With Doha being the capital of a desert country, you can expect some lovely, sandy beaches. Some are in Doha, often associated with hotels, others are a short or a longer drive away, each offering something special.
Please note that on the public beaches women should be covered from elbows to knees, as the beaches are frequented by many local families. On hotel or resort beaches, bikinis are fine.
Many of the beaches mentioned are quite literally deserted; you will need to have your own transportation and come prepared with everything you'll need for the day.
Katara Beach is the only public beach located right in the heart of Doha. It's part of the art and culture development, Katara Village, and is geared toward families, with plenty of water sports available. You can water ski, parasail, go on speed boat rides, kneeboard, even take a ride in a faux-Venetian gondola. Bouncy water castles are moored in the sea for the kids to play on. Plenty of restaurants and cafés can be found nearby for refreshments.
Al Wakrah Beach
Al Wakrah lies just 25 minutes south of Doha and has a public family beach. There are plenty of mangroves in this area, which makes it an interesting place to walk around and spot the small fish and wildlife. Al Wakrah has plenty of shops and restaurants for refreshments. The beach itself has barbecue facilities and playgrounds. It has a large tidal range, which makes it quite shallow and not necessarily ideal for swimming.
Fuwairit Beach is close to the northern tip of the Qatar peninsula, 53 miles (85 kilometers) from Doha, and is one of the most popular beaches in Qatar. A pristine coastline of white and pink sand dotted with shells against the turquoise sea is well worth the drive. Please note that there are no facilities of any kind nearby, so you will have to bring everything you need during the day, including shade and water. Fuwairit beach is a hawksbill turtle nesting site, and is closed during breeding season between April and July.
Simaisma Family Beach
Simaisma Family Beach is the newest beach in Doha and lies just north of the city, on the way to Al Khor. The sandy beach with a few palm trees planted for shade, has play and picnic areas. At low tide the sea is far out, and there are plenty of mangroves to explore. The small village Simaisma offers some opportunity for refreshments.
Umm Bab Beach
Umm Bab Beach on the west coast is known to locals as Palm Tree Beach, because of the clusters of palm trees dotted along the coast. This is a popular beach for camping with families, as there are basic toilet facilities and a kids’ play area. It is a pretty beach, with the palm trees adding that Caribbean touch. There is a small shop on the way to the beach.
Al Thakira Beach
Al Thakira Beach, less than an hour’s drive north of Doha, is one of Qatar’s largest mangrove reserves, making the beach shallow, but interesting. Locals come here to bird-watch, fish, and kayak through the mangroves. Kayak tours can be arranged in the town of Thakira, and there are restaurants and shops nearby. Bring a grill for those fresh fish, and look out for flamingos.
Zekreet Beach is on the west coast, around 40 minutes from Doha. The area of Zekreet is one of the most interesting in Qatar, full of rock formations, archaeological digs, a fort, and even an abandoned film set. You will need four-wheel drive to reach the rocky beach, and as there are no facilities, you need to bring everything you need for the day. Pop by the gigantic "East-West / West-East" art installation on the way.
Sealine Beach, at the southern end of the peninsula, is a combination of resort and public beach. You can stay a few nights to enjoy the beach location, or you can get a day pass to take advantage of the resort's facilities, complete with loungers, umbrellas, pool, activities, and restaurants. You can rent equipment such as dune buggies to explore the desert, or go for walks along the long, sandy beach.
Inland Sea is the name of the area even further south from Sealine Beach – around a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Doha — and it is a magical place that will make you fall in love with the desert. You will need a guide and four-wheel drive to get there — or you can join a tour. Once you've arrived, enjoy the most secluded beaches, go scuba diving, and watch the flamingos. No facilities, bring everything you need.
Four Seasons Beach, within the Four Seasons Hotel Doha, is probably the most beautiful of the hotel beaches in Doha. The excellent service, the facilities, and the beach cabanas make it a luxurious haven with superb views. But even if you are not staying in the hotel, you can buy a day pass and enjoy it as if you were. Well worth the treat.