What to Wear on Abu Dhabi Beaches: Dress Code
With miles of pristine coastline, Abu Dhabi is the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. The beaches here are known for their beauty, cleanliness, and the range of incredible amenities they offer.
Whether you’re looking for a vibrant beach adventure full of activities or a tranquil seaside escape, Abu Dhabi’s beaches have something for everyone to enjoy.
As a UAE resident, I’ve spent a lot of time in Abu Dhabi and have become very familiar with what’s expected of visitors in the Middle East. So, if you want to know exactly what to wear on Abu Dhabi’s stunning beaches, you’ve come to the right place!
This awesome Emirate of the UAE is surprisingly modern, multicultural, and fashionable. Over 70% of the population is made of expatriates and Western culture is predominant. However, the locals are generally dressed modestly.
Read on to discover the exact dress code for Abu Dhabi beaches!
How Hot Does Abu Dhabi Get?
It’s important to pack for the weather, as Abu Dhabi is pretty hot all year round. So, I recommend bringing light, summery, breathable clothing.
The following are the average daytime temperatures in Abu Dhabi for each month of the year:
- January: Temperatures range from 15 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius.
- February: 16 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius.
- March: 18 degrees Celsius to 29 degrees Celsius
- April: 22 degrees Celsius to 34 degrees Celsius.
- May: 26 degrees Celsius to 34 degrees Celsius.
- June: 28 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius.
- July: 30 degrees Celsius to 42 degrees Celsius.
- September: 28 degrees Celsius to 39 degrees Celsius.
- October: 22 degrees Celsius to 27 degrees Celsius.
- November: 25 degrees Celsius to 31 degrees Celsius.
- December: 17 degrees Celsius to 26 degrees Celsius.
Official Abu Dhabi Dress Code:
Figuring out what to wear in Abu Dhabi can be confusing. The dress code in a Muslim country can be difficult to navigate and there is a lot of conflicting information out there.
When choosing what to pack for Abu Dhabi, it’s important to consider a few things, including showing respect for the local culture and customs.
Although Abu Dhabi is rather liberal and cosmopolitan, and tourists aren’t required to dress in the traditional clothing, that doesn’t mean visitors should take advantage of this by wearing crop tops, hot pants and Brazilian bikini bottoms in public!
Depending on where you go, you might see other tourists wearing these items and you may have seen social media influencers wearing next to nothing in Dubai or Abu Dhabi! But please don’t interpret this as a green light for you to follow suit. Wearing these type of things in certain areas will undoubtedly draw attention and insult the locals, who may feel uncomfortable and ask you to cover up.
Although there are technically no strict rules for the dress code in Abu Dhabi, or in the UAE in general, do remember that the UAE is still an islamic country. So, the best piece of advice I can provide is to “Practice Modesty.” All of the clothing rules in Abu Dhabi focus on modest attire, particularly in public places like malls and parks.
When exploring Abu Dhabi, I do suggest covering your shoulders and knees and avoiding overly revealing clothing, especially during Ramadan.
Do you need to cover your hair in Abu Dhabi?
Do you need a Hijab in Abu Dhabi?
Non-muslim women are not generally expected to have their head covered when out and about in Abu Dhabi, especially on private beaches. However, you will need to cover your hair if you enter a religious building, like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Always remember to be tasteful, refined, and courteous. Being clean and well-groomed is also very important to Emirati men and women.
Consider this: Would you be comfortable going out with your colleagues dressed as you are?
Also, don’t forget that it’s vital to dress for the weather, especially during Summer months. Warm weather is pretty much guaranteed, as the majority of the UAE is made up of desert.
What to Wear on Abu Dhabi Beaches:
✅ Swimwear (no thongs!)
Let’s take a second to talk about what to wear on Abu Dhabi beaches, as you may be wondering if it’s permissible to wear a bikini.
