The biggest beach in Dubai is still the best. The massive JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) Open Beach extends the full length of the JBR area. Although some parts are designated for hotels, most are wide open. There are full facilities every few hundred yards (kept spotlessly clean) and places to buy food and snacks. The sand is fluffy white and powdery soft, and the water is warm and a beautiful blue-green color. There are lifeguards on duty, and swimming areas are roped off with buoys. The Hilton Dubai Jumeirah is right on The Walk (the main small street that runs along the beachfront), facing the water. There are also multiple places to rent water toys and land toys like bikes and scooters.
Not to be confused with the JBR Open Beach area, Jumeirah Beach Park is a planned beachfront park and recreation area very close to downtown Dubai. They've created terraced, green-grass levels on the flat desert, with many areas to eat, picnic, and play. The beach is beautiful but narrower than in other areas, with less distance from the waterline to the sidewalk. There's also an area of palm trees between the sidewalk and the usable beach. Visitors should note Mondays are for ladies and children only. There's a nominal admission charge, well worth it just for the extensive facilities (showers, lockers, bathrooms, changing areas). The park and beach are also very accessible for visitors with special needs. The Holiday Inn Express Dubai - Safa Park is close to the park and is a good mid-range hotel option in the Safa Park area of Downtown.
If you want those Instagram-worthy pics of the Burj al Arab ultra-luxury hotel, Umm Suqeim Beach (also known as Sunset Beach) is the place to go. This is another wide, flat beach along the coastline, right where the Burj is located (it's on its own little peninsula jutting out in the sea). The area is just a beach with few services, except for lifeguard stands and basic facilities (toilets, showers, and changing rooms). There are a few areas of green lawn, some covered picnic areas, and playgrounds. The beach is also one of the only surf breaks in Dubai. The waves aren't huge, but they're here, and you can usually find other surfers enjoying the water. Once you're done playing in the Persian Gulf, you can have even more wet fun at the giant Wild Wadi Waterpark, located in Umm Suqeim.
Kite Beach is a section of Umm Suqeim beach, near the northern end. It's a wide, flat beach, and this is where to go for kayak and paddleboard rentals. The exposed beach is windy and popular with kitesurfers and people flying kites. The sand here is a bit coarser than other beaches, with many shells. There's a skate park and many little ice-cream stalls. Kite Beach is also popular with Dubai foodies for the many food trucks that assemble here both during the day and evening. Also, little restaurants and cafés line Jumeirah Beach Road, which runs along the beach. The Jumeirah Beach Hotel is a beautiful luxury hotel, also designed to look like a sail. It's on Jumeirah Beach Road in Umm Suqeim, across from the beach. It's a great destination for families, as all guests get free access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark. The hotel is also close to other attractions, like Ski Dubai, the indoor ski resort located inside the Mall of the Emirates.
Al Mamzar is a great family beach. The public park area has four beach areas, all staffed with lifeguards. There's a picnic area, a playground for kids, and two large swimming pools. All are free and open to the public. The park gets crowded on Fridays (weekends in Dubai are Fridays and Saturdays). Facilities here include showers, bathrooms, and changing rooms. You can even rent little air-conditioned beach tents with barbecues and make a day of it. Another beach area called Al Mamzar Open Beach offers a more natural beach experience with less people. Al Mamzar is near the Deira area, a great place for sightseeing as it's the original heart of Dubai. It's also near the border of Sharjah, the neighboring emirate. The Sharjah Palace Hotel is right across the border (the border is just marked by a sign, like driving from one US state to another) and close to Al Mamzar Beach Park.
The Palm Jumeirah is the amazing palm-frond-shaped archipelago development that projects out into the Persian Gulf. While there are some public areas of the rocky shoreline, there are no public beaches on The Palm. All the beaches are either part of the luxury residential neighborhoods or apartment buildings on some of the "fronds," or associated with a luxury hotel. The Riva Beach Club is the only beach club that sells daily admission to its beach on the Palm to the public for around $30 per person, per day. The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah is at the top of The Palm and offers a wonderful, luxury experience. Their large beach includes every kind of water sport imaginable: the beach also has beautiful views of downtown Dubai and the skyline of JBR.
The Dubai Marina is a luxury residential area, near JBR. Marina Beach is the last section of sandy beach along The Walk, in front of The Beach JBR beachfront mall. It's a wide, flat, beautiful beach with Dubai's typical soft white sand. The water is warm, and lifeguards are on duty. You're also only steps from the restaurants, shops, little cafés, and ice-cream shops that line The Walk. The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai - Jumeirah Beach is a spectacular property, built originally as a luxury apartment building. The hotel has large apartment-like units with full ocean views and huge balconies.
Dubai Creek and Deira, where Dubai started as a trading port, is one of the few areas that retains some of the emirate's history. This is also a good location for sightseeing, as a walk through the souks of Deira is a must-do activity. Creek Park has acres of green space and small beaches all along the area where it borders the creek. Dubai Creek is a wide inlet from the sea, not a freshwater river. If you're looking to stay in the area, the XVA Art Hotel is on Al Fahidi Street, in the heart of historic Deira, right near the creek.
Jebel Ali is about 30 minutes south of downtown Dubai and the emirate's newest recreational development area. Already known as an industrial zone with the world's largest man-made harbor, the area is home to many long, sandy beaches where you can find yourself virtually alone. Aside from the beaches, it's a popular dive area. The wide, flat Jebel Ali Beach area is right in front of the second of the three palm-shaped islands, Palm Jebel Ali. The JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel is a sprawling luxury resort right on the sand. There are multiple pools, a golf course, and private beach.
Dubai's newest beach development is an entire entertainment zone. It's just north of Deira and Old Dubai and combines a beautiful stretch of protected beach with restaurants, entertainment, and a water park. The beach is flat and wide and groomed several times a day to keep it nice and clean. The water is warm, and the waves are very gentle as the beach is on a bay protected by the Pearl Jumeirah development. La Mer also offers fancy sun loungers and other upscale ways to enjoy the beach. For the ultimate luxurious beach experience, rent one of the Day Rooms. These are cabins on the beach - little air-conditioned sanctuaries where you can escape the heat, relax on your couch, and have a cold drink from your refrigerator. A hotel is part of the development - the Rove La Mer, will open in 2020. In the meantime, the Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa is a good beachfront option near La Mer.