Busan, South Korea has it all for a family vacation. With stunning beaches, a striking mountain landscape, and an abundance of fun things to do with kids in Busan, you have everything your need for an excellent family vacation.
Visiting Busan with Kids
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11 Things to do in Busan with Kids
We did a lot of really fun things during our visit to Busan with kids. Here are the attractions we enjoyed during our family vacation, in order from our favorite things to do in Busan with kids to our least favorite.
1. Beomeosa Temple
After 6 fun days in Seoul with kids, we took the high-speed train all the way across South Korea from Seoul to Busan. On our way from the Busan Station to our hotel, a friendly local was talking to the kids on the subway. I asked him what was the best thing to do in Busan with kids, and he said the Beomeosa Temple.
The Beomeosa Temple is a magnificent Buddhist temple located high up in the in the Geumjeongsan mountains, in the northern sections of Busan. Established in 678 AD, the Beomeosa Temple is considered one of the most important temples in South Korea.
After an easy subway ride and a short bus ride up the lower slopes of Geumjeongsan mountain, we arrived at the Beomeosa Temple. The roads leading to the temple buildings were lined with colorful lanterns, making it an instant hit with the kids.
As we followed the colorful lanterns, we passed a few friendly monks who shared a smile with the kids. We then entered a temple building with four massive statues inside. They looked like giant, colorful and kinda scary warriors and instantly got the kids attention.
Inside the main Beomeosa Temple complex, there are many large and beautiful buildings. In the main building, we stopped and watched several monks chanting in front of golden Buddha statues. It was a beautiful moment, and we could really feel our kids soaking in this cultural experience.
With such bright colors, impressive temple buildings and a beautiful backdrop of South Korean mountains, Beomeosa is an incredible temple complex. If you only have time to visit one Buddhist temple on your visit to Busan with kids, we recommend the Beomeosa Temple.
When you are visiting the Beomeosa Buddhist Temple, you have two add-on options:
1) You can take a short walk to the nearby Cheongryeon-Am temple, or
2) You can go for a beautiful hike to the summit of Geumjeongsan mountain.
2. Cheongryeon-Am Buddhist Temple
We stumbled upon the Cheongryeon-Am temple as we were finishing up our hike around Geumjeongsan mountain. It’s a much smaller temple than Beomeosa, but it’s one of the most impressive Buddhist temples we’ve ever visited anywhere in Asia.
The temple buildings are nice enough, but it’s the Buddha statues which really set Cheongryeon-Am Temple apart. There’s a large central Buddha statue, surrounded on all sides by several circular layers of smaller (yet still big) Buddha statues. You can walk all the way around this large Buddha and have all the smaller Buddha statues looking right at you. It’s a pretty incredible effect.
Behind this large Buddha are two additional large Buddha statues. Even our kids could sense this Buddhist temple was something special, and we lingered a while enjoying the feeling.
3. Hike to the Summit of Geumjeongsan Mountain
If your family are regular hikers and want to enjoy a beautiful family hike in the mountains behind Beomeosa Temple, the hike to the summit of Geumjeongsan mountain is very enjoyable.
The Geumjeongsan mountain hike is a bit challenging, gaining 400 m / 1,300 feet of elevation over 4 km / 2.5 miles of hiking, but it’s so beautiful that you won’t even notice the effort.
The hike begins through a stunning boulder field, with many dramatic maple trees overhead. The trail then begins to ascend Geumjeongsan mountain via a long series of steps made from natural rocks. I can’t imagine the effort it took to place all these rocks for hikers to use.
There’s a chance to visit a hermitage shortly after leaving the Beomeosa Temple, but our kids were in a good hiking rhythm and we didn’t want to stop them. For those who love learning about the environment around them, there is a surprising amount of good interpretive signs in English along the Geumjeongsan mountain hiking trail.
After 2.7 km / 1.7 miles of hiking, you’ll arrive at one of the four gates for the Geumjeong Fortress.
No, there’s not really a fortress on Geumjeongsan mountain, but there is 17 km / 10 miles of stone walls, with four gates. It’s a pretty amazing sight to see the stone walls ascend the mountainside. It’s reminiscent of the Great Wall of China, just on a smaller scale.