In Abu Dhabi, you’ll see female tourists in swimsuits on the beach. Wearing a bikini is generally acceptable, especially on private hotel beaches, which are more easygoing than public beaches.
On public beaches frequented by local families, a one-piece swimsuit is more suitable. If you opt for a bikini, make sure it adequately covers you, as thongs are not allowed, and nude or topless sunbathing is forbidden.
For men – swim shorts or trunks are suitable. Speedos or very short trunks might be considered inappropriate on public beaches.
Also, make sure you cover up when leaving the beach areas, as appearing in a swimsuit outside these zones is not appropriate.
The best cover ups:
- Women: Kaftans, sarongs, maxi dresses, or tunics. These not only respect local customs but also offer protection against the sun. I also tend to carry a pashmina or shawl with me wherever I go in the UAE as this usually comes in handy when visiting attractions, and to protect yourself from the dust and sun.
- Men: Lightweight shirts or T-shirts paired with shorts.
✅ Midi and Maxi Sundresses
The best outfits to wear in Abu Dhabi are modest, yet feminine.
Long, flowing dresses made of linen material are ideal for the hot weather. I love linen because it’s environmentally friendly, and it’s made for hot weather.
A midi-length sundress is perfect as they reach below the knee and are on trend right now!
Or, by default, a maxi dress is the ideal Abu Dhabi dress for ladies as it covers your legs entirely.
PS. aim for thick dress straps that drop over your shoulders rather than straps made of spaghetti, or low cut dresses that reveal your cleavage.
✅ Flowy Statement Pants
Wide-legged pants offer the perfect blend of style, practicality, and cultural consideration, making them a great choice for the beach environments of Abu Dhabi.
I recommend wearing long-pants that are vibrant, colourful, and flowery – try to find anything made of silk if at all possible. This is the ideal choice for keeping cool on Abu Dhabi beaches while looking on trend at beachside cafes.
Plus, the air-con is usually up high in Abu Dhabi, so if you’re sitting inside with a lot of skin showing, you’ll get cold quickly.
I love a good jumpsuit! Whether you’re exploring the city, visiting a beachside cafe, or heading to a more upscale evening venue, a well-chosen jumpsuit can fit the occasion in Abu Dhabi!
On private beaches where modesty might not be as strict, lightweight, sleeveless, or short-legged jumpsuits can offer a stylish yet comfortable Abu Dhabi beach look.
✅ Havaianas (Comfy Flip Flops)
As Abu Dhabi is hot you’ll need a comfy pair of flip-flops. In the UAE, I live in Havaianas as they’re easy to wear all day without getting blisters.
These are ideal to wear on Abu Dhabi beaches to protect your feet from the hot sand.
You can easily pair your Havaianas with a maxi dress, midi dress, or wide-leg silk trousers, to complete your look.
✅ Sunhat and Sunglasses
Pair your Abu Dhabi outfit with a sunhat and some bright jewellery for a gorgeous and functional summery look.
The sun is shining relentlessly in Abu Dhabi, so it’s always a good idea to bring a sunhat, especially to the beach.
Stylish sunhats with a broad brim are ideal for your Abu Dhabi attire and will protect your skin from UV radiation.
Protecting your face from the sun also prevents wrinkles – my main reason for wearing a sunhat in the UAE as it’s hot hot hot!
PS. Don’t forget your sunnies. Polarised sunglasses are particularly effective against Abu Dhabi’s shimmering waters.
Visiting Abu Dhabi: Do’s and Don’ts for Tourists
- Do dress the part.
- Do drink water in abundance and alcohol in moderation.
- Do take the time to LEARN about and respect the Emirati culture.
- Don’t forget to come prepared for the weather.
- Don’t drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Don’t ever consume any illegal drugs.
Best Abu Dhabi Beaches:
I highly recommend putting all of these incredible Abu Dhabi beaches on your bucket list:
#1 Saadiyat Beach
Saadiyat Island is located off the coast of Abu Dhabi and is a multi-billion dollar development.
