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Overview of Zandvoort beach.
Image from koen smilde

Things to do at Amsterdam Beach

Zandvoort, Bloemendaal, IJmuiden, Heemskerk and Wijk are just some of the beaches and towns dotted along Amsterdam's rugged coastline. Discover wildlife and incredible vistas in the Dutch dunes, try a new sport, walk through untouched nature or simply relax at one of the atmospheric beach clubs.

Spot wildlife in National Park Zuid-Kennemerland

Bull at Nationaal park Zuid-Kennemerland
Image from created by for amsterdam&partners

The Netherlands has a wealth of unspoilt national parks and nature areas, and National Park Zuid-Kennemerland, just outside Bloemendaal, truly demonstrates the beauty of the country. Spend a day exploring its 38 hectares of dunes, forests and hidden swimming holes, and see if you can spot some of the wildlife that inhabits the area. Hike, bike or horse ride along the park’s numerous paths and you might spot the elusive European bison, red deer, cattle and more.

Ride the waves in IJmuiden

Surfers at the beach IJmuiden
Image from Koen Smilde

Northwest of Amsterdam, the beach at IJmuiden is a fantastic spot for sports lovers and outdoorsy types. You’ll find the locals heading to the sea in droves to spend the entire day splashing around in the water. While most of Amsterdam’s beaches offer the opportunity to surf, kayak and paddleboard, IJmuiden is particularly renowned for water sports. Test your balance with stand-up paddle boarding or catch some serious air flyboarding – whatever your passion, there’s a place to do it at IJmuiden.

Race supercars at Circuit Park Zandvoort

Max Verstappen in aktie tijdens de maandag van de  Jumbo Racedagen op circuit Zandvoort. foto: Chris Schotanus
Image from chris schotanus

Thrill-seekers will get their chance to feel like Dutch racing superstar Max Verstappen at Circuit Park Zandvoort, a motorsport race track hidden among the dunes of this unassuming beach town. Book an experience with Race Planet to hop in a Lamborghini, Aston Martin or McLaren and test your driving skills, while the younger ones can practice theirs in a go-kart. And in September, the Netherlands gets set for the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix, which hits the tarmac in Zandvoort for an unmissable weekend of high-speed manoeuvres and screaming engines.

Hike through the beautiful Dutch dunes

The Atlantic Wall was a more than 5,000 km long defense line that Nazi Germany constructed along the west coast of the occupied territories in Western Europe during World War II to prevent an Allied invasion.
Image from koen smilde

The Dutch dunes are an ever-changing landscape full of opportunities. This exceptional environment between the flat inland expanses and the North Sea can provide a multitude of amazing experiences – from a tranquil hike admiring wildflowers and rare wildlife to conquering windswept hilltops that offer amazing views over the coastline. To the south of Zandvoort, you’ll find a nature reserve called the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen. Home to unique flora and fauna, the area is also home to bunkers that were used as defence lines during the Second World War. Take a walking tour to see these historical sites and you can also spot some of the native wildlife along the way, including foxes and roe deer. The dunes at Bloemendaal and IJmuiden are also well worth the visit.

Soak up the sun

People bathing at Zandvoort beach.
Image from koen smilde

Amsterdam has a remarkable coastline, with stretches of sandy shore you'll love to dig your toes into. The expansive beaches don't get too crowded, so you should always be able to find your own spot to relax. You can swim in the sea, seek out some water sports, or head to one of the many restaurants for something refreshing to drink and a bite to eat. For the more adventurous, even a few nudist beaches are dotted along the coastline.

Hit the beach clubs

Peggy Gou x Audio Obscura, Woodstock at Bloemendaal aan Zee.
Image from Kirsten van Santen

There’s nothing quite like sipping on a cocktail while watching the waves crash against the shoreline, and Amsterdam Beach has a perfect place for it: the beach clubs of Bloemendaal, Zandvoort and IJmuiden. Dozens of these cosy spots line the sand, each catering to a different sort of crowd. Hit Woodstock 69 to hang with the hippies, listen to live music, or go to Republiek for a romantic, sophisticated date. Take a peek at this list of the best beach restaurants, bars and clubs in the area for more.

