It may not be the first place that pops to mind when planning a beach holiday in Asia, but you will be surprised to discover there are many beautiful beaches in South Korea. Bordered by the East China Sea, the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, it’s not surprising South Korea has such a varied spread of beaches along its 2413 km (1499 miles) coastline. Except for the beaches on Jeju Island, most beaches in South Korea are not what you’d consider ‘tropical’, but even so, you’ll find locals splashing in the water, often fully clothed.
Most beaches in South Korea are open from June to August, with lifeguards on duty, clean amenities and plenty of local eateries nearby. So whether you’re looking for mud beaches, camping beaches, surf-only beaches or a stunning view of a beach in winter, South Korea has a choice of beaches to check out.
- 20 Spectacular South Korea Beaches
- Beaches In South Korea Within A Day Trip From Seoul
- Beaches in South Korea – Southeast Coast
- Beaches on Jeju Island
20 Spectacular South Korea Beaches
Beaches In South Korea Within A Day Trip From Seoul
1- Hanagae Beach
Looking for a beach to kill a few hours in transit? Hanagae Beach is on Muuido Island, a small island near Seoul’s Incheon International Airport.
With shallow waters great for the summer dip, this beach has extensive tidal flats, which means for clams and seashells along the mudflats is an activity to do at low tide.
The beach’s entrance is packed with local restaurants and food stalls, so finding something to eat won’t be an issue.
Activities include hiking, ziplining, ATV and horseback riding. If your flight is delayed, stay in a beach hotel, Airbnb, camp on the beach or rent a beach hut.
Hanagae Beach is 54 km (33 miles) from Seoul.
2- Daecheon Beach
Daecheon Beach has two sections – Sunset Plaza and Mud Square.
The beach is home to one of the country’s largest mudflat festivals, the Boryeong Mud Festival, which is held every summer.
2.2 million people from around the world have attended the festival since it first opened in 1998.
This beach is fun for active travellers as jet skis and boats are available to rent. And one of the unique attractions at this beach is the sky bike, which are slow-moving electric carts that seat four and glide on an elevated platform along the beach.
Local restaurants and food vendors can be found around the area but be prepared to eat like the locals as there aren’t many western-style eateries here.
Daecheon Beach is 141 km (87 miles) from Seoul in Chungcheongnam-do province on the west coast of South Korea. It has a clean campground for an adventurous alternative for your stay.
3- Mallipo Beach
Mallipo Beach is a sandy beach about a mile (1.6 km) long and is perfect for families because it’s flat and sheltered.
Surfboards and swimming gear is available for rent, and because of its shallow waters, you might find sea creatures hiding among the rocks.
You’ll find street food vendors nearby as well as a number of restaurants. There are numerous accommodation options in Chungcheongnam-do province for a getaway by the beach.
Mallipo Beach is on the west coast of South Korea in Chungcheongnam-do province, 114 km (70 miles) from Seoul by bus or taxi.
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4- Chunjangdae Beach
Another lesser-known beach in South Korea is Chunjangdae Beach, which is lined with acacia and pine groves.
Nearby, a place to explore is the Maryang-ri Camellia forest, where you can breath fresh air and admire 500-year-old trees on a hike to the Dongbaekjeong pavilion.
There are local restaurants within walking distance of the beach so you won’t go hungry after a swim.
Chunjangdae Beach is in the province of Chungcheongnam-do, 161 km (100 miles) from Seoul.
5- Sokcho Beach
Sokcho Beach is a popular beach in summer and a popular hub with plenty of excellent Korean coffee shops and restaurants.
The region’s most famous attraction is Seoraksan National Park, which draws visitors from around the world who flock here to hike the stunning mountain.
The climb to the top of the mountain takes about 2.5 hours or you can board the cable car.
Sokcho is a city that attracts international travellers and has plenty of hotel choices so going to the beach is only one of the things to do here.
Sokcho Beach is 159 km (98 miles) from Seoul.
6- Naksan Beach
Naksan Beach is to the south of Sokcho, and if you’re driving along the northeast coast of South Korea, the seaside village of Naksan is an excellent place to stop.
