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beaches in korea | gwakji beach in jeju

When summer hits the ROK, it’s sweltering, sweaty, and steamy. Fortunately, there are plenty of spectacular beaches in Korea to while away a blisteringly hot summer day.

gwakji beach jeju, korea weather in april

There are incredible beaches in Korea… if you know where to go.

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Where are the best beaches in Korea?

Korea is a peninsula, so it’s surrounded by water on 3 sides. Beaches stretch down the east, south, and west coasts of the country. And if that isn’t enough, there are a number of gorgeous islands where you can search out the sea-soaked vibe of your dreams.

beaches in korea | hyeopjae beach korea

There are a ton of beaches to explore in Korea ⓒ Kiim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

If you’re looking for blue water and white sand, the East or South Coasts of Korea are your best bet. And if a tropical feel is what you’re after – Jeju is definitely the place to find it.

Really though, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Korean beaches. Happy exploring!

Beaches in Korea | Are there beaches in Seoul?

I’m sorry to report that Seoul is landlocked, so the largest body of water you’ll find in the megacity is the Han River. To find the best water and sandy beaches in Korea, I’m afraid you’ll have to travel a bit further away from the capital to the East Coast or down to Jeju Island.

Eurwangni: beaches near seoul

Eurwangni Beach near Incheon is one of the closest beaches to Seoul. ⓒJeong Jong-ho (Korea Tourism Organization)

That said – the closest seashores to Seoul can be found on the western side of the peninsula, near Incheon International Airport. These are definitely the most practical ones to visit if you don’t want to spend all day in transit, but really need a day at the beach.

Beaches in Korea | Gangwondo Beaches

Gangwondo Province, to the East of Seoul is home to some of the very best Korean beaches. These coastlines have clear blue water, fine sand, and all the fresh seafood you could possibly devour.

beaches in korea | anmok beach

The East Coast has some of the best beaches in Korea.

This string of sandy expanses includes Sokcho, Gyeongpo, Jeongdongjin and Samcheok Beach + many more. Read on for a rundown of our favourites.

GOOD TO KNOW  |  Gangneung is the transport hub for many of the beaches on the East Coast of Korea. An express bus is an affordable and convenient way to get there.

Express buses in Korea are super comfortable with wide business class style seating, so don’t hesitate to book one. On normal traffic days, the journey from Seoul to Gangneung takes just under 3 hours. Skip the lines and navigating the Korean language by pre-booking an express bus ticket in english here.

Gyeongpo Beach | 경포 해수욕장

Address: 514, Changhae-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 창해로 514 (안현동)

Gyeongpo Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Gangwondo for good reason. It’s a 4-km stretch of golden sand, backed by fresh pine trees facing a huge expanse of ocean. The water is such a glorious shade of blue, it’s hard to believe you’re still in Korea.

gyeongpo beach in korea

Gyeongpo Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Korea.

If you plan to visit over a summer weekend or holiday, be sure to book your accommodation well in advance as hotels do get fully booked up. At busy times, it’s also better to use the KTX instead of driving or using a bus, due to the crazy traffic jams. (I once spent 6 hours on an express bus trying to get to the beach – no exaggeration and not fun).

Check out this complete guide to Gyeongpo Beach for hotel recommendations, transport info, and all the best things to do in the area.

TIP  |  A Korea Rail Pass is a super convenient way to get between Seoul and around Gangwondo economically and comfortably. You’ll get instant tickets and unlimited rides via high-speed train to over 600 stations on 80 different routes. Snag a Korea Rail Pass for 2, 3, 4, or 5 days here.

Anmok Beach | 안목해변

Address: 20-1, Changhae-ro 14beon-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 창해로14번길 20-1

If your idea of heaven is relaxing in a cafe with stunning views of the sea, then Anmok Beach is the perfect place for you. This 500 metre stretch of white sand is lined with over 30 seaside cafes on what’s known as Gangneung Coffee Street.

bossa nova cafe, gangneung coffee street

Gangneung Coffee Street makes Anmok Beach a big draw for caffeine lovers.

