Beating the Heat at Lake Beaches in the Netherlands
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We are in the middle of an unusually hot summer in the Netherlands. While we are only 40 minutes from the North Sea beach, by tram, we have several lake beaches just a twenty minute bike ride from Delft city center. Lake beaches in the Netherlands are a great way to get a true Dutch experience while keeping cool.
Dobbeplas Beach in Nootdorp is our favorite, although you will find several in the Delftse Hout. Dobbeplas Beach’s proximity to city center means you can easily pop over for just an hour. Its plethora of activities means you can make a day of it.
Outdoor swimming in the Netherlands is mostly done in natural water. Swimming pools are largely indoor, although some have small outdoor options. It’s important to check the water conditions before you head out. Algae bloom and other contamination issues can make it dangerous to swim. The lakes are always marked, but I find it easier to check this webpage before we head out. (They also have an app, though it is entirely in Dutch.)
Dobbeplas has a lovely sand bottom with crystal clear water. The slope is gentle meaning even our Little Little can walk on his own through most of it.
The big little can walk all the way out to the rope line. Adults often go beyond the rope line and swim all the way out to the island.
There is plenty of sand to enjoy here as well. It is perfect for digging and building sand castles.
We like to bring a net as little frogs live all along the water’s edge and sometimes we even find a small fish or two. It is, of course, a catch and release game.
The little ones love playing with the water playground right on the beach. An easily used hand pump brings water up from the ground into the play structure. The kids love running the pump, playing with the dams and watching the water run through the water wheel at the end onto the beach.
The water playground also creates a lovely little stream of water running down into the lake that the Littles love to play in. The Middle Little’s best friend was putting the submarine into the little stream of water and peering through the view hole as it ran under the float.
The Big Little and his friends prefer to spend their time on the water adventure course. This log structure is inside the swimming area and packed with fun challenges above the water.
The Big Little just earned his A swim diploma, which allows him to swim without an adult within arm’s reach. He is also finally tall enough to have the leg span to do most of the obstacles. This combination typically means as soon as we arrive at the beach he heads straight to the obstacle course and hangs out there all day.
These two besties have gotten pretty brave and love practicing all sorts of “tricks” on the rope bridge.
It is really fun to have this out in the water. At some point most of the adults usually end up giving it a try too.
Dobbeplas also has a variety of sitting options. You can park your beach tent in the sand or find a bench to sit on. We like to hang out in the grassy area. There are a few spots where the group can have some sun and some shade plus a full view of the kids playing in the water.
You can pull your bike right up onto the grass as long as you are considerate of all the other guests. It’s nice to have all your stuff right there without having to carry it!
Grill fires are allowed, making it a great place for a picnic. We even picked up pizza from the Dominos in Nootdorp for an easy beach dinner one time.
If eating a proper meal is more your style just a bit beyond the beach is Restaurant Buytenhout, one of our favorite local joints. It has views of the lake from the patio and a lovely menu.
Lunch is a-la-carte but the €15 three course dinner menu can’t be beat. I also frequently grab coffee here at the end of my morning walks. Buytenhout is one of those great places that is both child friendly and perfect for a date night.
Another option is De Vang, located just below the windmill behind the beach. De Vang has a lovely patio where you can enjoy pancakes with the kids or come back in the evening for a more formal dinner.
If you’re visiting in cooler weather or just need some time away from the water, Dobbeplas has you covered. You’ll find a few fun obstacles between the restaurant and the beach. You can hop between stumps and cross over the canal.
There is also a walking path that goes around the lake. It is my go-to quick walk from our house, but would be perfect for a family outing. There are nearly always swans on the lake to enjoy, plus you’re bound to run into a variety of other animals that make their home in the Dobbeplas.
The best part though is that when you are all done you can just hop on your bike and take the bike path home. It’s a quick ride back to Delft or into The Hague. There is a parking lot by the windmill or at Restaurant Buytenhout if you are coming by car.
Expect the beach to be crowded mid day when the sun is out. If you go in the morning or later in the evening you will have the place to yourself. We like to show up around 3:30, see which of our friends are there and have people to chat and play with. Around 4:30 the place clears out and you will share the beach with just a few other families having a picnic.
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