Shot in the dark, but I’m going to wager that most people don’t think of the word “beach” when they hear “China.” But land-wise China is a huge country, and it contains enormous cities, tons of mountains, and endless stretches of rural areas, along with quite a large coastline on the eastern and southern sides. It’s true that Chinese folks aren’t the biggest beach-goers in the world (although with such a large population, generalizations are tricky), but don’t let that deter you. In fact, it means you’ll like have more space to yourself, especially during the hottest part of the day. While Beidaihe in the north is known for its long stretches of sand and shallow water, and Putuoshan Island is worth a trip if you’re in the Shanghai area, the south is really where it’s at. Head to the large island of Sanya and whether you end up at Yalong Bay (the most popular), Sanya Bay (the least crowded), Wuzhizhou (“The Maldives of China;” great for diving), or Tianya Haijiao (the second-most southern point), you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the beautiful sand, surf, and sun.