The Philippines has thousands of beautiful beaches scattered around its over 7000 islands. These beaches are what the country has been known for. Beautiful seascapes, warm, inviting waters, and friendly locals have helped the country catch travelers' attention worldwide. While you need to take a short plane ride to most popular beach destinations like Boracay or Bohol, there are also many options for a beach getaway near the country's capital city Manila.
Driving to the north or south of Metro Manila offers plenty of options for those itching to hit the beach. Within small towns just a few hours' drive from Manila, you can find beachfront accommodation options ranging from high-end resorts to low-key bed and breakfasts. Each of these beach destinations offers a unique experience and an exciting look into the local community's culture.
Here are some of the best beaches near Manila that you should consider for your next getaway:
Photo by Sundowners Zambales
Zambales is known for a lot of things. It is home to the famous volcano, Mount Pinatubo, which erupted in 1991. Since then, Zambales has risen from the ashes that the devastation brought, and is now known for its popular tourist destinations. The beaches in Botolan is one of the main attractions that lure in many weekend travelers.
Botolan in Zambales is loved for its beaches. The sand is fine but dark. Here, you can find several resorts that offer a tranquil experience away from the city. Rama Beach Resort offers budget-friendly accommodations and is known for its own sea turtle hatchery, where they help preserve the island’s turtle population. Sundowners Zambales is known for its whitewashed villas by the beach. This resort is perfect for bigger families and groups.
The beach is also close to other must-visit tourist spots in Zambales, such as the Botolan Wildlife Farm, home to exotic animals and plants, and Tukal Tukal waterfalls for nature lovers.
Botolan is over 200 kilometers away from Manila, and it takes about four hours to get there.
This long stretch of white sand beach is located in Burgos, Pangasinan. This pristine and quiet beach is known for its perfect sunset views and crystal clear waters. The beach has nipa huts and beach resorts with cottages where you can relax at the beachside.
What makes Cabongaoan Beach more unique is its very own natural pool, also known as Death Pool. To fully experience the pool, you’ll have to go through big rock formations and be greeted by large, natural tidal waves. For those who are a little scared, there are also smaller pools tucked in between the rocks.
Cabongaoan Beach is over 250 kilometers away from Manila. Buckle up as it takes about five to six hours to get there.
Whether you’re driving or taking the bus, you can reach Masasa Beach in just two or three hours from Manila. It is one of the most visited beaches in Tingloy, Batangas.
While the island of Tingloy is separated from the mainland, you can get here by riding a boat either from Anilao Port or Talaga Port. The beach has turquoise water, enough to make you feel excited to dive right in.
Those who visit the island either opt for homestays or transient houses. Some spend the night from their trips in Anilao or Mt. Gulugod Baboy. The great thing about Masasa Beach is the variety of activities you can try aside from beach bumming.
You can also snorkel because it is close to the Verde Passage, where you can enjoy observing some marine creatures or trek to a rock formation called Mag-asawang Bato.
Masasa Beach is over 100 kilometers away from Manila.
Some would argue that Borawan is a combination of the two islands Boracay and Palawan's names, both known as two of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines, according to international travel magazines and websites.
Some compare the island’s white sand beach with Boracay’s and its limestone cliffs with Palawan. Comparisons aside, you just might be surprised with Borawan’s own charm and beauty.
It used to be Pagbilao, Quezon’s very own secret paradise tucked away from people’s attention. Still, after getting positive write-ups from occasional travelers, this island started to get in the lists of must-visit beaches.
You can camp or stay in some of the resorts and enjoy kayaking, swimming, or island hopping since it is close to other attractions like Puting Buhangin and Dampalitan Beach. Just keep an eye on some jellyfish, and you’re good to go.
Borawan Beach is four hours away from Manila, with an approximate distance of 190 kilometers.
Photo by Sand and Stars
Six hours away from Manila, Dinadiawan Beach is a cream-colored sand beach in Aurora. Treat yourself to a postcard-worthy vacation with its crystal blue water and scenic views. There are several beachfront resorts that you can choose from. Some also offer glamping experiences and accommodations in tree houses.
Because waves tend to get bigger here, small children are not advised to swim alone. But, the serene surroundings should also be enough to give anyone a taste of tropical paradise. Kids can enjoy building sandcastles.
For a complete experience, you can also chase waterfalls such as Baul Falls and Bulangan Falls, climb mountains Mount Dabukid and Mount Dimanjotol, go beach hopping in nearby beaches Bungan Beach and Disagadan Beach, and check out Dibutunan Twin Cave. Manila and Dinadiawan Beach is over 300 kilometers away from each other.