This area of the country is considered the birthplace of modern coffee culture in Korea, and it’s well worth a visit. It’s very close to Gyeongpo Beach and Gangneung, so it’s totally possible to visit on a day trip if you prefer.

Jeongdongjin Beach | 정동진해변

Address: 17, Jeongdongyeok-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do | 강원도 강릉시 강동면 정동역길 17 (강동면)

There’s one big reason to visit Jeongdongjin Beach and it’s not just to visit a Korean beach, though you’ll certainly get your share of sand and surf there. No, you want to go there to see one of the country’s quirkiest hotels – the Sun Cruise Resort.

This crazy cruise ship to nowhere is perched atop a cliff overlooking the sea. It has a Sunrise Garden, sculpture park, observation platform for you to explore during your stay, outdoor swimming pool plus kitsch that just can’t be beat.

If you plan to spend the night on Jeongdongjin Beach, do yourself a favour and book a room at the Sun Cruise Resort in advance. It does regularly sell out, especially in the summer months.

TIP  |  Feel the ocean breezes while you pedal right next to the sea on the Jeongdongjin Rail Bike. This is the closest rail bike to the water in Korea and it offers a ton of gorgeous spots to take pics and selfies. Be sure to book your Jeongdongjin Rail Bike Ticket AT LEAST 3 days in advance here..

Yangyang Surfyy Beach (Hajodae) | 양양 서피비치

Address: 119, Hajodaehaean-gil, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do | 강원도 양양군 현북면 하조대해안길 119

Surfyy Beach is one of the best beaches in Korea to try out surfing. This is a 1-km long private beach zone within Hajodae Beach near Yangyang, that has perfect waves and a super chilled out vibe.

beaches in korea | surfyy beach in yangyang

Surfyy Beach is a private beach where you can learn how to surf. ⓒ Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

There are separate areas for surfers and swimmers, as well as beanbag and hammock zones designed for total relaxation. Be sure to stick around after sunset for a party on the beach, where you can mingle with other guests and groove to live DJs.

WHERE TO STAY NEAR SURFYY BEACH  |  The 2 closest accommodations to Surfyy Beach are Zio Resort and Hajodae Camping Car. Both places are walkable to Surfyy Beach – always a good thing if you plan to party the night away. Be sure to book far in advance if you want to stay at these places on a summer weekend. Surfyy Beach is incredibly popular.

Zio Resort:     Check rates on Agoda     |     Check rates on Booking    

Hajodae Camping Car:      Check rates on Agoda     

Naksan Beach | 낙산 해수욕장

Address: 59, Haemaji-gil, Yangyang-gun, Gangwon-do | 강원도 양양군 강현면 해맞이길 59

Naksan Beach is one of the most visited beaches in Korea. Every year, over 1 million people descend upon its shores to relax and rejuvenate next to the water.

beaches in korea | naksan beach

Naksan is one of the most popular beaches in Korea.

This is a wide, spacious 4 kilometre swathe of beige-ish sand, with calm, shallow that’s great for families. There are also a ton of nearby amenities, including convenience stores, shellfish BBQ restaurants and motels.

Aside from the salty sea air, the big draw here is the nearby Naksansa Temple – where you can see the white granite visage of Haesugwaneumsang (the Bodhisattva of Mercy) gazing out towards the tides in peaceful meditation.

Naksansa temple in autumn

Naksansa Temple is an excellent break from the beach.

Beaches in Korea | Busan Beaches

There are 7 public beaches spread across the city of Busan on the souther eastern coast of Korea. During summer, these beaches are fully staffed with lifeguards and equipped with facilities like shower and changing rooms for your convenience.

