You’ve come to Dubai for a holiday and you are in NEED of a free beach am I right? Spent your money on the flights, the accommodation but now you want something on the free side. Some of the best beaches in Dubai come with a hefty price tag, but you’ll be happy to know… not ALL of them do! I am going to share with you the 8 best free public beaches to visit in Dubai.
These beaches won’t cost you the expensive exclusive hotel day rate, they are available and open for everyone. And I know because I was an expat living in Dubai and spent most of my weekends over the last decade at the beach.
Read on for all the beachy details and I’ll explain each location on my free Dubai beach list in more detail. Including things like which ones have facilities and parking, where to follow the crowds or find the quiet hidden spots, and ofcourse the best crystal blues or those that come with the views.
I’ll even share my absolute favourite free beach in Dubai with you… just you, no-one else. The one I’ve been going to for years. Read on for Dubai’s best 8 beaches!
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Table of Contents
Dubai Marina Beach or JBR Beach
The first on the list, well… it’s no secret. JBR Beach is undoubtedly the busiest beach in Dubai. Full to the brim with tourists, there is always something to see if you are a people watcher like me. JBR beach is full of energy, it’s intense and full of activity all week long. If you like crowds and entertainment then look no further.
JBR Beach comes with a backdrop of skyscrapers. The hotels and apartments that stretch behind the full length of the beach are an impressive sight. And if you look towards the sea you’ve got a spectacular view of the Ain Dubai and Bluewaters to your left, while launches, boats, a floating water park and jet skis fill the sea view in front of you. Look up you’ll catch skydivers jumping from planes with SkyDive Dubai. And out in the distance to your right is the Palm Jumeirah.
The water is sometimes not so clear, but the sand is always white.
There is ample underground parking that comes at a cost. Or spend 100 dirhams in the surrounding cafes and restaurants, validate your parking ticket and you’ll get three free hours… BONUS!
Public transport to and from the beach is easy to use. Catch a metro and then the tram, to get within walking distance of JBR Beach.
There are beach loungers and umbrellas available for rent. Bathrooms are dotted along the walk, but you have to pay for the showers. Or do what we do and wash the sand off at the free foot wash facilities.
There are soooo many places to eat, grab an ice cream or a coffee. So you’ll definitely not go hungry. But be warned it’s not the cheapest area of Dubai.
This is straight up… my favourite beach in Dubai, the best in terms of fewer crowds and beautiful blue waters.
A few years ago it probably used to live up to it’s name and was rather secret, but that is not the case anymore. This said however, it is off the beaten tourist path. This means fewer tourists make the trip and instead it is predominantly the local expat community that fill this beach. In which case, on the weekends it’s always packed and during the week it is quieter.
I love this beach for its unique raw beauty, a difficult find these days in Dubai. There is undeveloped land leading from the main road to the beach, providing a glimpse of what the coastline used to look like. And this section of beach and land is bang smack between some of the grandest palaces in Dubai.
Looking out to the right is one of the best views of the Burj Al Arab, to the left the Palm Jumeirah. And on a calm day you might even see the odd turtle surface beyond the swimming marker buoys.
Lifeguards man the towers, parking is free about 100m from the beach and there is a bus stop 400m away, just outside the entrance at the main road.
There is nothing else! No bathrooms, showers, foot wash or eateries. You are going to need to bring shade, snack and lots of water if you plan to spend the day here. You can get food delivered though, lazy I know, but sunset dinners at Secret Beach are pretty!
Okay! Are you ready for this one… because she is PRETTY! And she goes by the name Hidden Beach or Sunrise Beach. It’s been around awhile, but not well known. Recently municipality added the lifeguard towers which makes it feel a bit more official.
Hidden beach is calm and flat as it stretches around guarding this little slice of paradise from any big waves or wind. There really is no better word than idyllic, particularly at mid week when there is almost no one there.
