Cornwall is famous for a lot of things, but its beaches are one of its biggest draws. You can find everything from top surf beaches to sheltered coves and wild beaches for coastal walks. If you're planning a trip, here are 10 of the best beaches in Cornwall.
1. Godrevy Beach
Godrevy Beach is a golden-sand beach owned by the National Trust. At its northern point, the beach is subjected to the Atlantic waves, making it ideal for outdoor adventurers. Large swells off the coast make the beach a popular destination for surfers, especially with the hollow waves that come at low tide.
Lifeguards work the beach for the summer season. Dogs are allowed on the beach from May to September. The beach can be accessed by cycle on NCN3 that runs through Hayle and Camborne, by road off B3301, by train at the nearby Hayle Station and by footpath along the coastal routes that link with Tehidy Country Park. Bus lines offer summer service via A4 and 515. Pay parking is available year round, but the parking is limited during wet weather and winter conditions.
2. Kingsand Beach
Kingsand Beach is a small shingle beach with a charming village nearby. One of its best features is the iconic clocktower that was built for King George V's coronation. Kingsand Beach overlooks Plymouth Sound and is sheltered from the wind. If you're bringing children, there are many calm rock pools for swimming at low tide. There's no lifeguard on duty, but dogs are allowed on the beach all year. The beach can be accessed via a small slope and steps, and there's a large parking area nearby.
3. Praa Sands Beach
Praa Sands is a sandy beach on the south coast near Porthleven. The beach is a popular destination for surfers of all levels, thanks to its wind conditions and swells. During the summer season, the sea is flat and ideal for swimming, especially for families with young children. There's lifeguard service during the summer season, though dogs are banned between Easter Sunday and the end of September. A large car park is located near the beach for parking.
Sennen is Cornwall's most westerly surf point and a charming beach that's suitable for all types of visitors. When the tide is out, the sand is wide and provides an abundance of space for sunbathers and swimmers. The beach is rated for top surf conditions and has flagged areas for safe swimming. The promontory at the bay protects the cove beach from strong winds, giving it calm swimming areas that are great for children. Nearby, you'll find shops, cafes and a pub for dining and shopping.
Dogs are banned from the beach from the beginning of May through the end of September from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., but they're allowed on Gwynver Beach on the bay. The main car park is right on the beach, but there's an overflow park at the top of the hill and another park in the village. To get there, take A30 toward Land's End and follow signs, or take the train to Penzance.
5. Kynance Cove
Located on the Lizard Peninsula, the beautiful Kynance Cove is one of the best beaches for photography. The white sand comes up against dark red and green rocks for a stunning sight, and the sheltered cove has calm, quiet waters that are safe for swimming. At low tide, you can explore the caves by the beach. Nearby, you'll find the popular Lizard Lighthouse and Heritage Centre. A car park can be found near the cove beach and is free to National Trust members, and dogs are welcome except the period from Easter Sunday through September. You can access Kynance Cove via the South West Coast Path or by road via the A3083 south toward the Lizard.
6. Gyllyngvase Beach
Gyllyngvase Beach is a laid-back beach with plenty of space to stretch out and calm, clean waters for swimming. It's not only one of the most family-friendly beaches in Cornwall, but it also has excellent amenities like toilets, sand chairs and buggy access. The car park is free and close by for easy access as well. Dogs are allowed on the beach, except for the season between Easter and October. Plenty of attractions are in the area, such as the National Maritime Museum.
7. Porth Joke Beach
Located in a deep cove formed by headlands, Porth Joke Beach is an unspoilt, calm beach that's free from crowds. At low tide, there's enough space on the sand for a lot of people, and the rock pools are revealed to provide safe play areas for kids. The car park is within walking distance of the beach and dogs are allowed year round.
8. Porthpean Beach
Porthpean Beach is a safe, sheltered beach that's a big draw for families. It boasts numerous rock pools and safe areas for swimming and wading, though adventurers can go farther out to enjoy sailing and windsurfing. A privately owned car park is located near the beach, but you have to walk down a gently sloping grade to get to the sand. The beach can be reached via the A390, St Austell by-pass by car or on foot via the coastal pathway.
9. Summerleaze Beach
If you're looking for convenience, Summerleaze Beach is close to the centre of Bude and offers a charming escape for families and surfers. The river is nearby and provides breakwater for calm, gentle surf that's perfect for small children. Surfers will enjoy the mid tide that's great for beginner to intermediate surfers, but there can be strong rip currents and cross waves. The beach has a sandy play area, rock pools and a saltwater pool as well. The car park is a short walk from the sand dunes, and there's disabled access.
10. Fistral Beach
Fistral Beach is the centre of the famous surf scene in Cornwall. The long beach is backed by grassy dunes and often experiences massive breaks that are ideal for veteran surfers. If you want to learn to surf, there's a school that offers lessons at the beach. Lifeguards service the beach during the summer season and there are paid car parks next to the beach.
Plan your trip
If you're considering a beach trip, visit Expedia to check out Cornwall hotels and get ready for sun and surf on the area's top beaches.