At first glance, with its port, refineries and petrochemical plants, Yanbu is hardly the Kingdom's most attractive spot. But it's fast becoming the top tourist destination in the country, with its premier scuba-diving locations and pristine white sandy shores, many with resorts and private beaches geared towards families. The industrial section of Yanbu is a good 10km to 15km south of the city centre and has little impact upon the region's gorgeous beaches to the north. The downtown area is small but quaint, with an unhurried atmosphere not found in the larger cities.
Just outside town is vast, open desert that gives way to the water, and it's here that most visitors spend their time: imagine sitting on the beach with few, if any, people on either side of you. Hajj season, which draws big crowds, is the exception.