I will showcase some unique, hidden natural gems in Abu Dhabi this time. Abu Dhabi is also blessed with amazing, diverse nature, so you can explore many new nature attractions in Abu Dhabi – perfect picnic places. Let’s take a virtual tour of unique things to do in Abu Dhabi, UAE, for an ideal weekend trip with your family and friends.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is located on an island in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, and has a perfect balance of cultural heritage and modern infrastructure. This city has many world records – the World’s largest hand-loomed carpet, the highest High Tea, the tower with the greatest lean, the fastest roller coaster, and the largest cluster of the cultural building of the 21st century.
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Click here to know about some unique places to visit in UAE – hidden gems of UAE.
New Nature Attractions in Abu Dhabi – Perfect Picnic Places
Saadiyat Public Beach
Distance from Abu Dhabi City Center – 22 min (17.9 km) via Abu Dhabi – Al Falah Rd/Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed St/Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Hwy/E12. Click here for Google Map Co-ordinates.
One of the best beaches in Abu Dhabi, with a wide stripe of white sand beach. The beautiful white sand with blue waters and shore grass makes it a unique beach in UAE. To protect natural habitat, raised wooden boardwalks are made for approaching the coast. The pristine white sands stretching out along the roaring waves of the Persian Gulf become the most desirable place for beach lovers. A perfect place to relax, unwind away from city life and get ideal sunshine.
TIP – Changing facilities and chair rentals are available.
ENTRANCE – Adults can enter the beach for AED 25. Children are granted entry for AED 15. Opens from 08:00 am to sunset. The beach is open throughout the week.
Things to do at Saadiyat Public Beach –
- Beach yoga classes
- Eco-friendly watersports activities such as windsurfing and sailing, with attentive staff.
- Dine at Beach Club
Al Wathba Fossil Dunes
Distance from Abu Dhabi City Center – 39 min (48.8 km) via Abu Dhabi – Al Ain Truck Rd/Al Rawdah Rd/E30. Click here for Google Map Co-ordinates.
These unique formations were shaped over the years by the forces of nature. They were created by a mix of powerful winds, eroded sediments, sand and time. These formations are made by wind-swept sand and then permeated with calcium carbonate, which forms a more rigid form. So these structures are very distinct, varied, and abstract structures.
ENTRANCE – Free of Cost but do not touch these structures. Littering around and touching fossils are strictly prohibited
Things to do at Al Wathba Fossil Dunes
- Picnic during early morning hours
- Evening Camping
- Sunset with dunes.
- Perfect Photoshoot location
Al Wathba Salt Lake
Distance from Abu Dhabi City Center – 40 min (50.6 km) via Abu Dhabi – Al Ain Rd/E22 Click here for Google Map Co-ordinates.
One of the most trendy, viral destinations on social media. The long salt lake found alongside the Al Ain highway close to Al Bihouth is becoming the new sensation for photogenic location in Abu Dhabi. The most unique feature of this place is crystal clear waters and mushroom-like stacks of sodium chloride. This lake is scattered with salt flats or ‘sabkha’, resulting from the geographical product of a hot climate and coastal location. It is one of the best new Nature Attractions in Abu Dhabi – Perfect Picnic Places
TIP – There’s a little off-roading involved so travelling in an SUV with four-wheel drive is highly recommended. It is located in the direction of Fossil Dunes.
ENTRANCE – Free
Things to do at Al Wathba Salt Lake
- Wander around and enjoy the beautiful nature.
- Admire the geographical and natural wonder.
- Perfect for photo-shoots
Al Wathba Wetland Reserve
Distance from Abu Dhabi City Center – Take the E22 Abu Dhabi-Al Ain road and then connect with the E30 Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Truck Road, then follow signs for the reserve. Click here for Google Map Co-ordinates.
Once upon a time this region was a coastal salt flat (sabkha), but now flourished into natural and man-made lakes that attracts Abu Dhabi’s species to thrive. Great spot to spot Greater Flamingos – with as many as 4,000 living there during autumn and spring. Not only flamingos but this regions also hosts more than 250 species of birds, 37 plant species and a wide range of aquatic life. There are two self-guided walking trails (1.5 kms or 3 kms) for visitors to explore and a bird-watching hide to observe the flamingos.
ENTRANCE – Free
TIP – Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is open to the public Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays Fridays and Saturdays every week, from 8am until 6pm. Some precautionary measures are required due to Covid which you can check on their official website.
Things to do at Al Wathba Wetland Reserve
- Spot various species
- Go for self-guided walking trails
- Spot large number of flamingos at one place – unique in UAE
- Nature wildlife photography
Al Hudayriat Island Beach
Distance from Abu Dhabi City Center – 12 min (7.0 km) via Mohammed Bin Khalifa St and Shakhbout Bin Sultan St. Click here for Google Map Co-ordinates.
