Nothing can clear your head and drain all the anxiety like a rejuvenating camping trip to give you the energy you need to resume normal life. In the UAE, you can choose from a wide range of beautiful camping spots, from mountains and beaches to deserts and oases. Whether you’re looking for a weekend of adventure or a longer stay, camping is the perfect way to get away from it all and enjoy some much-needed time outdoors. Plus, you can spend quality time with your loved ones and make unforgettable memories. In this article, we have prepared a list of the best UAE camping spots for you to set up your tent.
Camping in the UAE
Life in the United Arab Emirates is unique in many aspects. It is famous for its opulent hotels and grand resorts though the expansive urban infrastructure has not deprived the region of its natural beauty. True, you can have lots of fun in UAE’s gorgeous hotels, but many are willing to exchange the roof of a hotel room for a roof made of a clear sky painted with myriad stars.
Fortunately, the UAE’s enchanting camping spots are as diverse and as attractive as its hotels and shopping centers. If you want to leave all the hustles and bustles of city life behind and find the purest serenity in an alluring and untamed environment, the UAE can offer you some of the best camping spots in the world. Camping is one of the best ways of spending a holiday in the UAE. In the following section, we will introduce 20 of the UAE’s refreshing camping spots. You can also check out our list of the UAE public holidays for 2023 and plan how you want to spend your days off in advance.
UAE’s Most Beautiful Desert Campsites
Deserts are signature camping spots in the UAE. You can enjoy a night sky full of stars while lying down on a bed of fine sand in the tranquility of the desert. Here are some of the most popular desserts for camping:
Liwa, the Most Famous UAE Desert Among Campers
Those who live a busy city life often find solitude one of life’s most precious gifts. That’s why Liwa is one of the most cherished UAE camping spots. Located amidst the Rub Al Khali, meaning the empty quarter, Liwa greets its visitors with one of the purest desert camping experiences. The deeper you delve into the desert, the prettier it gets. Liwa is also one of the finest places for conquering the extensive dunes and basking in unforgettable stargazing moments.
Keep in mind, though, that it’s easy to get lost in the middle of all the sand. Don’t forget to carry a GPS and power banks to recharge your phone. Camping in Liwa requires lots of preparation. Aside from tents, sunscreen, and jackets to keep you warm during cold desert nights, it’s good to include compasses, shovels and plenty of water in your supplies. Also, make sure to fill your vehicles’ tanks with fuel. You’ll come across a plethora of dunes on your way to Liwa, so it is recommended to travel in 4x4s.
When in Liwa, you will also be close to the village of Hamim (roughly a 50-kilometer drive away, depending on your location). Along the road to Hamim, you’ll come across a spectacular motor museum which is a must-see. It is owned by Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, also known as the “Rainbow Sheikh,” a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family (if you’re curious about more, read our thorough guide to the royal families of the UAE).
Al Qudra Lakes, Great Camping Spot in UAE
Are you looking for a quick escape from the liveliness of Dubai? An hour from the city sits one of the best camping experiences in all of the UAE. Al Qudra’s artificial lakes are surrounded by dunes, giving rise to a beautiful man-made oasis.
Al Qudra lakes might not be a life-long journey away from the city, but they are far enough to reward you with a starry sky at night. The banks of the lakes serve as perfect spots for barbecue setups, and you can explore the waters after sunrise for a refreshing morning experience. If bird watching is your hobby, you’ll be thrilled to know that Al Qudra lakes are home to 360 species of birds, of which almost half are migratory.
You don’t need an off-road car to visit Al Qudra Lake unless you want to explore the nearby dunes. Remember to bring your BBQ box since campfires on the ground are not allowed.
Fossil Rock, a Fine Camping Spot in the Old World
In the middle of a desert just a one-hour drive from Sharjah, a giant piece of rock bulges out of the sand. The rock bears some wonderfully preserved fossils of ancient marine invertebrates, and that’s why it is called Fossil Rock. This rock has turned its surroundings into spectacular camping spots.
You can set up your camp near the rock and hike it to enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding desert. The area is also a paradise for off-roaders, thanks to its numerous dunes. Overall, the Fossil Rock area is a great spot for families and new campers.