And did I mention the view! It becomes obvious the moment you arrive why the beach name references the sun. Sunrise at Sunrise Beach is the ideal place to test your early morning photography. From all the way back here, the city skyline puts the sheer size of the Burj Khalifa into perspective.
So in summary, if you can, I would highly recommend a visit to this stunning free beach in Dubai as they just don’t get any prettier.
Well nothing really, except the lifeguard towers. It is not the kind of beach you can bus to, but if you have a car parking is easy and the sandy road is firm.
A little up the road near the Jumeirah Mosque is the Limetree cafe… head there for a really good iced coffee or berry smoothie. The Limetree has been around since before I got to Dubai (so a really long time), and it is owned by two sisters from New Zealand. Try their carrot cake… you’ll love it!
Jumeirah Public Beach or Burj Al Arab Beach
This beach has undergone some serious change over the years. It used to be one of my favourite to bring our Dubai visitors to swim at. There is currently a lot of construction about as the new Marsa al Arab Hotel is being developed. But it is still a great wee piece of Dubai beach with a beautiful view of the Burj Al Arab. It is so close you can almost smell the seven stars.
This isn’t the kind of beach you want to spend all day on. But it is great for a dip, you know, in and out, get the photo and move on. I recommend you visit early in the day and it will be a little quieter. Leave it too late and all the tour buses turn up and they’ll be photobombing your perfect insta shot.
So in terms of view this is our favourite free beach, as it’s pretty cool to say you swam in the Arabian Gulf while admiring an iconic Dubai landmark. And from time to time you’ll catch the Surf House team down here taking lessons for paddle boarding, not a bad view for a SUP really!
There are no bathrooms or changing facilities here at the Burj Al Arab beach. But parking is cheap in the surrounding area, and so long as you get there early it’s not too difficult to find something. There is nowhere to eat either, unless you want to jump into Jumeirah Beach Hotel for a fancy lunch.
Public transport stops nearby on Jumeirah Beach Road and there are even a few Careem bikes available for rent via an app (post on getting around Dubai coming soon).
Jebel Ali Beach
A little further off the beaten track comes the Jebel Ali Beach. This is right beside the JA Resort X and about 20 minutes from the Dubai Marina. Note: you will definitely need a car for this one!
Interesting story… so you’ve heard me mention the Palm Jumeirah right? Did you know there is a Jebel Ali Palm? Perhaps not… read on!
Pre 2008, when Dubai construction was booming three man made palms were in the pipeline. Jebel Ali Palm was one of them. After the Global recession hit development and construction on two of them stopped. So while building construction never began on the Jebel Ali Palm, the land still remains and is visible from Google Maps. It is also visible from the free public beach right here in Jebel Ali.
Look out and you’ll see the bridge supports that were built to connect the main land with the outer ring of the Palm. Crazy right. So not only are you getting to sunbathe on a bit of very cool piece of Dubai beach for free, but you are also bearing witness to a Dubai icon that never came to be.
Midweek it is super quiet, the beach is pretty and the water is good too. It’s not absolutely perfect but that is because it is undeveloped which I think is all part of the charm.
This beach is gaining in popularity and I’ve noticed that each summer small changes appear. This winter, remember winter is the beach season, two temporary barista type beach cafes appeared. A great place to grab a coffee on the weekend in the evenings. But currently very little else is here. Ofcourse if you want to pop next door, you can always grab a drink at the JA Resort.
But parking is easy and free, you won’t need a 4×4 as even the smallest of car can drive on the firm sand road leading towards the beach parking. There are no changing rooms so you might want to think about what to wear for ease.
The stunning beaches from the Burj al Arab continue along towards Kite Beach. Follow the roads in and out heading towards Kite Beach and you’ll find some special little spots. I love the beach on Dobaya Street also known as Night Swimming Beach as it’s always a bit quieter than Kite Beach just a little further up the road.
This entire stretch of beach is connected via a cycling and padded running track. So on the weekend everyone is out running or walking, roller blading or on scooter. Over the road you even have XPark especially for skaters. In a nutshell, you name the wheels and someone will be there at Kite Beach doing it. There’s this fantastic vibe about it, the Dubai expats just love it!