Hudayriyat Island is a natural haven where once upon a time Arabian pearl divers called home. Now transformed into one of the Emirate’s most thrilling sporting destinations. It extends over 24,000 sq. meters, with 600 meters of the big open area dedicated to swimming.
ENTRANCE – Free
Things to do at Al Hudayriat Island Beach
- 361 Sports Village Bike Park,
- Circuit X,
- Cycling track,
- Fenix Life,
- Hudayriat Beach,
- OCR Park,
- Food trucks,
Jubail Mangrove Park
Distance from Abu Dhabi City Center – 22 min (22.1 km) via Abu Dhabi – Al Falah Rd/Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed St/Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Hwy/E12. Click here for Google Map Co-ordinates.
Abu Dhabi’s Mangrove Walk at Jubail Mangrove Park recently opened in 2020 and became one of the best picnic spots in Abu Dhabi for nature lovers. It is a perfect beautiful nature escape away from busy city life. During high tides, you can spot aquatic wildlife and even many birds.
TIP – Try to arrange your trip during high tides as during low tides, there would be less water and so minimum marine life. Pre-packed food items are not allowed inside. There is a café on site selling hot drinks and some food.
ENTRANCE – For adults, the admission charge is Dhs15, Dhs10 for children under 18, and free for children under seven. Family discounts are available. You need to book your slots on their official website as slots get filled very fast, and they allow a small number of people at one time. Small groups are only allowed with prior reservations to preserve the region’s ecology.
Things to do at Jubail Mangrove Park
- Stroll across mangroves through any one of the three pathways to walk, the longest covers a distance of 2km and the shortest is 1km.
- Spot wildlife
- Step on a floating platform and spot underwater marine life.
- Kayaking tours
- E-Canoe experience
- Kayaking Night Glow tour
- SUP Experience
- Walking experience with Ranger
Al Shati Lake Abu Dhabi
Distance from Abu Dhabi City Center – 43 min (60.7 km) via Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan St/E10. Click here for Google Map Co-ordinates.
Hidden gem of Abu Dhabi that not many people know about it. Peaceful beach with swaying palm trees. A perfect place to witness the amazing sunset.
ENTRANCE – Free
Things to do at Al Shati Lake
- Viewing Sunset
I would love to know about your favorite New Nature Attractions in Abu Dhabi – Perfect Picnic Places. As Abu Dhabi has many wonderful natural attractions, keep exploring hidden gems. Nature lovers, marine wildlife lovers, and adventure enthusiasts would truly love these hidden gems in Abu Dhabi. Let me know your experience on unique things to do in Abu Dhabi on weekends.
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So, until then KEEP TRAVELING……………… KEEP EXPLORING……………………………………………………
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I like the formations at Al Wathba Fossil Dunes. Reminded me of the Southwest in the USA. The Al Wathba Salt Lake is so pretty. I wonder if human can float in that clear water. And I would never thought there’s a mangrove in Abu Dhabi.
I like the choice of outdoorsy places mentioned by you. The white sand beaches, the water reserve, the salt lake along Al Ain seem so fascinating. The next time I am in Dubai, am defo planning a trip to Dhabi.
Whenever I think of traveling to UAE, Dubai usually pops up in my mind. Abu Dhabi does seem like a place not to miss while planning a trip to UAE. Those beaches look so welcoming. Adding it to my list!
I’ve never been to Dhabi before, and I love all the options you’ve shared. Those white sand beaches, the wetlands, the fossil dunes – each one is so incredible. Bonus that almost all are free!
I didn’t know that there’re lots of green spaces in Abu Dhabi. Interesting to know you can see flamingos in Al Wathba Wetland Reserve! I also like the idea of visiting Al Wathba Fossil Dunes and relaxing on Al Hudayriat Island Beach. The sand dunes looks amazing!
Interesting that there is so much green nature near Abu Dhabi. I always imagined a lot of desert. The Al Wathba Fossil Dunes and the lake look beautiful. And I LOVE flamingos, they are such strangely colored animals.
I must admit we did not see any of the nature sites in Abu Dhabi when we visited. But I can see there are many to return for! White sand beaches are always a great draw. The Al Wathba Fossil Dunes looks fascinating. Reminded me of Goblins State Park in Utah with the interesting shapes. I love that they put a walkway over the mangroves at Jubail. Although we have had fun kayaking through mangroves before. We would certainly try out some of these spots on a return visit.
I didn’t know Abu Dhabi had so many world records, fastest roller coaster is impressive. A camel ride in the desert is at the top of my list. Going to the beach is not the first thing I would have thought of as a thing to do, but would love to hang out on the Persian Gulf.
Wow I did not know that there are flemingoes in Abu Dhabi. That’s so cool. Also, I think I will need to visit Abu Dhabi again and see the places. Generally everyone stops at Dubai but Abu Dhabi has so many things to do and is so underrated. I would also love to visit Al Wathba Fossil Dunes.