If you’re craving a laidback island experience, then Alibijaban Island is perfect for you. This beach is located in San Andres, in the southernmost part of the province of Quezon. Although the island is fairly small, you won’t run out of areas where you can take your Instagram selfies.
Not only is it blessed with white sand beach and aqua blue water, but it also has a lush mangrove forest, approximately 140 hectares in size. Mangroves are critical in absorbing carbon which helps fight climate change. So when visiting, make sure to follow local rules to help protect the mangroves.
You can book homestays or floating cottages when you’re on the island. Locals are friendly and accommodating. Appreciate what Alibijaban Island has to offer by strolling along the beach, sightseeing starfish and sea urchins you come across with, and capping off the day with a sunset session made even more dramatic by mangrove silhouettes.
It takes about six hours and a half to get to Alibijaban Island from Manila, with an approximate distance of 300 kilometers.
Yet another beach that the Quezon Province prides itself on is Puting Buhangin in the corner of Pagbilao Grande Island. “Puting buhangin” means “white sand.” The island was named as such because of its stretch of white sand beach and coves. Some tourists have even coined it as perhaps the most scenic of all the beaches in the area. You can bring your own tent and camp here or stay at nearby resorts.
The beach can be explored end-to-end easily by foot. It’s perfect for beach bumming, snorkeling, and swimming. You can swim right through Kuwebang Lampas, a small cave you can find at the end of the beach.
Puting Buhangin can just be easily added in the itinerary for your Padre Burgos-Pagbilao island-hopping trip as it’s close to beaches like Dampalitan Beach and Borawan Beach.
Puting Buhangin is three hours away and over 190 kilometers from Manila.
The province of Baler is known as a more accessible surfing spot than Siargao for tourists coming from Manila or Luzon. Siargao is located in Mindanao and has gained international recognition for being the country's most famous surfing spot. Thanks to Baler, surfing can still be enjoyed without having to travel all the way to Siargao.
Baler is a playground for surfers with its big waves straight from the Pacific Ocean. Its long coastlines, laidback vibe, and proximity to the country’s capital have made it one of the most famous destinations of weekend warriors and adventure junkies.
One of the most visited beaches in Baler is Sabang Beach, with its towering waves and kilometer-long coastline. Its waves can reach up to 14 feet during peak season. There are also surfing camps with classes and activities that are friendly to both beginners and pro. You won’t run out of bars and restaurants where you can bond with your friends and indulge in a food trip.
Sabang Beach in Baler is around five hours away from Manila, with a distance of over 260 kilometers.
Nestled along the shoreline of Morong, Bataan, Nagbalayong Beach is an underrated, charming, simple beach with charcoal gray sand. The waves here are not as towering as that of Zambales, so it is not ideal for surfing.
If you walk up to the beach's southern end, you’ll find another gem: Bakas Higante, which features a “giant-like” footstep. This island is a fishing community and a known nesting ground for marine sea turtles. This is why the Pawikan Conservation Centre is also located here.
Other nearby attractions include the Mauban Batis Falls in the northern-eastern part and the Kairukan Falls located in Mt. Silangan.
You can reach Nagbalayong Beach in just three hours, coming from Manila. Their approximate distance is over 180 kilometers.
Aside from Baler, another famous surfing spot near Manila is San Juan, La Union. Urbiztondo Beach is the place to go for an ultimate surfing experience, with perfect waves for beginners and professional surfers.
Surfing is not only the only reason to visit this beach, though. You can also bask under the sun and have fun lounging at the beach.
Waiting for the sun to set is also worth it because the beach offers a spectacular view. The beach vibe also attracts many city dwellers primarily because of its hip restaurants, coffee shops, and beachside bars.
A famous side trip from Urbiztondo Beach is Tangadan Falls, where you can summon your friends to go cliff diving or swim by the waterfalls.
You can get here in around four hours from Manila, with a distance of over 270 kilometers.
If you don’t have that much time for a road trip, go to Calatagan, which is just a two-hour drive from Manila. While this town in Batangas is a known go-to camping site, there are various resorts lining up its coastline, too, each of them giving you access to Calatagan’s white-sand beaches. There are accommodations that can fit any budget.
Just because it’s quite nearer to the city doesn’t mean it can’t rival those from farther places like Boracay. Calatagan’s beaches offer idyllic views with powdery sand and crystal blue waters. Some resorts also offer diving experiences where you can witness Calatagan’s rich marine biodiversity. The town also boasts of some mangroves. There are Batangas tours you can check out if you want to visit Starfish Island and Sand Bar.
