Find a Beach Made Exclusively for You – Part 1
There is something to be said for living in a place that people from across world visit just for the sea, sand and sun. The UAE is dotted with virtually pristine stretches of beach, all just a relatively short drive away for residents and tourists alike.
Finding your own little hideaway is an expat pastime – as is evident from affectionate names such as Snoopy Island or Heart Beach that finders give to their favorite spots. We list some beach destinations on the eastern seaboard that you can explore on the long UAE National Day weekend.
The town of Khorfakkan, about 25km outside Fujairah, has its own quiet stretch of beach with all the amenities necessary for a family day out – a few rides, washrooms, and some restaurants on the main road.
If you fancy yourself as a discoverer, head to Heart Beach, which gets its name from the graffiti on the hills around it. It’s accessible via small steps behind a petrol station after the north end of Khorfakkan beach. Sounds complicated? Good; that means it’s likely to stay hidden longer.
A 15-minute trek later, you will find a scenic little slice of beach where the sand is white and the ocean a beautiful blue-green. You can stop at the nearby Oceanic Hotel for snorkeling and dives.
Or head up further along the coast to reach Snoopy Island, off Sandy Beach hotel. There is a cluster of resorts offering a variety of ways to spend your day – water slides, sun beds, volleyball nets and football pitches.
Drive: Follow signs to Masafi, turn left towards Dibba. Follow the road nestled among the hills along the coast until Khorfakkan. Google Maps Here.
Can do: Snorkeling, water slides, sun beds, volleyball nets and football pitches.
Don’t: Camping is only selectively available at some of the beaches. Swimming is not forbidden but there are no life guards on Heart Beach.
Selfie moments: Plenty, starting from holding the “heart” in your hand. At Snoopy Island, get the angle just right so you have a picture of Snoopy reclining on his back – which is how the island got its name.
People mostly speak about Dibba in adjectives – unspoiled, stunning, hidden. The eastern coastline between Dibba and the Musandam Peninsula is a coveted holiday spot. Some of the beaches are tucked away so well that they are yours for the day if you manage to reach one via a fishing boat or at the end of a six-hour hike.
Carry your passport in case you wander into an Omani checkpoint. Once you reach the harbor, for a smile and a good price, a fishing boat may take you to beaches such as Al Myam or Haffa, which is actually a fishing village. You can contact a local tour company for a more structured boat ride.
You can also stay at one of the numerous resorts in Fujairah or Dibba and enjoy the peaceful beaches adjoining the properties. There are open beaches too where one can spot people camping, but the sand is a bit gravelly. If camping is on your wish list, try the beach close to the Golden Tulip Hotel.
Drive: Cross the checkpoint at Dibba. Continue along the coast to reach the resorts or stop at the harbor, left of the checkpoint. Google Maps Here.
Can do: Snorkeling, swimming, dhow cruises.
Don’t: Walk on the beach or take photos of the locals. Don’t forget your passport!
Selfie moments: Definitely one with feet in clear, blue water, preferably with some colorful fish in the frame. If you get a shot at trying to man the boat, with permission, that’s a keepsake too.
The drive to Khor Kalba is one of the delights of the UAE – the winding roads where you test a new vehicle and marvel at the amazing views. The beach is tucked away at the foot of the Hajar mountains, amid mangroves.
Be prepared to rough it out when it comes to amenities, although there are a couple of hotels in the vicinity. The sand invites many quad-bikers on Fridays, so you can join the fun.
Drive: Follow signs to Masafi until you turn right for Fujairah. Instead of entering the town, continue along the coast road to Khor Kalba. Ask locals to direct you to the Turtle Bridge. Google Maps Here.
Can do: Quad-biking on the sand, picnicking, swimming, barbecue with your own stuff, fishing (buy the lines at Ruglayat), camping.
Don’t: Be a tourist. Best to stay conservative in your choice of clothes. And don’t expect luxuries such as a changing room or showers.
Selfie moments: If you’re the passenger, capture moments on the road as it dips and winds and curves into scenery. When on the beach, nothing says cool like a quad bike!
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