Cost: Park: free. Pool: Mon-Fri RMB 40, Sat-Sun RMB 50.Transportation: Taxi, car or bus
Good to know: It’s best to visit the pool at the start of the summer season, before it gets too crowded and the “sand” gets too dirty.
Park: Daily 10.30am-9.30pm.
Pool: Open June 1 to August 31. Daily 10.30am-8.30pm.
Address: 16 Tuanjiehu Nanli, Chaoyang District 团结湖公园, 朝阳区团结湖南里16号Contact: 8597 3603 (park), 8597 4677 (pool)
This secluded faux beach is a secret no more. Packed on the weekends, the pool has two super-fun (but small) slides, a deep-end swimming pool, a play area for toddlers, and a large beach pool. Inside, there is a snack bar with Chinese snacks, chuan’r and even beer, but we suggest packing your own picnic. There are lockers available for rent (RMB 10 with a RMB 20 deposit). Aside from the pool, Tuanjiehu Park is home to a roller skating rink (RMB 5 entrance, RMB 10 skate rental) and a large Koi pond complete with electric and paddle boats (RMB 30-60/hour, RMB 50-200 deposit). Summer visitors will also find locals dancing with fans, painting water calligraphy and indulging in other community-based activities. Step outside the park and complete the day with a meal at Cantonese favorite Jin Ding Xuan.
Jin Ding Xuan 金鼎轩酒楼
Daily 24hrs. 15 Tuanjiehu Nanlu, Chaoyang District (8596 8881) 朝阳区团结湖南路15号
Take bus 43, 113 and 350 get off at the Baijiazhuang (白家庄) stop. By car, the east entrance of the park is located on the Third Ring Road between Guo Mao and Changhong Qiao. Parking is available on any one of the side streets leading off the Third Ring.
Happy Magic Water Cube
Cost: RMB 200, RMB 160 (kids)
Transportation: Taxi or subway
Good to know: Lockers are available for RMB 20 with an RMB 80 deposit.
Address: Daily 10am-9.30pm. Olympic Park, 11 Tianchen Donglu, Chaoyang District 朝阳奥林匹克公园天辰东路11号水立方嬉水乐园
Contact: 8437 2030
The former site of the 2008 Olympic water sport competitions, the Water Cube has since been transformed into a watery playground. It offers a wave pool, big-kid slides (which require a height of 1.4m), a lazy river, as well as a smaller section of slides for little swimmers. It’s worth noting that there isn’t much room for actual swimming. The wave pool is fine for floating – in fact, many swimmers do so while the wearing life vests provided by the park – but it is the busiest and most crowded attraction. Expect some odd sights for a water park, such as a band and even Las Vegas-style dancing girls. This place packs a kitschy punch but it’s worth going just to say that you have swam inside the Cube. The food options aren’t great, so pack water and snacks.
Catch subway line 8 and get off at the Olympic Sports Center stop, then walk north a short distance.
Cost: RMB 60, RMB 40 (kids under 1.4m); an additional RMB 1 for insurance. Entry into Crab Island is free.
Transportation: Taxi, car or bus
Good to know: The mini-supermarket opposite the entrance of City Seaview sells towels and bathing suits.
Address: May 27-Aug 27, daily 9am-8pm. 1 Xiedao Lu, Chaoyang District 蟹岛绿色生态度假村, 朝阳区蟹岛路1号
Contact: 8433 9689/9191, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.cityseaview.net (all Chinese-only)
A wealth of family fun, Crab Island houses paddle boats, fishing ponds, go-karting, grassland carting, a zoo, and an “organic” farm. The zoo features ostriches, camels, llamas, bunnies, exotic birds and deer. There are also two amusement parks: one with a carousel and bumper cars, the other with a big playground, aqua bumper boats and a swinging boat. But the biggest summer attraction in Crab Island is City Seaview. With gentle waves from the wave pool and soft, warm sand, it’s the closest thing to a beach in Beijing. Plop down under a free sun umbrella, get your thrills on the two water slides, spike a ball at the beach volleyball court, or splash around in the designated children’s play area. For ultimate relaxation, take a ride on an inner tube down the lazy river, or stand under the waterwheel where buckets of water periodically spill onto patient bodies. Nearby concession stands sell assorted drinks (including beer) and chuan’r. If barbecued meat isn’t for you, head to one of the restaurants in the resort or stock up on snacks and drinks from the mini-supermarket opposite the City Seaview entrance.
Take Bus 588 to the Xiedao Dongmen stop; or Bus 418, 909 to the Xiedao stop and then follow the signs labeled “Xiedao” (蟹岛), head north 600 meters. By car, take the Weigou Exit off the Airport Expressway and follow the signs labeled “Xiedao” (蟹岛). Parking is free.
Park: RMB 1. Daily 6am-9pm.
Water World: RMB 30, RMB 20 (children under 1.3m). Daily 9am-5pm.Beijing Youth Lake International Golf Club: RMB 4,000/year. Daily 7am-10pm.
