Wondering where you can find the best beaches in China? Here I share 9 stunning seascapes in China where you can have a great time and soak up the sun!
First things first, if you’re thinking of coming to China only for its beaches, you should probably consider Thailand instead.
But if you happen to be in China for other travel reasons and just need a break from the country’s hustle and bustle for a day at the beach, you’re in the right place.
Take me, for example. Over the past 10 years of traveling around China, there were many times where I needed to getaway from everything in the sprawling city for a good relaxing day at the beach.
Being inspired by beautiful photos I had seen, I was anxious to experience the best beaches in China for myself. I also needed things to where I could show up and immediately take in the surroundings without fighting my way through insane amounts of tourists for a decent spot on the beach.
That’s why I’ve done a lot of work here in researching the 9 best beaches in China. These top 9 best beaches in China include:
- Yalong Bay (亚龙湾) – Hainan, China
- Shimei Bay (石梅湾) – Hainan, China
- Sun and Moon Bay (日月湾) – Hainan, China
- Tianya Haijiao (天涯海角) – Hainan, China
- Silver Beach (银色海滩) – Guangxi, China
- Weizhou Island (涠洲岛) – Guangxi, China
- Beihaihe (北戴河) – Hebei, China (near Beijing)
- White Pebble Beach (金石滩) – Dalian, China
- Songlanshan (松兰山) – Ningbo, China
Skip ahead using the links above or scroll through to check out some beautiful beaches in China.
Let’s start planning your day at the beach!
*Note* Some of the links to the hotels in this article are affiliate links, which means that at no extra charge to you, I may be compensated should you choose to book the hotel. If this has been helpful, please consider using these links. I appreciate the support!
Best Luxury Beaches in China | Hainan
If you were to ask any Chinese person “Where are the best beaches in China?“, 9 out of 10 will likely recommend you to visit China’s southern island province of Hainan. Often referred to as “China’s Hawaii,” Hainan’s sub-tropic climate is the perfect escape from China’s cold winter.
If you’re looking for a beach vacation getaway in China, I’d say the beaches in Hainan have everything you need. Here are my top picks for the best beaches in China on the island of Hainan:
Yalong Bay| Sanya, China – 亚龙湾
Known for its crescent shape and turquoise waters, Yalong Bay is arguably the best beach in China. The Western resorts and other 5 star China hotels you can stay at nearby are also a testament to Yalong Bay’s status as the top beach in China.
Best part of staying at one of these resorts is they are located alongside the beach and are reserved for guests only. If you’re worried about massive crowds of Chinese crashing your experience at the beach, heading to Yalong Bay may be just what you need for a relaxing vacation.
More budget conscious travelers can stay at cheaper hotels and visit the public beach at Yalong Bay, but expect large crowds on your visit.
No matter where you stay, expect the experience to come with a decent price tag!
Beaches in Wanning City | Hainan, China
If you’re the type of traveler that prefers getting off the beaten path and your primary goal is to find a beach with as few tourists as possible, head to Wanning City (万宁市/Wànníngshì).
In Wanning City you’ll likely have to spend more effort in finding the beaches we list here. But they are worth it for the peace and quiet.
One fellow traveler I spoke with that lives in Hainan even said these beaches are hands down the most spectacular not only in the province, but possibly the best beaches in China.
Shimei Bay Beach 石梅湾 | Wanning, Hainan
Shimei Bay offers everything you could want on your day at the beach: beach chairs, sipping on coconuts, and a white sandy beach. An added bonus is there are fewer crowds as is that it is far away enough from the tourist madness of Sanya.
As it’s a fair distance from Sanya and Haikou, you’ll definitely want to spend a couple days here. I recommend staying at the Le Meridien Shimei Bay Beach Resort and Spa. The hotel offers everything you would expect from a resort and has decent reviews from travelers online.
You can also enjoy common beach activities here as well like parasailing, fishing, and diving. Apart from the fewer crowds, I’d also recommend Shimei Bay if you find Yalong Bay too expensive, but still want all the comforts of a beach resort.
Sun and Moon Bay 日月湾 (Riyue Bay) | Wanning City
Are you a surfer?
Then flock to this surfer’s paradise at Riyue Bay, also known as “Sun and Moon Bay”. Home to the best waves in Hainan province, Riyue Bay boasts a chill surfing culture that hosts several international surfing competitions every year.
Non-surfers will also have tons of fun at Riyue Bay. Apart from nearly deserted beaches in China, you can also do some hiking to a local waterfall and witness camels roaming the beach.
Tianya Haijiao 天涯海角 | Sanya, Hainan
Translating into the ends of the earth and located on the southernmost tip of China, there are many reasons for visiting Tianya Haijiao. For starters, its beaches, rockscapes, and surrounding palm trees are incredibly scenic and would satisfy any eager beach goer.
There are also several folks tales about Tianya Haijiao including a romantic story of two lovers fleeing their parents, whom disapproved of their relationship.
Having reached the ends of the earth, they decided to jump into the sea whereby they were struck by lightning and turned into stones that you can visit.
To me, that sounds like a sad and painful way to go! But to young Chinese couples, it represents eternal love and faithfulness. So you’re likely to see plenty of wedding photo shoots or young couples at Tianya Haijaio.
Although Tianya Haijiao is not ideal for folks hoping for a quiet and peaceful day at the beach, it’s great for those looking for photo ops, great scenery and travelers interested in Chinese culture.
If coming to Tianya Haijiao, don’t forget to bring 80 RMB to cover the entry fee.
- Beach Name: 天涯海角/Tiānyáhǎijiǎo
- Location: Tianyahaijiao Beach Pin
- Suggested Hotel: Crown Plaza Resort Sanya Bay
Budget Beaches in China | Beihai, Guangxi
If you don’t want to break the bank by traveling to Hainan but are still hoping for a subtropic beach destination, Beihai is your best bet.
