Some of the best beaches in Goseong rarely get too crowded, making it an attractive destination for those looking for sun, sand, and solitude. Tucked away in the northeast corner of South Korea, the quaint county receives a trickle of visitors – and very few foreigners. If you’re not so thrilled about the packed beach scene in neighbouring Sokcho, give Goseong a go.

    Goseong beaches are as good as anywhere in South Korea, with clear blue waters and soft golden sand. Some spots boast modern amenities, while others remain largely untouched. It's also a great spot for beachfront camping – pitch a tent and watch the waves roll in.

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    Songjiho Beach

    One of the most popular beaches in Goseong

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    Songjiho Beach is arguably the busiest beach in Goseong, but it doesn’t get anywhere near as crowded as Sokcho to the south. While you might want to give this one a miss if you’re really seeking seclusion, it’s a pretty pine-fringed stretch that beginner surfers will appreciate – the beach has gentle breaks and the water’s usually calm enough to swim.

    Songjiho Beach is popular with families in the summer, most of whom rent inflatable boats upon arrival. Renebleu by Walkerhill looms in the background. Right behind the beach, you’ll find a carpark, toilets, and changing rooms.

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    Gonghyeonjin Beach

    An exposed beach connected to a scenic sea rock

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    Gonghyeonjin Beach lies a quick drive south of Goseong City. It offers a somewhat secluded place to swim. On a calm day, soft lapping waves attract families who come to frolic with their little ones. But as the stretch is fairly exposed, big breakers pound the shoreline when there’s a swell out at sea.

    Within a short walk of Gonghyeonjin Beach, you’ll find limited parking, coin-operated showers, and a small selection of restaurants and stores. Take the time to explore Obbawi Rock on the southern edge – it’s spectacular at sunrise.

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    Ayajin Beach

    A busy beach backed by leafy trees

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    Ayajin Beach is a lovely little stretch in southern Goseong. The beach attracts a small contingent of locals when the weather’s nice. However, most visitors come from elsewhere in South Korea, typically families on vacation from Seoul.

    As Ayajin Beach is backed by trees, it feels a tad more pristine than the other popular beaches in Goseong. Nonetheless, you’ll still have to share the stretch with other sunbathers – the spot draws a crowd in summer. A local vendor rents parasols and inflatable boats, and you’ll find plenty of parking and amenities on the northern end.

    Location: Toseong-myeon, Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea

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    4

    Cheonggan Beach

    An uncrowded beach near a spectacular lookout

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    Cheonggan Beach is a brilliant option if you want a centrally located swimming spot sans the crowds. Despite fronting a seaside village, the calm sandy stretch seldom sees visitors, even in the summer months. That’s probably because the adjacent town looks a wee bit rundown.

    An advantage of a day at Cheonggan Beach is easy access to a solid section of restaurants and stores. If you need a quick caffeine hit, make a beeline for the beachfront NOMAD cafe. And while you’re in the area, take the time to visit the Cheongganjeong Pavilion for a stunning sea and estuary view.

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    Jajakdo Beach

    A laidback beach with calm conditions for the kids

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    Tiny Jajakdo Beach is a secluded cove a stone’s throw from the bustling Songjiho Beach. While its northern neighbour gets quite crowded in summer, the equally beautiful Jajakdo remains relatively relaxed. Shallow waters make this sheltered beach an excellent option for families with young children.

    You’ll find plenty of parking plus bathrooms and restaurants within easy reach. The ragged rock pools at the northern end of the beach are fun to explore with kids. But watch out for spikey sea urchins – it’s to best slip on your aqua shoes when exploring the coast.

    Location: Jajakdoseonsa-gil, Jugwang-myeon, Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea

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    6

    Hwajinpo Beach

    A tree-lined stretch opposite Goseong’s most famous lake

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    Hwajinpo Beach is a spectacular stretch of golden sand opposite the famous Hwajinpo Lake. Few buildings line the sand, so this particualy spot feels much more pristine than most South Korea beaches. Turquoise-tinged waves and slim crowds add to the appeal. You’ll find clean bathrooms and large car parks on both ends of the beach.

    If you get tired of sunning on the shore, there are many exciting attractions surrounding the lake. A visit to Kim Ilseong Cottage and the Ecological Museum makes for a pleasant way to pass an afternoon in Goseong. Energetic travellers could even take a stroll around the lake.

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    photo by 칼빈500 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

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    Banam Beach

    A picturesque beach without the crowds

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    Banam Beach is a narrow, seldom-visited stretch a short drive from Goseong City. This pretty little spot is a top option if you’re craving somewhere uncrowded to swim or sunbathe. Clear blue waters, gentle swells, and soft sand make it a lovely place to while away a sunny day.

    Fishers should meander up to the beach’s northern end, where you can cast a line off the rock wall. If you’re feeling peckish, you’ll find a decent selection of noodle restaurants and Korean barbeque joints around town. 

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    8

    Bongpo Beach

    A lesser-known beach at the southern end of Goseong

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    Bongpo Beach is a laidback stretch on the very southern edge of Goseong. Despite residing a short drive from the busy city of Sokcho, this easygoing spot doesn’t attract large crowds. If the waves are rough when you arrive, head to the sheltered estuary for a hassle-free swim.

    A lovely wooden boardwalk straddles the beach, complete with a heart-shaped silhouette for sunset photos. A modest ensemble of stores, restaurants, and resorts lie within easy walking distance of Bongpo Beach. Keen to extend your stay? Rent one of the caravans overlooking the ocean.

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    9

    Baekdo Beach

    A tranquil beach with a gorgeous seafront RV park

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    Baekdo Beach is an uncrowded stretch to the south of Goseong City, straddling the sleepy namesake village. The scenic spot is especially popular with motorhome and caravan travellers for its oceanfront RV park. As there’s only a modest offering of restaurants and stores, it’s best to come well-prepared.

    The wide, sandy beach sometimes has sizable waves, making it a decent option for intermediate surfers. When the waves are flat, you could pop on a snorkel mask to spot marine life around Neungpadae, on the southern end of Baekdo Beach. It’s worth checking out these eroded sea rocks from above the surface, too – look for the boardwalk for the best views.

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    10

    Bongsudae Beach

    Go camping on an oceanfront

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    Bongsudae Beach is a popular oceanfront camping spot located just south of the bustling Songjiho Beach. While the latter packs out in the summer months, Bongsudae only sees a small stream of day-trippers. Most visitors come to camp on the numerous purpose-built tent platforms scattered around the southern end.

    Bongsudae is fairly exposed, so expect fierce gusts and surfable waves on a rough day. You’ll find plenty of parking and restaurants at the northern end near the port. While you’re up there, take the time to explore Seonangbawi Rock, a curious collection of cragged granite sea rocks.

    Location: Bongsudae-gil, Jugwang-myeon, Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea

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    Harry Stewart | Contributing Writer

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