Guide to Beaches in North Cornwall

Cornwall’s iconic coastline attracts thousands of visitors each year, from surfers to families they all head south to make the most of the beautiful bays, spectacular scenery and impressive waves. With so many wonderful beaches on offer it can be hard to choose which area to visit first, so to help narrow things down for you we’ve put together a selection of the best beaches to visit in North Cornwall.

Best beaches for families

A beachImage by Reading Tom is licensed under CC 2.0

Porthcothan: Ideal for family groups this beautiful sandy bay has everything you need for a day at the seaside including parking, shops and toilet facilities. The tall sand dunes offer families some shelter from the wind and allow them to make the most of the sunshine as they build sandcastles and play amongst the surf.

A small coveImage by Heather Cowper is licensed under CC 2.0

Treyarnon: This family friendly beach is perfect for little explorers with a large expanse of sand and numerous rock pools where they can discover a variety of different sea creatures. This bay has a lifeguard present during peak season and some pretty decent waves making it a popular spot with body boarders.

Want to know more about beaches for families in Cornwall? Read our guide here. 

Best beaches for couples

Rocky landscape with sea behindImage by Caroline Ingram is licensed under CC 2.0

Backways Cove: The high cliffs over Backways Cove offer a fantastic vantage point of the beach below and a wonderful spot to enjoy a romantic picnic. The beach itself is a little harder to get to making the area nice and quiet for couples who are seeking some quality time together.

A foggy seasideImage by *hoodrat* is licensed under CC 2.0

Tregardock: This often empty beach can be difficult to reach and at high tide is basically non-existent, but stick around and you will slowly see the small coves expand to expose a long sandy stretch of golden sand. Great for walking and sunbathing couples are sure to love this very private beach.

Looking for a romantic date idea for you and your partner? Read our guide to 6 of the most romantic picnic spots.

Best beaches for dogs

A sandy beach with some dogsImage by Jonny Hughes is licensed under CC 2.0

Watergate Bay: This large beach is extremely dog friendly and encourages visitors to bring their dogs along with them whenever possible. The two mile stretch of sand is perfect for exercising dogs and with no seasonal restrictions your dog can enjoy a day at Watergate Bay any time of year. 

A sandy beach with a mucky dogImage by MunstiSue is licensed under CC 2.0

Mawgan Porth: As a relatively quiet beach Mawgan Porth is a great location for walking your four legged friend. There are no seasonal restrictions on the beach and with plenty of sand available, even at high tide, your dog is sure to love digging for buried treasure along the shore line.

Chill out after a lovely walk with your pooch at one of the many dog-friendly cafés available in Cornwall.

Best beaches for water sports

Young boy learning to surfImage by Bryan Ledgard is licensed under CC 2.0

Fistral: Known as the home of British surfing and arguably the best surf spot in the UK, Fistral beach is great for water sport enthusiasts. Whether you decide to take lessons at the surf school or watch the pros in action at one of the numerous surf competitions this beach is the place to be for surfers.

A seaside landscape with houses in the backgroundImage by Robert Pittman is licensed under CC 2.0

Crantock: This picturesque beach provides good surf which is suitable for a range of different water sports and ability levels. With a lifeguard on duty throughout the peak season this could be the ideal spot for trying out a new sport!

Best beaches for walking

Sunset above the seaImage by Seb Perrotin is licensed under CC 2.0

Harlyn Bay: The beach at Harlyn Bay is large and sheltered offering a wide stretch of soft yellow sand backed by sand dunes and dotted with fascinating rock pools. There are many walks available from this stretch of coastline and along the sands including a 6.7 mile walk from Harlyn Bay to Padstow.

Foggy cliff and seasideImage by DavidGeen is licensed under CC 2.0

Widemouth Bay: The varied beach at Widemouth Bay is great for walking with wonderful views and some interesting rock formations to keep you captivated as you make your way along the trails. There is a fantastic 6 mile circular walk from Widemouth Bay to Bude which is great for nature lovers as the route passes by the Phillip’s Point Nature reserve.

If you want to learn more about the Cornish coast then why not take a look at our guides to West Cornwall and South Cornwall beaches? Alternatively if you would like to book a beach break in North Cornwall you can view our selection of North Cornwall cottages here.

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