With beautiful beaches and chilled out vibes, the smallest Emirate of the UAE Ajman makes a superb location to visit for residents and overseas visitors alike. Here’s our pick of things to do with the kids in Ajman.
Outdoor family-friendly activities in Ajman
Visit Ajman Corniche
The 4 km long Corniche lined with shops, cafes and restaurants has a relaxed atmosphere and is the perfect place for a family stroll or even a camel ride along the beach. When you’ve worked up an appetite, there are lots of dining options from KFC to the beachfront Lebanese Al Roof Restaurant which has its own soft play area.
The lack of playgrounds and green spaces along the corniche (compared to Abu Dhabi) is more than made up for by the stunning ocean views and clean white sandy beaches, so don’t forget to take your swimming gear!
Whilst walking along the Corniche it’s also worth taking a look at Al Murabaa watchtower, one of Ajman’s most notable landmarks, located in the Al Rumailah 2 district. Constructed in the 1930s and restored in the Year 2000, the watchtower formed part of the emirate’s defensive system against raiding pirates. The stone tower contrasts sharply with the glass and steel frame buildings behind and is an enduring symbol of the contrasts that exist with the UAE.
There are other opportunities for easy family walks with plenty of places to stop for refreshments in Ajman Marina and Al Zorah area – which offers dining at the swankier end of the spectrum.
The Al Zorah area, a modern luxury development, includes a marina with shops and restaurants, accommodation and hotels and beautiful beaches with watersports as well as a nature reserve and golf club. Al Zorah offers the perfect escape steeped in opulence – you can even charter your very own luxury yacht!
Al Zorah Nature Reserve
The mangroves at Al Zorah Nature Reserve provide a habitat for nearly 60 different species of bird including flamingos, egrets and herons. The best way to explore the seven-kilometre stretch of creeks, lagoons and salt-flats is by kayak, tours can be booked by contacting Quest for Adventure. For more details take a look at the Al Zorah website.
Al Zorah Golf Club
Anyone wanting to tee off while the kids are at the hotel kids’ club can do so at the Al Zorah Golf Club. A stunning par-72 golf club with elegant dining available at the Thanani restaurant as well as delicious cakes and pastries and a diverse array of pocket-friendly main meals at Shakespeare and co.
A variety of water sports can be organised through your hotel, at numerous offices on the Corniche or via Quest for Adventure or Adventure Leisure Tourism in the Al Zorah area. This includes kayaking and jet-skiing as well as luxury yacht hire.
Hiking in the Hajar Mountains
Ajman also offers a variety of hiking opportunities particularly in the craggy foothills of the Hajar mountains in the Masfout area. Hiking is not advisable between July and September and should be avoided in changeable weather due to the risk of flash-flooding. A reliable GPS and good supplies of water and snacks are also recommended! We suggest that you plan your routes carefully and consider hiring a local guide. UAE Trekkers is just one of the companies that may be able to assist you.
Desert Safaris and Camping in Ajman
A number of desert safaris operate from Ajman. Most will pick you up from your hotel and take you deep into the dunes where you will be treated to dinner in a traditional Bedouin camp. You may also have the chance to try camel riding, dune bashing and watch falconry displays before returning to your hotel. Alternatively, opt to stay in the camp overnight for that complete desert experience!
Other Camping Experiences
If you fancy a change to staying a hotel, why not camp in style at the Caravana Al Zorah resort (also known as the caravan beach resort)? Here you can spend the night in a fully equipped caravan right on your own private beach. Great fun for all the family!
Fishing is a great opportunity for family bonding. A number of the beach hotels offer fully licensed guided fishing excursions. If you prefer to fish independently a fishing license is required at a cost of 110 AED. For more details contact Ajman Municipality.
Cultural Attractions in Ajman
The city museum is located inside the 18th Century Fort which was home to the Emirate’s ruler until 1970. The building is magnificent and worth visiting in its own right. A large variety of artefacts are on view including jewellery, pottery and weapons which date back as far as 3000 BCE.
