Tuanjiehu Park 团结湖公园
This secluded artificial beach is one of Beijing’s worst-kept secrets. Packed on the weekends, the pool includes two small (but fun) slides, a deep-end swimming pool, a play area for toddlers, and a large beach pool. The snack bar sells Chinese snacks, chuan’r and even beer – but we recommend packing your own picnic. Aside from the pool, Tuanjiehu Park also has roller skating rink (RMB 5 entrance, RMB 10 skate rental) and a large carp pond complete with electric and paddle boats (RMB 30-60/hour, RMB 50-200 deposit). Summer visitors will also find locals dancing with fans, practicing water calligraphy, and indulging in other community-based activities.
Good to know: The pool is open from June 1 to August 30. It’s best to visit the pool at the start of the summer season, before it gets too crowded and the water gets too dirty. Lockers can be rented for RMB 10 (and an RMB 20 deposit). Parking is available on any one of the side streets leading off Third Ring Road.
Admission and opening hours: Free (park), RMB 40 (pool weekdays), RMB 50 (pool weekends). Daily 10.30am-9.30pm (park), Mon-Fri 10.30am-8pm (pool).
Address and contact: 16 Tuanjiehu Nanli, Chaoyang District (8597 3603 park, 8597 4677 pool) 朝阳区团结湖南里16号
Bus: Take Bus 43, 113, or 350 to Baijiazhuang (白家庄).
Subway: Take Line 10 to Tuanjiehu stop. From Exit C, walk east and turn right on Tuanjiehu Lu. The park is a 15-minute walk south.
Chaoyang Park Water World 朝阳公园水世界
Chaoyang Park is best-known as a popular hangout for families, but the park also boasts a top-of-the-line water park. This should come as no surprise, given Chaoyang Park’s pedigree as host of the volleyball events during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Located just north of the park’s South Gate, Chaoyang Park Water World includes Olympic-sized swimming pools, a 2,000sqm kids’ area, an artificial beach, two mushroom-shaped pools, and beach volleyball courts. If you still have energy left after the water park, take advantage of Chaoyang Park’s many other attractions: a treetop obstacle course, boat rentals, carnival rides, fairground snacks, and more (see What’s Fun In on p34 for an in-depth guide).
Good to know: The park itself only sells snacks like fangbian mian and cotton candy, but there’s plenty of dining options outside the park’s west gate.
Admission and opening hours: RMB 120 (weekends), RMB 80 (weekdays), free for children under 1.2m. Mon-Fri 9.30am-9pm, Sat-Sun 8.30am-9.30pm.
Address and contact: Chaoyang Park, 1 Nongzhanguan Nanlu, Chaoyang District (6591 5258) www.sun-park.com 朝阳区农展馆南路1号朝阳公园内
Bus: Take Bus 976, 406, 350, 750, 988, 731, 729, 758, 831, 834, 815, 847, 608, 302, 705, 117, 703, 710, 419, or 31 to Chaoyang Gongyuan Nanmen (朝阳公园南门).
Subway: Take subway Line 10 to Tuanjiehu (exit D), walk east for 10 minutes until you reach Chaoyang Gongyuan Lu, then turn left and keep going until you see Chaoyang Park West Gate.
Merry Water World 摩锐水世界
Located a mere 20-minute drive from the city, Merry Water World is an impressive indoor water park that appeals to all ages – rain or shine. Attractions include a huge wave pool, a warm shallow-water pool for ages 0-6 (complete with mini water slides), a multitude of bigger water slides suitable for older kids, giant cold-water pools, and hot springs for 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, (including hair dryers), but you should bring your own towels and toiletries to avoid extra charges.
Good to know: A buffet meal is included in the price, except for kids under 1.2m (an additional RMB 15 charge applies). The water slides are only open during specific hours (marked clearly on signs).
