Strictly speaking, residents and tourists trapped in Shanghai during the hotter months are more or less limited to nearby Jinshan City Beach if they are looking to beat the heat by gaining access to nearby sand and surf. Jinshan is no tropical paradise, but it is a decidedly pleasant diversion (as it is of the city’s biggest seafood market, an amusement park and rides, annual kite flying competitions, volleyball tournaments, and nearly 6,000 feet of beachfront promenade). That said, Jinshan is hardly sufficient to serve the entire population of China’s largest city when the temperature starts to rise. The following are two alternatives for sun worshipers willing to go a little further afield in search of rest and recuperation.
1. Songlanshan Beach
Located near the splendid seaport city of Ningbo, this is one of the closest, completely natural beach areas to Shanghai (even Jinshan has an elaborate filtration system and artificial shoreline). A series of buses from Shanghai Bus Station make the three-four hour journey to this beautiful assemblage of bay front, caves, reefs and miles of soft sand beach. Fishing is popular in the area, and accommodations are affordable. The most popular activity by far is reclining on a beach towel or treading water in the surf and taking in the mesmerizing sight of the nine tiny islands that sit on the horizon.
2. Putuoshan Beach
The best way to approach Putuoshan Beach is with a two-hour boat ride from Shanghai; but it is also possible to reach this restful destination by bus (the travel time for this route is 4-5 hours, traffic permitting). A trip to this stretch of remote coastline is enhanced by the presence of Puji and Fayuchan Temples, both of which are accessible by a series of stairs that ascend upward from the beach.