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Spring and summer is the best time to head to the coast at Qingdao and, farther north, Beidaihe and Shanhaiguan. Save the arduous ascents of Huangshan and Taishan for autumn, when the crowds and temperatures have died down.
The eastern region of China is heavily populated, and sometimes it seems like everyone takes to the road (or train, or plane). Avoid traveling during the Chinese New Year, which is based on the lunar calendar and usually falls at the end of January. The weeklong National Day holiday at the start of October can easily be avoided with a bit of planning.