Abu Dhabi Travel Planner

The 7 Best Beaches in Abu Dhabi

by Abu Dhabi Travel Planner

Abu Dhabi basks in sunshine throughout the year and is blessed with an abundance of beaches. Whilst the soaring summer temperatures can make going to the beach rather uncomfortable from June to September, October brings with it perfect weather for the beach.

Residents will tell you that the air can feel a bit chilly during December and January but sea temperatures never drop below 21°C (70°F).

The fantastic weather and variety of beach options available make Abu Dhabi the perfect destination for beach lovers throughout the cooler months. Here we take a look at some of the best beaches in Abu Dhabi!

1. Saadiyat Beach

Saadiyat Beach is undoubtedly the most beautiful beach in Abu Dhabi and is definitely a contender for the best beach in the UAE. The crystal clear turquoise waters rival those of the Maldives, but don’t be deceived by calm mornings; by mid-afternoon, the waves can be pretty intense, depending on the weather.

Stretching over 4 kilometres, the dazzling white coral sand beach is divided between a number of luxury beach resorts, a high-end beach club and two public beach areas. It’s a great place for long strolls and collecting seashells as well as sunbathing and swimming.

If you’re lucky, you might spot a dolphin or two or even baby hawksbill turtles as they hatch from the numerous nesting sites along the beach.

Sadly, the public beach area previously operating under the name of ‘Bake’ is currently closed, but a new section of the beach, known as ‘Soul Beach’ (running parallel to the Al Mamsha development), has recently opened up. Let’s take a closer look along Saadiyat Beach:

Soul Beach

Situated close to the St. Regis hotel, Soul Beach is pay upon entry. During the week, the entry fee is 50 AED, which entitles you to a sun bed and umbrella for the whole day. This fee rises to 75 AED at the weekend (Children over 6 pay around half price).

Soul Beach

There are toilets and showers, and soft drinks and fruit can be purchased on-site. Each sun lounger also has a scannable QR code that links to the substantial and deliciously tempting menu from Saadiyat Beach Club. Any food ordered arrives by golf buggy but can take time as it has to travel some distance.

Flanking the beach is the Al Mamsha development, with numerous shops and cafes where you can buy items to take away (including a very nice vegan cafe directly opposite the main entrance to the beach). There is no playground, but there is a trampoline for the kids.

It’s a lovely clean beach that enables you to access Saadiyat’s beautiful waters without breaking the bank. Open daily from 7:00AM to Sunset.

Saadiyat Beach Hotels

If you’re looking for exclusivity, a stay at one of Saadiyat’s luxury 5 star resorts is what you need.

The St. Regis, Park Hyatt, and Jumeirah hotels all offer top-quality accommodation, dining options, and spa facilities with pool and beach bar service.

The Saadiyat Rotana and Rixos Premium are other great options, which are particularly well suited to families with young children; the latter being Abu Dhabi’s only true all-inclusive hotel.

Several of these resorts also offer private villa and pool options.

Beach access is usually from 8:00 AM until sunset, but some hotels vary depending on the season and hotel occupancy. If staying at one of these hotels isn’t within your budget (as they are amongst some of the most pricey hotels in the UAE), day passes are available and start at AED 250.

For more information about the various day passes on offer, check out the links below:

Beach front Jumeriah at Saadiyat
The beachfront of Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort

Saadiyat Beach Club

Saadiyat Beach Club is the height of luxury with several fine dining options as well as beach and pool access. There are beautiful changing facilities, a gym, saunas, steam rooms, and jacuzzis available for use, and a beauty spa and hairdressing salon on site.

Throw in a kids’ club with a shallow pool with water features as well as a playground, and we’ve got the perfect beach day out for all the family!

Day passes are available for AED 250 for one person or AED 350 for a couple during the week, although there are special offers for ladies on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Children aged 7-17 years pay AED 100 whereas children under 7 are free. Prices rise to AED 375 for one person, AED 525 for a couple and AED 150 for children over 7 at weekends.