Al Dhaid Desert, Fantastic Camping Spot in UAE
Al Dhaid desert, home to the oasis town of Al Dhaid, is located roughly 60 kilometers east of Sharjah city. You can take the E88 road from Sharjah and drive straight to the desert. Al Dhaid is pretty expansive, and its vastness makes it difficult for visitors to find the right camping spot. However, you can keep driving along the E88 road, and eventually, you will come across an open space which is an ideal spot for setting up your camp.
You can also visit Sharjah Desert Park on your way to the Al Dhaid Desert. It is a preservation facility for endangered desert species, both animals and flora. There is also a petting farm inside the park where children and their families get to spend time with domestic farm animals. The great thing about these spots is that they are all located within a short drive from Sharjah properties. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful starry night or an adventurous off-roading experience, these spots offer something for everyone residing in Sharjah.
UAE’s Coastal Campsites in Dubai
Despite the UAE’s expensive desserts, the region has several fine beaches as well. If you’re in the mood to camp near the sea, consider the following beaches and coasts:
Shipwreck Beach Camping Spot in UAE
A relatively isolated beach only a 25-minute drive away from the city of Ruwais, Abu Dhabi, Shipwreck Beach is a popular camping spot that allows you to enjoy the clean waters of the sea while gazing at the Rub Al Khali in the background. Don’t expect facilities in the area since it’s untamed and remote. Bring along all the supplies and camping equipment you need.
The waters near the beach are pretty shallow and won’t get deeper than knee-high, so feel free to take a walk along the shore and get your feet wet. Those living in Abu Dhabi properties can easily access Shipwreck Beach with a short drive and enjoy the serenity of the place with its clean waters and untamed landscape. Additionally, the shallow waters near the beach make it a great spot for swimming and taking a walk along the shore.
Shuweihat Island Camping Spot in UAE
Shuweihat Island offers one of the most picturesque coasts in all of the UAE. This stunning island is located just off Abu Dhabi’s coast and is decorated with beautiful rock formations. These formations, alongside the rugged train near the beach, make some spectacular frames for your camera to capture. The water is also perfect for swimming, so make sure you include it in your camping schedule.
Shuweihat Island is a remote piece of land in the middle of the sea, so if you plan to camp there, you should go well-prepared. Make sure you bring along all the supplies and equipment you need for your camping trip. There is also a UAE military facility on the island, so be careful not to get too close to the base.
White Sand Beach Camping Spot in UAE
If you plan to go on a camping trip on a budget, White Sands Beach, located between the Fins and the Wadi Shab, is a suitable spot for you. You can camp at White Sands Beach and purchase all the supplies you need for a reasonable price. The cliff overlooking the beach is a great spot for camping.
When at White Sands Beach, you can engage in a variety of water sports, such as paddleboarding, snorkeling, and diving. You can also bring along your fishing rod and fish. Keep an eye out for sea urchins, though.
Al Aqah Beach is a Great Camping Spot in UAE
Al Aqah Beach is one of the most popular camping spots in Fujairah and is three hours away from Dubai. The beach is located close to Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort. This means you can find plenty of restaurants nearby and won’t run out of food. There is also a wide range of water sports you can participate in for a quick adrenaline boost. Al Aqah Beach is an excellent spot for camping for those living in Dubai properties, as it is only a three-hour drive away. This means you can easily escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a weekend getaway and enjoy the serenity of the beach. Moreover, buying property in Dubai can get you a residency visa, offering another great incentive for those living in Dubai to take advantage of the nearby camping spot.
Snoopy Island, a Camping Spot Straight out of the Fantasy in UAE
Jazirat al-Aqqa, commonly known among English speakers as the Snoopy Island (because it resembles Snoopy, a cartoon character), is another popular camping spot in Fujairah. This small rocky island is just off Al Aqah beach. Keep in mind, though, that the island is really small (only 100 meters in length), and considering its popularity, you might not always find an empty camping spot. However, the experience will be quite memorable, so it’s definitely worth a shot.
Al Rafaah Beach Camping Spot in UAE
Al Rafaah beach is one of the best camping spots that the Umm Al Quwain emirate has to offer. In order to get to Al Rafaah, you’ll need to hit the E311 road, also known as Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed road, and head towards Ajman. Take the Dreamland Aqua Park exit and follow the signs to Al Rafaah.
