The seaside resort town of Beidaihe, about 280km from Beijing, tends to attract wealthy Chinese families taking a break from city life. Most people come here for the beach, the sunshine and the fresh air. However there's a lot more to Beidaihe than sun and sand & away from the beach, you'll find ancient temples and mountain parks.
At the turn of the 19th century, Beidaihe was transformed from a tiny fishing village into a summer resort for European diplomats, missionaries and businessmen from Beijing and Tianjin. Today it has opened up to local and international tourists alike, who flock here in droves during the hottest summer months.
Beidaihe's sandy beaches stretch for 10km along the Bohai Sea. Though the beaches are jam-packed in July and August, it's still possible to find a few quiet coves where you can escape the crowds. The coastline is divided into three main beaches: Middle Beach, East Mountain and West Beach. Of the three beaches, Middle Beach (which is made up of many small beaches, separated by rocky outcrops) is the most popular and it's easy to find drinks, snacks and souvenirs and be bombarded by hackers pushing bracelets and shells. West Beach is similar, though a little quieter. East Mountain features long stretches of beach where you can bask in some hard-to find privacy. Tiger Rocks, in the central beach area, is a popular spot for locals to gather and fish, fly kites and unwind. From a distance, the rocks look like a group of tigers bathing in the sea. Pigeon's Nest over at East Mountain is a good spot to catch the sunrise as it slowly peers over the sea's horizon.
Lianfeng Mountain stands 153m above sea level and is covered in pines and cypress trees. This small mountain has two adjoining peaks and backs onto the beach. Its features include pavilions, walking paths and winding bridges. The Sea-Viewing Pavilion has great views of the Bohai Sea. At the base of the mountain is Lotus Stone Park, named after several upright rocks in the shape of a lotus flower. In the northern end of the park is the Guanyin Temple. It's close to downtown Beidaihe and most local hotels offer direct shuttles to the park.
Because of Beidaihe's relative fame and the crowds it draws, the beaches have become overcrowded. Nandaihe, to the south, is also a well-developed tourist destination, offering, among other activities, sand sledding, which sometimes ends in the water.