Dubai has some great swimming spots at various public beaches, private pools, at beach clubs or one of the beach parks. The water temperature rarely dips below 20°C in winter, although during the summer it can feel like stepping into a bath. Be aware that rip tides and undertows in the sea can catch out even the strongest swimmer, so never ignore flags or signs ordering you not to swim. 

You might also run into quite a lot of jellyfish towards the end of the summer. Around the UAE there are occasional outbreaks of red tide, a naturally occurring algal bloom which turns the water red and gives it an unpleasant smell. These generally affect the east coast and are relatively uncommon in Dubai. 

Many hotels, beach clubs and health clubs have swimming pools open to the public for a day entrance fee. Swimming lessons are available from health and beach clubs too. For children’s lessons, check with your school. Keen swimmers can sign up for the Wild Wadi Swim Around the Burj annual challenge, held each February in aid of Medecins Sans Frontieres (swim.msf-me.org). There are two distances to choose from – an 800m swim and a 1,600m swim – and swimmers are given plenty of encouragement from spectators watching from the beach. 

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