Chungcheongnam-do (충청남도) tends to fly under the radar of most travellers, and that's unfortunate. Some of the best nature within striking distance of Seoul is here. Gorgeous Daecheon Beach is popular, especially during the Boryeong Mud Festival, while those preferring solitude can hop on a ferry to one of the nearby islands. To the north is Taeanhaean National Marine Park, dotted with more islands, beaches and 150km of trails that flit in and out of coastline.
In terms of big-city experiences, Daejeon, the capital manqué, offers the province's best urban diversions, while Sejong, the country's administrative centre, doesn't yet have much to draw tourists. More interesting are the small towns: Gongju and Buyeo were once capitals of the ancient Baekje dynasty, and have retained a surprising number of old fortresses, tombs and relics.