Most of the items are from the excavations at Al Muwaihat which are some of the most significant in the UAE. The museum includes a reconstruction of a traditional souk with lots of details that younger visitors may find particularly interesting! Entry is around 5 AED for adults and 2AED for children. Open 8am – 8pm Saturday to Thursday and 2.30pm-8pm on Fridays. For more details visit www.ajmantourism.ae.
Ajman Dhow Building Yard
A great place to visit for those interested in maritime history and shipbuilding, children are welcome but must be well-supervised as this is a working shipyard. This is the biggest dhow construction yard in the world and visitors are able to see dhows in various stages of construction. The dhow is integral to local culture and have been used for fishing, pearling and to carry cargo since ancient times. After your visit, why not take a dhow cruise along Ajman’s Corniche?
Situated southeast of Ajman City in the enclave of Masfout, the Castle is an impressive tower perched high in the Hajar Mountains. Note that Masfout is around a 90-minute drive from Ajman itself. Non-GCC Nationals should ensure that they have their passports with them as some routes cross into Omani territory. The dramatic scenery is stunning and there are plenty of places to hike and have picnics.
Visit the Fishmarket
Ajman fish market is worth a visit even if you don’t want to buy fish! With numerous stalls selling a diverse array of fish and seafood a visit is an educational experience in itself. If you’re staying in a hotel but want to sample some of the market’s delights, you can take your purchases to the grilling station where it will be cooked to perfection before your eyes and served within minutes.
Parks and other places to have fun with the kids in Ajman
Aqua Bounce Ajman
Located at the Fairmont Hotel, Ajman’s Aqua Bounce offers inflatable family fun on the water.
Free to guests of the Fairmont. Fees apply to non-hotel guests for more details refer to the Fairmont website.
Funtastico Water Park
A very different sort of waterpark; Funtastico offers 800sqm of pools and more than 20 slides all of which are inflatable! There are bouncy castles and ball pits all designed for children between the ages of 3 and 13. For more details call 065310053 or find Funtastico on Facebook. Note that 2 for 1 vouchers are available in the Dubai Entertainer and other offers are available online.
Beaches in Ajman
Ajman is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the UAE; many are monopolised by the numerous luxury beach resorts that punctuate the coastline. Most hotels offer day passes allowing you to use the beach and some hotel facilities.
Alternatively, you can opt for the public beach that runs parallel to the Corniche which is well maintained and has good facilities. Barbeques and picnics are allowed on the beach and the sheltered tidal pools offer safe swimming for younger visitors*.
*Children should be closely supervised at all times.
Al Helio Park
The family friendly Helio Park is located on Sheikh Zayed Street in the Al Helio district of Ajman. Offering barbeque facilities, bike rentals, playgrounds and a whole host of other amenities including activities for children, this is the perfect place to spend a not so lazy afternoon. Note that the park can get quite busy later in the day. Open from 10am -10pm daily.
Ajman Ladies Park
A pretty park exclusively for women and children located in the Al Mushairef area. There are places to buy drinks and snacks, playground areas and a running track as well as lots of open space for ball games and picnics. Open from 4pm -9pm daily.
Malls & Shopping
If you’re looking for a bit of retail therapy, or the weather forces you indoors, Ajman offers a number of Malls – City Centre Mall and China Mall being the most notable.
City Centre boasts a Nando’s and a Caffe Nero as well Keventers for thick and creamy milkshakes. There’s also the Magic Planet entertainment centre and a 9-screen cinema to keep the kids happy.
China Mall on the other hand, is where you go to pick up a bargain! As the name suggests, most items for sale in the ‘mall’ have their origins in China. Here you can find literally everything from carpets to canoes with, of course, an abundance of imitation toys and handbags. Everything is on one level making access easy for people with strollers and/or mobility issues. Whilst it may not be everyone’s cup of tea it offers a very different shopping experience to what can be found in the more upmarket malls of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Another retail experience not to miss is a visit to Saleh Souk, a traditional souk built out of coral stone, timber and palm fronds. The souq forms part of the heritage path leading from the Corniche to Ajman Museum. Here you can find exotic spices, clothes, pottery and metalwork as well as a multitude of other Arabian crafts and ornaments.