This underrated beach is a hidden gem with unusual sculptures and a short hiking path up a cliff to Naksansa Temple, which is a serene Buddhist temple that overlooks the entire town and beach.
There’s a variety of street food vendors along the beachfront and a ton of seafood and Korean BBQ restaurants to try in the area.
Naksan has plenty of budget accommodation, but the Naksan Beach Hotel is your best bet for a comfortable stay.
Naksan Beach is 158 km (98 miles) from Seoul.
7- Gangmun Beach
Gangmun Beach has blue water and soft sand that is just perfect for building sandcastles.
The best thing about Gangmun Beach is it’s quiet and has a fantastic view of the sunrise, which you can admire from the beach or the Gangmun Bridge.
The beach itself has interesting built-in frames allowing you can capture cute photos of your visit.
There are diving and boat rental shops at the beach and plenty of restaurants and cafes within walking distance.
Gangmun Beach is in Gangwon-do’s coastal city of Gangneung, 173 km (100 miles) from Seoul.
8- Gyeongpo Beach
Gyeongpo Beach is another popular beach on the northeast coast of South Korea.
There’s a pine tree boardwalk, and Gyeongpo Lake has a lovely display of cherry blossoms in spring.
Amenities at the beach include jet ski, water ski, tubes and boat rentals. Fishing is another popular activity.
The Edison Science Museum and Chamsuri Gramophone Museum are also interesting attractions where you can spend a few hours exploring South Korean history.
Near the beach, the Chodang Dubu Village is another place to explore for traditional Korean-style houses (hanok) and possibly the best dubu (tofu) in the country.
Hotels, hostels, campgrounds, and pensions are plentiful. Stay at Skybay Hotel right on the beach for a luxury treat. The hotel has an infinity pool with a view of the ocean on the top level, and most rooms have ocean views.
Gyeongpo Beach is in the Gangwon-do province, 172 km (106 miles) from Seoul.
9- Surfyy Beach
Surfing is popular in South Korea, and Surfyy Beach leads the way as the country’s sole surfing-only beach where you’re not allowed in the water unless you’re on a surfboard.
Although swimming is not allowed, the beach has lovely cabanas set up for non-surfers to relax in and hammocks to laze in.
This is also the perfect beginner’s beach to take surf lessons as the tide is gentle on novices and there are plenty of places to rent a surfboard on the beach.
At night, head to a pub, drink mojitos and party on to DJ music and K-pop.
Rent an RV and enjoy sitting outdoors under the starlit sky a few blocks from the beach.
Surfyy Beach is Yangyang city of Gangwon-do province.
10- Anmok Beach
Anmok beach is excellent for families, as it’s clean and has a famous attraction coffee strip.
‘Coffee Street’ is one of the biggest attractions at Anmok Beach as you’ll find everything to do with coffee, including museums, stores, cafes, factories and even a barista academy.
Western-style and local restaurants are available nearby and the best place to taste local food is at Gangneung Jungang Market, where you can eat fresh seafood and try authentic bibimbap made for you as you watch.
There’s a choice of hotels, Airbnbs and traditional Korean inns (hanok), which are traditional Korean houses built by scholars of the Joseon Dynasty.
Anmok Beach is in Gangneung county, 175 km (108 miles) from Seoul.
11- Jeongdongjin Beach
Jeongdongjin Beach has three main swimming spots – Sandglass Park, the Jeongdongjin Breakwater and in front of Jeongdongjin Station.
This beach is beautiful to see at night when the light of the moon is reflected on the wet sand and in winter, when the contrast of white snow, golden sand and turquoise water is stunning.
Rail bikes are fun to ride across the beach and are available to rent in a small booth in Jeongdongjin Station.
There are also several authentic Korean restaurants and a few Japanese restaurants you can choose from as well as convenience stores for light snacks.
Although there aren’t any luxury resorts in this area, there are plenty of budget motels and more choices in downtown Gangneung.
Jeongdongjin Beach is in Gangwon-do province on the east coast near Gangneung, 182 km (113 miles) from Seoul.
Beaches in South Korea – Southeast Coast
12- Yeongildae Beach
Yeongildae Beach has a pavilion that is lit up at night and is the place for a relaxing stroll.