Go blokarting

Boats in the sand and blowcarters at IJmuiderslag beach.
Image from koen smilde

If you’re not into water sports, there are still plenty of ways to get your heart pumping at the beach. Try blokarting, a unique wind-powered go-kart that lets you zoom around the dunes. Blokarting means you get to drive along the beach very fast in a kart with a sail – no rules, no jams, no oncoming traffic. One for the thrill-seekers! Visitors don’t need to bring any equipment: various beach sports facilities will have everything you need. The wide beaches of IJmuiden are perfectly suited to speeding around – see Eventmaker or Seaside Sports for more information.

Show your Pride

Pride at the Beach in Zandvoort
Image from Cris Toala Olivares

Rain or shine, it's time to break out the beachwear in August as Pride Amsterdam heads to the beach at Zandvoort aan Zee. This three-day celebration of LGBTQI pride and diversity has a sun-soaked twist, encompassing a colourful parade and a variety of events, games and parties at the local beach bars.

'Even uitwaaien'

Couple walking over Amsterdam beach / On background kite surfers in action
Image from Koen Smilde

Typically Dutch - there’s even a word for it, uitwaaien, meaning ‘to walk in the wind’ - is visiting the beach on a windy, slightly cold day and going for a long walk. Take the dog and the kids for an afternoon, or go on your own to give your mind a rest while the wind gives you rosy cheeks. You will come back feeling relaxed and completely refreshed.

Take a Pedelec Tour

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No list of things to do in Amsterdam is complete without a bicycle tour. For those that aren’t used to cycling long distances, try out a Dutch Pedelec Tour – not only will you use an electric bike, helping you cycle with ease, but the tour company will also help you map out your route to make the most of your time exploring Amsterdam Beach. They also offer the services of a professional guide, who can show you the rugged beauty of National Park Zuid-Kennemerland, among many other tours.

Watch the birds in IJmuiden

A man looking through his binoculars at Zuidpier IJmuiden.
Image from koen smilde

The beach at IJmuiden is a fantastic spot for sports and nature lovers. While enjoying the breeze, sit back and watch the massive cruise ships and boats pass by. But don’t forget the birds! At the piers, you can spot birds rarely sighted at other places on the Dutch coastline. Look out for sandpipers, seagulls, plovers, rock pipits, turnstones, cormorants, gannets, and red-tailed godwits. If you are lucky, you could see a curved sandpiper, a golden plover or a small sandpiper, and even the occasional owl. Check the bird protection society’s guide for all the species to spot.

Explore the charming town of Heemskerk

Heemskerk beach
Image from Heemskerk - Zee van tijd

Sandwiched between the dunes and the sea, Heemskerk is bustling with shoppers exploring the speciality boutiques, cosy cafés and restaurants. For centuries, this area’s primary industry was farming, but from the 19th century onwards, a strong flower bulb and strawberry cultivation tradition emerged. You can explore the region’s horticultural history in any season by hiring a bike to explore the various cycling paths traversing the countryside. Or anyone looking for a coastal adventure can take a leisurely 20-minute cycle towards the family-friendly beach.  

Appreciate the culture of North Holland

People walking at the Amsterdam Beach Forteiland Ijmuiden -Bunker
Image from created by for amsterdam&partners

Culture lovers heading to Amsterdam Beach will be pleasantly surprised at the number of options available. Country Estate Beeckestijn, an 18th-century summer residence in Velsen-Zuid, is rich in history and features a massive, unique landscaped garden perfect for a midday stroll. Those interested in WWII history can visit Forteiland IJmuiden, a UNESCO World Monument, on one of the days that it opens to the public or perhaps book a private group tour. Have a read of our culture guide to Amsterdam Beach for more.