Mon, July 30, 2012
CityGuide > Sightseeing

Beijing beach getaways

2012-07-17 02:26:35 GMT2012-07-17 10:26:35(Beijing Time)  City Weekend

Tuanjiehu Water Park

Beidaihe.(Image from Drnantu on Flickr)

Shanhaiguan. (Image by fuzheado on Flickr)

Qingdao. (Image from Joowwww on Flickr)

Dalian.(Image from Jeremi on Flickr)

With the sun beating down on our backs, many of us would like to escape to the beach during our down time. Even though Beijing is rather far from the coast, we’ve compiled a list of beaches within the city or a short distance away to give you a quick beach getaway.

If you have one day

Beijing Ocean Beach Carnival

Situated right in the heart of Chaoyang Park, Beijing Ocean Beach Carnival provides Beijing residents with a convenient and accessible beach getaway. A large beach area dotted with umbrellas provides ample space for people to lay out and relax on a weekend afternoon. There’s also a large pool and beach volleyball courts to give visitors recreational activities as well. Weekday tickets: RMB80, Weekends: RMB120

Getting there: Take a cab to Chaoyang Park South Gate or East Gate, and it’s a 10-15 minute walk in towards the center of the park.

Tuanjiehu Water Park

Just around the corner from Chaoyang Park, you can find another respite from the summer heat at the Tuanjiehu Water Park. The beach here is smaller than the one at Chaoyang Park, but this is offset by a wave pool and a few water slides to play on. This also gives beach goers a cheaper option as weekday tickets are RMB40 and weekend tickets are RMB50.

Getting there: Take the subway to Hujialou, and it’s a 10-15 minute walk to the northeast.

City Seaview @ Crab Island

City Seaview boasts one of the largest man-made beaches in China. Located just outside the northwest 5th ring road, this 60,000 square feet beach is lined with palm trees and has a wave pool, water slides, BBQ, cocktails, and live bands to entertain you and your friends or family for a day of sun and fun.

Getting there: Take a cab to City Seaview at 1 Xiedao Lu (蟹岛路1号)

If you have two days

Beidaihe

A popular beach destination for many Beijingers, Beidaihe in Hebei is well known for its beach resort and long stretch of fine golden sand. With shallower water here, this beach provides better conditions if you’re wanting to take a dip in the ocean. Several holiday villages and public bathhouses have been built up along the shoreline, so there’s no lack of affordable accommodations if you want to stay close to the beach. The beach at Beidaihe only stretches about 10 kilometers, and the city itself has a small town feeling, making this beach getaway slightly quainter that others.

Getting there: Taking the D train from Beijing to Beidaihe takes 2 hours. The slower trains are cheaper and can take from 3-5 hours.

Shanhaiguan

Shanhaiguan gives beach goers a little taste of culture along with beach relaxation as it contains the eastern end of the Great Wall. Located on the northern side of Qinhuangdao in Hebei Province, Shanhaiguan is an easy 2 hour train ride by high speed train. While the beach itself is average here, it’s quite an experience to walk along the Great Wall and see waves crashing around the base of the wall as you look out onto the ocean.

You can spend half a day relaxing on the beach and the other half hiking along the wall. The entrance fee is RMB50 but gives you access to several rebuilt halls and great views of the beach and ocean. Shanhaiguan is also home to a handful of other cultural sites to explore if you have the time.

Getting there: Shanhaiguan has it’s own train station. The D train from Beijing to Shanhaiguan only takes 2 hours, but make sure to book in advance. You can also take a regular train from Beijing, which takes about 4 hours to get there.

If you have three days

Qingdao

Most well known for its brewery and beer festival, Qingdao also has a number of beaches to check out. From the train station, you’re able to look out onto the coast and immediately see some of the most accessible beaches in town. During peak season, these can often be a little crowded, but you’ll still be able to spend some time in the sand if that’s all you’re looking for.

The better beaches in Qingdao are slightly further away and harder to get to, but they’re definitely worth the effort if you want a more serene and tranquil beach experience. Laoshan Beach is one of the city’s best beaches, and set with a mountainous backdrop, provides a more secluded location to enjoy the sand and waves. Old Stone Man Beach is also another nicer beach in Qingdao and has a few amenities like tables, chairs, and tents available to rent.

Getting there: Qingdao is easily accessible by high speed from Beijing. Ten trains leave daily from the Beijing South station, and the journey takes about 5 hours. You can also fly from Beijing to Qingdao, which takes close to an hour and half. The airport is 32km from the city, so expect a RMB120-140 taxi ride into the city after arrival.

Weihai

According to local scuba enthusiast Steven Schwankert (SinoScuba), Weihai in Shandong Province is “the quiet man’s Qingdao.” Steven recommended Weihai to us because it’s a pleasant seaside destination and has cheaper accommodations, as it’s lower in demand. Weihai provides a peaceful beach getaway and a break from the crowds that might be found in more popular beach destinations. You can get pretty good seafood when visiting Weihai, so make sure to take an appetite for your favorite shellfish when visiting here.

Weihai also has a lot of history behind it since it was a British colony for many years near the turn of the 20th century. For a day trip, travel over to Liugong Island where old British cottages dot the coast line and stroll down the beach in front of old British architecture.

Getting there: Take a 1-hour flight from Beijing to Weihai. The airport is 45km away from the city center, so you have to take a RMB100-130 cab from the airport into town.

Dalian

Dalian in Liaoning Province serves as the largest port in northern China but also has several beaches dotting its coastline to relax on. Some of the more popular beaches like Xinghai Beach can become rather overcrowded during peak season, but we recommend checking out Fujiazhuang Beach to avoid the crowds and be able to enjoy your time sunbathing or swimming. If you’re the more adventurous type, you should also be able to find even more secluded beaches if you’re willing to travel off the beaten path.

Another popular activity in Dalian is to travel down Binhai Lu, which is an old, winding coastal road. Those who enjoy taking long walks along the beach will not be disappointed. A frequently traveled route is to walk along the beach from Fujiazhuang to Tiger Beach, although it is possible to walk the entire stretch of 35 kilometers in one day.

Getting there: Flights from Beijing to Dalian leave several times a day and take about an hour and a half. If you’re heading directly into the city, take an official taxi from the queue on the east side of the airport. Unofficial taxi may be warranted if you’re heading to a further away location, as they should be more willing to drive there but for a higher fare.

Related:

Escape to Beijing's villages

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