The UAE’s 12 best green spaces and parks

From peaceful oases to wetland reserves, these venues offer myriad ways to be at one with nature

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Parks, nature reserves and other patches of green come to life as winter arrives in the UAE.

With cooler temperatures in full swing, there’s no better time to explore one of the many new areas that have opened or revisit an old favourite.

Here are a dozen of the best green spaces and parks around the country.

Abu Dhabi

Jubail Mangrove Park

Nestled at the top of Yas Island before Saadiyat begins is this green haven filled with birds, marine life and even gazelles. Jubail Mangrove Park has a wooden boardwalk that meanders through the trees as the tide flows in and out, changing the landscape and its animal occupants as it does.

There are spots to have a packed lunch along the way, viewpoints to watch nature in motion and observation towers to head up high and scout. Here, visitors can also learn about the imperative part mangroves play in protecting environments worldwide. There are tours for all ages to go kayaking through them, plus a small cafe, gift shop and ample on-site parking.

Daily, 7am-9pm; Al Jubail Island, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Corniche Park

Despite the thrum of engines and patter of passers-by, this park in the heart of the capital often feels like a space of tranquility. It follows the waterfront for about 4km, only being separated by Corniche Road and reachable by underground walkways.

The park is split into several sections as the main roads carve their way through, but it doesn’t detract from the appeal, as each has its own personality. There are ponds where little ones can feed the ducks at Lake Bridge Park; maze-style hedgerows in Formal Park that provide a quiet spot to meditate while drowning out the city noise; and plenty of barbecue areas around Recreation Park. There are many food and drinks kiosks, public toilets and plenty of grassy areas. It is free to visit and open 24 hours.

Daily, 24 hours; Corniche Road

Al Ain Oasis

There are no better green spaces in the desert than oases, and there is no better oasis in the UAE than Al Ain’s. It stretches more than 1,200 hectares in this Abu Dhabi city, which is dubbed Green City.

Visitors can walk along the shaded pathways surrounded by almost 150,000 date palm trees. There is lush greenery as far as the eye can see, with more than 100 species connected by falaj, an irrigation system dating back 3,000 years. The looming trees provide plenty of shading and peaceful pockets to spend an afternoon in.

Although it’s one of the best-known tourist attractions in Al Ain, thanks to its plethora of educational material, it is free to enter, meaning locals and residents alike can often be found strolling through.

Daily, 9am-5.30pm; Al Tuhaf Street, Central District, Al Ain

Khalifa Park

It’s one of the quietest parks in the country, and that’s one of its biggest draws. Nestled in Khalifa City, not far from Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the child-friendly area has a train ride that circles the park. There are plenty of green spaces to have a picnic, while the Maritime Museum offers a window into the fishing and pearl diving history of the emirate.

Al Bateen Executive Airport is adjacent to the park, so keep your eyes peeled for the occasional private jet landing or pilots training in formation for the city’s many air show spectacles.

Sunday to Wednesday, 10am-10pm; Thursday to Saturday; 10am-11pm; Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Street


Mushrif Park

The park is one of the biggest in Dubai, spanning 5.25 square kilometres. There are two excellent cycle tracks and swathes of grass and trees, places to barbecue and spots to swim and hike. Bikes can be rented on-site and be used on a circular, fairly flat circuit around the park or taken to the BMX-style course near the entrance. Marked trails go off-road and can suit various experience levels. It is signposted, so there’s no getting lost.

Sunday to Wednesday, 8am-10pm; Thursday to Saturday, 8am-11pm; Al Khawaneej Street, Mushrif

Zabeel Park

Boat rides, food kiosks and live music – this timeless park could be anywhere in the world, were it not for the Dubai Frame that looms overhead. It is one of the largest parks in Dubai and is easily accessible by metro, with Max and ADCB stations nearest.

Inside, visitors will find a mix of activities such as a jogging track, outdoor fitness centre, mini-golf and track to go skateboarding or BMX biking.