Klook.com

Haeundae Beach | 해운대 해수욕장

Address: 264, Haeundaehaebyeon-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan | 부산광역시 해운대구 해운대해변로 264 (우동)

Haeundae Beach is a vast 1.5-km long beach, right in the middle of the city. It’s probably one of the most famous beaches in Korea, with clean sand and a stunning night view full of skyscrapers. You can see this beach starring in the disaster movie “Haeundae.”

beaches in korea | haeundae beach busan

Haeundae Beach is an incredible beach right in Busan. Photo ⓒLive Studio, Korea Tourism Organization

Haeundae is a city beach, so there’s no shortage of accommodation, activities and attractions in the area. Be sure to plan your trip well in advance if you want to stay beachfront.

TIP  |  See the most popular tourist attractions on Busan’s East side, without wasting a second of time. You’ll see Oryukdo Skywalk, Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Jukseong Dream Church, and more. Final drop-off at either Haeundae, Spa Land, Busan Station, or Lotte Premium Outlet. Your choice! Book a day tour of Busan’s key attractions here.

Gwangalli Beach | 광안리해수욕장

Address: 219, Gwanganhaebyeon-ro, Suyeong-gu, Busan | 부산광역시 수영구 광안해변로 219 (광안동)

Gwangalli Beach is a long, wide beach in Busan, with super fine sand and pristine water. It has a more relaxed vibe than Haeundae Beach, but it still has all the restaurants, cafes, and amenities nearby that you could wish for.

beaches in korea | gwangalli beach in busan

Gwangalli Beach has a more relaxed vibe. ⓒ Live Studio, Korea Tourism Organization

After a day relaxing on the beach, many people stick around until after dark for an amazing view of Gwangandaegyo Bridge lit up in the distance.

LEARN HOW TO PADDLE BOARD  |  Gwangalli is the perfect place to get out onto the water and try stand up paddle boarding. You can choose to paddle during the daytime or at sunset. A training session and equipment is included. Book a paddle boarding session here.

Korean Beaches on Geoje Island

Geoje Island is a large island on the south cost of Korea, not too far from Busan. Even though it’s an island, it’s possible to to drive there from the mainland on a series of bridges. There’s not a single ferry required, so it’s very low stress. There are 16 beaches on Geoje Island, ranging from sandy to pebbled. Here’s a few to check out.

Gujora Beach | 구조라해수욕장

Address: Irun-myeon, Geoje-si, Gyeongsangnam-do | 경상남도 거제시 일운면

Gujora Beach is a 1.1-km long stretch of sandy beach on Geoje Island. The emerald green water is warm, calm, and shallow, making it ideal for swimming and a perfect place for a family day out.

beaches in korea | view of gujora beach on geoje island from oedo nursery cafe

The Oedo Nursery on Gujora Beach is a great place to take a cafe break.

When you tire of the beach, be sure to visit Oedo Nursery Cafe. It’s an incredible greenhouse cafe right on the shores of Gujora Beach, with epic views and delicious desserts.

Hakdong Mongdol Beach | 학동몽돌해변

Address: 18-1, Hakdong 6-gil, Geoje-si, Gyeongsangnam-do | 경상남도 거제시 동부면 학동6길 18-1

If you prefer rocky beaches to sand, Hakdong Mongdol (black pearl) Beach was the one most recommended to us by locals on Geoje Island. The small pebbles on this beach are smooth, so walking barefoot on them activates accupressure points on your feet.

beaches in korea | hakdong beach on geoje island

Hakdong Mongdol Beach is beloved by locals ⓒ BOKEH, Korea Tourism Organization

Flanked by Nojasan Mountain and Garasan Mountain, Hakdong stretches out for just over 1-km. Hakdong Beach is named for the Korean word for crane (hak) due to its shape, which resembles a crane flying up into the sky.

DAY TOUR TO GEOJE ISLAND FROM BUSAN  |  Staying in Busan, but want to check out gorgeous Geoje Island. See Hakdong Mongdol Beach, Oedo-Botania, Geoje Haegeumgang River, and more on this super convenient tour. Book a day tour to Geoje Island here now.