If you plan to camp overnight camping trip on Al Rafaah beach, we recommend setting up your camp a bit further away from the seashore. You wouldn’t want to get wet when the sea level rises at night! One of the major attractions of Al Rafaah Beach is the mangrove trees scattered along the coast. These peculiar trees are a sight to see, and you can kayak your way between them and enjoy the beautiful coastal vegetation. Al Rafaah beach is also a good fishing spot, so don’t forget to bring along your fishing gear.
Al Dhafra Beach is a Fantastic Camping Spot in UAE
Al Dhafra Beach, located just outside Abu Dhabi, is one of the best camping spots to relax and enjoy the company of friends, family, and… turtles! Al Dhafra beach is pretty vast, so you shouldn’t need to worry about finding an empty spot. However, if you plan to enjoy camping here, you have to bring all the necessary supplies and equipment. It’s also good to pack a wetsuit since you’ll have the option to participate in several water sports, such as kayaking and snorkeling.
Camping in the Wilderness of the UAE
Camping in the UAE is not all about the sand. If you are in the mood for hiking, there are some rough terrains around that you’ll find quite to your liking:
Acacia Forest, a Remote Spot for Campers in UAE
If you explore Dubai’s mountainous terrain well enough, you can find a soothing camping spot; the Acacia forest. The forest is 10 kilometers from Khor Najd in the mountains of Musandam. Acacia forest is hard to find, and it’s best to go there with other campers that have explored the area before. Traveling in camping convoys is good for keeping track of the roads and not getting lost.
You will find the tranquility of this beautiful forest charming, especially at night. If you want to set up campfires, bring your own firewood because you won’t find any in the forest. There is also a military firing range in the area. Pay attention to the signs and be careful not to cross the military base perimeter.
Hatta Mountains Camping Spot in UAE
Hatta Mountains offer a complete camping package, so keep in mind to set aside enough time and not rush your experience. There are numerous camping sites in Hatta mountains; each having its own unique perks to offer and having several attractions and facilities.
You can venture out into the wild and set up your tent in the middle of the desert. You can also take part in a number of recreational activities available such as kayaking. Oh, and don’t forget to visit the famous Hatta Dam and enjoy its turquoise waters. If you want to explore the wild, we recommend traveling in a 4×4 because you might encounter rough and rocky terrain.
Wadi Sana Camping Spot in UAE
Wadi Sana is a camping trip destination that enchants you from the moment you begin your journey. Driving along the road between Dibba and Masafi, you’ll see the transition of the scenery from sandy deserts to rocky mountains. Eventually, you’ll find yourself on a highland with spectacular views of the terrains below.
When camping in Wadi Sana, you can enjoy the scenery during the day or hike the mountainous terrain. You can also bring a bike and enjoy this camping spot to its full potential since Wadi Sana offers some of the best mountain-biking tracks in all of the UAE.
If you plan to go camping in Wadi Sana, you’ll need a 4×4 to navigate through its rocky terrain. Also, make sure you bring along enough blankets and a suitable sleeping bag since your camping spot is technically an enormous rock!
Jebel Jais, UAE Campsite Close to the Civilization
If you are in the mood for a camping trip but still not ready to lose the city vibe, Jebel Jais can serve as an excellent camping spot for you. Mount Jais features rough terrain and a spiral road that climbs to the mountaintop. As you drive along the road, you can watch the scenery and pick your spot on the way. And don’t worry about finding a spot; you will find plenty of camper-friendly wadi beds along the winding route and at different heights of the mountain.
Jebel Jais gets cold at night, and strong winds add to the chill, so make sure to bring along extra blankets and enough firewood to stay warm during the night. Keep in mind, though, that lighting a fire on the ground is prohibited, and we recommend you use a fire pit or a barbecue grill.
UAE’s Resort Camping Sites
Suppose you are not yet ready to go full adventurer mode and leave the convenience of city life behind. In that case, there are several camping resorts in which you’ll get to taste desert life without cutting ties with civilization.
