Everyone's looking for a beach getaway during these hot summer months. Unfortunately, Shanghai is not exactly renowned for its clear, blue ocean and soft, sandy shore. Nevertheless, there are some options relatively close by for those willing to venture outside the city limits – there's even a stretch of sand within the city limits if you don't mind a view of the Huangpu! Check out the best beaches that are no more than a few hours drive from Shanghai – you might be surprised at how close your shore vacation can be!
1) Sunny Beach
Let’s start closest to home, shall we? The Bund Beach is a phenomenon that began late last summer and has picked up in popularity this year. It's a modest stretch of sand, situated right next to the up-and-coming Cool Docks conglomerate, lined with row upon row of beach chairs. With an unparalleled view of the Huangpu River and Pudong skyline, it's the perfect place to soak in some sun and enjoy the best that a Shanghai “beach” has to offer. While you can't go swimming (and really, who would want to?), you are allowed to bring whatever food or drink you like. And that sounds like the makings of a great party to me...
Admission: 20 RMB
Getting there: Waima Lu, near Maojiayuan Lu (外码路, 近毛家园路)
2) Jinshan Beach
While you've inevitably heard mixed reviews about this place, visitors can't deny that it's a place where you can lie in the sand and it even has swim-able ocean water – really, what more do you expect from a beach that's less than an hour away from Shanghai's city center? It can really be a fun-filled day during the unbearable heat of July and August – the sand is imported from beaches in Hainan Province (you might have heard of its most popular city, Sanya - also known locally as “China's Hawaii”) and a filtration system has been put in place to thoroughly clean a sizable area of ocean. This makes the water surprisingly clear and blue, enough so that you feel comfortable wading in. When you get tired of lounging in the sun and frolicking in the water, head over to the western end of the strip where you'll find crowds playing all sorts of beach sports, such as volleyball and Frisbee.
Jinshan Beach. Photo: Flickr
Admission: October-June, free; July-September, 30 RMB (weekdays) & 50 RMB (weekends)
Getting there: Take Metro Line 1 to Jinjiang Park. There is a bus station next door which will take you to Jinshan (about one hour). From there, walk about twenty minutes (there are plenty of signs pointing the way) or try to find a taxi.
3) Fengxian Beach
This place is just a small part of the proposed “Haiwan Tourism Zone,” a project still under construction with an estimated completion date in 2015. Less than an hour from Shanghai's city center, the public beach boasts “golden” sand (no doubt imported) and boasts that the air there has one tenth the amount of dust as downtown Shanghai. With all the dry, gritty weather we've been having this summer, even one tenth of an improvement sounds good to me! Granted, there is no swimming allowed (they apparently haven't gotten a hold of Jinxian Beach's filtration system yet), but console yourself with the knowledge that they do have a mini amusement park set right smack in the middle of the beach. Go by way of the Blue Seas Resort and you'll find a 4-D cinema, canoeing, and rock climbing too.
Admission: 50 RMB (weekdays) & 80 RMB (weekends)
Getting there: Either take a bus from Shanghai South Railway Station South Square to Nanqiao, or take Metro Line 1 to Jingjiang Park and take the public bus to Nanqiao.
4) Songlanshan Beach
Located near Ningbo, this beach will take you a bit longer to get to (around three or four hours from Shanghai's city center). It's worth the extra time if you have it as it is more of a proper beach than anything near the city. Stretching for about 25 square kilometers, you'll find a beautiful bay area, caves, reefs, and soft sand. Fishing equipment is readily available if you feel like being productive – otherwise, you can just marvel at the stretch of nine little islands visible to you from the coastline. It's a great place for a weekend getaway when you're feeling the stress from the city and just need some time to yourself.
Admission: 10 RMB
Getting there: Take a bus from Shanghai Bus Station to Ningbo South Bus Station (about two to three hours). Take a “quick bus” from Ningbo South Bus Station to Xiangshan County, then from Dancheng to Songlan Mountain
5) Putuoshan Beach
For those who have a three-day weekend you need to fill, consider this peaceful beach sanctuary, where you can get a bit of history with your tan. The 100 Steps Beach and 1,000 Steps Beach are both beautiful, regardless of the number of steps they contain. After you've enjoyed the shockingly blue water and remote coastline, you can wander through the various temples (more than 500 monks inhabit the island) such as Puji Temple and Fayuchan Temple, which sits on top of a mountain and can be reached by climbing hundreds of stairs (are you seeing a trend here?). It's as close to a beach paradise as you'll get this close to Shanghai!
Just imagine when it’s sunny. Photo: Flickr
Getting there: Take a boat from Shanghai Harbor (around two hours. Or take a bus from Shanghai Bus Station (south of the Bund) to Luchao (around two and a half hours), then transfer to a ferry to Putuoshan Beach (around two hours)
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Keywords: Shanghai beach summer fun Shanghai best beaches Shanghai Beaches near Shanghai
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