Transportation: Taxi, car or hotel shuttle
Good to know: This is a local hangout, so do not expect attendants to speak English. Address: Qingnianhu Park, Andingmenwai Dajie, Dongcheng District. 青年湖公园,东城安定门外大街
Contact: 8411 6224 ext 8032 (Water World), 8411 6911 (Beijing Youth Lake International Golf Club), www.qingnianhu.com (Chinese-only)
Open since 1993, Qingnianhu Park Water World occupies 15,000sqm of space and houses 13 waterslides and man-made waterfalls. Water is 1.5m deep, but there are also small pool areas for kids. There are no secure lockers available, but open lockers (similar to a coat check) are available for free. Visitors can relax with a stroll around the lake, rent a motorboat for four people (RMB 70/hour, RMB 100 deposit) or up to six people (RMB 80/hour, RMB 100 deposit), swing a golf club at Beijing Youth Lake International Golf Club, or shoot hoops at the basketball court (RMB 5/hour per person). When hunger strikes, there are two Chinese cafeterias located inside the park. Small snacks are sold inside Water World, but bring favorite treats for picky eaters.
Take subway to Andingmen station, or take Bus 18, 104, 108, 119 to the Ditan stop (地坛), or Bus 27, 380 to the Dixingju stop (地形局).
Ages: 8 and up
Cost: RMB 36/person (Apr-Oct ), RMB 23/person (Nov-Mar)Transportation: Taxi, bus or car
Good to know: The lake is about two hours away from Beijing, so visitors should consider staying overnight.
Address: Daily 8am-5pm. Jinhaihu County, Pinggu District 金海湖,平谷区金海湖镇Contact: 6999 1356, 6999 3943, www.jinhaihu.cn
One of the biggest reservoirs in Beijing, Jinhai Lake has a multitude of water sports for families. Rent a motorboat for RMB 45/person, or try an inflatable motorboat (RMB 15/min) or row boat (RMB 50 for 10min). Water sports for adult and teen thrill-seekers – include jet skis (RMB 18/min), water skis (RMB 10/min), and parasailing (RMB 100/person). Discounts for groups of over 30 people are available. For those who like to keep their two feet on the ground, there is a fishing area. If the day passes you by, consider staying overnight at Jinhaihu Resorts (金海湖度假村). A standard room (two single beds) starts at RMB 258 and a suite (one large bed) is RMB 360 a night. There is a Chinese restaurant within Jinhaihu Resorts. For other accommodation options, there are seven other hotels nearby, as well as lots of locals willing to whip up a home-cooked meal out of their kitchen for visitors.
Take bus 918支 from Dongzhimen, or take 游 bus 14 from Dongdaqiao (东大桥) or Zhanlan Lu (展览路) to Jinhaihu（金海湖).
Splash Recreation Club
Cost: RMB 80, RMB 40 (children 0.9-1.2m), free (children under 0.9m).
Transportation: Taxi, car or hotel shuttle
Good to know: There are free shuttle buses from Dongzhimen, Sanlitun, and the airport. Parking is free.
Address: Daily 8am-10pm. Sino-Swiss Hotel, 9 Xiao Tianzhu Nanlu, Shunyi District. 浪花俱乐部, 顺义区小天竺南路9号国都大饭店
Contact: 6456 5588 ext 1217 pool, www.sino-swisshotel.com
Located inside the Sino-Swiss Hotel, Splash has a large indoor pool, which connects to an equally large outdoor pool. Sit in the pagoda adjacent to the pool or lie back on a beach chair – you can get a tan while munching on salads, pastas and sandwiches from the poolside bar and restaurant. Sports enthusiasts will be happy to know the hotel also has a sand volleyball court, playground, gym, squash courts, tennis courts and ping pong tables. Finally, give tired limbs a break with a visit to the sauna or the spa. For dinner, the hotel offers Peking duck, as well as sushi and even Mongolian barbeque.
Take the Airport Expressway to the Xiao Tianzhu (小天竺) exit, then drive southwest to the Shoudu Jichang Fulu (首都机场辅路).
Merry Water World
Cost: Weekdays RMB 138, RMB 60 (kids under 1.4m), free entry but buffet RMB 15 (kids under 1.2m); weekends RMB 168, RMB 60 (kids under 1.4m), free entry but buffet RMB 15 (kids under 1.2m)
Transportation: Taxi or car
Good to know: A lunch buffet is included in the price. Water slides are only open at certain times (marked clearly on signs).
Address: Mon-Fri 1pm-10.30pm, Sat-Sun 9.30am-10.30pm. Dongwei Lu, Jinzhan Xiang, Chaoyang District. 朝阳区金盏乡东苇路
Contact: 8433 7403, www.bjyujinxiang.com (Chinese-only)
A 20-minute drive from Chaoyang Park, Merry Water World is located in the Tulip Hot Spring Garden Resort. This impressive indoor water park is sure to keep the family entertained all day, no matter what the weather. Attractions include a huge wave pool, a warm shallow-water pool for kids ages 0-6 (complete with mini water slides), a multitude of big-kid-sized water slides, giant cold-water pools, as well as hot spring pools for the adults. A lunch buffet is included in the price – but most kids don’t stop swimming long enough to eat. Changing rooms are clean and stocked with the basics, such as hairdryers, but you should bring your own towels and toiletries to avoid extra charges. Also, remember to bring water and juices to stay hydrated.
Take the Airport Expressway to the Weigou Exit. Turn left at the first stoplight, right at the second, and then go straight.