There is plenty of green grass, so don’t be surprised to stumble across an impromptu cricket match. Seasonal artisan markets are held here, too.

Monday to Thursday, 8am-10pm; Friday to Sunday, 8am-11pm; Zabeel Area, near Dubai Frame

Dubai Miracle Garden

At Dh95 entry for adults and Dh85 for children, Dubai Miracle Garden may not be on everyone’s daily visit list. However, it is the best place to spend a weekend among an abundance of flora.

There are more than 150 million flowers on show and they’ve been intricately incorporated into an array of large-scale natural artworks. From arched entrances and giant hearts to jumbo jets and fairytale castles, it’s an emporium of horticulture. The best time of year to visit is between October and February, making now a prime time to go.

Monday to Friday, 9am-9pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9am-11pm; Dh95 for adults, Dh85 for children aged three to 11; free below three; Street 3, Al Barsha

Northern Emirates

Sharjah National Park

The 63-hectare park is the biggest in the emirate and has a distinctly European feel to it. It is a perennial hangout for families come winter, with picnics and barbecues abound.

For little ones, there are plenty of playgrounds with swings and jungle gyms; there are also small lakes that ducks call home. Visitors are allowed to feed the birds, so hang on to those stale crusts.

There are places to rent bikes and small food kiosks, too.

Daily, 8am-10pm; E88, Al Qarayen

Wasit Wetland Centre, Sharjah

Here, it’s not just natural beauty that draws the eye – the Wasit Wetland Centre’s visitor centre was lauded by the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2019. It is part of the emirate’s steadfast approach to conservation and this project looks to build a thriving ecosystem for visitors to enjoy.

There are more than 200 species of birds that visit throughout the year, with eight hides offering the optimum vantage point to see them. The reserve also has small mammals, reptiles and plenty of bugs, with the UAE’s national animal, the Arabian oryx, often spotted prancing along the flats. It’s a place to relax, learn and be at one with nature.

Monday to Saturday, 9am-6.30pm; closed Sundays; Sheikh Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi Street, Al Houma

Saqr Park, Ras Al Khaimah

This expansive park was opened by Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed more than 30 years ago. Since then, it has become arguably the most popular green space in the emirate, combining grassy fields, lakes and waterfalls, pedal boats, picnic and barbecue areas, trees and hiking trails all in one destination.

There are plenty of trees to seek out shade under armed with a book, play areas to keep the little ones busy, a Ferris wheel and arcade for kids big and small, pop-up food stalls and kiosks to refresh and refuel at, as well as small funfair-style rides.

There is a train as well as a skatepark.

Daily, 10am-midnight; Airport Road, near E18 intersection

Pawsome Park, Ras Al Khaimah

As the name suggests, this one’s for four-legged visitors – and their owners. The dog park opened in 2019 and attracts owners and animals from across Ras Al Khaimah and neighbouring emirates.

The park, which spans 7,000 square metres, has off-lead areas for dogs to socialise and play, a walking track, a fully equipped agility park and even a swimming pool. Get coffee and treats at the cafe, which also plays host to regular birthday parties for pets.

Dogs have to undergo a behaviour assessment to ensure their temperament suits the park and other animals, meaning aggressive or overly excitable dogs will not be allowed to enter.

Saturday to Thursday, 9am-noon and 3pm-6pm; closed Fridays; RAK Animal Welfare Centre, Industrial Area, Landfill Road

Kalba Corniche Park, Fujairah

The emirate may be best-known for its hiking trails, southern seas and snorkelling around Snoopy Island, but its corniche deserves equal recognition. The manicured greens span almost seven hectares and hug the coastline, making it a popular spot for barbecues amid the sea breeze.

There are jogging paths and play areas, picnic spots and sweeping ocean views. It’s a top spot to sit and enjoy a spot of meditation, with the park free to enter 24 hours a day.

Daily, 24 hours; Kalba, Fujairah

Updated: December 12, 2023, 5:30 AM