Calatagan is 130 kilometers away from Manila, making it one of the most accessible beach trips you can have.
You’re probably thinking by now how blessed Zambales is, with all its beautiful beaches. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 brought significant changes to the beach landscape of Zambales. With tons of ash dumped on various coastlines, rocky beaches were transformed into fine-sand beaches. This is exactly what happened with Anawangin Cove, yet another pride of the province.
Located in San Antonio and tucked behind the mountains, this beach offers an unusual landscape compared to other beaches in the country. With its unique beach composition and surrounding agoho trees, also known as sea pine trees, Anawangin Cove gives you a different vibe for your travel portraits.
There are only basic resorts in the area offering simple amenities and nipa and bamboo huts as accommodation options. You can also try camping. Some of the things you can do include climbing a hill for a spectacular view, exploring Capones Island and Lighthouse, and going on a side trip to Nagsasa Cove.
Anawangin Cove is around 190 kilometers away from Manila and can be reached within three hours and a half.
Anawangin Cove’s neighbor, Nagsasa Cove, is also worth checking out. Like Anawangin Cove, Nagsasa Cove’s beach is also made of sand and volcanic ash mixture because of the eruption. Agoho trees or sea pine trees are also everywhere, so are the hills, which offer a beautiful view of the place.
As with all coves in Zambales, Nagsasa Cove is also accessible by boat. Travel time to Nagsasa Cove is around three hours, with around 180 kilometer-distance from Manila.
Accommodations are also basic, with most offering camping as well as nipa and bamboo huts as choices. You can spend the night at the beach for a stargazing experience or drop by on your day trip. What makes Nagsasa Cove unique are its very own Nagsasa Waterfalls which you can trek from the beach, and its shallow, scenic inlet at the southern tip.
Another frontrunner in the best beaches near Manila is San Felipe, Zambales’ very own Liwliwa Beach. Like the other beaches in Zambales, it is about three hours away from Manila, with a distance of over 180 kilometers.
This beach is not too crowded compared to other islands in Zambales. This makes it perfect for solo travelers or an intimate group of friends looking for quiet communion with nature. With fewer people, you’re sure to capture Instagram-worthy beach photos.
There are hostels and resorts in the island, as well as options to go camping. Aside from sunbathing and swimming, you can also ride an ATV along the beach or the forest trail, surf, and try out skimboarding. You can also cap off your stay with a bonfire by the beach. Check with your accommodation.
If you want to do some backpacking, Cagbalete Island in Mauban, Quezon, is a famous destination. Its stunning white sand beach and sandbar are often compared to other more famous beaches such as Boracay. More than its pristine beach, Cagbalete Island is also home to rich biodiversity, which is why it’s viewed as another paradise complete with experience, vibe, and natural resources.
Compared to other secluded beaches, Cagbalete Island has more activities you can enjoy. You can cruise along the Mangrove River, check out the rock formations in Sitio Buntis, hop on to Baliscar Island Lighthouse, snorkel in the calm waters, try horseback riding, and chase waterfalls, including Dahoyhoy Falls and Hagdan-Hagdan Falls.
Due to its increasing popularity, resorts have started to surface in the island, so If you don’t feel like camping at the beach, you have other more comfortable options. This island is about 90 kilometers away from Manila. You can get here within three to four hours.
For those who want a beach destination while doing some scuba diving, Anilao, Batangas is one of the closest places to Manila. It boasts rich underwater resources with famous diving sites such as Eagle Point, Devil Point, Mainit Point, Twin Rocks, and Secret Bay.
From colorful coral reefs to rare species of fish, you’d definitely be in awe of the beauty of Anilao. There are many resorts here too, most of which offering diving tours and classes.
You can snorkel and still have a taste of this beauty for those who don't dive. Another great thing about visiting Anilao is its proximity to other attractions in Batangas, including Mt. Gulugod Baboy, which you can hike, and Sepoc Beach and Sombrero Island for a complete beach getaway.
They may not be located exactly in Anilao, but a quick island hopping trip will give you access to a host of other beautiful beaches in Batangas. Travel time to Anilao from Manila is just two hours, with a distance of over 100 kilometers.
From resorts facing the South China Sea directly to luxurious beachfront that gives you a taste of paradise, Nasugbu, Batangas has it all. This first-class municipality also over 100 kilometers away from Manila, about a two-hour drive. It is so big that even its coastline feels like an unlimited stretch of white sand beaches.
