With its year-round sun, surf, and sand, the city of Dubai attracts adrenaline addicts with its wide range of outdoor adventure options. And let’s face it, there aren’t a lot of locations where you can go camping in the desert one day, JetSki-iing and reef diving the next, and wrap up your vacation in a five-star hotel. In Dubai, you’ll find outdoor activity is at an all-time high during the cooler months, October through April.
For a stunning view of Dubai’s desert oasis, head into the Persian Gulf on a tried-and-true JetSki. Cruising the open water on a JetSki is equally relaxing and adventurous, and the experience is even better when the gorgeous Dubai skyscrapers are your backdrop. In this upscale metropolis, it’s easy to get a premium JetSki Dubai experience, with all the latest models from Kawasaki and Yamaha at your disposal. Even if you’re new to the whole JetSki thing, it only takes a few minutes to master these adventure-loving watercrafts. Unlike wakeboarding, where you have to show up with the necessary upper body strength, drivers of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels can enjoy a day on the water on a JetSki.
Switch things up with a little off-road desert adventure. Explore picturesque sand dunes and gravel plains just outside the city. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an experienced off-roader or you prefer a guided tour of the rugged terrain; it’s easy to find the Dubai off-roading adventure that works for you. There are a number of group tours you can take. Or, if you prefer to go it alone, grab a copy of the UAE Off-Road Guide and a rugged SUV with GPS and hit the trails in earnest.
For a whole new take on Dubai’s decorative sand islands and luxury hotels, take a dive out of an airplane. As you plummet back to Earth at breakneck speeds, you’ll experience your requisite adrenaline rush. Then, your parachute opens, and you can take in the world’s tallest building from a very unique perspective. To show all your old high school buddies who’s having the best possible vacation, there’s no better photo op for your Facebook page.
Indoor Sky Diving
If heights really aren’t your thing, this is the next best adrenaline rush. In Dubai’s indoor sky diving spaces, you can feel what it’d be like to fall from the sky without much actual risk. You’ll be lifted off the ground inside a vertical wind tunnel. Depending on how extreme of an experience you prefer, you can be lifted higher and higher from the ground.
After you’ve experienced all of the famous scuba tours that the Red Sea has to offer, check out Dubai’s lesser-known reefs and wrecks. Local Dubai shipwrecks include the Anchor Barge, sunk in 1998, and the Mariam Express, sunk in 2006. Check them out if you’re looking for a diving experience that’s off the beaten track. If you’re up for a 90-minute drive, you’ll find abundant reefs to explore in the Gulf of Oman. The warm waters of the Fujairah emirate are home to gorgeous reefs and an abundance of underwater creatures. You might even spot some black-tipped reef sharks, moray eels, or sea turtles.
Dubai might be known for its luxury hotels, but it also offers the ultimate desert camping experience. In fact, heading into the surrounding sand dunes with a tent and a picnic spread is a common pastime for Dubai locals. You only need to drive a few hours outside of the city to get to the dunes. Once there, you can spread a blanket, watch the sunset, and sip Champagne to your heart’s content. Bring a camera, because these picturesque dunes aren’t something you want to soon forget.
If you love to surf, you’re not alone. People travel from all over the world to catch waves outside this unique city. For vacationers, surfing is the perfect way to cool off between off-roading and desert camping excursions. The Sunset Beach in Dubai is especially famous for its frothy breakers. If you’ve never tried surfing before, now is the perfect time to learn. Take a few lessons on the beach and make these waves the first you’ve ever caught. Surfers should note that although Sunset Beach and Russian Beach are ideal spots, the creation of islands surrounding the city has hindered the surf in other areas.
What’s better than off-roading in a four-wheel-drive SUV? Why, dirt biking, of course. This extreme sport attracts drivers who love to feel the wind on their face and dunes under their wheels in a more intimate way. As you learn to balance yourself in the sand, you can really get down and dirty in Dubai’s local sand dunes. If you’ve never been on a dirt bike before, you should note that it’s more difficult to operate than a JetSki or SUV. But after a few hours in the sand, you should be able to get the hang of it.
Families with kids should head to Ras Al Khaimah to experience UAE’s biggest waterpark. There’s no better desert location to cool off. Check out the park’s Snow River, iceberg rally, and large beach area. The Penguin Homeland features more than 25 waterslides, giving you and your kids a family-friendly adrenaline rush. If you so desire, you can even spend the night, so bring your overnight bag.
We’ve all seen zip-liners moving through the South American rainforest, taking in the jungle as they zing from tree to tree. Dubai zip lines offer a modern take on the experience. Instead of wildlife, you can take in the city’s beautiful skyline and giant swimming pools from on high. Dubai currently holds the record for longest zip line. Suspended 1800 feet over the Dubai Fountains, you’ll travel at speeds between 60 and 70 mph as you take a 40-second tour of the city skyline. There’s a catch, however. Potential zip-liners must reserve their spot at the XDubai official Facebook page. Even then, only 30 lucky zip-liners are selected to participate each week.