10 best beaches you need to visit in Cornwall and Devon

Cornwall and Devon are home to some of the best beaches in the world. If you are heading down to the South West this summer, here are A-Z’s top 10 must visit beaches in Cornwall and Devon.

Best beaches in Cornwall

Cornwall A-Z Visitors' MapDevon, Cornwall & West Somerset A-Z Visitors' AtlasDon’t forget your Devon, Cornwall & West Somerset A-Z Visitors’ Atlas. With its detailed visitor road maps covering the whole of Devon and Cornwall and part of West Somerset, you can fully experience the beautiful South West without worrying about getting lost!

Including 24 town plans with street indexes and accompanying tourist information: Barnstaple; Bodmin; Brixham; Bude; Dartmouth; Exeter; Falmouth; Fowey; Ilfracombe; Launceston; Liskeard; Looe; Lynton & Lynmouth; Minehead; Newquay; Newton Abbot; Padstow; Paignton; Penzance; Plymouth; St. Ives; Taunton; Torquay and Truro.

We’ve also got a fold-out Cornwall Visitors’ Map which really helps when planning days out and judging distance between places.

1. Saunton Sands, North Devon

“a key component of the North Devon coast…” 

Saunton Sands is an idyllically situated beach which includes over 3 straight miles of golden sand, a key component of North Devon’s coast. This beautiful sandy beach is backed by the impressive Braunton Burrows. Saunton welcomes dogs all year round – making it a perfect location to visit with your lovely 4 legged friends.

Saunton Sands - One of the best beaches in Cornwall
Map of Saunton Sands

This is a popular beach with surfers and families due to the long stretch of water which is perfect for swimmers and surfers and is suitable for beginners and intermediate surfers.

Saunton Sands Beach - One of the best beaches in Cornwall
© mirandawood / flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

There is a selection of food outlets, toilets and beach shops located close to the beach. Walks to Crow Point are refreshing and provide some amazing views across the coastline.

2. Harlyn Bay Beach, Cornwall

Harlyn Bay map - One of the best beaches in Cornwall
Map of Harlyn Bay

For families, Haylyn Bay beach is considered one of the best beaches in Cornwall. Harlyn Bay is a beautiful wide and spacious beach of golden sand and pebbles with plenty of rock pools and dunes.

“With its reputation as one of the safer beaches in the county, the crescent shaped bay is popular with novice surfers who can learn to master the waves with surf schools who run sessions from the beach. There’s a fascinating combination of rocky shoreline, sand, dune and tide pools to explore and the beautiful bay is also an unbeatable location to have a go at sea kayaking. For walkers there are delightful routes from the beach to Mother Ivey’s Bay and Trevose Head”Visit Cornwall

Harlyn Bay Beach - One of the best beaches in Cornwall
© shirokazan / flickr (CC BY 2.0)

For walkers there are delightful routes from the beach to Mother Ivey’s Bay and Trevose Head.  Harlyn Bay Beach is dog friendly all year round.

3. Constantine Bay, Cornwall

“One of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall…”

Map of Constantine Bay - One of the best beaches in Cornwall
Map of Constantine Bay

Constantine Bay has a reputation of being one of the best beaches in Cornwall for surfing. It offers top quality waves, beautiful sandy beaches and a variety of rock pools.

A favourite beach for surfing but can often be unsafe for swimmers because it faces west and can have some serious rips.

“The bay has rock pools to the left and sand dunes to the right and gentle headland walks in either direction.
At low tide it connects with it’s sister beach, Booby’s Bay, giving a crescent stretch of more than half a mile of golden sand with plenty of room for picnics and beach games. At high tide it changes to a shelving beach. Nearby St Merryn has pubs, restaurants and cafes and Padstow is also close.”  – Cornwall Beach Guide

Constantine Bay - One of the best beaches in Cornwall
heatheronhertravels / flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Dogs are allowed all year round.

4. Watergate Bay, Newquay, North Cornwall 

“Leading venue for beach/sports events…”  

Watergate Bay - One of the best beaches in Cornwall
Map of Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay is set in a valley between Newquay and Padstow on the North Cornwall coast. There are around two miles of golden sandy beaches which are backed by stunning cliffs and caves making it one of the best beaches in Cornwall. Watergate Bay is a leading venue for beach sports and events.  Out to sea, enormous waves come in from the Atlantic providing a popular surfing and kite surfing spot.

There are also lessons and equipment hire available all year round. Watergate Bay provides an ideal day out for all the family, it’s all about getting active, embracing the elements and enjoying one of the best beaches in Cornwall.

