Oman emerged onto the family adventure travel scene a few years ago and has since gained pace to become one of our most asked-about mid-haul destinations. Just an 8-hour direct flight from London, you’ll find guaranteed winter sunshine, friendly people, superb roads (making it a good self-drive option, too), and gorgeous hotels, not to mention staggeringly beautiful scenery.

Oman is also one of the safest family-friendly destinations in the whole Middle East region, meaning you can enjoy desert forts, rolling sand dunes, imposing mountains, coastal turtle sanctuaries, and more with total peace of mind.
Family with teenagers exploring the mountains in Oman

Oman is a great destination for teens, tweens and young ones too, with activities to suit everyone

Best visited during October to March, Oman family holidays are ideal for October half term, a February break, or longer Christmas or Easter holidays. Look no further. Here are just ten of our favourite things to do in Oman with kids.

Oman with kids Top 10

1. Hike along the Balcony Walk in Jebel Shams

Oman with kids holiday - teenager on the Balcony Walk

A great hike for active families with shorter options for younger kids

Second in depth only to the Grand Canyon in the USA, no visit to Oman would be complete without a visit to Jebel Shams. The best way to enjoy it is the 3-hour Balcony Walk and as the hike follows the same route out and back, it can be ended at any time if the kids get tired. The side of the mountain is carved into narrow terraces that once housed flourishing gardens and the kids will enjoy exploring the now abandoned houses. The views of the canyon are truly stupendous.

The hike is suitable for good walkers (kids perhaps 8 and above, although younger ones can start and get as far as they can). A visit to Jebel Shams is included on both our Highlights of Oman and Oman short break sample itineraries.

2. Play in the dunes at Wahiba Sands

Playing on the dunes - holidaying in Oman with kids

Simple fun with laughter guaranteed!

For a less adrenalin-fuelled experience than dune bashing and ideally suited to those with younger children, just head out into the dunes on foot in the early morning or late afternoon. Children will spend hours climbing up the side of the dunes then racing or roly-poly-ing down (even teenagers, in our experience….). You’ll get sand in your hair and just about everywhere!

3. Jump into pools at Wadi Bani Khalid

Family taking selfie at an Omani oasis - Wadi Khalid

Explore the crystal clear pools at Wadi Bani Khalid

Cutting a dramatic gash through the mountains is Wadi Bani Khalid, a deep valley with a series of beautiful pools surrounded by date palms. You can follow an easy path up through the Wadi to a beautiful pool where you can swim. There are numerous rocks that you can jump off, and for the bravest, a high bridge from which you can leap. The first pool is popular but carry on just a little further to a smaller but possibly even more beautiful pool and swim here with spectacular views of the canyon beyond. A definite crowd-pleaser and one of our favourite things to do in Oman with kids.

4. Get lost in the labyrinth of rooms in Oman’s forts

Exploring Nizwa Fort on Oman with kids holiday

Exploring Nizwa or Jabrin Fort is fun for all ages when holidaying in Oman with kids

Oman is famous for its forts, with Nizwa and Jabrin two of the most engaging for children to visit. Kids will love their endless series of rooms, meandering staircases, battlements and look-out points. Although there is the odd drop (so don’t let toddlers run wild), leave the children to go off exploring on their own and take your own time listening to an audio tour. Take a look at other places to visit in Oman for more ideas.

5. Take a break at Misfah Oasis

Children exploring Misaf Oasis on family holiday

Follow the ancient water channels at the Misfah Oasis

This is a picture-perfect oasis that tumbles down the side of a steep mountain, the hillside carved into terraces covered in date palms. Follow narrow paths through the village, along irrigation channels, and past ancient stone houses. Stop for lunch at the charming Misfah Old House. See what else you could be doing on our Oman short break sample itinerary.

