Until the beginning of the new millennium, Jebel Ali was the last stretch of unspoiled beach—protected for many years as it lay beyond the Jebel Ali Free Port on the southernmost section of the Dubai coastline, bordering Abu Dhabi. Inevitably, the beautiful beaches have fallen under the spotlight and it's now in line for wholesale reclamation and development. The Palm Jebel Ali, the third in Nakheel's triumvirate of offshore Palm islands, has already broken ground. However, it's overshadowed in size and audacity by the Dubai Waterfront.
Amid all the long-term restructuring over the next decade is the Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary—it's unclear whether or not the redevelopment will affect it. Extending through nearly 31 square mi of dunes and shoreline plus a narrow stretch of offshore waters, the sanctuary protects rare turtle-breeding sites and whale transit routes in the narrowing seas around the Gulf. You'll need a permit to visit the sanctuary, so be sure to obtain one from the Environmental Department of Dubai Municipality.
Jebel Ali, Dubai, United Arab Emirates