Bedouin Camps a Great Spot in UAE
If you want to get a taste of traditional desert life and learn Arabic culture, Bedouin camps in the Ras Al Khaimah desert are the perfect spot for you. Inside the camp, you will be accommodated in traditional desert tents and provided with everything you need for a memorable camping experience. This includes coolers, cushions, bonfires, barbecues, bars, and shishas (hookahs).
In addition to everything that a desert camping experience has to offer, such as soothing solitude and a night sky full of stars, the camp guides can take you on a desert tour, giving you insights into the history and attractions of the area. You also can try authentic Arabic food in Bedouin camps. The fun does not end here, though; you’ll get to see the falcon trainers at the camp and go on a bumpy desert ride.
Bianky Beach Camp, a Great Spot in UAE
Al Zorah beach in Ajman offers one of the most popular camping spots for tourists and locals alike. Located on this famous beach, Bianky Beach Camp caters to its residents with tents and coastal wooden gazebos. This is perfect as a getaway site for those tired of the hustles and bustles of city life. With a range of activities, such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and beach volleyball, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The camp is also conveniently close to some of the most beautiful natural attractions in the region. Bianky Beach Camp is the perfect place for a weekend of relaxation and fun.
Mleiha Camp is a Great Spot in UAE
If you want to satisfy your inner adventurer, consider spending an evening at the Mleiha camp in Sharjah. Mleiha Archaeological Center features a fully-equipped camp in the middle of the desert. In order to reach the camp, you’ll have to embark on a desert journey on foot. Stargazing with the proper equipment provided by the camp starts in the evening and is followed by a fun barbecue party. The camp also serves breakfast in the morning.
Hatta Sedr Trailer Camp a Fine Spot in UAE
As mentioned above, Hatta offers a wide range of unique camping spots. However, Sedr Trailer Camp is so special that we decided to introduce it separately. It is located on the outskirts of Dubai and offers you an unforgettable camping experience thanks to its cozy trailers.
You don’t need to bring any special equipment if you plan to reside at Hatta Sedr Trailer Camp. This is because you will have access to all the necessary facilities there. Moreover, each trailer comes with an elegant gazebo-like terrace featuring lights, comfortable chairs, cushions, and a small table. You’ll have access to free WiFi, TV, air conditioning, and mineral water, too. A food truck is also parked onsite to cater to you whenever you are hungry.
Arabian Dreams Desert Camp, a Dream Camp site in UAE
If you want to experience life in the desert, the Arabian Dreams desert camp is the right spot for you. The camp can be described as a traditional desert hotel and is one of the best spots for overnight camping during the summer. It comprises 8 tent houses, each offering properr bedding and the necessary sanitation facilities. The camp also offers its guests camel rides and desert safaris. Don’t forget to bring your own tent and proper clothing for the night.
It’s Time to Camp in Dubai
Now that you have learned about the best UAE camping spots, you can plan a camping trip and create an unforgettable memory alongside friends and family. Thanks to its unique climate and geographical location, the UAE offers a wide range of camping spots, from untamed desserts to sandy beaches.
Getting a taste of the fun the UAE can offer, you might spend your holidays in this region more frequently. With the new UAE nationality law, you can even apply for citizenship, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the UAE year-round. If you are looking to move to the UAE, contact us at Dxboffplan real estate for more information on what the UAE has to offer and how you can become a citizen by buying property.
frequently asked questions
Camping in the UAE can be done year-round, although the best time to go camping is in the winter months. The weather is much cooler, and the days are shorter, making camping in the desert and other outdoor locations much more enjoyable. During the summer months, the heat can be oppressive, making it difficult to enjoy the outdoors. Additionally, in the summer months, there can be sand storms that make camping difficult. It's important to check the weather forecast before heading out on a camping trip to ensure that you will be safe and comfortable during your excursion.
The best camping spots in the UAE vary depending on what type of camping you are looking for. If you are looking for a desert adventure, the Empty Quarter of the Rub al Khali, Wadi Wurayah, and Liwa Oasis are all great options. For beach camping, the best spots are along the Persian Gulf coast, such as Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah. These spots offer stunning views of the ocean and the opportunity to explore the local wildlife. For those looking for a more relaxing camping experience, the Jais Mountains in Ras Al Khaimah offer a tranquil atmosphere surrounded by lush green scenery. No matter what type of camping experience you are looking for, the UAE has a variety of options to choose from.