What to Do in Dubai: 12 Adventure Activities for an Exciting Vacation in the UAE

What to Do in Dubai: 12 Adventure Activities for an Exciting Vacation in the UAE

Dubai is a city that truly has it all – ultra-modern architecture, world-class shopping, incredible dining, and a vibrant cosmopolitan culture. But beyond the glitz and glamour, this dynamic city in the United Arab Emirates also offers an astounding array of adventure sports and activities for thrill-seekers. From skiing in the desert to skydiving from dizzying heights, Dubai is an adrenaline junkie’s playground.

If you have booked your Emirates flights and your idea of the perfect vacation involves pulse-pounding pursuits and heart-racing experiences, then buckle up and get ready to explore the best adventure sports in Dubai. This futuristic metropolis delivers an exhilarating mix of activities that will awaken your inner daredevil and create unforgettable memories.

1. Ski Dubai: Desert Skiing Like Nowhere Else

In a city surrounded by rolling sand dunes, skiing may seem like an unlikely activity. But Dubai doesn’t do anything by half-measures. Head to the iconic Mall of the Emirates, and you’ll find Ski Dubai – a massive indoor ski resort featuring an impressive 22,500 square meters covered ski area. With temperatures kept at a frosty -1°C, you can carve up real snow on varying terrains from beginner to black diamond runs. It’s a surreal experience schussing down powdery slopes in the heart of the desert.

2. Skydiving: Experience Freefall Thrills

Is skydiving on your bucket list? Then why not take the plunge (literally) during your Dubai adventure? This iconic extreme sport will get your adrenaline pumping as you leap from a plane at 13,000 feet above the desert and fall at speeds over 120 mph before your parachute deploys. Numerous skydiving centers offer tandem jumps with experienced instructors, so even first-timers can experience the unparalleled rush.

3. Shark Diving: Get Up Close with Marine Predators

For an underwater thrill, head to the aptly named Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo located within the gargantuan Dubai Mall. Here, you can snorkel or scuba dive in the massive underwater tank and come face-to-face with exotic marine life including sharks. With careful guidance from professionals, you can swim alongside these apex predators in safety while enjoying an utterly unique aquatic encounter.

4. Dune Bashing: Conquer the Stunning Sand Dunes

The undulating desert landscape surrounding Dubai offers the perfect playground for dune bashing. Hop into a rugged 4×4 vehicle and feel the adrenaline rush as your expert driver sends the SUV soaring over towering sandy slopes. As you reach the pinnacle before plunging down the other side, you’ll experience an unmatched thrill mixed with incredible desert vistas. It’s an absolute must for any adventure lover visiting Dubai.

5. Sandboarding: Shredding Massive Dune Faces

Why just look at the epic sand dunes when you can surf down them at blistering speeds? Sandboarding has become a hugely popular extreme sport in Dubai, enabling you to carve your way down massive dune faces reaching up to 300 meters tall. There’s nothing quite like the sensation as you pick up speed zooming down the slopes of golden sand. Various tour companies provide all the necessary gear and coaching to ensure you can tackle the dunes safely.

6. Bungee Jumping

If skydiving is too tame, try bungee jumping. This extreme sport involves jumping from a height while attached by strong elastic cords. The Gravity Zone at the enormous Dubai Autodrome lets you bungee jump from 50 meters, giving you ample freefall to get your pulse pounding before the cables rebound you. It’s a few memorable minutes of adrenaline.

7. Flyboarding

Powered by powerful jet streams, flyboarding utilizes hydroflight technology to let you virtually glide over the water’s surface like a superhero. When you strap into the flyboard, water is forcefully released, allowing you to do acrobatics and maneuvers while hovering and soaring through the air. This incredible experience in the Jumeirah Beach neighborhood of Dubai should only be enjoyed by the brave.

8. Microlighting

Climb aboard a microlight aircraft for a tranquil but exhilarating aerial adventure, and take in the breathtaking aerial views of Dubai’s futuristic shoreline and cityscape. Take in the amazing view of skyscrapers rising out of the desert sands as you fly over it from the air from an ultra-light, two-seater aircraft. With a skilled pilot in command, you can relax and enjoy the breathtaking vistas from this unusual airborne viewpoint.

9. Car Racing

Is there no end to your drive for speed? Then fasten your seatbelt and get ready for exhilarating experiences at Dubai’s top-notch racetracks. Get behind the wheel of blazing-fast race vehicles and unleash their maximum power on expertly constructed road courses and Formula 1 circuits with a variety of automotive racing experience providers. Imagine hitting a face-melting speed via hairpin curves and straightaways while speeding from 0 to 100 km/h in a matter of seconds.

10. Jet Skiing

Navigate the Arabian Sea Hire a jet ski and cruise the glistening Persian Gulf seas of Dubai for a healthy dose of ocean breezes and sea spray. This aquatic sport mixes the exhilaration of racing over the waves at top speed with breathtaking views of Dubai’s striking cityscape stretching out in front of you. Numerous companies rent out jet skis and give guided trips that pass by famous sites like the Burj Al Arab Hotel, which is fashioned like a sail.

11. SeaBreacher

Part submarine, part boat The SeaBreacher is a hybrid watercraft that can be used as a boat or a submersible, making it one of Dubai’s most unusual adventure experiences. These uniquely shaped “ships” seem like something from a science fiction film, with the ability to speed over the surface and then submerge themselves for underwater exploration. It’s an unrivaled aquatic thrill coaster that combines two thrilling marine experiences.

12. Indoor Skydiving

Indoor skydiving in Dubai is an excellent “first step” for those who are afraid to jump out of an actual airplane to feel the feeling of bodily flight. At places like iFly Dubai, massive vertical wind tunnels produce strong air columns that let you fly and free fall in a secure setting without the need for aircraft or parachutes. It’s the ideal way to experience skydiving before maybe going for the real deal.


Whatever your choice of adventure activity, Dubai offers unmatched extreme sensations that cannot be found anywhere else. This vibrant city was designed to bring out your inner daredevil, offering everything from gravity-defying aerial activities to dune-shredding desert adventures. An adventure trip in Dubai offers the perfect combination of ultra-luxury and heart-pounding thrill in one of the most distinctive places on earth.

About the Author

Jeremy Scott Foster

Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today.