The best coastal destinations in South Korea

If you are planning to go on vacation to Korea this summer, be sure to visit at least one of the following coastal destinations! Korea is surrounded by water on three sides, giving it many beaches of various shapes and sizes that provide a welcome escape from everyday life. Since most beaches in Korea officially open in June or July and close around the end of August, visitors only have a few months to splash around in the water and soak up the rays of the sun. But don’t worry if you miss the official summer beach season, as there are plenty of tourist activities you can enjoy all year round!

Scenic views along Korea’s east coast

The East Sea, known for its clear waters and expansive white sand beaches, is one of the country’s most popular summer vacation spots. People come from near and far to take in the stunning views of the sun rising over the East Sea, and most of the area’s beaches even hold an annual sunrise festival. Although these festivals are only held on New Years Day, the sight of the sun slowly pointing over the ocean horizon is a fascinating scene any day of the year.

Guryongpo Beach in Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do

Guryongpohang port

Guryongpo Beach is about 24 kilometers from Pohang and 1.5 kilometers from Guryongpo-eup. Thanks to the gentle slope of the ocean floor and clean sea water, Guryongpo Beach is a favorite vacation spot for swimming enthusiasts. The beach is also popular with fishermen, many of whom haul their lines in Yeongilman Bay.

Guryongpo Beach
Address: 6, Homi-ro 426beon-gil, Nam-gu, Pohang-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Bathing period: To be determined

Sokcho Beach in Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do

Sokcho Beach (Credit: Sokcho Tourism)

Sokcho Beach is well known for the picturesque pine trees that stand proudly along its white sand coast. One of the advantages of this particular beach is that there are many tourist attractions in the surrounding area, including Yeongnangho Lake and Seoraksan Mountain, one of the most famous mountains in Korea.

Considering the range of beach facilities and nearby accommodations, Sokcho Beach is a great place for a weekend getaway. Visitors can even rent a fishing rod and go fishing on nearby Jodo Island, or walk to the pier to buy fresh hoe (sliced ​​raw fish) at one of the local fish markets.

One of the biggest draws of Sokcho Beach is that it is located near the Sokcho Express bus station, making it easy to find even for first-time visitors. Festivals held at Sokcho Beach include the Sunrise Festival on January 1 of each year and other events that take place during the beach swimming period between July and August for all visitors to enjoy.

Sokcho Beach
Address: 190, Haeoreum-ro, Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do
Bathing period: To be determined

Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do

Gyeongpo Beach

Gyeongpo Beach is the largest beach on the east coast and is only about a kilometer from Gyeongpodae Lodge, famous for its sunrise view. Perhaps the most striking feature of Gyeongpo Beach is its fine, powdery sand, perfect for barefoot walks along the beach. There is also a beautiful pine forest nearby for recreational walks. Beach activities such as banana boating, jet skiing, and water skiing are also popular. Additionally, the Gyeongpo Summer Music Festival is held every night between late July and early August, with performances by famous bands and hip-hop groups for a party vibe by the beach.

Gyeongpo Beach
Address: 514, Changhae-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Bathing period: To be determined

Naksan Beach in Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do

Naksan Beach

With a sandy shoreline stretching for 1,810 meters, Naksan Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Gangwon-do, attracting countless visitors every year. The beach runs along clean waters, bordered by rows of pine trees. In addition to its natural beauty, Naksan Beach also offers a variety of water activities such as riding on a banana boat or on a jet ski for those looking for more adventure.

The beach is also a top choice for those interested in traditional Korean culture, as it is close to Naksansa Temple and Uisangdae Pavilion, which was built to commemorate the great monk Uisang. As a bonus, the lodge is also one of the area’s best spots to view the sunrise.

Naksan Beach
Address: 59, Haemaji-gil, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do
Bathing period: To be determined

Ecological Experiences Along Korea’s West Coast

The beaches on the west coast are easily accessible from Seoul and therefore are extremely popular among citizens and travelers who may not have a lot of free time. The beaches on the west coast are also great places to watch the sunset, and many have mudflats teeming with small marine life.

Daecheon Beach in Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do

Water sports activity on Daecheon Beach

Daecheon Beach is the largest beach on the West Coast and is known for its shallow, calm waters. The sand on the upper shores of Daecheon Beach is particularly soft and easy to wash off as it is made up of finely eroded seashells. Closer to shore, the sand is compacted. These two varieties of sand allow visitors to enjoy both playful walks and sand scrubs. Daecheon Beach is also home to the annual Boryeong Mud Festival. In winter, the beach again draws large crowds as locals and tourists flock to the shores for the annual Sunset Festival.

