Soak up the sun
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 beach clubs and restaurants for something refreshing to drink and a bite to eat. For the more adventurous, there are even a few nudist beaches dotted along the coastline.
Hit the beach clubs
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. Dozens of these cosy spots dot the Bloemendaal area, each catering to a different sort of crowd. Hit Woodstock 69 to hang with the hippies and listen to live music, or go to Republiek for a romantic, sophisticated date. But also Zandvoort and IJmuiden have their top spots to lounge, eat and drink. See our list of the best beach clubs and restaurants and bars for more.
Spot wildlife in National Park Zuid-Kennemerland
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
Northwest of Amsterdam, the beach at IJmuiden is a fantastic spot for sports and nature lovers. 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
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 2022, 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.
Explore the beautiful Dutch dunes
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.
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
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.
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
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
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 that are 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.
Appreciate the culture of North Holland
Culture lovers heading to Amsterdam Beach will be pleasantly surprised at the number of options available to them. Country Estate Beeckestijn, an 18th-century summer residence in Velsen-Zuid, is rich with history and features a massive, unique landscaped garden that’s 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.