After passing through the gate, the hiking trail parallels the stone walls for a while – it’s fun looking at them through the trees. As you near the summit of Geumjeongsan mountain, you’ll start to notice many massive boulders in the forest around you. It’s a pretty cool sight and our kids loved climbing all over them as we hiked.
Sadly, we couldn’t go to the summit of Geumjeongsan mountain during our family hike as the final section of the trail was closed for construction. A worker showed us the bypass trail which led to the Geumsaem Spring, which is a heart-shaped pool on the top of a rock. For years, locals have revered this spring as a fountain of life and a sacred spot for prayer. For hikers, it’s also an incredible viewpoint and a perfect spot for lunch.
You’ll need the assistance of some knotted ropes to climb the rocks to see the Geumsaem Spring. The ropes are not too hard and are actually a lot of fun for kids and adults alike. The elevated views of Busan and the layers of shadowy mountain peaks in the distance are breathtaking from this viewpoint.
We followed the hiking trail map on our AllTrails app, which was a 10 km / 6.2 mile loop up Geumjeongsan mountain. But to be honest, the second half of the loop beyond the spring was pretty underwhelming. The first half was so beautiful, that we recommend you simply turn back and return the way you came. This would result in a much shorter, and very enjoyable 5.4 km – 3.3 mile family-friendly hike near Busan, South Korea.
4. Gamcheon Culture Village
The Gamcheon Culture Village is a vibrant and charming hillside community in Busan nestled among the steep slopes of a hillside. Gamcheon Culture Village features a labyrinth of narrow streets, stairways, and alleys lined with vividly painted houses and buildings. The unique combination of colorful buildings, fun artwork and narrow alleyways to explore make the Gamcheon Culture Village a genuinely fun thing to do in Busan with kids.
We were welcomed to the Gamcheon Culture Village by a fun sculpture of a painter standing atop a half wall. It was just a small taste of the fun that was to come.
The fun discoveries came quickly after that, with the houses becoming more colorful and the artwork more frequent. Some of the artwork was even interactive for the kids, such as a wall of dangling coins and an opportunity to stand in some colorful rain boots for a fun photo opportunity.
The Gamcheon Culture Village is built into the side of a steep hill, so be prepared for some uphill walking. One passageway is even called the “Stairs to see Stars”, which earned this name because of the large number of stairs (148 stairs to be exact).
When we reached the official beginning of the walking route around Gamcheon Culture Village, it was noticeably busier. This is where the tour buses let people out to explore, but it seems most visitors do not venture very far from the bus.
There are lots of fun souvenir and snack shops along this stretch. We felt after so much hill climbing that we earned some ice cream. For a unique opportunity in Busan with kids, keep your eyes open for the cotton candy artist, who makes fun creations like snowmen, bunnies, etc.
There are many maps posted on walls around the Gamcheon Culture Village which show the recommended walking route. I found the maps a little hard to follow, so I downloaded the walking route onto my AllTrails app, which made it much easier to navigate the winding, narrow streets.
5. Busan Air Cruise
One of the more popular attractions in Busan for kids is the Busan Air Cruise. This fun Busan attraction is a cable car which runs across the length of the bay near Songdo Beach.
We paid a little extra money for a “Crystal Cabin”, which allows you to ride in a glass-bottom cable car. This small extra expense made a big difference, as the cable car ride would have been rather uneventful without the unique feature of a glass bottom (plus you get to bypass the regular lineup which can get quite long!). The kids loved watching though the glass bottom as we passed over roads and trees on our way to the open ocean. The views looking out over Busan and the cargo ship traffic in the harbour was really nice too.
At the far end of the Busan Air Cruise cable car is the Songdo Sky Park, which is filled with all sorts of cool stuff for the kids to do. There’s a kooky giant snail playground, animatronic dinosaurs and even cute, life-sized zombie bobbleheads.
As a bonus, the Songdo Sky Park is built atop a large hill near the ocean and there are many kilometers of walking trails through the “Healing Forest”, many which also offer stunning, elevated ocean views. There is some interesting artwork and even playground equipment along the walking paths. If you take the Busan Air Cruise all the way over the Songdo Sky Park, we recommend you go for at least a short family walk to enjoy the beautiful pine forest.
