If you're not staying at a beach resort but want to have access to one, there are several excellent beach clubs that offer day passes for nonguests. All have private beaches with watersports, pools, health clubs, restaurants, and bars. These include the clubs at Le Méridien Mina Seyahi (tel. 04-399-3333), Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa (tel. 04-346-1111), Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort & Towers (tel. 04-399-5533), Hilton Dubai Jumeirah (tel. 04-399-1111), and Jumeirah Beach Hotel (tel. 04-348-0000). Rates range from AED 150 to AED 250 depending on the resort, whether it's a weekday or weekend, and time of year, and include towels.
When it's just too hot to be outside, there's always bowling. A popular Dubai pastime, particularly in summer, options include Al Nasr Leisureland (tel. 04-337-1234; www.alnasrll.com), the 36-lane Dubai Bowling Centre (tel. 04-296-9222; www.dubaibowlingcentre.com), and Thunderbowl (tel. 04-343-1000). Games typically cost about AED 20 per person, or AED 100 per hour.
Deep-Sea Fishing & Yacht Charters
Dubai's fishing season extends from September to April, and requires a permit or a charter with a licensed tour guide. Common catches include sailfish, barracuda, kingfish, bonito, cobia, dorado, king mackerel, and tuna. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club (tel. 04-295-6000; www.dubaigolf.com) operates a 9.8-m (32-ft.) Hatters vessel that carries up to six passengers and includes the crew, tackle, bait, ice, and fuel. Another charter option is Happy Days Cruising (tel. 055-896-1276; www.happydaysdubai.com), whose boats are also berthed in Dubai Creek. Rates are approximately AED 800 for 1 hour, AED 2,200 for 4 hours, and AED 3,800 for 6 hours.
With fairways extending along the creek, the par-71 championship course at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club (tel. 04-295-6000; www.dubaigolf.com) is open to players holding a valid handicap certificate. Greens fees are AED 695 to AED 795 for 18 holes (excluding cart). The club also has a floodlit par-3 (9-hole) course. The Montgomerie (tel. 04-380-1333; www.themontgomerie.com), located at Emirates Hills, is a par-72 course boasting one of the world's largest greens. Fees are AED 795 for 18 holes, and considerably less in the off season. Emirates Golf Club (tel. 04-380-2222; www.dubaigolf.com) is home of the Dubai Desert Classic and features two 18-hole championship courses: Majlis (AED 825) and Faldo (AED 695). Each of these clubs offers professional instructors and world-class facilities, as well as golf club and buggy rentals.
Another popular sport in Dubai, recreational riding is available with or without an instructor. Two options are the Jebel Ali Equestrian Club (tel. 04-884-5485; www.jaec-me.com) and the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa (tel. 04-814-5555; www.jebelali-international.com). Lessons cost AED 60 for 30 minutes or AED 100 for 1 hour; desert or beach hacks cost AED 150 and up per hour.
Some resorts have small catamarans for hire, including the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Hilton Jumeirah, and One&Only Royal Mirage. The fee is about AED 200 per hour. The Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) (tel. 04-399-5777; www.dimc.ae) has catamarans, lasers, surf skis, and kayaks (most of the boats for hire are for members; inquire directly with DIMC). The club offers sailing lessons, primarily for children.
Ski Dubai (tel. 04-409-4000; www.skidxb.com) is one of Dubai's modern icons. This 22,500-sq. m (242-sq. ft.) indoor ski resort, equivalent in size to three football fields, accommodates skiing, snowboarding, and tobogganing. Never mind that it may be hotter than blazes outside, Ski Dubai is a winter wonderland packing 6,000 tons of artificial snow. A tow lift and quad chairlift service the five runs, the longest of which is 400m (1,312 ft.) with a 60-m (197-ft.) vertical drop. It's especially fun here for beginners and even intermediate skiers; advanced skiers may get a little bit bored going down the slopes in well under a minute. Think of it as a novelty. Snowboarders have access to a quarter-pipe freestyle zone, and ski and snowboard lessons are available for beginners. Lift tickets include water-proof winter ski suits (but not hats and gloves, which can be purchased separately at the ski shop) along with ski or snowboard equipment. Do dress warmly, as the park is kept at temperatures just below freezing. There's also a fun snow park for kids to play in - think snowballs. The 25-story high Ski Dubai is connected to the Mall of the Emirates. Ski/snowboard pass for 2 hours AED 180; additional hour AED 40; ski slope day pass AED 300; snow park admission (for kids) AED 100. Open Saturday to Thursday 10am to 11pm and Friday 9am to midnight.
Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
Although the diving is even better on the U.A.E.'s east coast, the clear waters off Jumeirah Beach are home to a fascinating variety of marine life, such as barracuda, clownfish, eagle rays, moray eels, sea snakes, sea horses, and stingrays. Cement Barge, Mariam Express, and the MV Dara are popular wreck dives near Dubai. Reputable PADI-certified dive shops include Pavilion Dive Centre (tel. 04-406-8827; www.jumeirah.com) at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and the Atlantis Dive Centre (tel. 04-426-3000; www.atlantisdivecentre.com) at the Atlantis resort on the crescent of Palm Island. Most other five-star beach resorts and dive shops rent snorkeling equipment. Two tank dives generally run AED 300 and up.
Most Dubai resorts have lighted tennis courts and available instructors. Among the city's best tennis clubs are the Aviation Club (tel. 04-282-4122; www.aviationclub.ae) at Al Garhoud, Dubai Tennis Academy (tel. 04-399-4539; www.dubaitennisacademy.com) at the American University in Dubai, and Emirates Golf Club (tel. 04-380-2222; www.dubaigolf.com), which all offer lessons. Prices vary.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.