For more details on Saadiyat Beach Club, click here

Safety at Saadiyat Beach

All of the hotels, Soul Beach and Saadiyat Beach Club, employ lifeguards, but there are sections of the beach where lifeguards are not present. Whilst it is possible to walk the length of the beach from the St. Regis Hotel (in the direction of Saadiyat Jumeirah), we do not recommend swimming in areas not monitored by lifeguards.

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2. The Corniche Beaches

The most easily accessible beach in Abu Dhabi is the Corniche Public Beach which runs parallel to the famous Corniche road. This is a long sandy beach flanked by verdant gardens set against the backdrop of Abu Dhabi’s impressive skyline.

The beach is protected by an artificial breakwater making it particularly suitable for families with smaller children as there are no strong currents. However, the minimal tidal range does mean that the sand close to the shore has a mossy feel underfoot, which some people find a little disconcerting.

The beach is divided into sections for the general public, ladies, and families – each with its own amenities. These sections and where to access them are highlighted below.

Al Bahar Beach

The Al Bahar area of the Corniche starts beside the Nation Riviera Beach Club. It is characterized by the large number of converted shipping containers that serve as food and beverage outlets. The beach is located directly opposite the Abu Dhabi breakwater, and the water is calm and clear, making it a great place for swimming.

Al Bahar offers a huge range of things to do besides swimming and lounging around on the beach. Kids will enjoy the large playground and jungle gym with zip lines. For the grown-ups, there are a variety of water sports on offer, as well as volleyball courts and spaces to play football and other ball games. There’s even an outdoor gym for real fitness fanatics!

(Note the AquaFun inflatable water park has now closed)

There are plenty of coffee shops, some good sit-down restaurants, showers and toilets.

Entry to Al Bahar beach is free, whilst some activities are paid extras.

Beach is open daily 7:00 AM to sunset. The rest of A’l Bahar stays open until 10:00 PM in the evening or midnight weekends.

Al Sahil Beaches – Corniche Gates 1-6

Once the most popular section of the Corniche, the area does need a bit of a revamp. That said, there are clean toilets and a few coffee shops and a fantastic pirate-ship playground for the kids.

For those wanting to be more active, there are beach volleyball courts and spaces to play football and other games. Alternatively, you can take a stroll along the boardwalks that run through the well-kept gardens that act as a buffer between the beach and the busy main road.

You can also hire scooters or pedal buggies to ride along the iconic 8 kilometre stretch of coastline.

Abu Dhabi city skyline
The Abu Dhabi Corniche stretches for 8kms along the end of Abu Dhabi Island and has several beaches free or with small entry fees

Sahil Family Beach – Gates 1 & 2

This beach is set aside for families only and is surrounded by a fence; single men are not allowed. Sunbeds and umbrellas are available.

Entrance fee of AED 10.50 adults and AED 5.25 for older kids

Sahil Mixed Beach (free entry) – Gate 3 & 4

This beach is accessible to everyone and is popular as one of the best free things to do in Abu Dhabi. You have to bring your own sunbeds and umbrellas, but there are showers and toilets. in the plaza area and a large children’s playground.

Entrance free

Sahil Mixed Beach – Gate 5 & 6

This beach is for both men and women. There are sun loungers, umbrellas, toilets, showers and snack bars.

Entrance fee of AED 10.50 adults and AED 5.25 for older kids

All beaches on the Corniche are monitored by lifeguards and security staff. Alcohol is not allowed and you should be very careful not to take photographs of other bathers. All sections of the Corniche beach are open from sunrise to sunset; restaurants will open later and close later.

3. Hudayriyat Island Beach

For many years, residents of Abu Dhabi often referred to the ‘bridge to nowhere’ – now, that bridge finally leads to the spectacular beach hotspot of Al Hudayriyat Island. Access to the beach is free, and the open sea is a real draw. The water temperatures are a little cooler than the shallow waters of the Corniche, and the sand is soft underfoot.

As well as a 600m long white sandy beach, there are clean showers and changing facilities and a variety of coffee shops and restaurants.

