Backdropped by rugged mountains, the northernmost UAE is less built-up and generally cheaper than its neighbour Dubai, and a good place to come for a more authentic Arabian experience. Nature is to the fore here, and with it exciting activities including dune-bashing over terracotta-red sands and kayaking through mangroves. Sandy beaches and delicious cuisine are other big draws – and kids often stay for free in many resorts.
The UAE is a Muslim country, which needs to be borne in mind with regard to dress in public places. Hotels and resorts are Westernised in approach, however.
Things to do with kids in Ras Al Khaimah
Relax by the pool or on the sand – Ras Al Khaimah is a growing beach holiday destination. Water sports are available at many hotels and resorts, including snorkelling, SUP paddle-boarding, fly-boarding, jet-skiing and para-sailing.
Go on a kayaking trip through the mangroves, spotting flamingoes as you paddle.
Watch a bird-of-prey show – again, these are often put on by by hotels and resorts.
Don’t miss the high-speed goings-on at the Al Sawan Camel Race Track.
Go dune-bashing in an SUV over the vertiginous dunes of the Arabian Desert (not for the faint-hearted!).
Spend a night in the desert at the Bedouin Oasis Camp (see Accommodation tab), with activities including quad-biking, sand-boarding and camel-riding, entertainment such as belly-dancing and fire-breathing, plus henna tattooing and a barbecue.
Have more desert fun in the Al Wadi Nature Reserve, including bird-watching, spotting wildlife such as Arabian oryx, gazelles, geckos, beetles, hares and foxes, and fishing. Guided nature walks are available.
Get away from it all with a hike in the Hajar Mountains, and try activities including rock-climbing, via ferrata with ziplining, mountain-biking and archery.
Explore sights including Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Dhayah Fort and the abandoned ‘ghost town’ of Al Jazirah Al Hamra.
Cool off again at the incongruously named, ice-themed Iceland Water Park with its thrilling slides, wave pool and kids' area.
Climbing in Ras al Khaimah.
As in Dubai, the dining scene here is fantastic, whether you want to try something local or branch out into all kind of international cuisines, from Brazilian to Japanese. Hotels and resorts all serve global family favourites too.
The Middle Eastern cuisine of Ras al Khaimah is basically Lebanese with Indian, Egyptian, Iranian and Turkish influences. Don’t miss the chance to snack on Arabic flatbreads and freshly made sweets including baklava, and try to spend some time hanging out in a Arabic cafe to see local life in full flow.
Al Wadi Nature Reserve.
When to go to Ras Al Khaimah
Spring is the best time to visit RAK with kids, with clear blue skies and temperatures averaging 27°C. That said, Kids Go Free offers may tempt you to come in summer, which, as in Dubai, is sizzling hot (not out of the question if you have access to an air-conditioned kids’ club and a swimming pool).
Falconry in Ras al Khaimah.
Good deals can make Ras al Khaimah a relatively affordable option compared with Dubai. As elsewhere, a self-catering option such as an apart-hotel can keep your costs down as well as allowing you to do more than just browse at the lively fish and fruit markets. Conversely, staying at an all-inclusive resort can help you manage your costs if you are sure you will make the most of your inclusions and don’t intend to eat outside your hotel.
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Capital cityRas Al Khaimah
Flying time7hrs All flight times are based on flights from UK London airports, to the capital or nearest destination airport.
Carbon footprint CO2 Estimated tonnes of CO2 produced for return flights for a family of four.
CurrencyUnited Emirates Dirham
Dune bashing in Ras al Khaimah.
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Camels in Ras al Khaimah.
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