If you’re on a budget, don't worry. There are also homestays and camping sites in the area, so you can still access its jewel of azure blue waters.
A quick stay here will make you realize how rich Batangas is in natural resources: from its beach to rolling hills and mountains. Some of the known beaches in Nasugbu are Calayo Beach, with fine light brown sand; Pulo Island with two beaches; Tali Beach, known for its cliff-jumping spot; and Layag-Layag Beach, which is a famous snorkeling site.
This expansive beach is tucked in the simple yet charming town of San Narciso, Zambales. Like most beaches in Zambales, Crystal Beach also has sand mixed with volcanic ash. Though it is another crowd favorite, travelers won’t feel cramped in one island because of its size.
A variety of accommodation options are available for weekend visitors: from cottages and nipa huts to bungalows and campsites. The beach also has wash areas and shower stations so you can clean up after a long dip at the ocean.
For surfing enthusiasts, surfing activities and classes are offered here. Restaurants offering delicious cuisines are present in the island, so you need not worry about your meal while staying here.
Crystal Beach is around 190 kilometers away from the city and is a three to four-hour trip from Manila.
The Philippines has more than 7,000 islands, and one of its provinces, Pangasinan, has been blessed with hundreds of them. The Hundred Islands is a group of over 120 islands that beach lovers will surely enjoy. There is no shortage of beauty here as the islands are home to stunning gifts of nature. The islands are scattered all over Lingayen Gulf, all blessed with rich underwater resources and fine beach sand.
Some of the recreational activities you won’t want to miss here are kayaking, swimming, enjoying a picnic meal, snorkeling, and cliff jumping.
Because Pangasinan is known for its local delicacies, going on a food trip should not be missed. Make sure to taste their famous puto Calasiao or native rice cake, and indulge in fresh bangus or milkfish.
The distance between Manila and Hundred Islands is around 200 kilometers, and it takes about four to five hours to get there.
Subic, Zambales, is one of the topmost visited weekend getaways for city dwellers. It offers plenty of activities and quiet attractions. Here you’ll find high-end resorts and hidden seaside spots.
It may not be as topnotch as Boracay, but it surely is worthy of your attention for a quick drive from Manila. Before booking, check your resort for direct beach access. Otherwise, you might need to drive to get to the beach. Either way, you will surely have fun unwinding at the beach and swimming while soaking up the view of Subic Bay.
Subic is also known for activities like wreck diving in Subic Bay. This is where you’ll find a large collection of shipwreck sites with remnants dating back to as far as the Spanish-American War. For a closer encounter with nature, you can also check out the jungle tours offered here.
Travel time to Subic is about two to three hours, with an approximate distance of 160 kilometers from Manila.
Laiya tops the list of most frequented beaches in Batangas. The place has become popular not only for weekend adventurers but also for corporate activities. If there’s something this beach is known for aside from its proximity to the city, it’s the white sand beach and clear waters that top the list. The white sands are sometimes adorned with crushed shells and corals too.
Batangas resorts in the area offer not only a worthy time at the beach but a host of enjoyable activities, too, such as jet skiing and kayaking. There are also comfortable guesthouses for those looking for more budget-friendly accommodations.
Located in the municipality of San Juan, Laiya also offers convenient access to Mt. Daguldul and Mt. Hugom, two coastal mountains that you can hike as part of your itinerary.
Getting to Laiya takes about two hours, with a distance of over 130 kilometers from the city.
If Visayas has Boracay, Luzon has Puerto Galera, a treasure of the province of Mindoro. Its most talked-about attraction is White Beach. As its name suggests, White Beach features a white sand beach and a vibrant crowd: from groups of friends to families. At times, beach resorts hold events, keeping the crowd even more entertained.
The beach also has many bars, and restaurants lined up along its coast, all loved by travelers who want to have a cocktail or two while waiting for the sun to set. Thrill-seekers can also make the most of White Beach’s water activities: from jet skiing and windsurfing to parasailing and kayaking.
To get here, hop on a ferry from Batangas Pier. It takes about three hours to get to White Beach, just 150 kilometers from Manila.
Take Your Pick from the Best Beaches Near Manila
The Philippines is truly blessed with natural beauty, including its hundreds of jaw-dropping beaches. Whether you live in Manila or visiting, now you know the many beach options you have within a few hours of leisurely drive. So take your pick and plan your next quick beach getaway.