Saudis enjoy a wide range of leisure activities. Families can relax at hundreds of parks, campsites, picnic grounds and other facilities throughout the country.
Long stretches of coast and spectacular coral reefs make water sports such as snorkeling and wind surfing easily accessible. In addition, the Kingdom has established a network of national parks and preserves so that visitors can observe protected wildlife and ecosystems.
The crown jewel of Saudi Arabia’s national parks system is the 1.1 million acre Asir National Park. Visitors can hike, camp, climb hills and other outdoor activities in this cool, green paradise. The Kingdom’s largest preserve is Al-Khunfah, where visitors can take in spectacular views and observe wildlife such as gazelles and oryx in their natural habitat.
In the cities, people can relax in hundreds of urban parks. Riyadh alone – which means “garden” in Arabic – has 50 public parks. The waterfront corniches of Jeddah and Dammam are also popular places for picnics, swimming, fishing and other watersports.
Camping is a popular activity among Saudis. Families pitch tents in the middle of the desert, along the coast or in one of the Kingdom’s parks, and enjoy the beauty of nature. These camping trips are popular during the Eid holidays and for family reunions, especially after the rainy season when the desert blooms.
Other animals found in the Kingdom include marine life, gazelles, the ibex (a type of wild mountain goat) the bustard, and the swift saluki hound, a type of dog named for an ancient city in southern Arabia. The saluki is generally considered to be the world’s oldest domesticated dog.
The famous purebred Arabian horse is one of the most popular breeds in the world, with a bloodline that dates back thousands of years. The Arabian's fine shape and extraordinary stamina and speed make it ideal for racing and breeding.
There are also many camels in Saudi Arabia. They have been used as a means of transportation for thousands of years. Today, camel racing is a popular sport.
Saudi Arabia has taken major steps to preserve its native wild and marine life and established preserves both on land and in the ocean off the Saudi coast.