When you think of China I bet you don't think of beautiful beaches — but we have a handful of favorite little spots in mind for anyone looking to catch some sun.
China has several beaches that won't disappoint. Whether you're on a semester abroad with International Language Programs (ILP) or just backpacking through China, you'll want to plan these in.
Thinking of spending more time in China?
I lived there for a semester while volunteering with ILP.
Small disclaimer: I personally think there are far better places to see than the beach while you're in China, especially if you're short on time. I mean, you're never going to see anything like the Avatar mountains elsewhere. And Yangshuo is the most magical little area you'll ever see ... and you'll only find it in China. But a beach day? You can have one of those in almost any country around the world. But a semester abroad in China gives you enough time to see a lot of places so I totally understand if you're craving a day at the beach.
While not every single beach in China is worth visiting, there are some that rival golden sands and blue waters you would see in countries like Mexico. Who would have thought? Here are our favorites:
- See the Great Wall + The Ocean
Sanya is a section of Hainan, an island in southeast China that is probably the most popular beachy getaway. This is the perfect place to visit if you are wanting to escape the cold because it's warm ALL year round!
Sanya is a great place to visit because there are tons of options of things to do. If you want to lay on the beach all day, go for it. The white sand will be there for you! Want to head out for a little spa day? You can do that. There are really great restaurants you'll want to visit and cute little shops to see. Looking for some hikes? You've got that option, too.
Here are our other Sanya tips (like where to stay and what to do).
Rizhao is China's number one beach for golden sand. With clear blue skies and jade green water the locals are really proud of their little slice of heaven! There are a lot of scenic spots you'll want to check out while visiting. One of those is the Seaside National Forest Park. You can rent a bike and ride around through the forested area- it's really pretty! This beach is found in China's north eastern coast, south of a few popular places we already like to visit (like Qingdao).
As far as places to stay, Airbnb is the way to go. Check a few of these out. They're super cute and good prices if you split them between a few people.
Tucked away on the eastern side of China near Shanghai is a little gem of a city called Zhuhai; you've got miles and miles of coastline that boast some pretty gorgeous views and a tropical vibe. You can even do some island hopping and visit some nearby fishing villages where you can wander colorful streets and get a taste of local life.
You'll want to visit during the summer time since this part of China does get cold in the fall and winter. But if you catch this spot on a sunny day, you'll find sun-warmed sand to lay on and some ocean water to splash around in.
Need another ocean getaway? Some see the beautiful Xiamen! You can keep yourself busy for a couple of days here. Xiamen has calm water and is great for water sports like kite surfing and paddle boarding. You can find shops along the beach that rent everything you need for that as well as surfing. If that isn't enough to keep you busy Xiamen has boardwalks you can walk along and the people watching doesn't get better.
The city itself has a lot of neat things to see as well! With walking streets, souvenir shops and street vendors you'll never want to leave.
The Bahia Sea
There's a section of the Great Wall known as the Shanhai pass, which translates to the meeting of the mountain (shan) and the sea (hai). This place was a huge strategic fortification against Mongolian invocation from the north. While this entire section of the wall is what protected China against invasions, the part you’re probably interested in is the “Dragon’s Head”, or Laolongtou — that’s the eastern most section that ends right at the Bohai sea. A visit here and you can see why this section is named after a long dragon: the wall resembles a dragon dipping its head into the water for a drink. Come hike around the Great Wall and spend time on the sand? I'm in!
Get more about visiting the Great Wall and the ocean here.
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