Topping the list of best beaches in China near Beihai is Silver Beach.
Silver Beach 银色海滩 | Beihai Beaches
Located 8 km (~5 miles) south of the Beihai city center is Silver Beach. Silver Beach has pretty favorable reviews from visitors on Trip Advisor and is a good destination for folks traveling through China on a budget.
Silver Beach stretches for 16 miles, so there is likely quiet space available should you stumble upon large crowds when entering.
It’s also an affordable option for budget travelers and much cheaper to stay at the surrounding resorts at Silver Beach in comparison to China’s prime beaches in Hainan. As a public beach that welcomes tourists, there are plenty of activities to enjoy such as parasailing, boating, jet skiing, and beach volleyball.
There are also additional areas to visit in the surrounding area such as the Old Quarter that features colonial-era architecture and easy access to the volcanic island Weizhou by boat.
With affordability comes a catch. Visitors claim that Beihai is really boring. It’s also a heavily visited travel destination in the peak summer months and on holidays – although you’ll definitely see far fewer tourists here than in Hainan.
Weizhou Island 涠洲岛 | Beihai Beaches
If traveling to Beihai and you have a couple of days to kill, don’t miss out in visiting Weizhou Island, which is about a 70 minute ferry away.
Consider this place an island getaway where you’ll have a selection of beaches to choose from as well other attractions such as colonial era churches built by Jesuit missionaries along with the volcanic rocks at Crocodile Crater Park.
Despite being considered touristy, there are plenty of places to find solitude. Here you’ll also eat plenty of fresh oysters, scallops, and shrimp. For foodies, the locally famous Weizhou Shrimp may even be enough to justify the trip.
In terms of lodging, should you not want to stay at a hotel, you can always rent a tent and camp out for the night on the beach.
I’d definitely consider this off-the-beaten path for foreigners and being able to speak some Chinese may be a requirement as some reviewers claim it’s difficult traveling to Weizhou Island using only English. If you don’t speak Chinese, I recommend booking your trip with a local travel agency in Beihai.
You’ll also want to be mindful of typhoon season between July and August. I’d imagine being stranded on an island in the path of a typhoon would not be fun!
Beaches in China | Travelers Visiting Beijing
It’s really easy to get overwhelmed by the congestion and massive size of Beijing.
Frankly, when I lived there, the need for a day where I could escape to the beach was a constant theme of my experience.
Beidaihe 北戴河 | Day Trips to the Beach
If you want to sneak in a day or two at the beach while in Beijing, I’d venture out to Beidaihe. It’s only 2 hours away when taking a train from Beijing, making it an easy day trip should you want to return in the evening.
The temperate climate also make the Beidaihe beaches in China great to visit year round and I actually recommend visiting in the winter time as there are fewer crowds at that time.
But if you are really hoping to take a dip in the ocean and visit during the summer instead, expect crowds.
White Pebble Beach 金石滩 | Dalian, China
For folks in Beijing interested in more than just a day trip to the beach but not looking to venture the long distance south to Hainan, I’d take the bullet train up to Dalian and head to White Pebble Beach.
Dalian is famous for its beaches and most Chinese tourists end up flocking to Xinghai and Fujiazhuang Beaches, which are among the most crowded beaches in China. That makes this “off the beaten path” beach 31 miles (50km) away from the city more desirable to foreign visitors.
The Hilton Resort at White Pebble Beach is also a welcome comfort for foreigners and makes for a really relaxing stay alongside the ocean.
The only downside is that White Pebble Beach gets its name for a reason. Expect the beach sand to be riddled with pebbles, which could pose a problem for sunbathers. However, most folks travelers have great things to say about White Pebble Beach.
- Beach Name: 金石滩/Jīnshítān
- Location: Jinshitan Beach Pin
- Nearby Hotel: Hilton Resort at White Pebble Beach
Best China Beaches | Travelers Visiting Shanghai
Despite being a metropolis built above the sea, there aren’t really any beaches to see within Shanghai.
But there are plenty of great beaches in China nearby Shanghai that are worth checking out for travelers or expats.
Songlanshan 松兰山 | Shanghai Weekend Beach
While most folks in Shanghai may consider a day trip to Jinshan Beach, I’d recommend going the extra distance to Songlanshan Beach out near Ningbo.
The three hours you spend to get here from Shanghai will be well worth it for the soft sand, scenery and fewer crowds. Apart from taking a dip, you can also fish, see caves and picture worthy rock formations as well as small islands out in the distance.
I’d spend the weekend here though as you cannot really make a day trip at Songlanshan Beach.
Bonus! Putuoshan 普陀山 | Extended Weekend Getaway
For travelers needing a detox from the stress of city life in Shanghai, how about escaping to an island? On Putuoshan not only can you take a dip in the ocean, but you can also explore the island’s many temples and hidden grottoes.
Home to one of China’s four sacred Buddhist mountains, more than 500 Buddhist monks live here and many Chinese visit solely for spiritual purposes.
Sounds like an island paradise indeed! But be forewarned that Putuoshan is insanely well-known and popular. Travelers recommend visiting during the week outside holiday periods.
Final Thoughts | Best Beaches in China
As I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t travel to China solely for its beaches. Go to Thailand instead.
But if you are an expat living in China or happen to be visiting areas nearby one of the beaches I listed above, a trip to the beach could be a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of China’s megacities.
It’s also worth noting that there are many other, more secluded beaches in China, but due to the fact that they are very difficult to access without private transportation, I have only listed those best beaches in China that have reasonable public transportation.