The French colonial rulers began exploiting Sầm Sơn in 1906, and it became a famous place in what was then French Indochina. At that time, many holiday villas were constructed here. The resort is considered to have one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. In April/May 2007, Sầm Sơn celebrated the 100th anniversary of its establishment by organizing a Sầm Sơn Festival. The Thanh Hóa provincial government invested US$375,000 to upgrade infrastructure along the sea, on water supply, lighting systems and an information network to prepare for the festival. About 22 training courses were organized for 3,000 cyclists, cameramen, vendors and tourist guides.
As of 2003 the district had a population of 57,625. The district covers an area of 18 km².