Cheap beaches in Abu Dhabi: uncovered finds

Abu Dhabi is home to some of the prettiest white-sand beaches in the Emirates. Though there are few public beaches, and prices often vary on weekdays ...

Abu Dhabi is home to some of the prettiest white-sand beaches in the Emirates. Though there are few public beaches, and prices often vary on weekdays and weekends, private venues can still offer good deals that fit a student budget.
The Gazelle compiled a list of beaches around Abu Dhabi for NYU Abu Dhabi students to enjoy. Hopefully this collection will guide you to sites other than Saadiyat Public Beach and the NYUAD-famous Corniche Gate #4.
Private beaches are usually part of hotel complexes, so a daily entrance fee may also provide access to facilities such as swimming pools, saunas, jacuzzis and the gym. Prices vary from 25 AED, the reduced price for a weekday pass to Yas Beach, to 500 AED, the price for a day at the St. Regis on Saadiyat. Many of the resorts have monthly discounts, so make sure to subscribe to hotels’ newsletters or follow the latest offers on Groupon.

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr: $$$

This five-star hotel is a 30-minute drive from campus. With a daily pass, guests may swim in the Olympic-sized pool, use the health club or relax in one of the jacuzzis. The hotel also features international restaurants, including The Chocolate Gallery for lovers of sweet treats. The beach has an amazing view of the Abu Dhabi Creek and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This week, through Groupon, you can get a weekday pool and beach access for 99 AED. Alternatively, a couples’ pass is only 129 AED.

Radisson Blu, Yas Island: $$

This hotel is not located directly on the beach, but there are free hourly shuttles that take guests to Yas beach and Yas Mall. The hotel offers a variety of restaurants, one of which is a 1920s Belgian-style cafe. The hotel currently offers pool entry with a soft drink at a reduced price of 49 dirhams per person. The offer expires at the end of March next year.

Yas Island Beach: $

With high ratings on TripAdvisor, the private beach club on Yas Island offers beach beds, towels and a shisha bar to visitors. Water sports such as kayaking and stand up paddle-boarding are available if you pay extra: kayaking from 70 AED, paddle-boarding from 50 AED. During the next week, you can make use of a special offer: a daily weekday pass for only 25 AED.
There are also several public beaches in Abu Dhabi that can be enjoyed. These beaches have no entrance fees, which means they are more friendly to students’ wallets.

Lulu Island

Lulu Island can be seen from the Abu Dhabi Corniche; it stretches for nearly all of its length. This man-made island is home to several beautiful beaches full of palm trees and tents offering shelter from the sun, and perfect picnic spots with a beautiful view of the Abu Dhabi skyline. Although ferries stopped reaching the island several years ago, you can still get there if you know someone who owns a boat or if you hire a charter company that will bring you there. It is, however, important to keep in mind that visitors are not allowed to walk inland from the beach and are requested to leave the island at 8 p.m.

Heritage Village Beach

Heritage Village Beach is located on the peninsula and is a 30-minute drive away from campus. It offers a less crowded alternative to the Corniche beach and a view of the Abu Dhabi skyline. As the name of the beach suggests, the Heritage Village, a reconstruction of a traditional oasis, is just around the corner.

Yas Island

Abu Dhabi also has a beach that is particularly popular for kite-surfing, located on Yas Island, a 30-minute drive away from campus. There are no facilities and no lifeguards on the beach but the water is shallow long into the bay. For those interested in kite-surfing, the bay is a good place to start taking lessons.
Karolina Wilczynska and Kristina Stankovic are deputy features editors. Email them at 
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