6. Busan Children’s Grand Park
We originally visited the centrally located Busan Children’s Grand Park to go to the zoo, but when we arrived, we discovered it hadn’t yet opened for the season. Not all was lost though, as the Busan Children’s Grand Park is a beautiful park with an awesome playground.
We loved walking on the fun wooden walkways, which wind their way through the atmospheric forest as you ascend the hill into the park. It’s hard to put your finger on exactly why, but the forest within the Busan Children’s Grand Park was especially beautiful.
Before long, the walking trail arrived at the tranquil Seongjigok Reservoir, which rests in the center of the Busan Children’s Grand Park. With so many tree covered mountains all around, it’s a surprisingly stunning setting for a lake in the middle of a major city.
We enjoyed a leisurely family walk along the lakefront trail, until we reached the far end of the Seongjigok Reservoir. Here, the kids discovered a massive playground, which made them lose their minds with excitement.
In our experience traveling with kids, it’s important to give kids time to be kids, so we were happy to let them play and blow off some steam. This large Busan playground is a lot of fun, with a large spaceship structure as the centerpiece. It was also fun to watch the carp and turtles swimming in the water at the adjacent Seongjigok Reservoir.
Parents visiting Busan with kids will be interested to know that there isn’t just one playground in the Busan Children’s Grand Park, but four playgrounds, with an appropriate one for each age group, from little ones all the way up to big kids! All of the playgrounds are in one cluster at the north end of the reservoir.
7. Igidae Coastal Walk
One of the main reasons we chose to visit Busan with kids was its beautiful oceanfront location. Given it wasn’t quite warm enough for the beach during our springtime family visit to Busan, we decided to do the next best thing and enjoy one of the many stunning coastal walks.
The Igidae coastal walk is located in the western half of Busan in the Igidae Waterside Park. It’s a long, skinny park which features several walking trails from tip-to-tip.
We started the Igidae coastal walk a little south of the trailhead at an oceanfront amphitheatre. From here we enjoyed amazing views of the famous Haeundae Beach and the towering skyscrapers just behind it.
We elected to walk along the lower, more natural hiking trail at the beginning. Being on a hiking trail so close to the ocean was a wonderful way to enjoy the rugged, rocky Busan coastline. The trail surface was natural with many rocks and roots, so we recommend good quality shoes if your family also chooses the oceanfront trail.
One of the reasons we enjoyed hiking the lower, oceanfront trail was to get opportunities to go down by the water. There were many locals fishing on the rocks, trying to catch their meal for the day. Our kids loved the opportunity to go down by the water and find scallop shells in the tidepools. They also got to talk to a nice local man, who showed them how he was collecting seaweed off the rocks.
Eventually, the waterfront trail ended, so we rejoined the upper Igidae coastal walk. I won’t lie – it was a lot of steps to get back to the upper trail – our kids counted 150 steps. It was a bit of a grind, but we all made it ok.
From this point to the southern tip of the Igidae Waterside Park, the trail alternates between natural trail surface and wooden stairs. The elevated views of the vivid teal colored water off the coastline and the armada of fishing boats just off the coast are spectacular from this vantage point.
As the Igidae coastal walk works its way down the cliffs off the rugged coast, it winds up-and-down and side-to-side. It’s a really fun trail to walk with kids as it’s never straight and never boring.
With so many sets of stairs, the Igidae coastal walk was much harder than we had predicted, and therefore took twice as long as we had planned. When we reached the end of the coastal trail, we elected to skip a visit to the Oryukdo Skywalk – a U-shaped walkway over the ocean with a glass-bottom section. It sounded too familiar to the Songdo Cloud Trails we had visited earlier in our trip to Busan with kids.
8. Songdo Cloud Trails
We visited Busan with kids in mid-April, so although the weather was warm, it wasn’t exactly beach weather. If you visit Busan with your family during beach months, Songdo Beach seemed like a really nice beach, with soft yellow sand. We really enjoyed the humpback whale sculpture in the water, with both the head and tail emerging from the water.
