With the temperatures finally starting to come down, cool breezes are in the air. The consistently clear weather does give in to the occasional showers and storms, but this is also a time when UAE residents are happy to bid the scathing heat goodbye and step outside again. But what if you have a small family in tow; can you still enjoy all the outdoors adventures you used to? You’d be surprised. Whether you’re making a few tweaks to adapt an activity or trying something totally geared towards a family, there’s a host of fun on your doorstep, but don’t forget to check for clear skies.
The camping enthusiast David Marque, 31, found he only needed to make a few minor adjustments for the family to carry on their favourite winter activity once their son was born. “We make sure we bring ready-made sterilised bottles to make up his feeds, bring an extra washing-up bowl in case we need more clean bottles and just bring cold-water sterilising tablets,” he explains.
“As soon as we arrive at the campsite, we leave a big bottle of water in the sun to warm for his bath and we try to stick as much as possible to his regular routine, so he settles well at night.”
The family carries on their daytime activities with the baby in a baby carrier. “We go on walks around the campsite and often see animals, which he loves,” says Marque. For safety, he suggests sticking to campsites near main roads and not too far from petrol stations, and preferably going with at least one other family.
If you love heights and want to include your little ones, Challenging Adventure in Ras Al Khaimah offers the perfect solution. Emily Christensen, 35, found the set-up ideal for her four-year-old son.
“The crag selected for the activity was completely shaded and the staff were really good with him,” she explains. “We climbed rocks, did some rock-hopping and they even arranged a treasure hunt with a real map, which my son loved because he’s crazy about pirates and treasure maps.”
Equipment is supplied and the activity is led and supervised by qualified instructors. Challenging Adventure also offers family-friendly activities such as kayaking, desert trekking and mountain biking. There’s even on-site camping; simply bring your own tent and equipment.
Scott Alexander, 41, regularly takes his three-year-old son William cycling. “I’m a keen cyclist anyway and our son loves doing activities with Daddy, so taking him cycling is ideal,” he explains. “William sits in a specially-designed seat that attaches to the back of my bike and I stick to designated cycle routes and make sure we both have our helmets on.”
If you need rental equipment, there are plenty of options. Fun Ride Sports has four rental stations along Abu Dhabi’s Corniche and there’s also the Yas Plaza Bike Rental Station, where you can either rent a bike or join a guided island tour. Fairmont Bab Al Bahr also rents bikes and provides cyclists with helmets, maps and route suggestions.
Farther out of the city, there’s the Tuesday evening session at the Yas Marina circuit, where cyclists can bring their own bikes or rent them on-site and cycle round the Formula One track.
UAQ Marine Club
If the younger members of your family are water-mad, a trip to Umm Al Quwain Marine Club offers a range of water activities including kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding, wakeboarding, water-skiing and even crab hunting for little ones. Instructors are on hand for lessons and all the equipment is provided on-site, including drum barbecues and charcoal.
If you fancy combining water sports with an overnight stay, pitch your tent on the beach, or splurge on an air-conditioned chalet.
planning your activity
• Fun Ride Sports: www.funridesports.com, 02 4455838
• Yas Marina Circuit: www.yasmarinacircuit.com, 800 YAS
• Fairmont Bab Al Bahr: www.fairmont.com/abu-dhabi, 02 6543333
• Challenging Adventure: www.challengingadventure.com, 056 1060798
• Umm Al Qaiwain Marine Club: www.uaqmarineclub.com, 06 7666644
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