Umm Al Quwain is a relatively small emirate close to well-known destinations like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is nestled between Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman along the west coast of the UAE. Having a land area of 750-800 sq.km, Umm Al Quwain is the second smallest emirate in the UAE. However, in spite of its tiny size, there are several interesting things to do and places to visit here. If you need a thrilling yet serene break from the crowded cities in the UAE, Umm Al Quwain is the place to be! Besides its signature retro vibes, Umm Al Quwain also has several historic attractions and interesting water sports for visitors to indulge in. If you plan to visit this lovely location, check out this list of 10 things to do in Umm Al Quwain.
Go splashing in the Dreamland Aqua Park
Being a trendy entertainment destination in the city, the Dreamland Aqua Park is the perfect spot for an epic family getaway. The popular attraction in Umm Al Quwain was inaugurated in 1997 based on the vision of His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Rashid Al Mualla. Sheikh Rashid wanted to build one of the largest family entertainment parks in the Middle East. Dreamland Aqua Park, which is one of the largest water parks in the UAE, offers many fun activities, letting you choose from over 30 thrilling rides and attractions!
You can have an exciting time riding the ‘Family Raft Ride’ or have your thrill-fix on the ‘Lako-O-Waves.’ Visitors can also enjoy an overnight camping facility at the park and try different sports including volleyball, tennis and basketball. Popular rides include Slam Dunk, Black Hole, Kamikaze, Twister and Twisting Dragons.
Visit the Umm Al Quwain National Museum
A perfect haunt for history buffs, the National Museum gives a glimpse into the emirates’ rich past. The museum is so well-maintained that you feel transported back in time! Although the museum is small, it has a fascinating selection of artefacts, archaeological discoveries and war memorabilia.
The guided tour usually lasts for an hour which is sufficient time to absorb the historic vibe of this place.
Stop by the Umm Al Quwain Fort
Bask in the glory of the rich Arabian culture with this historical building also known as the Al Ali Fort. Built in 1786, the fort was constructed by His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Majid Mu’alla to guard the town. Situated in the centre of the city, it served as the entrance to the old town. The fort was also the residence and the seat of his government up till 1969. If you want to learn more about the culture and people of this emirate, visit the Umm Al Quwain Fort.
Don’t miss the Royal Family Heritage section, where you can learn in depth about the artefacts of Sheikh Rashid. These are displayed in ‘The Ruler’s Properties’ room which also showcases a collection of traditional gold jewellery and two gold swords. A glazed gold Royal Family Tree is also displayed there. The fort also houses models of archaeological sites such as the “Al-Dur.”
Water sports at the UAQ Marine Club
No list of things to do in Umm Al Quwain is complete without mentioning the water sports available there. Even though the emirate may not have as many choices as the water sports activities in Dubai, the UAQ Marine Club is a perfect spot for water lovers to explore. The club is also home to some of the finest restaurants in Umm Al Quwain.
If you are a first-timer, try kayaking or canoeing and enjoy the Doughnut Ride. These popular activities in Umm Al Quwain are also known to be extremely safe and family-oriented; they don’t require any prior experience or training. All you need to do is relax and let the waves take you on a fun ride. If you are feeling more adventurous, stand up paddle boarding is a good activity to try in Umm Al Quwain. However, if that is not your cup of tea then hop on a wakeboard and go water skiing! Other activities you should not miss out on include windsurfing, knee-boarding, houseboat tours, camping and fishing.
Exploring the Islands
Unlike the more cosmopolitan cities Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Umm Al Quwain focuses more on promoting natural beauty and heritage. This includes a series of exquisite islands located just off the Umm Al Quwain coast, surrounded by dense mangrove forests. First-timer visitors can explore the Al Harmala, Al Chewria, Al Humaida, Al Qaram and Al Sinniyah islands.
Al Sinniyah is the largest and most popular of the islands in Umm Al Quwain. Receiving considerable attention from both the people and the government, it is an extremely unique tourist attraction. A natural reserve and home to many species of migratory birds and marine life, this is one of the best places to visit in Umm Al Quwain for nature lovers. A haven for bird watchers and animal lovers, you can catch the beautiful pink flamingos, elegant herons, seagulls and even antelopes.
Feel the rush at the Emirates Motorplex
Fans of the Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi would certainly enjoy this must-visit destination in Umm Al Quwain! Trying out the high-octane motorsports in the Emirates Motorplex is one of the most exciting things to do in Umm Al Quwain. These motor racing activities are perfect for first timers as they are safe and thrilling at the same time. Besides the multitude of motor activities you can choose from at the Emirates Motorplex, there are also races organised through the course of the year for true blue adrenalin junkies in the emirate.
You can have fun creating giant waves as you drag the vehicle across the sand with speed in ‘Sand Drag.’ If you want to test your driving skills, definitely go for Autocross. If you prefer something riskier, we would recommend the ‘Skid Pan.’ You can also try a number of other exciting activities including Motocross, Classic Cars, Open Day and Drag Race.
Let the kids enjoy in Happy Land City
Umm Al Quwain is one of those places that people of all ages can enjoy. If you are taking kids along, check out Happy Land City, a specialised educational and recreational centre. It provides your little ones with a variety of innovative games and activities designed to encourage creativity. This 30,000 sq.ft development offers more than 100 single as well as multi-player games. The complex is located in the city’s bustling commercial centre at the King Faisal Road.
Happy Land City offers an interesting combination of fun and educational activities supported by modern technology, letting children enjoy learning science. Moreover, the centre also has an artistic corner perfect for your budding artists.
Learn about the culture at the Arabian Cultural & Sports Club
We have already established the fact that Umm Al Quwain’s real beauty lies in its cultural heritage and history. Add visiting this club to your list of to do’s in Umm Al Quwain to experience the true cultural significance of the emirate. The popular cultural site built in 1971 has a library with a diverse range of books for visitors to read.
Join the Marine Club & Riding Centre
If you are a water enthusiast willing to try an unlimited variety of water sports, don’t miss out on the Marine Club and Riding Centre in Umm Al Quwain. Located on a large stretch of shaded beaches, UAQ Marine Club lets thrill-seekers try speed boating, jet skiing, windsurfing, horse riding and more. The club also serves as a port for sailing boats, ships and jet skis. The club has a team of qualified instructors which is good news for amateurs and first-time visitors.
Indulge in the National Sport
The endless sand dunes in Umm Al Quwain makes it an excellent venue for camel races. One such famous area for camel racing in Umm Al Quwain is the Al Labsa Area. The winter season is the best time to experience camel racing in Umm Al Quwain when the temperature remains favourable. The races start early in the mornings and winners get to take the valuable prizes home.
And that concludes our list of the best things to do in Umm Al Quwain! Are you excited to visit this quaint emirate and discover more about the city’s scenic landscapes and cultural landmarks?
If you are looking for more hidden gems to discover in the UAE, don’t forget to check out some of these interesting facts about Ras Al Khaimah, or pop over to these hotels in Ajman for a staycation. For nature lovers, there are some outstanding spots like Jubail Mangrove Park in Abu Dhabi and the upcoming Dubai’ beautiful Mangrove Forest.