I recommend heading straight to Saadiyat Beach Club, which has a seriously luxurious and exclusive vibe.
Top tip: Come here in the morning to be in with a chance of spotting dolphins close to shore and potentially even some baby hawksbill turtles, which hatch from the numerous nesting sites along the beach!
The entry fee is AED 250 for adults and AED 100 for kids between 7 to 12 (on weekdays); AED 375 for adults and AED 150 for kids between 7 to 12 (on weekends).
#2 Zaya Nurai Island
Check out this boutique private island resort for a seriously Instagrammable experience.
From from luxurious villas and incredible spa treatments to calming plunge pools and sunset yoga, everything on this barefoot paradise is designed to ease stress.
The entry fee for day guests is AED 750, with AED 550 redeemable against food and drinks, spa and activities. This includes beach and pool access and the boat transfer, which is just 12-minutes from Saadiyat Island.
#3 Corniche Beach
This city beach is super popular with both locals and tourists for good reason.
Corniche Beach is right in the heart of the capital and boasts manicured gardens, views of Lulu Island, and several restaurants and cafes. There’s lots of facilities here too, such as showers, changing rooms, and cabanas, which makes it a super convenient seaside spot.
When you’re here, I highly recommend getting out on the water by renting a speedboat or going snorkelling in the turquoise sea.
Entry to the public beach is free, but the family beach is AED 10 per adult and AED 5 per child up to 12 years of age.
#4 Yas Beach
Yas Beach is the perfect place to relax on a sun lounger, grab some tasty food at one of the beach’s many restaurants, and take a dip in the sparkling sea.
Guests staying at Yas Plaza hotels get complimentary beach access. Otherwise, the entry fee is AED 50 for adults and AED 25 for children aged 8-16 (on weekdays), and AED 100 for adults and AED 50 for children aged 8-16 (on weekends).
#5 Al Bateen Beach for Women
If you’re looking for some privacy, Al Bateen Beach for Women is an exclusive space for women and children (including boys under 6 years of age).
This pristine beach has all female lifeguards as well as fences and barriers to ensure privacy. Cameras are strictly prohibited.
Open from 8am to 9pm, the entry fee is AED 25 for adults and AED 5 for children aged 3 to 12.
Abu Dhabi Travel Tips:
- Get an e-SIM: Forget plastic sim cards, get an e-SIM (digital SIM Card) from Airalo, the world’s first eSIM store. I can’t live without these downloadable data packages anymore!
- Abu Dhabi Travel Insurance: I highly recommend Nomad Insurance with SafetyWing, as it covers emergency medical evacuation and bedside visits. You can use it as a subscription service, meaning you don’t have to pay for the whole year upfront. Instead, you’re charged every 28 days, until you cancel, giving you the ultimate level of flexibility. There’s also no limit on travel duration, so you don’t need a return date (and a return ticket) in order to activate your insurance.
- What to pack for Abu Dhabi: Don’t forget to pack some cotton t-shirts (but not tank tops or vests), cotton trousers, maxi dresses, flip-flops, swimwear, a sunhat, sunglasses and factor 50+ SPF.
- What NOT to Pack for Abu Dhabi: Hot pants, short shorts, thong bikinis, miniskirts, jeans with super low-cut waists, see through clothing that exposes your underwear, and clothes with plunging necklines.
Abu Dhabi Hotel Deals:
If you’re looking for an incredible place to stay in Abu Dhabi, I highly recommend Royal M Hotel & Resort, which offers a sophisticated waterfront retreat right in the heart of Abu Dhabi. The 7 days we spent here were not long enough!
But if you want to find the best Abu Dhabi hotel deals, I recommend using Hotellook, which rapidly finds and compares hotel prices.
I hope this article has helped you to understand the Abu Dhabi beaches dress code and what to pack for an incredible escape to this beautiful Emirate of the UAE. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments below.
Happy Abu Dhabi Travels! رحلات سعيدة
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