Wahyeon Beach | 와현 모래숲해변

Address: Gyeongsangnam-do, Geoje-si | 일운면 와현해변길 34

Wahyeon Beach is not too far from Gujora Beach, but it has quite a different vibe. Wahyeon is set within a small fishing village and has a more intimate feeling.

beaches in korea | wahyeon beach geoje island

Wahyeon Beach on Geoje Island has a relaxed feeling.

The water here is calm and gentle, the sand is soft, and there are wonderful views out across the sea. I’d say this is a Korean beach on Geoje Island that is more frequented by locals than visitors.

Beaches in Korea | Jeju Island Beaches

There’s no doubt that Jeju Island has the very best beaches in Korea. The “Hawaii of Korea,” New Natural World Wonder, and sub-tropical island is surrounded by kilometres and kilometres of gorgeous coastline just waiting to be discovered.

beaches in korea | jeju island

Jeju Island has the picture perfect Korean beaches you’ve been dreaming about.

Udo Sanho Beach (Seobinbaeksa) | 우도 산호해변 (서빈백사)

Address: Udohaean-gil, Jeju-si, Jeju-do | 제주특별자치도 제주시 우도면 우도해안길 252

If there’s one beach in Korea you have to visit for pure beauty, this is it. With creamy white sand and luminescent waters ranging in colour from turquoise to aqua-green, Udo Sanho Beach is the Korean beach of your dreams. This is the only beach in the country that’s comprised entirely of broken down coral, and it is simply exquisite.

beaches in korea | Seobinbaeksa in Jeju

If there’s one beach in Korea to visit, it’s Udo Sanho Beach ⓒ Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

To reach Seobinbaeksa, you’ll have to get on a ferry and travel to Udo Island which is just east of Jeju Island. It’s well worth the short trip and cost. Seobin Beach is so special, it’s been designated as Natural Monument No. 438, and it regularly appears in commercials, films and K-dramas due to its breathtaking appearance.

TIP  |  To protect the marine environment, Udo Port, Haumokdong Port and the surrounding sea was designated as Udo Maritime Park in January 2001. There’s rich marine life here and the best way to observe it is by actually descending into the depths on a submarine. Reserve a special discounted submarine tour of Udo Island’s depths here.

Hamdeok Beach | 함덕 서우봉해변

Address: 519-10, Johamhaean-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do | 제주특별자치도 제주시 조천읍 조함해안로 519-10

Hamdeok Beach is an absolutely stunning beach in Korea with gorgeous turquoise water, black volcanic rocks, and white sand. Located 14 kilometres east of Jeju City, it’s actually made up of 3 separate beaches, which are shielded from the winds by Seoubong Peak.

beaches in korea | sandbar at hamdeok beach in jeju

The disappearing sandbar is a unique feature of Hamdeok Beach

This is a great Korean beach for families with excellent amenities, restaurants and cafes nearby, and calm water. Don’t miss the huge sandbar that magically rises out of the sea in the mornings. It’s perfect for kids who want to spend the day playing with soft sand, cooling off in tidal pools and discovering small sea life.

Hyeopjae Beach | 협재해변

Address: 329-10, Hallim-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do | 제주특별자치도 제주시 한림읍 한림로 329-10

Hyeopjae Beach is actually comprised of 2 separate beaches – the main beach and Geumreung Beach to the southwest. This is a beautiful white sand beach with crystal clear aquamarine water, and a gentle slope into the water, that’s perfect for young families.

Look out for the shipping container village across the street from Hyeopjae Beach, where you can visit food stalls, have ice cream, or rent a stylish AirBnB.

beaches in korea | hyeopjae beach in jeju

Hyeopjae Beach has gorgeous aquamarine water and fine white sand.

If you need a break from the beach, head to nearby Hallim Park, where you can enjoy a variety of botanical gardens, a Palm Tree Road, the Jeju Stone and Bonsai Garden, Water Garden, and more. Be sure to check out Hyeopjaegul and Ssangyonggul within the park. They’re the only two-dimensional lava caves in the world.

