CORNWALL has over 400 miles of stunning coastline, with beaches to meet all needs.
So whether you're a keen surfer, or are looking for somewhere for your dog to go for a paddle, here are the best Cornish beaches for you.
Where are the best beaches in Cornwall?
Wherever you are in Cornwall, you will never find yourself more than 20 miles from the sea.
Here are some of the best all-rounder beaches, where you can enjoy a bit of everything.
1. Holywell Bay
This National Trust site boasts a mile-long stretch of sand, nestled among towering dunes, just six miles west of Newquay.
It’s good for surfing and swimming, close to village amenities – including a pub – and has parking for just £8 for the day during the busy summer months.
Plus, eagle-eyed fans may recognise the beach as one of the backdrops for BAFTA-winning BBC drama series, Poldark.
2. Mawgan Porth Beach
Also near Newquay, this large sandy bay is sheltered at the bottom of steep cliffs.
It has really great rock pools and caves, and not bad surf.
It’s the nearest beach to Newquay Airport, and, near a small, non-commercial village, so is perfect for a more peaceful get away.
3. Pendower Beach
This beautiful expanse of golden sand with glorious views has been described as the prettiest beach on the Cornish Riviera.
For explorers there’s a little stream to follow to amazing rock pools, sand dunes, and food trucks that park at the end of the beach.
Where are the best surfing beaches in Cornwall?
The north coast of Cornwall is generally wilder and windier – so this might be where you want to head to catch the best surfing waves.
1. Polzeath Beach, aka Hayle Bay
This sandy beach on the north coast is mostly covered at high tide, but has some of the best surf, and can also be enjoyed by non-surfing holiday-makers, too.
There are loads of shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants in the village, which is situated near Plymouth, and six miles north of Waderbridge.
This is a lifeguarded, blue-flag beach, and is Marine Conservation Society recommended. Dogs are banned from Easter to September.
2. Porthmeor Beach
This beach is nestled between dramatic rugged headlands and sheltered from the southwesterly winds – but the full force of the Atlantic provides great waves for surfers.
It’s not great for parking, but there are beach-side flats and beach huts, and it can be found in St Ives with fantastic rail links – plus the Tate Gallery is nearby.
This blue-flag beach of golden sand has a surf school, and is lifeguard protected from May 5 to September 30, as well as at weekends and bank holidays in April and October.
It’s no dogs allowed between 10am and 6pm from May 15 to September 30.
3. Godrevy Beach
This sandy and rocky beach is wild and exposed, with a rugged coastline. It is very windy and great for surfing.
There’s a big car park which helps if you need to bring lots of kit, and a great cafe if you need some sustenance after hitting the waves.
The lovely view of the lighthouse from the northern end, inspired Virginia Woolf’s 1927 novel,To the Lighthouse.
The beach is lifeguarded, has dog restrictions from Easter to September, and it is Marine Conservation Society recommended.
4. Fistral Beach
This one is at the centre of the surf scene: experienced surfers enjoy the eight foot waves, while learners can take lessons at the hotel academy.
The National Surfing Centre surf school can also be found on Fistral Beach.
And in August, there’s a five-day surf and skating festival with live music and bustling bars.
5. Porth Joke Beach
This beach has crystal clear waters with fantastic surf, and there are holiday cottages nearby.
It is a very quiet beach sheltered between grassy headlands, and Porth Joke village is only accessible on foot.
Where are the best family beaches in Cornwall?
1. Kynance Cove
This beautiful, National Trust beach with its white sand and turquoise water is another location featured in Poldark.
It has islands and caves to explore and stunning views, and is famous for its green and red serpentine rock formations that characterise beaches of the Lizard Peninsula.
It isn’t particularly near any villages or towns, but The Beach cafe serves Cornish pasties, cream teas and crab sandwiches..
There are loos, and a car park just a short ten-minute walk away – but the beach isn’t lifeguarded, so although the sea is usually calm here, it is unpredictable, take care.
No dogs allowed from 10am to 6pm, July 1 to August 31.
2. Porthcurno Beach
This beautiful beach near Penzance boasts golden sand, turquoise water and breath-taking high cliffs which provide shelter from coastal winds.
A stream runs down the beach forming a pool, which is a safer paddle than the quickly shelving seashore.
The Minack Theatre, carved into the cliffs, is a lovely walk up a steep path, offering a beautiful view.
This beach is great for families, swimmers and surfers, and is lifeguard protected from 10am to 6pm, May 19 to September 30.
There’s a nearby car park and no dogs allowed in the summer.
3. Praa Sands Beach, aka Hendra
This long beach of golden sand on the south coast is great for families in the summer as the seas are calm.
The beach has easy access to a car park, shops, cafes, loos and lots of campsites.
There’s a surf shop on the beach, and it’s a good place for beginner surfers out of summer, when it gets some good, manageable, waves.
This beach is lifeguarded from May 5 to September 30, and weekends and bank holidays in April and October.
Sadly canine family can’t accompany you from 10am to 6pm, July 1 to August 31.
Where are the best beaches for dogs in Cornwall?
1. Harlyn Bay
This beach welcomes dogs all year round to its large bay of mixed sand and pebbles, which is sheltered for swimmers and has good waves for surfing.
This crescent-shaped bay has a reputation as one of the safest beaches in Cornwall. It’s lifeguarded, near a pub, and near Padstow.
2. Perranporth Beach
This is a lovely, dog-friendly beach, only asking that you put your dog on a lead between 9am and 5pm in July and August.
The village is bustling with shops, cafes and pubs, and the beach is busy at that end.
Further along the two miles of sand it connects to Penhale beach and Penhale Point, where you can avoid the crowds.
There is a sea-water swimming pool for those who don’t fancy taking a dip in the open seas.
There are also great rock pools, sand dunes, and caves to explore, and a pub on the beach.
This beach is lifeguarded from May 5 to September 30. There is full disabled access, and loo, and even a sand chair.
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3. Watergate Bay
This is a very large beach near Newquay, described as dog-friendly.
It’s north-west facing, so the Atlantic swell is great for surfing and there’s good wind too for kite surfing.
The cliffs are striking, but take care because most of the beach disappears at high tide.
It’s lifeguarded, and Marine Conservation Society recommended, and there’s a carpark in front of the Watergate hotel.
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