The north-eastern coast of South Korea is a quiet laid back area within a few hours drive of the capital, offering a wonderful escape from Seoul. It’s quite popular on weekends, but if as a tourist you are able to visit during the week you’ll find most of the area almost deserted and prices very affordable, having the whole area for yourself. There are some decent beaches, wonderful mountain hiking areas near by, and the typical Buddhist temple Korean market attractions.
I’ll mention two highlights from the area, the Younggeumjeong Pavilion & Lighthouse Observatory, and Naksansa temple. Both are within easy reach of the main Sokchu city, and offer grand views of the coastline.
Climb up the old lighthouse observatory to see Sokchu from above all the way to the backdrop mountains, with some odd rock formations nearby and some local markets.
Naksansa (Naksan Temple) is one of the main highlight attractions in the area. A large Buddhist complex dating back to 7th century with grand views of the coastline, and a very large white Buddha of importance to the locals. You can easily spend a couple of hours roaming around and going through the different buildings, and then taking in the views.