TIP  |  Enjoy various flower festivals, beautifully landscaped gardens, a Korean folk village, children’s amusement park, and 2 unique lava caves all in one place. In the summer months, Hallim Park is open from 8:30AM – 7PM (the last admission is at 5:30). Get tickets to Hallim Park in advance here.

Gwakji Beach | 곽지해수욕장

Address: 914 Gwakji-ri, Aewol-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea

Gwakji Beach has fine white sand, luminescent water, and a relaxed, peaceful vibe. There’s an open-air, clothing optional bath at one end of the beach. You can brave the freezing cold spring water when you need a break from the summer heat, or want to wash the salt of the sea off your skin.

open air freshwater spring on gwakji beach in jeju

Try out this freshwater spring on Gwakji Beach in Jeju if you dare.

Klook.com

Beaches in Korea | West Coast Beaches

I have to be honest. I would only go to the West Coast beaches in Korea if I couldn’t get to one of the other coasts. Why? The water at these beaches are typically very shallow, with long tides, and muddier sand. It can be a bit difficult to swim properly, because the water is so shallow.

However, if you’re after epic sunsets, the beaches on Korea’s West Coast are where it’s at.

beaches in korea | daecheon beach

Daecheon Beach is the biggest beach on Korea’s West Coast ⓒ Kim Jiho, Korea Tourism Organization

Daecheon Beach | 대천해수욕장

Address: 123, Meodeu-ro, Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do | 충청남도 보령시 머드로 123

Daecheon Beach in Chungcheongnam-do Province is a 3.5-km long, 100-m wide sandy beach. This is the biggest Korean beach on the west coast.

boryeong mud festival at daecheon beach

Prepare to get dirty at the Boryeong Mud Festival on Daecheon Beach ⓒ Jeong Sung-joo, Korea Tourism Organization

Daecheon Beach is probably best known for the super popular Boryeong Mud Festival. During the day, revellers roll around in the mineral rich mud of the area, before partying the night away to K-pop and EDM beats. This is definitely one of the best festivals to attend in Korea.

Muchangpo Beach | 무창포해수욕장

Address: 10, Yeollinbada 1-gil, Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do | 충청남도 보령시 웅천읍 열린바다1길 10

In 1928, Muchangpo Beach was the first beach to open on Korea’s West Coast. The beach stretches out for 1.5-km in front of a lush pine forest. The water temperature is usually a comfortable 22 degrees Celsius. Be sure to stick around to watch the gorgeous sunsets on warm summer evenings.

beaches in Korea | muchangpo beach on the west coast

You can watch the sea part at Muchangpo Beach in Korea by Asadal Lee (CC BY-SA 2.0 KR)

If you happen to be at Muchangpo Beach at the right time, you can witness a sea parting phenomenon. This 1.5-km “Mystic Sea Road” between Muchangpo Beach and Seokdaedo Island appears when the water levels go down due to the difference in tides. Join the locals in searching for clams, crabs and shellfish.

Sinduri Beach & Coastal Sand Dune | 신두리해수욕장 & 태안 신두리 해안사구

Address: Sindu-ri, Taean-gun, Chungcheongnam-do | 충청남도 태안군 원북면 신두리 산 263-1

If you’d like a desert feel alone with your beach, there’s only one place in Korea to find it. The sand dune on Sinduri Beach in Taean is Korea’s only one. It’s thought that this sand dune was formed 15,000 years ago, after the Ice Age when sand was carried to the coast from the sea by strong winds.

sinduri coastal sand dune

The only sand dune in Korea is on Sinduri Beach ⓒ Jeong Sung-joo, Korea Tourism Organization

There you have it! 17 spectacular beaches on every possible coast in Korea (and a few islands too). Which one is calling you to its sandy shores?

Comments:

  • May 19, 2021

    wow! that cruise ship on the hill is something else!

    reply...

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