Admission and opening hours: RMB 138, RMB 60 (kids under 1.4m), free for kids under 1.2m (weekdays); RMB 168, RMB 60 (kids under 1.4m), free for kids under 1.2m (weekends). Mon-Fri 1pm-11- pm, Sat-Sun 9.30am-11pm.
Address and contact: Tulip Hot Spring Garden Resort, Dongwei Lu, Jinzhan Xiang, Chaoyang District (8433 7403) www.bjyujinxiang.com 朝阳区金盏乡东苇路郁金香温泉花园度假村
Car: Take the Airport Expressway (机场高速). At the Weigou exit (苇沟), turn left at the first stoplight, right at the second, and then gostraight to reach Merry Water World.
Bus: Take Bus 688, 672, 641, 640 to Yujinxiang Huayuan (郁金香花园).
Jinhai Lake 金海湖
As one of the biggest reservoirs in Beijing, Jinhai Lake is the perfect place for water sports. Visitors can rent a motorboat (RMB 45/person), an inflatable motorboat (RMB 15/min), or a row boat (RMB 50/10 min). Teens and adults will enjoy jet skiing (RMB 18/min), water skiing (RMB 10/min), or parasailing (RMB 100/person). There’s a fishing pond for the young and the meek. To get the most out of Jinhai Lake,
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) costs RMB 360 a night. There is a Chinese restaurant within Jinhaihu Resorts. There are also seven other hotels nearby, as well as lots of locals willing to whip up a home-cooked meal for visitors.
Good to know: The lake is about two hours away from Beijing, so visitors should consider staying overnight. Discounts on water sports are available for groups of 30 and over.
Admission and opening hours: RMB 36 (Apr-Oct), RMB 23 (Nov-Mar), half price for kids over 1.2m, free for kids under 1.2m. Daily 8am-5pm.
Address and contact: Jinhaihu County, Pinggu District (6999 1356/3943) www.jinhaihu.cn 平谷区金海湖镇
Bus: Take Bus 918支 from Dongzhimen or Bus 14 from Dongda Qiao or Zhanlan Lu to Jinhaihu.
Car: Drive south along Jingping Expressway (京平高速). Take Xiagezhuang Exit (夏各庄) and continue along Pingji Lu (平蓟路) for about 20 minutes.
Happy Magic Water Cube Waterpark 水立方嬉水乐园
Since hosting the Beijing Olympics water sports competitions in 2008, the Water Cube has been converted into a watery playground. Facilities include a wave pool, big-kid slides (minimum height 1.4m), a lazy river, and a smaller section of slides for little swimmers. Ironically, there isn’t much room for actual swimming; both the wave pool and the lazy river are better-suited to floating. Don’t be surprised by the live band or Las-Vegas style dancing girls – Happy Magic Water Cube isn’t immune to China’s love of kitsch.
Good to know: Lockers can be rented for RMB 20 and an additional RMB 80 deposit. Life vests are provided by the park. The food options aren’t great, so bring plenty of water and snacks.
Admission and opening hours: RMB 200, RMB 160 (kids 1.2m-1.5m), free for kids under 1.2m. Daily 9am-6pm.
Address and contact: Daily 10am-9.30pm. Olympic Park, 11 Tianchen Donglu, Chaoyang District (8437 8966) 朝阳奥林匹克公园天辰东路11号
Getting there (by subway): Take subway Line 8 to the Olympic Sports Center, then walk north for a short distance to reach Happy Magic Water Cube.
Qingnianhu Park 青年湖公园
Opened in 1993, Qingnianhu Park Water World covers 15,000sqm. Water attractions include 13 water slides and man-made waterfalls. The water typically reaches depths of 1.5m, but there are also shallow pools for kids. Visitors can stroll around the lake, rent a motorboat for up to four people (RMB 70/hour, RMB 100 deposit) or 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 cafeteria-style eateries located inside the park.
Good to know: Qingnianhu is one of the more local parks, so basic spoken Chinese is useful. There are no secured lockers available, but open lockers (similar to a coat check) are free. Small snacks are sold within the water park, but picky eaters will want to bring their own.
