Head for the beach without leaving the city! Urban beaches are a trend that just keeps growing, and Amsterdam is no exception. With a variety of city beaches - including one on top of a building overlooking the city - Amsterdam offers a refreshing twist on the traditional sun and sand experience during the summer.
Strand West is open all year round, though the outdoor activities only get going when the sun shines. Located on a broad sandy expanse with a panoramic view of the IJ, you can laze in a hammock, sip a cocktail, snack on tapas or play a game of beach volleyball. On the opposite side of the city, Blijburg aan Zee is a huge stretch of sand located in the new IJburg district on the eastern edge of Amsterdam. It's one of the few city beaches where you can actually swim, and has a bohemian vibe, with loungy cafés offering drinks and snacks. In the evening, you might find campfires, DJs or even live bands. Blijburg kicks off this summer season this year on 5 May (Liberation Day).
Hip & trendy
Hidden behind the RAI Convention Centre, it's hard to imagine a more unlikely location for a beach! Strand Zuid is made up of a collection of cafés and restaurants connected by a boardwalk and strips of sand. If you're spending the day on the water, you can even tie up your boat near Strand Zuid. Relax in the lounge chairs, sip cold drinks and sample great food as DJs play the decks. Strand Zuid is one of the first city beaches to open each year, and in 2012 they will open their doors to the public in the last week of April.
Floating swimming pool
Located near the Rivierenbuurt neighbourhood, BadBuiten is the first floating pool in the Netherlands. BadBuiten is a small pool, but makes for a great day out with the kids and offers magnificent views over the Amstel River. In front of the pool you'll find a large terrace where you can have a drink or some snacks. During the summer season, BadBuiten is open is open on weekdays from 16:00 to 22:00, and from 11:00 to 23:00 on the weekend. Weather permitting, BadBuiten is scheduled to open again in the beginning of May.
Amsterdam from above
Science centre NEMO is a massive green boat-like structure in the centre of Amsterdam. BovenNEMO (literally meaning on top of NEMO) is located on its unmistakable sloping roof, offering some of the most spectacular views of the city centre. There you can enjoy a fun day with the family, with lots of activities especially for the kids. In 2012, BovenNEMO is open from 27 June to 4 September, from 12:00 to 19:00 daily. Entrance is free of charge.
Take a dip in the pool
If the sun is beating down and you're desperate to swim, there are also two large outdoor swimming pools in the city that make for an excellent day out with the kids. Located next to the Flevopark, the Flevoparkbad offers a 50-metre pool for swimming laps, plus a shallow pool for smaller children. The Flevoparkbad is open this year from 28 April to 2 September, from 10:00 to 17:30 each day. The Mirandabad is another great outdoor option, also featuring a 50-metre pool and a wading pool for the kids. The pool is surrounded by a park with plenty of space to spread out your towel and catch some rays. Indoors, the Mirandabad is a children's paradise with a wave pool and long twisty slide. The outdoor area is open in 2012 from 1 May to 31 August. The indoor pool is open year-round.