Parks and Beaches
More than 130 million trees have been planted in Abu Dhabi and visitors are generally surprised by the abundance of greenery and open spaces.
The capital is home to more than 30 public parks and tens of thousands of flowers, shrubs and palm-tree farms both inside and out of the city.
Most parks are fitted with fountains and children's playgrounds, including water features. They come alive at night, when people gather for a game of football and a barbecue.
The Abu Dhabi Government website has provided an interactive map.
A large park near Airport Road that includes amusement park rides (with varying fees), swings, fountains and a cafeteria. For now, the park remains a “ladies only” facility and photography is not allowed.
Open from 15.00 to 22.00 Saturday to Thursday and 15.00 to 21.30 on Fridays.
Public holiday hours are 09.00 to 12.00 and 15.00 to 22.00.
A popular park for ladies and children only. It has a variety of play areas, including a bouncy castle and plenty of trees to provide shade. An Abu Dhabi Co-op branch is located on the south side of the park, so you can shop after your children play. Standard entry fee is Dh1.
This park contains swings and a slide for children with a pond as a centrepiece. Facilities also include a cafeteria, vending machines and a small mosque.
The free skate park and basketball fields are surrounded by grassy hills, barbecue gazebo's and a water playground for children. A pedestrian tunnel to the Corniche can also be found here.
Sheikh Khalifa Park
An enormous wall-enclosed park with a variety of fountains, rest areas and a little train to take you around the grounds. A museum at the south end of the park covers the history of the UAE that includes a cart ride and an aquarium.
Rarely busy, making it a great park for families. Swings and slides are available.
Khaleej al Arabi Park
Nestled off the centre of the city and boasting waterfront views, this stretch of park is very popular for barbecuing at weekends.
Another great way to spend your free time outdoors is with your toes in the sand, a beach ball and a bottle of sunscreen. Since there's not a wealth of public beaches,
try using Google Earth to find hidden treasures off the beaten track. Due to the continuing development in the UAE, you never know how long they'll exist.
Don't parade around in your bathing suit, unless you can stand gawking bystanders. If you're willing to pay a hefty entrance fee to one of the hotels you'll have a beach, pool and bar in the same setting. You might be surrounded by expatriates but will not be run over by jetskis.
The new beach has three sections. The only free area, in front of the East Plaza and opposite Khaleej al Arabi Street, is open to everyone.
To the west of the plaza, there is a pay-entry family zone for women and children, and for men who are accompanied by a woman or child. It is accessible through Gates 1, 2 and 3.
To the east of the plaza, there is a pay-entry zone open to everyone. It can be reached through Gates 4, 5 and 6.
The pay areas cost Dh10 (US$3) for adults and Dh5 for children aged five or older. Younger children are admitted free.
Lulu Island Beach
The island used to have ferry service but is now only accessible if you have your own boat. Boats can be chartered at Marina Mall Marina.
On the island you will find tents, security, toilets and barbecue spots.
Next to the Emirates Palace is the oldest and busiest public beach that sees everything from dog walkers, kiteboarders and families. Unfortunately its future is uncertain because of nearby construction. Most of it has been closed already.
19th Street beach
A small patch of beach stretches along the Al Bateen side of the island. At night time it is popular with anglers and families enjoying the sunset. During the weekend it is a great spot for a swim – just beware of raging jetskis.
29th Street beach
Across the water from Adnec is a residential beach. Not ideal for sunbathing as it is popular with dog walkers by day and SUV owners at night.