The main reason we visited Songdo Beach was to walk on the Songdo Cloud Trails, which are a series of wide, elevated, curved walkways over the ocean. The Songdo Cloud Trails is a fun activity for kids in Busan as you can look down through the grates in the walkway and see the ocean below. It’s a bit of a mildly scary thrill for them as they enjoy a family walk over the ocean.
There’s a rocky island in the middle of the Songdo Cloud Trails, which allow visitors to go down to the water. There’s even some tide pools around for kids to explore.
9. Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge
If you take the Busan Air Cruise cable car, there is a mildly interesting add-on attraction called the Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge. For a few extra dollars, you can walk on a short, downhill suspension bridge which then circumnavigates a nearby island.
The walking trail is along a steel grate, which allows you to see all the way to the ocean floor. This is a bit of a thrill for kids, but that’s about it. To be honest, the Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge tourist attraction looks a lot cooler from a distance than it really is, but for a few extra bucks, you may as well enjoy the experience.
There are two additional things to do with kids in Busan, which we didn’t get to, but merit a mention:
10. Haeundae Beach
Busan, South Korea is renowned for the beauty of its beaches, and Haeundae Beach is often regarded as the best beach in the city. Haeundae Beach is an iconic beach with soft, clean sand, family-friendly facilities (such as toilets and playgrounds), and many nearby kid friendly attractions.
11. Sea Life Busan Aquarium
Located in the heart of Haeundae Beach, the Sea Life Aquarium is one of the most popular things to do in Busan with kids. The Sea Life Aquarium offers a ton of fun things for kids to do such as interactive exhibits where kids can touch and feel marine creatures like starfish, sea cucumbers, and horseshoe crabs. In addition, kids can put on VR goggles and embark on virtuals underwater adventure, such as swimming with dolphins, exploring shipwrecks, and even go on a thrilling shark encounter.
Three Days in Busan with Kids
To help give you a feel for what you can do on your family trip to Busan, here is a summary of our 3-day Busan itinerary.
Day 1 of our Family Trip to Busan
After taking a high-speed train across South Korea from Seoul to Busan in the morning, we stopped for a quick lunch in the Choryang traditional market near Busan Station. There were not many food stands here, but we bought some fried pork dumplings for the adults, while the kids had some traditional Korean street food – giant corn dogs.
Gamcheon Culture Village
After lunch, we took a quick subway ride to our hotel. After freshening up, we hopped on the bus and headed for the Gamcheon Culture Village. This vibrant, colorful neighborhood was filled with fun artwork and was a ton of fun to explore with the kids.
Songdo Cloud Trails
After exploring the Gamcheon Culture Village, we hopped back on the bus and headed to Songdo Beach. It was too early in the season for the beach, but we wanted to walk along the Songdo Cloud Trails – a series of curved, elevated trails over the ocean. This unique tourist attraction is beautiful and a lot of fun for the kids.
Busan Air Cruise Cable Car
You can see the Busan Air Cruise cable cars from the Songdo Cloud Trails, and the kids convinced us to go for a ride. We paid extra for a glass bottom cable car which took us on a very scenic ride across the bay in front of Songdo Beach.
Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge
On the far side of the cable car, we had fun exploring the wacky attractions for kids, before taking a mildly interesting walk on the Songdo Yonggung Suspension Bridge. To be honest, the walk through the “Healing Forest” back to the cable car station was more interesting than the suspension bridge.
Day 2 in Busan with Kids
It was a sunny day on our second day in Busan with kids, so we took the advice of a helpful local we met on the subway and headed north to the nearby mountains to visit some magnificent Buddhist Temples and enjoy a fun family hike.
Considered one of the most important Buddhist Temples in South Korea, the Beomeosa Temple has a dramatic mountain backdrop. Despite its remote mountainside location, we found it quite easy to get to by subway and bus.
The kids loved the colorful lanterns, the huge and interesting statues of colorful warriors and the friendly monks. We stopped and listened to the monks chanting in front of golden Buddha statues in the main temple building.
