group.

4×4 needed? Essential 

Time: Four hours

Al Qudra Lakes

Perfect for: Beginners

The lowdown: Al Qudra Lakes is the ideal location if you’re new to camping in the UAE, or just looking for a low-key break from the city that won’t require a huge amount of effort. You won’t need a 4×4 to reach these picturesque lakes, and the area is within half an hour’s drive of the city. Keep in mind that because it’s so easily accessible, it’s popular with weekend warriors.

Things to do in the area: Al Qudra Lakes might be manmade but it’s still a picturesque slice of greenery, with plenty of trees and wildlife, especially birds, to be spotted in and around the water. If you’re feeling sporty you could also go for a bike around the nearby Al Qudra Cycle Track, where you might also spot wild oryx and gazelle (rent a bike from the Trek store). If the great outdoors get too much for you, there’s always Bab Al Shams Resort And Spa nearby for a little R&R. It’s unlikely you’ll need it though, as there are plenty of amenities in the area. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, see if you can track down Dubai’s new man-made Love Lakes. 

Difficulty rating: 1/5. An easy to reach spot with minimal off-roading.

4×4 needed? No

Time: Half an hour

Umm Al Quwain: Mangrove Beach

secret beaches UAE

Perfect for: beachbums and lovers of water activities

The lowdown: This beach opened to the public in 2020 and is perfect for a beach day with friends, family and your four-legged friends. Roughly an hour from Dubai, you can spend the day or a quick overnight camping trip at this stretch of beach; exploring the gorgeous mangroves and frolicking in the water.

Things to see and do: With public amenities you can rent kayaks, paddle-boards and when you get hungry there is a cafe you can grab a snack. You and your loved ones can paddle in the water, snorkel or just kick back and relax on the sand. It’s Dhs20 to enter with your car, and you can camp here overnight for a fee of Dhs100. If your wanting to make a proper day out of it, you can also BBQ here as long as you leave the beach untouched upon departure. Guests won’t have to leave their fur babies at home, with this beach being pet friendly.

Difficulty rating: 1.5 an easy to reach spot with minimal off-roading

4×4 needed? Not essential

Time: Roughly an hour from Dubai

Fossil Rock, Sharjah

Perfect for: Day trippers and desert newbies

The lowdown: Fossil Rock is one of the most popular hangout spots for Dubai’s weekend warriors, from dune bashers and dune buggy riders to trail runners. The surrounding dunes are the perfect location to set up camp, especially for large groups who don’t mind a bit of noise and excitement. It’s also close enough to civilisation that newbies can feel comfortable knowing their home comforts are not too far away.

Things to see and do: This is one of the best places in the UAE for a spot of dune bashing, but we recommend it for experienced off-roaders only. The Camel Rock nearby is also worth a visit, as is Big Red, a huge red dune that’s popular with dune buggying daredevils.

Difficulty rating: 2/5. Easy to medium – it’s simple to get to, but requires some off-roading skills.

4×4 needed? Essential for navigating the sand dunes.

Time: One hour

Abu Dhabi: Mirfa Beach

secret beaches UAE

Perfect for: Anyone looking for a quiet stretch of paradise

The lowdown: If you’re looking for a spot away from the crowds in Abu Dhabi, then look no further than Mirfa beach. One of Abu Dhabi’s best kept secrets, it’s a tranquil and secluded stretch of paradise. Mirfa beach has no public amenities, so make sure to stock up on supplies at the small town nearby if you’re planning on a day full of splashing through the turquoise waters, or an overnight camping trip.

Things to do in the area: This beach lies near a the small and simple town of Mirfa. Here you can buy supplies for your beach day, grab lunch, or pop by the Mirfa mangroves.

Difficulty rating: 1.5 an easy to reach spot with minimal off-roading

4×4 needed? Not essential

Time: Two and a half hours from Dubai

Jebel Jais


Perfect for: city dwellers craving a mountain top spot

The lowdown: This camping spot sits on tip of the UAE’s tallest mountain; but requires a windy car ride to the top. With multiple wadi beds alongside the road to the top, this gives campers a multitude of options to set up camp. Make sure to pack some cosy clothes as the temperatures can drop drastically through the night.

Things to do in the area: If your a true daredevil, you can take a ride on the worlds longest zipline or an adrenaline pumping toboggan ride.  if thats not for you, campers can go for a hike and enjoy the breathtaking scenes.

Difficulty rating: 1.5 an easy to reach spot with minimal off-roading

4×4 needed? Not essential

Time: Two and a half hours

Dubai: Jebel Ali Beach


Perfect for: A spontaneous overnight stay

The lowdown: Are you the proud owner of a caravan? Your in Luck as this  serene shoreline is an idyllic public beach which is only available to campers with a caravan. Jabel Ali offering a more rustic beach experience compared to some of Dubai’s more built up beaches, offering a peaceful setting to unwind and get some water sports done.

Things to do in the area: Beach goers can enjoy kitesurfing, kayaking and paddle-boarding along this quiet coastline. Jabel Ali beach is free to enter, but you are not permitted to bbq or camp.

Difficulty rating: 1.5 an easy to reach spot with minimal off-roading

4×4 needed? Not essential

Time: Within an hour from most areas in Dubai

… and for glamping

Banan Beach

Perfect for: A weekend with your novice camper friends

banan beach

The lowdown: Set on the shoreline near Jebel Ali, this picture-perfect camping spot is kitted out with dozens of colourful wooden-framed tents and chalets for a more luxury experience – so you don’t need to bring your own, plus a barbecue area, and hammocks. It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Things to see and do: As well as wiling away the day in a hammock, or BBQing by the beach, there’s also facilities including watersports and a mini market onsite. Fancying practicing your shooting? Head to the nearby Jebel Ali Shooting Club

Difficulty rating: 1/5. Easy – it’s simple to get to and you’ve got everything you’ll need on site.

4×4 needed? No.

Time: 20 minutes

Hatta Sedr Trailers

sedr trailers hatta

Perfect for: Getting outdoors without the stress of pitching your tent

The lowdown: Not much of a camper? Hatta is now home to the region’s first “trailer hotel”, where visitors can camp along the banks of Hatta Dam in luxuriously appointed trailers. There’s two types of unit – the Hatta Sedr trailers, and the slightly bigger Hatta Damani Lodges, with rates from Dhs1,675 per night.

Things to see and do: Hatta is becoming quite the go-to destination for adventurers. There’s the new Hatta Wadi Hub, which offers a range of both paid and free activities such as mountain biking, downhill carting, axe throwing, archery, adventure rope courses, and more. Soon you’ll also get to experience Hatta Drop-In, a “water jump park” with crazy slides, as well as a human slingshot and zip lines.

Difficulty rating: 0/5. Super easy – it’s a more luxurious version of camping.

4×4 needed? No.

Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes


Images: social, google maps and provided