July 06, 2023

Qatar’s Free (Revamped) Beaches

Much of Qatar's shoreline is wild, uninhabited, and without facilities. And, though these beaches are hugely popular with residents taking a break from busy city life and embarking on winter camping trips, sometimes it's nice to have a few creature comforts to hand. However, where there are copious facilities and amenities, there is usually an associated cost... 

Luckily, Qatar has numerous public beaches along its coastline, free to access and offering basic facilities. And, coinciding with the FIFA 2022 World Cup, a raft of those beaches were given a makeover, providing upgraded and additional facilities - accessible to everyone without causing a dent in anyone's wallet.

Free Public Beaches

Image: QatarLiving

Eight revamped free beach venues were opened in 2022 as part of an ongoing project to develop almost twenty public beaches all around the country for residents and visitors to enjoy. The existing beaches were given a makeover to provide their guests with a host of new facilities and amenities to make gratis days out more fun! 

At each venue, visitors now have access to bathrooms, showers and changing areas, BBQ facilities and bins, prayer rooms, and kiosks selling food, beverages and other basic provisions. Most have play parks for children and leisure activities such as beach volleyball and football. And all have a host of umbrellas, cabanas and seating options, and new pathways and walking tracks lit by solar-powered lighting to ensure each beach is accessible to all. Some of the renovated locales also have lifeguard stations.

So, where can you find these revamped gems?

Al Farkiah Beach

Al Farkiah Beach is located on the east coast, a 40-minute drive north of Doha, just south of Al Khor. The family beach has always been popular with locals and, before the revamp, already boasted several amenities. However, after the refurbishment works, this sandy stretch offers so much more. So, take a trip north and enjoy the shallow, clear, calm waters, with excellent views of the nearby mangroves. If you want to visit the mangroves, a short drive through Al Khor and around the coast will take you to Purple Island, a great place to spend an hour or two exploring beaches, wildlife spotting, picnicking, climbing rocky outcrops, fishing, swimming or investigating the mangroves by canoe, kayak or paddle board.

Al Ghariya Beach

Al Ghariya Beach is a remote beach near the northern tip of Qatar and over an hour's drive from Doha on Al Shamal Road. Just north of the ever-popular wild beaches of Fuwairit and Maroona beaches, this wide expanse of sand, with its calm, clear waters, is a tranquil haven for visitors looking to relax and enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Nearby the beach, you can find several archaeological sites - the ruins of an old fishing village, previously inhabited by 19th-century Qatari tribes and later 20th-century settlers, and various petroglyphs (rock carvings) carved on the sides of Jebel Ghariyah.

Al Kharaji Beach

Al Kharaji Beach is located on the southwest coast of Qatar, not too far from the Desert Fall Water and Adventure Park and the Qatar/Saudi Arabia border; it can be reached in under one and a half hours from Doha via the Salwa Road. This remote beach is less crowded than some of Qatar's more popular beaches to the east and nearer to Doha, but it is certainly worth a visit. Quiet and serene, the beach boasts finer, less rocky sand than some shores around the coast, and its calm, clear and shallow waters look across to the Saudi desert, which is a spectacular view at sunset. While the beach has always been equipped with kids' shaded play areas and umbrellas, the newly upgraded facilities ensure a better fit for families.

New Al Wakrah Beach

New Al Wakrah Beach is located just south of Al Wakrah and can be reached by car via the Al Wakrah Road in 20 minutes. The beach is long and sandy, and the water is warm, shallow and very clear. Before being revamped, the beach was relatively wild and rugged. However, since the works have been completed, the beach now offers a well-maintained stretch of golden sand, lined with umbrellas and cabanas with seating, a long promenade from one end to another, plenty of car parking along its length, and numerous restrooms and kiosks. The beach is only a short drive from Souq Al Wakrah, a traditional coastal town market, the bustling heart of Wakrah town and the FIFA 2022 stadium, Al Janoub.

Al Wakrah Family Beach

Al Wakrah Family Beach is located just south of Al Wakrah Beach and can be similarly reached by car via the Al Wakrah Road in 25-30 minutes. The beach, located within a secure compound, is wide, sandy, and one of Qatar's favourites. The water at low tide is very shallow, creating lots of pools and sandbars for many metres out - perfect for exploring, setting up your own 'island' camp, making sandcastles, and paddling with a host of small fish and crabs. Further out, the water deepens for swimming and snorkelling. While the beach has always offered great facilities, the revamp works have improved that offering ten-fold. From the numerous options for shade and seating, BBQ grills and food kiosks, multiple toilets and shower blocks, and evening lighting to three large, shaded play areas for children, the upgraded facilities ensure this beach remains a favourite.

Safa Al Tawk Beach

Safa Al Tawk Beach is located on the coast at the heart of Al Khor and next to the town's fishing marina. The beach can be reached via the Al Khor Coastal Road in less than an hour from Doha. The tiny beach is protected on two sides by the marina wall and the seawall of the next-door Al Sultan Beach Resort, making the shallow water calm and safe for paddling and playing. With soft, clean sand, a host of palm trees, a large green lawn, covered kids' play parks and other facilities, this beach is a firm favourite with families. And nearby, visitors can also walk to several parks, a fresh fish market and Al Khor's beautiful Corniche.

Sealine Beach

Sealine Beach is located on the east coast south of Doha, just after the town of Mesaieed. The beach is a 45-minute drive from the city and is accessed via Sealine Beach Road. The long sandy beach is very popular with visitors and gets extremely busy on the weekend - and set against a backdrop of some impressive dunes, it is easy to see why. People come to picnic, BBQ with family and friends, and swim in the clear seas. Before the upgrade works, the beach offered little or no amenities. However, toilets, showers, shading and seating, food kiosks and various other amenities are now available, making time spent on the beach infinitely more comfortable. If you tire of the shoreline, you can always head to the top of the nearby dunes for a perfect view of the sea and the desert or rent equipment such as sandboards, dune buggies and quad bikes at the adjacent Sealine Beach Resort for some extreme adventures!

Simaisma Beach

Simaisma Family Beach is located on the east coast near Simaisma (Sumaysimah) village, approximately 40 minutes north of Doha via the Al Khor Coastal Road. The beach is a large stretch of sand with a rocky head at one end and an area of mangroves at the other. In between, the sand is soft, and the water is shallow and clear. The upgraded beach is dotted with palm trees, wooden cabanas, and BBQ grills, making it perfect for family picnics and gatherings. Grassy areas, a soccer pitch and a kids-shaded play area, make it ideal for younger ones too. The mangroves are great for exploring and spotting wildlife; keen fishermen can try catching something from the slipway. Simaisma village is also home to one of the oldest mosques in Qatar, the old Simaisma Mosque, should you wish to venture further than the beach.

With so many choices for free beach breaks in so many locations around Qatar's coast, the only thing left to do is pack your beach essentials and head outdoors for some sun, sea and sand.


Main image: QatarLiving

Published: December 02, 2022
Last updated: July 06, 2023
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