As the UAE cools down in the last two months of the year, its residents make use of the pleasant weather to hit the great outdoors. And here in the Emirates, there is no dearth of new places to explore: Vast desert expanses, lakes, BBQ spots and green havens. But what if we told you about a spot that combines all four aspects?

Al Wathba Lake in Abu Dhabi connects you with nature by letting you pitch your tent right by the waterbody. Trees rise out majestically from the manmade lake, with islands of greens within it and around the 3,000-sqm destination.

The destination has separate sites to park recreational vehicles or pitch tents. It features 24 picnic sites with dedicated areas for barbecues. Grill and prepare your dinner as the little ones zipline in the play areas.

The best part about the stay is the early morning. You wake up to the sound of birds chirping and the sight of the starry night sky lighting up with the first rays of the sun.

The trees within the lake and their reflections in the water add to the morning glow. Leave your tents and picnic behind as you explore the different areas at the destination. A walk around the edge of the lake takes about 20 minutes. A bridge takes you over the lake and into its heart. The floating bridge bobs gently in rhythm with the water.

Two sandy hills have observation decks up top that offer panoramic views of the desert, the lake carved within it and the greens that have bloomed around.

You will be leaving the city life behind as you set up camp here. The picturesque campground is a 45-minute drive away from Abu Dhabi city. The closest convenience store is about 20 minutes away, so make sure you pack all you need for an overnight stay.

Solar-powered poles light up the park, but it’s not too bright. On-site amenities include toilets, volleyball courts, play areas and jogging tracks.

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