Overhead view of the Marsana district and Al Hudayriyat Beach

For anyone not content to sit around all day, there is a 10-kilometre cycle track with bike rental, beach volleyball, basketball, tennis courts and football pitches, and kayaking and kite surfing opportunities.

For younger visitors, there is a fenced playground and Circuit X splash park in the Marsana area, in addition to the opportunity to swim and build sandcastles. Hudayriyat really is a great place for an active family day out.

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To really get the most out of the experience, why not stay overnight at the island’s very own luxury campsite, Bab Al Nojoum? You can also walk the Hudayriyat Heritage Trail boardwalk between Bal Al Nojoum and Marsana if you’d prefer not to dip in the water.

Open daily from 8:00 AM until sunset. Admission to the beach is free.

4. Yas Beach

Yas Beach is situated on Yas Island – home to the F1 Grand Prix Race Track, Yas Links Golf Club, Ferrari World, Warner Brother’s World and Yas Waterworld.

With a wide range of activities, including jet-skiing, beach volleyball and an outdoor fitness centre, this beach is a must for those who like a more active beach day and those seeking a moment of calm from the hustle and bustle of Yas Island’s other attractions!

Yas Beach offers a large pool and a smaller splash area, as well as a pristinely clean sandy beach. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available and private cabanas and chalets for an additional fee.

There are several dining options, as well as bars serving alcohol, making Yas Beach the perfect place to relax and unwind. The proximity to the mangroves and numerous small islands makes this a great spot for canoeing, kayaking, and taking in a bit of nature!

Most Yas Island hotels offer complementary day passes for Yas Beach but if you’re not staying on Yas Island entry to the beach will set you back AED 60 on weekdays and AED 120 at weekends*. Children under 11 can enter the beach for free if they are accompanied by an adult.

Yas Beach is open daily from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

*Saturday is Ladies Day – All ladies enter for 60 AED.

5. Al Bateen Beach

Situated in Al Bateen, a family villa district on the west coast of Abu Dhabi Island, this 800-metre-long “Blue Flag” beach overlooks Al Hudayriyat Island and the famous Hudayriyat bridge.

The beach is popular with locals and expat families as an easy-going free activity. It’s a great place in Abu Dhabi for swimming and enjoying a picnic on the beach. There are plenty of amenities here including showers and changing rooms, toilets, and playgrounds.

More than just lazing on the beach, Al Bateen Beach offers water sports such as kayaking, stand-up paddling and jet ski hire. It makes for a relaxing day out for the whole family.

Part of Al Bateen is sectioned off for ladies only (Al Bateen Beach for Women) and has an entrance fee of 25 AED for adults, AED 5 for children, boys allowed only up to the age of 6.

Entrance to Al Bateen Public Beach is free, a new car park has gone in this year so plenty of space for all.

6. The Cove Beach, Reem Island [Closed]

If you like to party then ‘The Cove Beach’ is the place for you. Technically a private beach club, the cove is open from 9:00 AM and whilst swimming must stop at sunset, other facilities stay open until 1:00 AM during the week and until 3: 00 AM at weekends.

The 300m beach is complemented by an infinity pool and a restaurant and lounge-bar. Private cabanas are available to hire but come with a minimum spend of AED 1000 on weekdays and AED 2000 on weekends.

Entry to the beach club is 200 AED on weekdays (with AED 100 cash back to spend on food and beverages) and AED 300 on Fridays and Saturdays (with AED 150 cash back).

You can learn more about popular beach clubs in Abu Dhabi here.

7. Al Maya Island

Another trendy beach with a parting vibe is to be found on Al Maya Island. The island is accessed by a 15-minute boat trip from the clearly signposted pier near Qasr Al Watan (The Presidential Palace).

The facilities include a soft sandy beach, a swimming pool (with a kids pool), and a jacuzzi, as well as a licensed restaurant. The island is beautifully landscaped, with wild gazelles roaming free around the site, offering overnight accommodation.

Ariel view of Al Maya Island Resort Abu Dhabi showing beach and water sports

Whilst Al Maya is known for its raucous weekends (NB children and young adults under 21 are not allowed on Fridays), during the week it offers a tranquil escape for couples and families alike.