How to get to Ajman
Located north of Dubai, it takes around 35 minutes to drive from Dubai City to Ajman along the E11 and E311. The E400 bus runs every 30 minutes from Dubai’s Union Metro Station, and there is a direct service from Etisalat Station the E411. The journey takes around 50 minutes and costs 12 AED. Tickets should be purchased in the metro station or using the NOL card.
Where to stay in Ajman – Beach Hotels in Ajman
Ajman has no shortage of beach resort hotels offering a 5* getaway. There are three we would highly recommend for families:
Let’s take a look at each of them in more detail.
Ajman Saray, A Luxury Collection Hotel
A coastal escape in the heart of the city, just a few minutes’ walk from Ajman Museum. The Ajman Saray offers stylish rooms and suites with sea views, right on the beach.
The hotel is lavishly designed and well maintained and the staff pay close attention to detail.
There is a complimentary kids club of a very high-standard catering to children aged over 5 with its own supervised playground and kids pool open from 9am -6pm daily.
The Bab Al Bahr restaurant offers excellent dining with stunning sea views. There are several other bars and restaurants on site giving a well-rounded dining experience. Kids menus are also available and cater to the fussiest of eaters!
For those wishing to keep in shape during their stay, there’s a well-equipped 24-hour fitness centre as well as two outdoor pools for exercise and relaxation.
Prices start at 680 AED per night based on a family of four in two superior rooms.
The Fairmont Hotel Ajman
The stylish and modern Fairmont Ajman offers elegant yet family-friendly accommodation.
The beach can get quite crowded as this is a large hotel, but staff are always on hand to help you find an empty sun lounger. The service at the Fairmont is truly second to none and the staff really do take heed of your every need.
As well as a complimentary kids club offering treasure hunts, magic shows and movies by the pool, there’s also the Aquabounce inflatable waterpark which is lots of fun for older children and teenagers. For one on one care, the hotel provides a babysitting service for a fee (advanced booking is required).
Whilst the kids are busy mum and dad can relax at Willow Stream Spa, which offers a variety of treatments in a serene atmosphere.
In addition to the resort’s buffet restaurant Spectrum, excellent Turkish food can be enjoyed along with traditional entertainment in the award-winning Kiyi restaurant. If you’d rather have a burger and fries whilst watching the big game The Cave Sports Bar and Kitchen (Closed from Sunday to Wednesday) is the place to be.
Prices start at 399 AED for a standard room to sleep 4 with two double beds.
The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al Zorah
Located in the Al Zorah area, this stunning hotel is set right on the beach surrounded by mangroves. Offering spacious rooms and villas with private balconies and terraces – some with private pools; the Oberoi really is the place to relax and get away from it all.
Fitness fanatics will be pleased to know that there is a state of the art 24-hour fitness suite and yoga studio on site and guests are able to enjoy 45 minutes of (complimentary) sunrise yoga every day. The hotel also boasts the longest swimming pool in the UAE at 85m in length – great for serious swimmers!
A kids club is available for children aged between 3 and 12 years and there is a children’s pool and play area.
For freshly cooked and responsibly sourced seafood, book a table at Aquario where the Fish Sommelier will be happy to guide you in your choices. Alternatively, the all-day buffet restaurant Vinesse serves up everything from freshly prepared sushi to local Arabian delicacies.
The resort also offers sushi and cocktail making classes as well as chic spa.
Prices start at 905 AED based on 2 adults and 2 children in a premier room with a private garden.
Other hotels & resorts in Ajman
There are of course many other hotel options from the beautiful 5* Ajman Hotel (formerly Kempinski) at 432 AED per night to the Ramada by Wyndham Beach Hotel, which has an awesome kids splash area, at 162 AED per night.
Whatever your budget you’re sure to find peace and calm in Ajman.
Looking to explore more of the UAE? Check out these great guides around the Emirates
- Ultimate UAE Staycation Guide
- Fun family things to do in Fujairah
- Exciting things to fo Ras Al Khaimah with Kids
- Historic sites to explore in Al Ain
- 6 Eco-Tourism experiences in the UAE
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Post contributed by Lynette Fortey-Burnett, writer & classical Archaeologist based in the UAE with her family. You can learn more about our contributing writers here.