Let’s face it, summer in Beijing can drive a person mad. Hiding out inside under the A/C is no fun, and likely to end up making you sick, but the nearest beach is a day trip away at best. Get your fun in the sun at these outdoor pools in the city.

Baolian Sports Park Swimming Pool
In this sports park, there are two choices for you and your kids to enjoy aquatic fun outdoors. One pool is no deeper than 150cm, and intended as a safe play pool for kids and parents. The other, 150-180cm in depth, is a standard 25-meter swimming pool for adults and bigger kids (RMB 30 per person). The pools currently open at noon, but we’re told that they should soon be opening at 9am daily – call to confirm opening hours. Open until September 1. Play pool: RMB 10, free (children under 120cm. 25-meter pool: RMB 30. Daily noon-9pm. 48 Beiwa Xili, Haidian District. (6843 8898)

City Seaview @ Crab Island
Love the beach, yet too far to go to Beidaihe? Not a problem at Crab Island. A long beach, gentle “waves,” and the sunshine too, when it chooses to put in an appearance. City Seaview is as close as you can expect to a real beach in Beijing, and a popular spot for weekend relaxation. Open until the beginning of September. Daily 9am-10pm. RMB 60, RMB 40 (children under 140cm). Inside Beijing Crab Island Resort, 1 Xiedao Lu, Chaoyang District. (8433 9689/9191)

Hongshankou Swimming Pool
One of the lesser-visited outdoor pools, and as such less of a squeeze than the popular locations can be. Cleaner and clearer water than some outdoor pools are another factor in Hongshankou’s favor. Remember to bring your own flip-flops. RMB 10, free (children under 120cm). Daily 9am-8pm. West side of Tianxiu Huayuan, Heishanhu, Haidian District. (6281 8604)

Jiaoda Swimming Pool
Jiaotong University owns two outdoor swimming pools that serve mainly as venues for swim training and practice. There’s less fun to be had than at other outdoor pools, but this is an option for keen swimmers in the area who simply want somewhere to do a bit of exercise in the open air or for beginners learning how to swim. RMB 10. Daily 4pm-6.30pm. Inside Beijing Jiaotong University, 3 Shangyuancun, Haidian District. (5168 3694)

Liulang Swimming Pool
This outdoor swimming pool is one of best-known around Beijing. Set at the south side of the Summer Palace and next to Kunyu River (???), it’s ideal for Haidian-based families and water-lovers. Gives the feeling of swimming in a real lake, but with no worries about you or your child’s safety. Liulang’s two swimming areas, divided by a cute bridge and green plants, are both suitable for adults and children. Open until August 31. RMB 10, free (children under 120cm). Daily 9.30am-9pm. South gate of Summer Palace, Haidian District. (6263 5992)

Qingnianhu Park Waterworld
Perhaps the most popular of Beijing’s outdoor swimming pools. It has two sections with four pools in total, each satisfying different visitor demands. Serious swimmers can do laps while the kids have fun splashing around. Open until the end of August. RMB 20 for adults, RMB 15 (children under 130cm). Daily 9am-7pm. Inside Qingnianhu Park, Andingmenwai, Dongcheng District. (8411 6321)

Splash Recreation Club
The Sino-Swiss Hotels Splash boasts a large outdoor-indoor pool, sand volleyball court, playground, gym, ping-pong tables, a poolside bar and a restaurant. The hotel also has squash and tennis courts as well as a sauna. Less crowded than some outdoor swimming venues, with sun loungers and dependable amenities. Mon-Fri: RMB 50, RMB 30 (kids). Sat-Sun: RMB 130, RMB 65 (kids). Daily 6am-10pm. Sino-Swiss Hotel, 9 Xiao Tianzhu Nanlu, Shunyi District. (6456 5588 ext 1217)

Tuanjiehu Park Swimming Pool
This swimming pool attempts to replicate a real seaside atmosphere, albeit in miniature. The pool is small but does the job. It’s not perfect, but in a hazy and busy city like Beijing, we’re glad it’s there. Most importantly, it’s in the downtown area, so it’s an easy visit after a long day at work. Kids love it too. Open until August 31. RMB 25, free (children under 80cm). Daily 10.30am-7.30pm. Inside Tuanjiehu Park, 16 Tuanjiehu Nanli, Chaoyang District. (8597 4677)

Compiled by Wang Xueqiao

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