You could potentially consider all of Dubai's coastline as an endless stretch of beach. The water is clear, clean and not too hot in winter, and the entire coast is made up of fine white sand. At the moment, only one part has well-defined areas. There is a choice of public beaches and beaches where you have to pay to get in, with the latter offering an array of services for a small fee at the entrance. To compensate for their setback location (only a handful are located on the beachfront), the hotels have taken to organising shuttles to and from the beach that run up to several times a day and are often free.
At Jumeirah Beach Park, for example, after paying the fee of a few dirhams (currently, 1 dirham equals about 20p) at the entrance, you can enjoy the green tree-lined park with facilities designed for children. Sun loungers and parasols are available at the beach, which is lined with palm trees that provide welcome natural shade. There is also a cafe to ensure you won't go hungry or thirsty throughout the day, as well as several sports grounds (areas for beach volleyball, football pitches).
To get a picture postcard view of Dubai, visit Umm Suqeim. This small, free beach cruelly lacking in shade and vegetation is in the same vicinity as the legendary Burj Al Arab hotel. Its sail-shaped architecture is a must-see in the evening as the sun sets behind it. The easiest thing to do is to take one of the tourist buses, which stop at the main attractions throughout the day so you can take photos.
JBR, one of the other popular beaches in Dubai, is located in the marina. It is a free beach located at the foot of the apartment buildings that have sprung up over the past few years in the marina area, where luxury boats and junks for tourists are moored. Some parts are reserved for the guests of hotels that open directly onto the beach. The bonus is that all the nearby amenities and the many shops, bars and restaurants form a great promenade, where the terraces are usually full in the evening.
Remember, however, that overly suggestive clothing, such as g-strings and going topless, is forbidden on the beach.