The beach does catch some chop when the wind is on-shore. So depending on the day it can be super calm or there will be some waves for the kids to play in. But catch it when it’s flat and you’re in for a treat. Head down for sunset and a picnic dinner before the summer months and you won’t want the day to end.
You’ll find some great places to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner. Bring a water bottle and you’ll find a water filling station right on the walking track, a relatively new addition. There is a shower block and bathrooms.
You have a couple of options for parking available, the first is the Kite Beach Parking which is 10 dirhams per hour. The second is the municipality street parking which is a coin and ticket system at a cheaper price. Either are fine, just depends on what’s available at the time, and how much you want to spend.
I already mentioned the skate park over the road, but you’ll also find a climbing playground – Wire World – for the kids.
Sunset Mall Beaches
There is an area behind Sunset Mall on Jumeirah Beach Road where there are a collection of a few pretty bay like beaches. There is never too many people on these little beaches so if you prefer a quieter spot, then this is it.
Interestingly, this beach is awarded the Blue Flag. This means it meets certain criteria around environmental targets, community education and information, and access for the disabled. If you visit you’ll see the blue flag flying, along with information boards about water safety and efforts taken towards the protection of local marine life.
The beaches are pretty and if you want to bring a stroller to the beach but don’t want to drag it too far there is a special path all the way down.
The beach has great toilet and shower facilities that are well maintained by staff. There are a couple of food truck type places to grab a bit to eat.
There is also plenty of parking, including quite a large car park behind Sunset Mall. But don’t forget to pay at the machine because it isn’t free and you don’t want a parking ticket from the stealthy wardens… yes I’ve had a parking ticket from here in the past.
La Mer Beach
Last but not least comes La Mer Beach and this is a bustling location with a lot to offer. La Mer is a new development, opened a few years ago by Meraas and combines the concept of beaching, dining and shopping in one space. Open from 10am to midnight you can easily fill a day here whether you are planning a visit as a family or a couple.
There are two bays, North Beach and South Beach, and both are always busy during the beachy months. At one end is the Rove La Mer Beach Hotel and at the other end the Hyatt Centric Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Both great options if you are looking for a hotel to stay that is near La Mer with a free beach and which is also centrally located in Dubai.
There is plenty available, and if you are looking for facilities then La Mer has it all. The restaurant selection is endless, we love breakfast at Turkish restaurant Zou Zou. Parking is underground, or there is some free parking outside on the street but this gets snapped up pretty quickly.
You can rent beach beds at a cool 200+ dirhams for the day, or do what we prefer and put down a towel on the sand for FREE! There are changing rooms, toilets, a free shower or a paid option as well. Visit Water Sports to check out the available water activities, be it kayaking, paddle board or jet ski, they’ll have something for you.
AND if you want a waterpark, there is one of them too. Laguna Waterpark is tonnes of fun for the whole family. Grab your discounted entry to Laguna Waterpark here with Cobone.
Map of the Best Beaches in Dubai
For a birds eye view, take a peek at the map below. Zoom in and out for a better idea on the location on each that we have shared here on our best free beach list. And hey please let me know below in the comments which beaches in Dubai you have tried and loved.
More Free &/or Cheap Things to do in Dubai
Okay, so as I’m sure you know by now, we know Dubai like the back of our hand after living here for nearly 20 years. Check out our other guides below for even more cool Dubai things to do on the cheap.
- Click here for the best ever guide to the Dubai Creek
- Looking for a cheap desert safari – then we have the best discounts for you here
- Grab our complete 4 star hotel guide to Dubai here!
Or just jump straight to our complete page of all things to do and see in Dubai & the United Arab Emirates… we have got your Dubai holiday sorted with our comprehensive Guides!
Don’t forget to pin this post for later so that you can jump straight to finding the best free beach in Dubai for your holiday!