If you're looking for a beach holiday close to home, Northern Ireland is filled with spectacular beaches that offer everything from a day in the surf to nature walks. Here are our picks for the best beaches in Northern Ireland.

The Best Beaches in Northern Ireland

Whiterocks Beach

This Blue Flag beach in Portrush is popular with surfers, families, and those looking for a gorgeous stretch of beach. With stunning limestone cliffs and plenty of caves and arches to explore, this beach near the Causeway Coast route is definitely one to consider on a holiday to Northern Ireland.

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Portstewart Strand

Known locally as "The Strand", Portstewart Strand is one of Northern Ireland's most popular beaches. With plenty to do - swimming, surfing, and horseback riding included - this beach is perfect for a family day out or for those looking for a bit of activity on their holiday. There are plenty of hotels near Portstewart Strand so that you can stay and enjoy the beach for as long as you'd like!

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Rathlin Island

Rathlin Island, only accessible by ferry across the Sea of Moyle, is ruggedly beautiful and perfect for a day trip. Its beaches are home to many puffins from April to July. The island is also home to a working lighthouse and the Boathouse Visitor Centre, where guests can learn about the local history and see some of the shipwrecks that have occurred near the island.

Downhill Beach

Downhill Beach is surely one of the most beautiful beaches in Northern Ireland. With golden sand, dramatic cliffs, and the stunning Mussenden Temple in the background, this beach offers plenty to see and do. Known for its fantastic water sports, it definitely deserves a stop when you're in Northern Ireland. And Game of Thrones fans take note: Downhill Beach was used for the location of Dragonstone!

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Cranfield Beach

Cranfield Beach is a lovely spot to do a bit of walking, or to hire a boat for the day. Popular with families, this beach is ideal on a warm summer's day, although naturists will love it all year round; there's plenty of good wildlife spotting here, including some bird watching in the area.

Castlerock Beach

While it can get a bit busy in the warmer months, Castlerock Beach can often be quite serene and peaceful, especially those looking for a relaxing walk along the water. The beach is kept very clean, so it's great for kids to do some exploring, too. There are plenty of hotels near Castlerock Beach if you'd like to base yourself in the area!