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Dubai: Where Desert Meets Ocean

Sports Illustrated on the Beach
Dubai: Where Desert Meets Ocean
Dubai’s beaches all have something in common—beautiful white sand and the azure waters of the Persian Gulf. Extreme-sports enthusiasts, families, and playboys alike will all find something in which to delight.
By Baxter Jackson, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by age fotostock
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    Sports Illustrated on the Beach
    Sports Illustrated on the Beach
    Umm Suqeim, popular with both locals and visitors, is a swath of sand worthy of a Baywatch episode. Here, you'll find a whole host of sun sports: volleyball, paddleboarding, kayaking, and kite surfing.
    Photo by age fotostock
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    Family Fun in the Arabian Sun
    Family Fun in the Arabian Sun
    For family fun under the Arabian sun, Kite Beach offers the full package of activities oriented toward adventure lovers of all ages. Check out the Wire World Adventure Park or grab a meal by the seashore.
    Photo by Matz Sjöberg/age fotostock
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    A Beach for Oil Sheikhs and Playboys
    A Beach for Oil Sheikhs and Playboys
    At JBR Beach, bikini-clad beachgoers and the athletically inclined hold court near the Persian Gulf, which is as warm and clear as a swimming pool. Camels led by turbaned men plod along the sand while skydivers spiral through the air overhead. Prepare to spend hours and hours at this beach and a host of nearby restaurants and cafés.
    Photo by Iain Masterton/age fotostock
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    The World's Largest Human Fish Tank
    The World's Largest Human Fish Tank
    Atlantis Hotel on Palm Jumeirah hosts not only the hottest beach party in Dubai but also the most insane snorkeling—in a 3-million-gallon fish tank, the largest open-air aquarium in the Middle East. The 11-yard-deep crystal cistern guarantees you’ll snorkel with guitar sharks, Napoleon wrasses, manta rays, and other marine animals indigenous to the Gulf. And if you've ever wondered what happened to the Lost City of Atlantis, it’s right there in the tank.
    Photo by Maria Breuer/age fotostock
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    Surfing, Kayaking, and Other Water Sports
    Surfing, Kayaking, and Other Water Sports
    When the swell is up and the waves are high enough, Sunset Beach is Surf City, UAE. Count on left-breaking waves at the Jebel Ali end and right-breaking waves at the northern tip of the beach. Between, expect a busy stretch of sand that's full of tourists, locals, and expats soaking up the sun. In the distance you can even glimpse the great sail of a building that is Burj Al Arab.
    Photo by Ashley Cooper/age fotostock
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    Nightlife by the Beach
    Nightlife by the Beach
    If the sea is calling and a pier just won’t do, flag a taxi to Dubai Marina for a kitschy and fun buffet dinner cruise around Palm Jumeirah on the Aisha Floating Restaurant—belly dancing included, participation encouraged.
    Photo by age fotostock