Daecheon Beach
Address: 123, Meodeu-ro, Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do
Bathing period: To be determined

Eurwangni Beach in Jung-gu, Incheon

Eurwangni Beach

Eurwangni Beach, located near Seoul and Incheon International Airport, is a popular beach, both for its gorgeous views and clean white sand. The shallow water of the beach is also the perfect place for children to go swimming. Nearby amenities include a number of lavish resorts and restaurants that serve fresh seafood. Dining outside on the terrace of one of these restaurants is the perfect way to watch the last rays of sun disappear over the horizon! Beach goers can also hire a fishing boat or fishing rod to fish on the side of the pier. A variety of beach festivals take place at Eurwangni every summer.

Eurwangni Beach
Address: 15, Eurwang-ro 13beon-gil, Jung-gu, Incheon
Bathing period: To be determined

Muchangpo Beach in Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do

Muchangpo Beach (Photo credit: Boryeong-si Office)

Muchangpo Beach is particularly famous for what is known as the ‘Miracle of Moses’, a natural phenomenon in which extreme tides only reveal the seabed for a few short hours, two or three days per month (around the 15th and 30th day of the lunar calendar). The exposed seabed forms a path of about 1.5 kilometers that goes from the beach to the island of Seokdaedo. The Muchangpo Mystic Sea Road Festival celebrates this event every year in August or September, with the exact timing varying each year. The beach is also known for its scenic coastal road, pine clusters, and beautiful sunsets.

Muchangpo Beach
Address: 10, Yeollinbada 1-gil, Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do
Bathing period: To be determined

The emerald waters of the South Korean sea

There are countless islands, and therefore beaches, along Korea’s south coast. The South Sea is also home to Jeju Island, a favorite tourist spot in Korea. The South Sea islands offer visitors very different experiences from those on the east or west coast. Each beach has its own unique style, which means that there are almost limitless options for visitors wanting to travel a little further from the Korean capital.

Haeundae Beach in Haeundae-gu, Busan

Haeundae Beach

The slope of Haeundae Beach is shallow and there is little tidal change, which makes this beach perfect for swimming. The beach is famous for its moonrise and moonrise views from the Haewoljeong Pavilion at the top of Dalmajigogae Hill. Haeundae Dalmaji-gil Road, located between Haeundae Beach and Songjeong Beach, is another recommended spot for a romantic view of the moonlight glistening above the water’s surface.

Haeundae Beach is also famous for its many cultural events and festivals that take place throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy the Haeundae Sand Festival in summer; Busan International Film Festival in the fall; and the New Years festival and the polar bear swimming competition in winter.

Haeundae Beach
Address: 264, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, Haeundae-gu, Pusan
Bathing period: June 1 – August 30, 2020 (Subject to change)

Hyeopjae Beach in Jeju-si, Jeju-do

Hyeopjae Beach

Hyeopjae Beach is one of the best beaches on Jeju Island for swimmers because the waters are shallow and without sudden drops. Tiny seashells in the sand give the beach a silvery sheen and a firm feeling perfect for walks by the water’s edge. Once in the water you will be delighted to find that the water is so clean you can clearly see your toes!

Hallim Park, a major tourist attraction, is just a 5 minute walk away and well worth a visit. The park is landscaped with an abundance of subtropical plants and topiaries, and serves as a cool escape from the summer heat. Pleasant beach with plenty of space, Hyeopjae is all the more beautiful for its view of the black basalt rocks on one side and the island of Biyangdo which stands out in the distance.

Hyeopjae Beach
Address: 329-10, Hallim-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Bathing period: July 1 – August 31, 2020 (Subject to change)

Jungmun Saekdal Beach in Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do

Jungmun Resort & Jungmun Saekdal Beach

Jungmun Saekdal Beach within Jeju Jungmun Resort is a unique beach made up of a gradation of black, white, red and gray sand, as well as the famous black volcanic stone of Jeju Island. To the right of the sandy beach is a natural cave created by coastal erosion. Rare plants flourish near the cave, providing a convenient spot for eco tours. The waves and tides can be quite choppy along Jungmun, so while conditions are ideal for windsurfing, jet skiing, and other water recreation activities, it is advisable for non-swimmers and young children. to stay close to the shore under the careful supervision of lifeguards.

Jungmun Resort is also home to an aquarium, Yeomiji Botanical Garden, Cheonjeyeon Waterfall and a cluster of traditional houses typical of Jeju Island. Various events are held along the beach and in the resort complex throughout the year.

Jungmun Saekdal Beach
Address: Jungmungwangwang-ro 72beon-gil, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Bathing period: July 1 – August 31, 2020 (Subject to change)


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