One for the nature lovers, this series of man-made lakes is in the middle of the Saih Al Salam desert on Dubai’s southern outskirts. Swap skyscrapers for wide open dunes and oasis-like pools where you can spot plenty of free-roaming wildlife, more than 100 species of birds and several desert plants.

Follow the D63 out of Dubai towards the Dubai Cycling Track and onto Last Exit to see signs for the lakes.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Dubai attractions

1. Mushrif National Park

8.53 MILES

One of the oldest parks in Dubai, dating from 1974, Mushrif covers more than 5 sq km of natural ghaf forest, which is a haven for birds, including owls,…

2. IMG Worlds of Adventure

17.2 MILES

Housed in an air-conditioned hangar the size of 28 football fields, IMG Worlds of Adventure is the world’s largest indoor theme park. The US$1 billion…

3. Dubai Miracle Garden

17.36 MILES

Covering some 2000 sq metres and touted as the largest natural flower garden in the world, there’s a sense of Alice in Wonderland–esque surrealism when…

4. Dubai Butterfly Garden

17.46 MILES

Some 15,000 butterflies flutter around these beautifully styled indoor domed gardens. Visitors love to pose with them as they land on shoulders and…

5. Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

17.79 MILES

On the outskirts of Sharjah, the 225 sq km Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve accounts for 5% of the Emirate of Dubai's total land. The reserve was…

6. Al Barsha Pond Park

21.3 MILES

Al Barsha Pond Park is a welcome patch of greenery surrounding a pretty manmade lake where you can hire a kitsch swan boat for a paddle around the water…

7. Elephant Clock

21.53 MILES

If you don’t know the story behind it, you might wonder why people are taking so many pictures of an ornamental elephant. But when you learn it’s a…

8. Meem Gallery

21.65 MILES

A co-venture by two Emirati business tycoons and British art dealer Charles Pocock, this blue-chip gallery is dedicated to presenting the masters of…