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 of 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.
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.
Pictured: Pedn Vounder
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.
Pictured: Watergate Bay
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
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.
Pictured: Carlyon bay
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.
Pictured: Watergate Bay
See below for some beach retreat inspiration for your next visit to Cornwall.