While Kuantan is known as a beach resort destination, most of the beaches actually lie in the surroundings along the east coast. The only tourist beach directly within reach from the city is Teluk Cempedak, a lush 1km bay well served by visitor facilities and fast food outlets. Slightly out of town, the nearest is Pantai Balok, a long stretch of sand and surf with pretty seas.

Heading further up north along the east coast will bring visitors to Pantai Beserah and Pantai Batu Hitam, the former known for its fishing village and cottage industry, and the latter for its shoreline of dark rocks. Finally, there's Pantai Cherating, another popular beach destination located just before the border of Terengganu.