How Many Beaches Are There in Cornwall?

5th April 2022

Cornwall is famous for its beaches and coastal path, bordered on all three sides by stretches of sand. Its coastline also differs dramatically depending on where you are in the county – the north coast is exposed to stronger swells, creating rugged cliffs and great surfing beaches, whereas the south coast is generally more sheltered and features untouched and pristine coves.

But how many beaches are there in Cornwall?

From swathes of sand spanning miles along the coast to hidden beaches only accessible at low tide, Cornwall’s coast comprises over 400 beaches. We’ve created a guide to the best beaches in Cornwall, whether you’re looking for a family cove, dog-friendly beach or a watersports spot. So on your next visit to Cornwall, you’ll be able to find the right beach for you.

Interested in staying in our most luxurious holiday cottages? Check out our luxury coastal cottages.

All of our retreats are within walking distance of a Cornish beach. Find your ideal beach from our 33 locations, or browse all beach properties with a sea view.

Secluded coves

Cornwall is unique in its varied coastline and unusual rock formations, which creates secluded caves with beautiful structures. More than simply a flat open beach, these coves are the perfect places to visit for finding hidden sun traps, nooks for picnics and pools to swim in.

Our south coast favourites include Kynance Cove in the Lizard Penninsula and Pedn Vounder, near Porthcurno, both of which are widely regarded as some of the most Instagram-worthy beaches in Cornwall due to their mesmerising rock structures and tropical blue water. If you’re on the north coast, try Little Fistral for a more secluded feel, just along the headland from the main beach.

Check out more of what West Cornwall has to offer and explore our holiday lets in The Lizard Peninsula.

Pictured: Pedn Vounder

Best beaches for watersports

A Cornwall beach holiday is a great place to pick up some new skills in the ocean. The north coast in particular offers a beginner’s surfer haven, with Watergate bay and Fistral beach producing consistent surfing conditions. Or, try your hand at kite surfing in the Atlantic breeze. For a gentler option, try stand up paddleboarding or kayaking on the calm waters of Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth.

Discover Falmouth’s beaches like a local with our insider guide, offering everything you need to know for a memorable seaside escape along the Cornish coast.

Pictured: Watergate Bay

Best beaches for swimming

Wild swimming has massively grown in popularity over recent years, and Cornwall has an array of bays, coves and tidal pools perfect for a cold water dip.  It’s generally best to choose somewhere calmer and away from the main swell, as the sea can be unpredictable. Some popular spots include Newquay harbour, Nanjizal, the natural rock arch near Land’s End, and the River Fowey. Always check tide times and safety advice before dipping, and never dip alone.

Pictured: Newquay Harbour

Best beaches for families

What does a family beach look like? To us, it’s a curve of soft sand for castle building, a shoreline for paddling and shell collecting, a sea safely watched by lifeguards, and perhaps a gentle river or stream for little feet to splash about in. This scene comes a reality along the Cornish coast, with the likes of Porth beach, its neighbouring Mawgan Porth and Carlyon bay all popular family beach choices.

Find a family retreat.

Pictured: Carlyon bay

Dog friendly beaches

Last but not least, Cornwall is a paw paradise, with miles of sand and rural space for your four legged friends to run about in. Although some beaches have seasonal dog bans in place, there are plenty which welcome dogs all year round. Some of our favourites include Perranporth beach and Watergate bay, both huge beaches which at low tide reveal endless space for dog walks.

Find a dog friendly retreat here.

Pictured: Watergate Bay

See below for some beach retreat inspiration for your next visit to Cornwall.