Day passes start at AED 200 and includes the boat trip and AED 100 credit to spend on food and beverages. Access is free for children up to 13 years old (limited to 2 children per adult) during the week.

For more details click here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Abu Dhabi Beaches

We hope that our round-up of the best beaches in Abu Dhabi has given an insight into what Abu Dhabi has to offer. Check out our frequently asked questions below for more information about beach life in the UAE’s capital city.

Are there strict behaviour policies at beaches in Abu Dhabi?
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At the entrance to every beach in Abu Dhabi, there are signs outlining the behaviour that is expected of guests. Points include; no public displays of affection such as kissing or heavy petting, no taking photographs and no lighting fires. All formal beaches employ security guards who will tell you off and may ask you to leave if you break the rules.

Can you have a barbecue on the beach in Abu Dhabi?

There are no barbecuing facilities at any of the beaches in Abu Dhabi, and taking your own barbecues onto public beaches is forbidden. That said, there are numerous islands with secluded beaches and if you have your own boat and grill no one will stop you from using it.

There are also barbecuing facilities in some of the parks parallel to the beaches on the Corniche, which you can use after a day at the beach. Some hotels with their own beaches can organise private barbecues for you for a fee.

Can I have a beer on the beach in Abu Dhabi?

You can have a beer or whatever other alcoholic beverage that tickles your fancy on the beach in Abu Dhabi if you purchase and consume it on licensed premises – for example, at a beach hotel or private beach club. You cannot buy your own beer from a shop and drink it on public beaches.

You can learn more about Abu Dhabi’s alcohol rules here.

Can I sunbathe topless in Abu Dhabi?

No. It is against the law for women to sunbathe topless. We would suggest wearing a full swimming costume or a tasteful bikini. Whilst thongs might not be strictly prohibited they will offend local sensibilities and get you (perhaps) unwanted attention. Best save these for the exclusive beach clubs and NOT public beaches.

You can learn more about what to wear in Abu Dhabi without offending over here.

Do kids need to wear swimming costumes at the beach in Abu Dhabi?

We would urge you not to let your kids run around naked at the beach in Abu Dhabi. It’s culturally inappropriate as well as dangerous.

Your child’s skin needs protecting from the strong middle eastern sun, even in winter. We recommend UV suits or rash guards for all children as these help to protect them from the sun as well as jellyfish stings.

Get a complete guide of what to pack to deal with the sun and heat in Abu Dhabi here.

Are beaches free in Abu Dhabi?

Some beaches like the Corniche beach and Hudayriyat, are free; others, like Soul Beach, charge a fee for facility usage.

Hotel beaches should be used by hotel residents and day-pass holders only, although you are free to walk the entire length of Saadiyat Beach regardless of your point of entry (you just can’t use sun loungers that belong to hotels if you are not staying in them).

Are there sharks, jellyfish or any other marine pests in Abu Dhabi?

Unfortunately yes. Whilst sharks are rare, jellyfish and stingrays are common at certain times of the year. Sea snakes have also been spotted recently on a number of Abu Dhabi beaches (October 2021).

Always take heed of the flag system. Do not swim if the flag is red, and exercise extreme caution if a purple flag (indicating a marine pest) is flying.

Are there other beaches in Abu Dhabi?

Yes, this list is not exhaustive but highlights the best beaches in Abu Dhabi open to tourists.

Many more hotels, and residences have their own private beach frontage. We highlight several of these beachfront hotels here – including areas along Al Raha Beach, the Grand Canal (Between the Bridges), surrounding the Corniche and the old Tourist Club area.

It is surprisingly more affordable than you may think to stay at a good hotel in Abu Dhabi with beach access.

Which is better; a private beach club or a public beach?

If ‘better’ means cheaper than definitely the public beach but if you want comfortable changing facilities and sun lounger service with excellent food and alcoholic beverages, it has to be either Yas Beach, a hotel beach or a private beach club!

Before you go… Important things to consider planning a trip to Abu Dhabi


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