Geumjeongsan Mountain Hike
After a rewarding visit to the Beomeosa Temple, we went for a highly enjoyable family hike further up the mountain. The forest was magical, with many maple, cherry and pine trees lining the path. Along the way, we passed through the gate of a 17 km / 10 mile long stone wall and visited a sacred viewpoint. It was a challenging family hike, but our kids were up to the task.
Cheongryeon-Am Buddhist Temple
We stumbled upon the amazing Cheongryeon-Am Buddhist Temple on the tail end of our hike, but you can easily walk to it from the Beomeosa Temple. The collection of Buddha statues here is so striking, we were compelled to visit.
Seomyeon Street Markets
We got a lot of exercise on our family hike today, so on our way back to our hotel, we stopped at the nearby Seomyeon street markets looking for some rewarding street food for dinner. We instantly found a great dumplings restaurant for the adults (our daughter is starting to like dumplings, but our son isn’t there yet).
It can be frustrating finding food in Korea for picky eaters. After our initial success with the dumplings, we were frustrated in our efforts to find something for the kids to eat. We finally found a place which sold stuffed baguettes, so we ordered the kids some pizza ones.
Despite the frustration, the markets around Seomyeon are a lot of fun to explore with kids.
Day 3 in Busan with Children
The weather forecast for our third day in Busan with kids was sunny in the morning and rainy in the afternoon. So, we decided to spend our morning doing a fun and scenic outdoor family activity.
Igidae Coastal Walk
After an easy bus ride from our hotel, we reached the Igidae Waterside Park on the west coast of Busan. We chose to do the Igidae coastal walk due to its reputation as a stunning, family-friendly oceanfront walk. It did not disappoint.
Although the Igidae coastal walk was harder than we had anticipated, the views more than made up for the effort. We enjoyed time walking down near the water, exploring the rocks and tide pools, as well as time on the upper trails, enjoying the beautiful ocean and coastline vistas.
Busan Children’s Grand Park
Given the rain in the forecast, we chose to do something low-key close to our hotel, so we elected to go to the Busan zoo. When we arrived, we discovered it was still closed for the season, but that’s ok as we still had a really fun time at the Busan Children’s Grand Park.
There are miles of walking and hiking trails through the park, but we stuck to the main trails through the beautiful forest. We walked around the beautiful Seongjigok Reservoir until we discovered the amazing playground, where we let our kids play for quite a long time. The rain hadn’t started yet and our kids deserved some downtime from our hectic pace of Busan sightseeing. It’s an easy to reach, excellent playground for parents visiting Busan with kids.
Where to Stay in Busan with Kids
Choosing where to stay in Busan with kids can be a tricky proposition. With a few exceptions, the main tourist attractions in Busan are very spread out, making it difficult to find the best neighborhood to stay in.
One popular place for families to stay in Busan is near Haeundae Beach. Staying so close to the best beach in Busan is a big bonus, and a convenient subway station will quickly get you to city center and the other kid-friendly things to do in Busan.
We chose to stay in a central Busan hotel, near the Seomyeon district. We loved staying here as there are lots of fun & interesting markets and a good selection of restaurants. The subway connectivity from Seomyeon Station is excellent, allowing you to get virtually anywhere in the city in no time.
Kid-Friendly Busan Hotels
If your family prefers to stay in hotels, we recommend you use Booking.com to find a family-friendly Haeundae Beach hotel or a central Busan hotel. We use Booking extensively for our own family travels as they have an excellent “Top Picks for Families” search filter.
We stayed in a family-friendly Busan hotel which had a 3-bedroom apartment on the penthouse level. Although we loved the location and having so much space, the bathrooms had an awful smell coming from the drains, and we can’t in good conscience recommend it to you.
Busan Vacation Rentals
When traveling with kids, we typically try to stay at a vacation rental, such as an Airbnb or VRBO. It’s just easier to travel with kids when you have seperate bedrooms, a full kitchen and even laundry facilities. Although we stayed at a Busan hotel this time, it had an identical set-up of a vacation home rental. There are lots of family-friendly vacation rentals in Busan to choose from.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our family vacation to Busan, South Korea. Up next is a trip to Jeju Island with kids!