Dogs are allowed all year round which means your 4 legged friend can be included too!

5. Porthminster beach, St Ives

“there is a definite tropical feel to the place… one of the best beaches in Cornwall”

Map of Porthminster Beach St Ives

Porthminster beach is another beautiful beach which has ample amounts of golden sand, turquoise water and glorious views. With the benefit of the mildest climate in the UK along with waving palm trees and translucent waters, there is a definite tropical feel to the place, making it one of the best beaches in Cornwall. Porthminster beach is just a short walk from the centre of St Ives.

“This award-winning Blue Flag beach at Porthminster is a family favourite for safe swimming while onshore you can simply relax in a deck chair or try your skill at the mini 18 hole golf course…” – Visit Cornwall

One of the best beaches in Cornwall
(CC BY-ND 2.0) chatiryworld / flickr

Porthminster beach along with being one of the best beaches in Cornwall, is also home to Porthminster Beach café. Serving up great local food, some of which is grown in their adjoining vegetable garden, the café has won many prestigious awards.

Dogs are welcome on this beach except between the first Sunday before Easter and 30th September when a seasonal dog ban is in place.

6. Carne Beach, Truro

“one of the best beaches in Cornwall”

Map of Carne Beach, Cornwall

Facing south and sheltered by Nare Head rising to 300 feet over the bay, Carne Beach is situated on the beautiful Roseland Peninsula and is a favourite haunt for walkers.

At high tide there is a little beach but when the waters retreat some nice sand and shingle with rocks at either end are revealed.  Popular with families and sometime surfers if the conditions are right. Carne Beach is dog friendly with dogs allowed all year round as long as they are on a lead.

Carne is owned and looked after by the National Trust and is able to care and conserve areas making it one of the best beaches in Cornwall.

7. Blackpool Sands, South Devon

Map of Blackpool Sands

Blackpool Sands, set in a sheltered bay surrounded by evergreens and pines, is one of South Devon’s most beautiful natural treasures. An award-winning, privately managed ‘Blue Flag’ family beach with turquoise blue sea giving it an almost Mediterranean feel.

Blackpool Sands is ideal for swimming because of its clean water (tested by the Environment agency). The beach is cleaned daily during the summer season along with the toilets. If you fancy something a bit more adventurous, Blackpool Sands also has stand-up paddle board, kayak and wet suit hire.

Dogs are not permitted in the car parks or on the beach from Saturday 12th March to Sunday 30th October 2016.

8. Porthcurno, near Land’s End

“An oasis of sunning natural beauty” 

Porthcurno, near Land's End - Best beaches in Cornwall
© Robert.Pittman flickr / (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Map of Porthcuno

Porthacurno is located in the far west of Cornwall and has won many awards over the years and it’s clear to see why. With is beautiful soft white sand washed by a sea that turns turquoise in the sun and cliffs on either side which provide shelter, “it’s an oasis of stunning natural beauty”Visit Cornwall.

This large beach is popular with families and has a stream that flows down on side, which is great for the kids to paddle in. Up on the cliffs is the internationally renowned Minack Theatre, built in the 1920s by theatrical visionary Rowena Wade and her faithful gardener, which you can visit all year round.

9. Coverack

“Coverack is picturesque” 

Coverack is a picturesque fishing village on the Lizard peninsula, with a small sand and pebble beach. The beach at Coverack is a large, sheltered, crescent shaped arc of sand, that can be quite rocky in places, but is ideal for swimming & windsurfing. There is easy access to the beach from the small car park at the edge of the village.

Dogs are allowed all year round but must be kept on leads.

Best beaches in Cornwall
Map of Coverack Beach

10. Kynance Cove

“One of the worlds most spectacular beaches” 


Kynance Cove is located on the west side of the Lizard and is probably one of the most photographed and painted locations in Cornwall.  Turquoise seas meet a white sandy beach with colourful serpentine rock stacks which produces a breathtaking sight, making it one of the best beaches in Cornwall


“There’s a steep 10-15 minute walk down to the cove but that doesn’t stop visitors who head to the beach for a family day out.

At low tide you can explore the towering rocks stacks and the caves with names such as The Parlour and The Drawing Room and located just above the beach is an eco-friendly café selling Cornish pasties, fresh sandwiches, baguettes, homemade cakes and cream teas along with beach goods.

Kynance Cove is owned and looked after by the National Trust and is able to care and conserve areas like this.

Dogs are welcome on this beach except between Easter Sunday and 30 September”Visit Cornwall

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