Sit back, relax and unwind at Marjan Island
White sand, green meadows and a cool breeze welcome you away from the hustle and bustle of city life. All it takes is a 15-minute boat ride from Dammam’s corniche to reach the secluded Marjan Island, also known as Coral Island, popular for picnics, fishing, boating and visiting its lighthouse as well as the Dolphin Village.
One of the specialties of Coral Island is that visitors can enjoy a relaxed outing at any time of day or night. While the natural beauty of the island is visible in all its glory during the day, the illuminated corniche views and sparkling city lights in the evening make for spectacular sights.
And there is no better place to enjoy those sights than from atop the island’s lighthouse, Fanar Tower. It’s a bit windy at the top, but makes for an excellent spot for photography. Word of warning though: the poorly maintained bathrooms there may lead to a less than ideal aromatic experience.
Back on the ground, there are huts made for families who prefer having a laidback and quiet time. You can de-stress gazing at the sea while enjoying the cool breeze or watching the kids play in the sand. My favorite activity there is taking a leisurely walk along the shores.
Another attraction is the boat trip, with ferries going to and fro between the island and the corniche. It’s a great way to see the coast, enjoy panoramic views of the city and even have a bite to eat at the restaurant onboard.
Care for a selfie with a dolphin? The island’s amusement park, Dolphin Village, is located near the entrance and houses a small zoo, including monkeys, ostriches, rabbits, sea lions, dolphins and a modest aquarium. The theme park offers daily dolphin and sea lion shows, exciting rides for children of all ages and much more. The entry fee is SR 10 per person and SR 30 for the half-hour dolphin show. There’s an additional cost for taking pictures with the dolphins.
If you are planning to head to this idyllic oasis in the city, come early to grab the best spots (and easy parking) and stay late for the best views. As with most picnic spots in the region, make sure to bring your own food and refreshments.
Location: At the end of Corniche Rd., Al Hamra Dist., Dammam