Taipei is a great city to live in and also visit as a foreign traveler. An enormous range of international and local restaurants, fancy bars, live houses, nature, a comedy club and so much more, Taipei has everything you need to have a good time. Well, almost everything. Where’s the beach? It’s the one thing that Taipei is missing, but, luckily, the city is not too far from some top-quality sun, sand and surf. Here are the best beaches near Taipei for a great weekend getaway. (Read more: A guide to Taiwanese swimming etiquette)
Fulong Beach (New Taipei)
In New Taipei’s Gongliao district, Fulong Beach is an immensely popular spot for a weekend getaway or a day trip. Easily accessible from Fulong Station to where you can catch a train from Taipei Main Station, there are two main beaches here, the pay-to-access tourist beach, which is particularly favored by families, and a free beach adjacent to it near Dongxing Temple, which is seemingly more frequented by foreign visitors. Golden sands, snorkeling, chilled-out bars, laidback coffee shops and not to mention one of Taiwan’s most famous biandang stores, Fulong should be at the top of any Taipei-based beach-lover’s list. (Read more: 5 Fantastic Things to do Around Fulong Beach)
Wai Ao Beach (Yilan)
In Yilan County, Wai Ao is around two hours from Taipei by train but is definitely worth the trip. The southern end of the beach is North Taiwan’s most popular spot for surfing, with waves being decent but not too strong, making it a good place for beginners. You can hire boards from one of the shops on the beach, while you can also organize surf lessons. A black sand beach set against a mountain backdrop, the surf shops, hostels and the like around the beach give the area an authentic surfer town feel, while you won’t go far wrong if you visit Drifters Pizza Pub.
Baishawan (New Taipei)
Not to be confused with Baishawan in Kenting, this Baishawan is up the coast from New Taipei’s Tamsui and can be accessed by bus from Taipei, New Taipei, and Keelung, while a taxi from Tamsui will set you back NT$400-500. In summer, white tents line the beach, giving you a chance to shelter from the sun while still enjoying the warmth, and the sea is a great temperature for swimming. You can surf here, but it isn’t as good as not-too-far-away Wai Ao. Also, if you head further north, you’ll reach Fugui Cape, Taiwan’s northernmost point.
Dawulun Lovers’ Beach/Waimushan (Keelung)
A lesser-known beach and much closer to Taipei than the likes of Baishawan and Wai Ao, Dawulun is by a small fishing harbor in Keelung. A secluded spot that many miss when passing by, it has soft sands and clear waters, while hiking up from the beach to nearby Lover’s Tower and Eagle Rock offers great views of the harbor. From the beach, you can also walk along Waimushan Shore Walk and reach Waimushan Scenic Area and slightly further on the Waimushan Harbor and Fish Market, where you can enjoy incredibly fresh seafood. (Read more: 7 Street Snacks to Try in Keelung)
Wanli (New Taipei)
Located between Dawulun Lovers’ Beach and Yehliu Geopark, the sand at Wanli Beach is wonderfully white. There’s a long stretch that connects the beach to Green/Emerald Bay where you’ll fid the remains of the UFO Houses project leftover from the ‘80s. White House Resort is the area around Wanli Beach’s most distinctive feature and despite it being a beachfront hotel, it owns no part of the beach and the entirety of Wanli is accessible to the public. Paragliding is a popular activity here and if you don’t want to get in the air yourself, you can just watch them from the safety of the beach.