You’ll often hear us refer to Cornwall as the perfect location for a beach getaway. With over 300 miles of coastline and many of its beaches rated as some of the best in the world, can you blame us? And with so many spectacular beaches available, deciding which area to visit can be a bit of a minefield. So, to help you figure out which beach is the best fit for you and your family, we’ve put together the following list of the best beaches in Cornwall.
Best sandy beaches: Porthcurno Beach, Porthcurno, and Sennen Beach, Penzance
Porthcurno’s dazzling soft white sand really makes this beach stand out from the crowd and an obvious choice for our list of best Cornish beaches. The stark contrast between the white sand and clear turquoise waters creates a Mediterranean feel, with many photographers journeying to the area to capture this fantastic atmosphere. Along with the amazing scenery, Porthcurno Beach also provides parking, toilets, a café and lifeguard service during the spring and summer months. To reach Porthcurno Beach, visitors simply need to head south from Porthcurno village.
With almost a whole mile of beautiful fine sand, which stretches as far as Gwenver beach, it’s not hard to see why Sennen is often referred to as Whitesands Bay. This beach’s soft sand and wonderful setting make it a must for our list, and for anyone visiting West Cornwall. The area has many facilities that make this beach suitable for visiting at any time of year, including parking, toilets, a beach café and restaurant, shop and surf hire. Visitors wishing to visit Sennen Beach simply need to follow signs for Sennen Cove.
Best National Trust beach: Crantock Beach, Newquay
Possibly our favourite National Trust beach, Crantock Beach is home to looming sand dunes, a golden sandy shore and even a gentle tidal river. The beach is great for visitors at any time of year, especially as its high cliffs, on the southern end of the beach, offer protection from strong winds. Crantock Beach is just a 15 minute drive from the popular town of Newquay - follow signs for Crantock and you can’t go wrong. Once you arrive at the beach you will find a National Trust car park, shop and toilet. There are also picnic facilities available and a café nearby.
Best secluded beaches: Kynance Cove, Helston, and Pedn Vounder Beach
Located at the base of a cliff, Kynance Cove can be rather difficult to get to. However, for those willing to make the steep descent, this dramatic beach is more than worth the wait. Hundreds of photographers and painters make their way to Kynance Cove each year to capture the vivid colours and breath-taking scenery. However, not all of them make it down to the beach, as the view from the cliff tops is just as impressive. To reach Kynance Cove, follow the A3083 out of Lizard and turn left at the sign post for the beach. At the top of the cliff, you will find parking, toilets and a lovely little shop and café.
Access to Pedn Vounder Beach is only really granted at low tide. However, wait for the tide to recede and you won’t be disappointed as you explore this unspoilt stretch of coast. The beach’s stunning cliffs and clear waters remind us of a mermaid lagoon - but make sure you don’t lose track of time as we wouldn’t want you getting stranded. Pedn Vounder Beach is just a ten minute walk from the village of Treen, where visitors will find a car park, shop, café, toilets and friendly pub.
Best beach for surfing: Fistral Beach, Newquay
Fistral Beach is one of Cornwall’s most iconic beaches and, with numerous surf competitions - including Boardmasters - held at this beach every year, it is no wonder we’re featuring Fistral as our best beach for surfing. Located in the popular seaside town of Newquay, Fistral Beach is extremely easy to find and surrounded by fantastic facilities, including parking, toilets, beach-side refreshments, cafes, pubs, showers and a surf shop and school.
Best beach for rock pools: Treyarnon Bay Beach, Padstow
Creating the perfect atmosphere for rook pooling adventures, Treyarnon Bay Beach is backed by sand dunes and surrounded by low cliffs. The beach’s soft sand makes it very popular with families and at low tide you’ll find plenty of rock pools and little nooks to discover. Treyarnon Bay Beach is just a short walk from the Hamlet of Treyarnon where you can park your car. The beach itself has toilet facilities, a cafe and a lifeguard patrolling the beach during spring and summer.
Best beaches for kids: Marazion Beach, Marazion, and Porthminster Beach, St Ives
With plenty of room to run around, a children’s playground, safe swimming waters and incredible views of St Michael’s Mount, Marazion Beach is fantastic for children of all ages. Whether you decide to spend the day playing on the beach or head on over to St Michael’s Mount there is plenty to keep families entertained. The beach can be found in the popular town of Marazion and has a large car park, toilets and plenty of cafes, restaurants and pubs to help satisfy hungry tums!
A glittering bay, soft sand and offshore activities are just a few reasons why families are drawn to Porthminster Beach. This wonderful beach has safe swimming water for children to play in, golden sand for constructing magnificent sandcastles and even an 18-hole miniature golf course! The beach is very easy to get to; visitors simply need to follow signs from St Ives town. Once you arrive at the Porthminster Beach you’ll find parking, toilets, a lifeguard on duty during spring and summer and an award winning café.
Best Beaches for dogs: Vault Beach, St Gorans and Sandymouth Beach, Bude
If you’re looking for a dog friendly beach that will allow your four legged friend access at any time of year then Vault Beach is for you. This spacious beach provides plenty of room for your dogs to stretch their legs, dig up the sand and fetch drift wood. Vault Beach is just nine miles from St Austell; if you park at the Lamledra car park, you can then follow the footpath down to the beach. Unfortunately there are no toilets at Vault Beach but you can find some close by in Gorran Haven.
Not only does Sandymouth Beach welcome dogs all year round, but with a spectacular two mile walk stretching all the way to Bude, this is fantastic beach for active dog owners. The steep, narrow path used to access this beach can put people off, meaning that even during summer this beach is a lot quieter than others. You can reach Sandymouth beach by heading through the village of Sibb and following the brown signs for Sandymouth. When you arrive at the beach you will find a large carpark, seasonal café, toilets, surf hire and a lifeguard on duty during the spring and summer months.
Now that you’ve read all about Cornwall’s best beaches why not visit the area for yourself? We have a stunning selection of coastal cottages in Cornwall that are sure to provide you with the perfect base for exploring this extraordinary county.