6.  Wild camp on the beach near Fins

Glamping on Omani Beach near Fins

Comfortable camping with Arabian cushions, freshly cooked BBQ and cosy tents

After a day spent seeing the traditional sailboats (dhows) in Sur, and hiking in Wadi Shab, spend the night camping on the beach near Fins. Cast aside all notions of grappling with tents and poles after a hard day’s exploration. Instead, you’ll find your camp already set up complete with beds and scatterings of Arabian cushions, where, after a refreshing sea swim you’ll enjoy a freshly cooked barbecue by a private chef and a campfire to watch the stars from. Heaven! See our Highlights of Oman sample itinerary for more information. Without doubt this is cited by many families as their favourite Oman with kids activity.

7. Enjoy dolphin spotting in Muscat

Boy on dolphin watching trip in Oman, near Muscat

Go dolphin watching, another family favourite when holidaying in Oman with kids

In contrast to Oman’s mountainous desert interior, the country’s north, east and south are flanked by the gorgeous warm waters of the Arabian sea, and with it a whole host of coastal activities. You and your family can enjoy wild camping, snorkelling, swimming, seeing turtles at Ris Al Jinz reserve and spotting dolphins off the coast of Oman’s capital, Muscat.

At the start of your trip, what better way to recover from your flight than taking a boat ride to spot the pods of dolphins which leap and flip through the air here? After that, the boat moors on a deserted beach where you’ll be able to snorkel through a coral reef in crystal clear waters, watching colourful fish flitting between hiding places. If you’re lucky, you might also see a turtle! Read what other Stubborn Mule families have to say about Oman with kids in our customer reviews.

8. Take a dip at Wadi Shab and swim into a cave

Parents and kids in Oman preparing to swim in a swimming in a wadi

Clamber over rocks to find pools and caves at Wadi Shab

Another beautiful canyon that is well worth a stop is Wadi Shab, off the main coastal highway. Here you take a boat across a small river and walk for about 40 minutes up the inside of the wadi (canyon) until you get to a pool. Younger children will enjoy playing in the shallows and watching the small fish trying to nibble at their toes. Older children will want to continue on higher up the wadi, clambering over rocks and swimming upstream, eventually passing through a narrow crevice in the rock to get to a cave and waterfall. Teenagers may be able to make their way even further up the wadi, climbing a rope for support.

9. Go Dune Bashing in Wahiba Sands

Oman with children - dune bashing

Dune bashing is not to be missed… but consider hiring a local driver!

For shrieks of nervous excitement and laughter, and one of our favourite things to do in Oman with kids, take the children dune bashing. Unless you are experienced at driving in the sand, we don’t recommend that you do this yourselves, but ask a local to take you out. This is fantastic fun – careering up and down, driving at terrifying angles down steep dunes then revving hard to get up the other side, bumping over the crest. Go in the late afternoon and stop in a remote spot for sunset to drink in the view. Dune bashing can be included in our Highlights of Oman sample itinerary.

10. Stay in authentic Omani accommodation

Family arriving at Misfah Old House, Oman holidays with kids

Stay at a traditional Omani lodge offering simple, welcoming lodgings

Whilst Oman has some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, many in breathtaking locations, we’d recommend staying a night or two in a traditional Omani lodge. There is a lovely one in Misfah, set deep in the mountains above Muscat, and complete with stunning views across the valley from the roof terrace. Another great option is in Nizwa, where you stay in the heart of the picturesque mud-brick buildings of the old city. The accommodation is simple and clean – think traditional mattresses on the floor – and your family will be welcomed with open arms. If you’d like to know more about places to stay, see where to stay in Oman.

Oman with kids extras

We had to whittle this down to 10, so we didn’t get to include seeing the turtles in Ras Al Jinz, dressing up as a traditional Bedouin, haggling in the souk at Mutrah, snorkelling in the Damaniyat Islands or off the Mussandam Peninsula, crossing the desert and entering the Empty Quarter near Salalah or many, many more activities.

See our Oman family holidays section for itinerary examples, prices, weather overview and more about places to visit in Oman. You might also like to see journalist Mike Unwin’s photos of his family trip to Oman with Stubborn Mule.

Snorkelling in emerald green water on Oman with kids itinerary

Snorkel off the Damaniyat Islands

Start planning your trip

To speak with one of our Oman family experts and to start planning your own perfect itinerary in Oman with kids, simply call us during office hours on 01728 752751 or use our website contact form. We’d love to hear from you.

Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel