Dubai is one of those cities that feels like it was built with the family front of mind. The largest city in the United Arab Emirates and home to one of the world’s busiest airport hubs, tourism in Dubai is big business.
So let’s take a look at what this desert city has to offer from stopovers to longer vacations.
Best time to visit Dubai
Being in the heart of the Middle East, expect long hot summers and mild winters, making the best time to visit from late October through to late April. Whilst Dubai has adapted over the years to become a year-round destination, many will find the outdoor temperatures of summer, particularly from June to August, unbearable.
If you are visiting Dubai in the peak of the summer, you can even expect the ocean to be too hot for swimming and you will need to base yourself indoors.
- The best time to visit Dubai is from late October through to late April.
- Summer temperatures are HOT! The ocean may even be too hot for swimming.
- Winter daytime temperatures are mild and pleasant to be outside, but the ocean may be too cold for swimming!
- Bear in mind the timing of religious holidays in the UAE. As a Muslim country, Islamic holidays are observed, particularly during the Holy Month of Ramadan where tourists might see several differences in day-to-day life.
How to get around Dubai
Dubai has become a large sprawling city so be prepared to need a lot of transport to get around. The great thing is you can make this part of the adventure too; trains, trams, boats, monorails and taxis all make up an important part of the Dubai experience.
- Get yourself a NOL card on arrival to use the Metro.
- Taxis are plentiful and relatively cheap but you can end up stuck in traffic.
- Hire a car if you want to go on to explore the rest of the Emirates, but inner city traffic can move very fast and be quite gruelling for newcomers.
Where to stay in Dubai with kids
There are many different areas to stay in Dubai, all with their own advantages. In general, hotel rooms are large and it’s not too difficult to find twin rooms with queen double beds. Alternatively, hotel apartments are a great option for families.
Popular areas to stay in Dubai include Jumeirah Beach, the Palm Jumeirah, Al Barsha (near Mall of the Emirates), Downtown (near Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa).
Bur Dubai and Deira are older parts of town but provide more budget options. If you plan to stay here, look to be well connected with the Metro.
The timing of your visit can make a huge difference in hotel rates (weekends versus weekdays and school holiday times, low seasons). Be sure to watch for added taxes: there are several that apply to hotels that can add 25% to your bill!
Top things to do in Dubai with kids
Built largely as a tourism destination, the choices for family-friendly activities in Dubai are immense – it’s really a case of telling us how many days you have and I bet we could fill them!
There are a huge range of indoor and outdoor attractions we’d recommend depending on the season.
What to pack for Dubai
Dubai experiences mild weather in the winter through to extremely hot summers. You might understandably be unsure of what to wear if this is your first time visiting a Muslim country.
To help with any confusion over what is acceptable and decide what to pack, we have this detailed guide to the dress code in Dubai. Dressing conservatively is key for both men and ladies and recognising there is a dress code difference between the beach/resorts and other public places.