Admission and opening hours (park): RMB 1. Daily 6am-9pm.
Admission and opening hours (Water World): RMB 30, RMB 20 for kids under 1.3m. Daily 9am-5pm.
Address and contact: Andingmenwai Dajie, Dongcheng District (8411 6321 ext 8032 Water World, 8411 6911 Beijing Youth Lake International Golf Club) www.qingnianhu.com 东城安定门外大街
Bus: Take Bus 18, 104, 108, 119 to Ditan (地坛), or Bus 27, 380 to Dixingju (地形局).
Subway: Take subway Line 2 to Andingmen station. Once there, take Bus 18, 104, 124, 430, or 480 to Qingnianhu Park stop.
Splash Recreation Club 浪花俱乐部
Located inside CITIC Hotel Beijing Airport (formerly known as Sino-Swiss Hotel), Splash Recreation Club has a large indoor pool that connects to an equally sizeable outdoor pool. While the kids are playing, relax in the pagoda adjacent to the pool or kick back on a beach chair. Work on your tan while munching on salads, pastas and sandwiches from the poolside bar and restaurant. Active visitors will enjoy the hotel’s sand volleyball court, playground, gym, squash courts, tennis courts and ping pong tables. At the end of the day, give your tired limbs a break with a visit to the sauna or the spa. Round out the night with Peking duck, sushi, or even Mongolian barbecue at one of Sino-Swiss Hotel’s many restaurants.
Good to know: Though located in a hotel, Splash Recreation Club is open to non-guests. Parking is free.
Admission and opening hours: Mon-Fri: RMB 80, RMB 40 (children); Sat-Sun: RMB 140, RMB 70 (children). Free for children under 1m. Daily 10am-midnight.
Address and contact: Daily 10am-10pm. CITIC Hotel Beijing Airport, 9 Xiao Tianzhu Nanlu, Shunyi District (6456 5588 ext 1217 pool) www.citichotelbeijing.com 顺义区小天竺南路9号国都大饭店
Bus: Free shuttle buses to the hotel depart from Dongzhimen, Sanlitun, and Beijing Capital International Airport.
Car: Take the the Airport Expressway (机场高速) to the Xiao Tianzhu (小天竺) exit, then drive southwest to reach Shoudu Jichang Fulu (首都机场辅路).
Crab Island 蟹岛绿色生态度假村
Crab Island has it all: paddle boats, fishing ponds, go-karting, grass 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, bumper boats, and a swinging pirate boat. But the biggest summer attraction is City Seaview; with gentle waves and soft, warm sand, it’s the closest thing to a beach in the city. Plop down under a parasol, get your thrills on the water slides, play a pick-up game at the volleyball court, or splash around in the designated children’s areas. For ultimate relaxation, grab an inner tube and float down the lazy river. Concession stands sell assorted drinks (including beer) and chuan’r. Alternatively, head to one of the restaurants within the park or stock up on snacks and drinks from the mini-mart across from City Seaview’s entrance.
Good to know: The mini-supermarket opposite the entrance of City Seaview sells towels and bathing suits. Parking is free.
Admission and opening hours: RMB 60, RMB 40 (kids under 1.4m), free for kids under 1m. Daily 9am-6pm (May-Jun), Mon-Fri 9am-8pm (Jul-Aug), Sat-Sun 9am-10pm (Jul-Aug).
Address and contact: 1 Xiedao Lu, Chaoyang District (8433 9689/9191, email@example.com) www.cityseaview.net 朝阳区蟹岛路1号
Bus: Take Bus 588 to Xiedao Dongmen (蟹岛东门), or Buses 418 or 909 to Xiedao (蟹岛). Once there, walk north 600m to reach Crab Island.
Car: Take the Weigou (苇沟) exit off the Capital Airport Expressway (首都机场高速) and follow the signs to Xiedao.