UAE islands you can get to in under three hours for National Day weekend

Looking for a place to soak up the winter sun without having to book a plane ticket for National Day weekend?

Residents in the UAE will have a three-day weekend because Commemoration Day takes place on Thursday November 30, though the private sector will be closed on Friday December 1.

National Day will be celebrated on Saturday, December 2, with a second day on Sunday, December 3.

This equates to a lengthy weekend, and given the UAE’s diverse natural terrain, which includes mountains, beaches, and multiple islands, it’s definitely worth visiting.

Al Noor Island, Sharjah

Though not a natural island, Al Noor Island in Sharjah has enough of natural beauty to explore. There is an artistically exciting framework in Khalid Lagoon that is covered by a canopy of trees. You purchase your tickets (Dhs35) before walking over to the island, which is available via a walkway from the Buhairah Corniche (near the Al Noor Mosque). Once there, you can stroll around the beautiful gardens, snap photos with butterflies in the Butterfly House (at a further cost), and rest on the golden sand beach. There are also early morning yoga lessons and a cafe where you can relax during the trees.

Al Sinniyah Island, Umm Al Quwain

Al Sinniyah is a calm island off the coast of Umm Al Quwain that is only populated by birds. Flamingos, herons, and other moving species can be seen among the mangrove woods. There’s also plenty of desert vegetation and animals to view all through the 10-kilometer trail.

Nurai Island, Abu Dhabi

Nurai Island is the place to go if you want to escape to a luxury island. A five-star resort with five restaurants, a swimming pool, and many watersports sports is just 15 minutes off the coast of Abu Dhabi. Day passes cost Dhs750 (per person) which covers boat transfers, with Dhs550 of the total payment redeemable on food, drink, and activities while you’re there.

Snoopy Island, Fujairah

Snoopy Island, also known as Dibba Island, is an island in the Indian Ocean and gets its name from its form outside the water (it’s supposed to look like Snoopy lying on his side). It’s a popular snorkelling and diving site in the UAE. Swimming about this rock formation island is beautiful even though you can’t walk on it. Turtles and schools of tropical fish are frequently seen swimming past coral reefs. Dive enthusiast can even glimpse a shipwreck on the ocean floor. It is accessible from Sandy Beach Resort and costs Dhs100 to enter for the day. Snorkelling apparatus can be rented for Dhs60.

Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

This historic island not only has fauna to observe, but it also has a monastery that is believed to date back to 600AD. The island now has a wildlife refuge where animals like as giraffes, rare oryx, and cheetahs can roam freely, as well as a five-star Anantara villa complex. If you don’t want to spend the money on a stay at the resort, you can book a day excursion to the island for Dhs300 (safari just) or Dhs600 (lunch plus safari). If you book your tickets through the phone, you will depart from the Al Dana Jetty on the mainland of Abu Dhabi.

Shark Island, Khorfakkan

Shark Island, located off the shore of Khorfakkan (on Sharjah’s east coast), is another rock creation in the Indian Ocean that is wonderful for seeing marine life. A few private companies provide boat tours around the island and also diving equipment rentals. Nemo Diving Centre provides daily four-hour day tours to Shark Island for Dhs140 (per person) including equipment rental. You can even order a diving package if you have a PADI certification.

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