Don’t miss the Pohang International Fireworks Festival, which is an annual festival celebrated on the beach.
Enjoy your night watching the fireworks, then stroll along the boardwalk and into the nightlife to enjoy street food, bars and restaurants.
Fill your Instagram feed with photos of unique art sculptures dotted across the beach and walk on the bridge to the traditional pavilion.
There are several hotels in the city to choose such as Pohang Nature Pool Villas, which has an oceanside infinity pool where you can watch the sunset.
Yeongildae Beach is in Pohang and is the largest beach on the east coast of South Korea.
13- Jinha Beach
If you’re planning a visit to Busan, head further north to Ulsan City and pay a visit to Jinha Beach for a spot of windsurfing.
Aside from the clean, sky blue waters and powdery sand, this beach can get quite windy making it an excellent windsurfing beach. When the surf picks up, it’s great for surfing too.
Explore the Ganjeolgot Lighthouse for lovely views of the sunrise and misty hills.
There are fishing villages around the area and the seafood is super fresh, with plenty of Korean BBQ restaurants to choose from.
Stay at the beach’s free campground in the pine woods for an outdoorsy experience in nature.
Beaches on Jeju Island
14- Hamdeok Beach
Hamdeok Beach is on the northeast of Jeju Island and is a beautiful beach with calm water, powdery white sand and tidal pools filled with tiny sea creatures.
This beach has a shallow tide and a sandbar that disappears every night and emerges in the morning.
Have breakfast in a beachside cabana at Cafe Delmoondo and rent a boat to catch dinner from the docks. Water sports equipment and kayaks are also available to rent.
Jeju Island is Korea’s Hawaii, and you won’t have any trouble finding accommodation to suit your needs.
15- Hyeopjae Beach
Jeju Island’s Hyeopjae Beach offers views of Biyangdo Island from the beach while sitting on its sandy shores.
Due to its popularity, this beach can get crowded, so you’ll want to arrive early to get a good spot or head to Geumneung Beach, which is usually a little less crowded.
16- Geumneung Beach
Geumneung Beach is the place to explore tidal pools and search for sea life like crabs, clams and shellfish.
You can rent boogie boards, go parasailing, or rent an umbrella to shade from the sun. Nearby, explore the botanical gardens and the historic caves of Hallim Park.
Authentic Korean restaurants dish up local cuisine on the beachfront and there are a number of western-style restaurants and bars.
Since both beaches are in the island’s capital city, accommodation choices of all price ranges are available.
17- Gwakji Beach
Towards the northwest coast of Jeju Island, you’ll come across Gwakji Beach, a local favourite.
Even with the calm sea and little to no waves, this beach can also get pretty windy.
You can rent masks, snorkels, inflatables and kayaks. There are cafes, restaurants and plenty of hotels, including some right on the beach.
18- Samyang ‘Black Sand’ Beach
Black Sand Beach is the only beach in South Korea with black sand, which was created by the volcanic activity of Mount Hallasan.
The locals believe the black sand has therapeutic health benefits, and you might see people burying themselves in the sand for a hot sand massage then jumping into the ocean to cool down.
Take a hike to Byeoldobong Peak for amazing mountainous views, or visit the Sanji Lighthouse to gaze at Mount Hallasan from afar.
19- Iho Tewoo Beach
Iho Tewoo beach is a well-known beach near Jeju International Airport, with a couple of unique landmarks.
Many people visit this beach to see the horse-shaped lighthouses designed to resemble Trojan horses.
Besides swimming, this spot is a popular fishing spot and you can rent a boat to paddle into the sea to catch dinner and bring it back to have someone cook it for you at a local seafood restaurant.
20- Woljeongri Beach
Woljeongri Beach is in the small village of Woljeongri and is a beautiful beach to discover away from the crowds.
You’ll get a view of the wind turbines while sitting on the beach and can rent snorkel gear here.
Although the beach is relatively small, there are local and western restaurants and rooftop cafes with ocean views.
Full House Billewat Jeju is a place to stay that’s a short walk to the beach.
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