5 East Coast Beaches to Try

Visiting these 5 beaches in Gangwon-do will cause you to develop an East Sea addiction. Go as soon as you can. Pack up the car, or buy those tickets, and head for some summer fun on the east coast of Korea.

Gangwon-do is where I go to feel at home. Coming from Alaska and Washington State, I love mountains, rivers, and the sea. When I can get these things all in one place I’m at peace and remarkably happy. Since Gangwon-do has copious amounts of all these things, the province quickly became the place I love to visit most in Korea. Especially since I lived in Sokcho for a while when I first arrived. The beaches of Gangwon-do draw us year-round. There is never a bad time of year to be by the East Sea.

Why should I go to the Gangwon-do, Korean beaches?

There are a variety of reasons to check out the beaches by the East Sea. Here are my top five: 1) the waves are bigger, 2) the color of the water can be breathtaking, 3) the waves and rocks create beautiful areas, 4) there are expansive beaches (many of which have far fewer people than, say, Busan), and 5) the food and cafes are fantastic.

What is Gangwon-do, Korea like?

Gangwon-do is a unique place all of its own. It tends to be more laid back, with lots of commercial fishing, plenty of tourism, tons of great international and Korean food, fantastic coffee shops, amazing friendliness, spectacular nature, and tons of places to rest and relax. Sometimes folks refer to people from Gangwon-do as the hippies of Korea, which explains why I love it so much. You go to Gangwon-do to find peace and the outdoors. It’s like the opposite of Seoul.

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Where should I stay on the east sea of Gangwon-do?

The choice of where to stay will depend on if you are looking for a rural experience, a city experience, want to drive, or want to go by rail or bus. The two big cities the most options of where to stay are Sokcho and Gangneung. There more rural area of YangYang is centrally located and has a huge number of surfing shops and beaches. We address specific Gangwon-do beach hotel recommendations in other blogs so be sure to check those out!

How do I get to the east coast of Gangwon-do?

Taking a car will provide the most access to the area, but public transportation is a great option if you hate dealing with traffic. It’s just a personal choice based on where you live and what kind of experience you want to have. If you want to stay in Yangyang and only have a short time, we highly recommend going by car. However, Sokcho has express busses that come and go all weekend so it’s easy to visit for a fun weekend away on public transit. Gangneung is the easiest place to visit since it has an expressway, trains, busses, and KTX service.

Traffic and Driving to the East Coast

Traffic is a real issue when traveling to Gangwondo so here is my advice: 1) It’s VERY important to leave your area VERY EARLY when traveling across Korea from the west to the east on the weekends. That means you want to be out of the house by 7 am (or leave Friday night and drive late). If you don’t do this you can spend all day in traffic.
2) It is also recommended that you don’t start the drive back on Sunday until after 6 pm and maybe even after 8 pm. The traffic may be so bad if you leave earlier that you could end up spending 8-12 hours in traffic. This happens more often than not. However, very few people drive at night so leaving late means you often have a straight shot home.
3) Plan for traffic and make sure that you have things to do in the car. Stop and enjoy the rest stops if you need to and if traffic is great, stop for NOTHING!!! Don’t risk the traffic catching up with you.

Here are 5 of the Best Starter Beaches to Get You Hooked on Gangwon-do

The South of Seoul app has many recommendations from the South of Seoul community for Gangwon-do. It’s a great tool to take with you on any adventure. Obviously, you also want to check out Instagram by searching tags like #속초카페 for cafes or #속초맛집 for restaurants. You can also use Naver and Kakao maps which both have English language interfaces!

Sokcho Beach

Sokcho Beach5

A large popular tourist beach with nice waves, deeper water, and often packed during high season.

Hangul Address

강원도 속초시 조양동 1450-4

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Surffy Beach

Surffy Beach 4.5


Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

Beach. Surfing. Food

Hangul Address

강원 양양군 현북면 하조대해안길 119

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Gonghyeonjin 1 Beach

Gonghyeonjin 1 Beach5

Beautiful remote beach with a few basic services. Plenty of camping in the surrounding areas.

Hangul Address

강원도 고성군 죽왕면 공현진리 174-13

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Sampo Beach

Sampo Beach 0


Copy and paste phone numbers into Naver Maps to get directions

A pleasant beach north of Sokcho on the East Sea.

Hangul Address

강원도 고성군 죽왕면 삼포리 1-10

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

SongJung ⛱ Beach

SongJung ⛱ Beach 5

SongJung beach where is located in Gangneung. Nice beach ⛱ is named as SongJung because over 700years of pine trees are covered there.♡

Hangul Address

강원도 강릉시 안현동 89-43

(Listing information provided by the South of Seoul app)

Remember! Don’t take our word for it! Do lots of research before you go. Every blogger, including me, brings their own experiences to the table. Our past experiences color how we see the world, how we solve the problems around us, and what we see as important to put in our content. Reading many perspectives creates a more balanced picture of what to expect. No one blog mentions all you need to know to live your best life. Happy Exploring!!!