Cornwall is an incredible region of Southern England to explore! With stunning coastal towns, some pretty incredible castles and the most beautiful hotels, it’s the kind of place that’s as charming as it is beautiful. This is no more so than with the picturesque coastline that’s home to some of the best beaches in Cornwall to visit.
Over the years, we’ve popped across to Cornwall many times, and we always find a new little cove, beach or coast that’s too idyllic to miss. With over 400-miles of coastline, you’ll be totally spoilt for choice!
So, to make things that bit easier, we wanted to share our favourite places in Cornwall where you can find a great beach. From tiny little coves to more lively and popular spots, I guarantee there’ll be a fair few gems that you’ll love.
Take a look, below, at the best beaches in Cornwall to visit. Have an amazing time exploring the Cornish coast!
1.) Lantic Bay
Looked after by the National Trust, Lantic Bay is a gorgeous area to visit whilst exploring the south coast of Cornwall. About an hour drive from Plymouth, it’s one of the best beaches in Cornwall to visit if you’re wanting a little day trip away from the streets of the city.
Although pebbly (very fine stones, not big ones), it’s still got a heap of charm and a shoreline that matches any sandy beach in Cornwall.
Trust me, the beach itself is stunning and, although it can be a steep meander down to the shore, it’s totally worth it. As with all cliff paths, exercise caution when rambling down and don’t stray off the pathways. After all, no one want’s a careless hiker.
Finished lapping up the waves? Drive over to Polruan and join the little boats that hop over to Fowey. It’s the other side of the River mouth and both are picturesque.
2.) Pedn Vounder Beach
Perched within the larger Porthcurno Cove area, Pedn Vounder Beach is a stunning place to visit when rambling the South West Coastal Path. Not only that, but you’ve also got nearby Porthcurno Beach that’s just a stone’s throw away. In fact, you can easily do both in one day and stop off at Logan Rock to see the sunset views.
It’s beautiful and well worth exploring, as long as you slap that SPF on! Honestly, the wind is deceptive here and you can burn really fast!
There are quite a few reasons why Perranporth is one of the best beaches in Cornwall to enjoy! Not only does it have some incredible surfing opportunities but it also has one huge stretch of golden sandy beaches that make this totally idyllic to visit.
Just down the coastline from Newquay, it’s really easy to visit (and sometimes a little quieter) than the town itself.
After a day in the surf, grab a huge ice cream sundae from Perran Dairy Ice Cream Parlour. It’s so good!
4.) Pentire Steps Beach
Just up the coast from Mawgan Porth, Pentire Steps Beach is a little more secluded and sometimes forgotten little gem that’s well worth a visit. Although harder to access than some of the more popular and best beaches in Cornwall, it’s totally worth a gander if you’re already walking the coastal route from Porthcothan.
It’s totally blissful and stays relatively quiet most of the year… even in peak season! Just be sure to take all your beach supplies with you (it’s a trek down) and be aware of the tides. Tidal ranges can be quite significant here and it’s best to leave before the tide comes back in.
Afterwards, take a drive over to Padstow and gorge at Rick Stein’s Seafood Bar for tasty fish and chips.
5.) Harlyn Bay Beach
One of the more popular beaches in Cornwall, it’s a great place for all the family to enjoy! Filled with oodles of space and sandy shorelines, it’s the kind of spot that’s big and beautiful.
Depending on the winds, it’s also a great beach for surfing that’s so much fun! Best of all, there are also lifeguards that monitor the shores in the summer months.
Plus, if you’re fancying staying in the area, check into the Pig at Harlyn Bay. It’s totally lovely and has such a gorgeous vibe.
6.) Padstow Beaches
There’s a heap of the best beaches in Cornwall dotted all around Padstow! This makes it a great place to visit if you’re wanting to ‘test the water’ and see which you love best.
Some of our favourites are; St George’s Cove, Hawker’s Cove and Butterhole Beach which are relatively close to the town itself. If you’re on the other side of the bay, check out Rock Beach which’s more perfect for a stroll (even with your dog).
If you’re looking for a slightly larger beach (with facilities), check out Polzeath Beach which’s not too far at all.
7.) Kynance Cove
Possibly one of the best beaches in Cornwall, and photographed for that matter, Kynance Cove is a gem to visit.
The coastline has some pretty epic blue-green waters which are so gorgeous to see on a still and calm day. Not only that, the colourful heathers and stacks covered are totally impressive to see whilst on a ramble.
All these gems mean that it can get relatively busy at Kynance Cove. So, if you’re wanting to avoid the majority of the crowds then visit on Weekdays and in the early morning (especially as parking fills up fast).
For a longer ramble, follow the coastal paths over to Lizard Point. Along the way, you’ll get some gorgeous views of the Cornish coastline that are second to none!
8.) Gwithian Beach
Gwithian Beach is well-known as a surfers haunt and one of the best beaches in Cornwall for wild sand dunes, too.
Situated right by Godrevy Beach, it’s a totally great coastline that you can easily ramble and visit alongside Towans Beach and a stay in gorgeous St. Ives.
Honestly, it’s the kind of beach that ticks all the boxes. Surfing, families, dogs, dunes.. you name it, it’s perfect for it!
Afterwards, stop by the unpretentious Rum & Crab Shack on the shore of St. Ives, they serve up some of the tastiest crabs on this side of Cornwall.
9.) Porthmeor Beach
If Gwithian and Towans Beaches weren’t enough for you, then be sure to hop over to the other side of St Ives for Porthmeor Beach.
The largest beach in town, it’s also said to be the finest among all the best beaches in Cornwall. Though, I[‘ll leave you to decide on that one!
Awarded a Blue Flag for cleanliness, it’s a stunner of a spot to visit with kids, or alone for a little chill and paddle on the shore.
Afterwards, head to ‘the island’ and ramble across St Ives Head around dusk. The views are lovely on a sunny day.
10.) Watergate Bay
One of our favourite bays in all of Cornwall, Watergate Bay is a total gem to explore and just a stone’s throw from nearby Newquay and the airport.
With its decent waves and golden sand, it’s one of the best beaches in Cornwall for surfers and swimmers. In fact, this is where we first learned to surf – at the surfing school right by the Watergate Bay Hotel.
Fancy staying over? Check into the Watergate Bay Hotel. We stayed here for a long weekend and totally fell in love with it. It has a real seaside and chilled vibe; plus their rooms are gorgeous.
11.) Porthcurno Beach
Some people say that Porthcurno is directly competing against Perranporth to be one of the best beaches in Cornwall. Though, I don’t think there needs to be any competition at all; they’re both totally idyllic.
Nestled against towering cliffs which makes it extraordinary and gorgeous to explore. Plus, the turquoise waters are beautiful on a calm day.
Afterwards, take some time to see the totally iconic The Minack Theatre. It’s so incredible and you might even get to watch a show there!
12.) Fistral Beach
Right on the shores of Newquay, Fistral Beach is probably one of the more famous beaches in Cornwall that’s within easy reach of the town. This means it’s a pretty accessible beach for most which make it great for all the family.
Not only that, Fistral Beach is also the beating heart of the UK’s surfing scene. It’s well worth giving it a shot whilst you’re here.
Yes, you can expect this place to be crowded at times but it’s got a great vibe and lots of amenities within easy reach of the surf.
13.) Treyarnon Bay
A perfect spot to watch the sunset, Treyarnon Bay will never disappoint on a sunny day. With amenities and a small coffee spot, it’s the kind of place that’s well worth a few hours soaking up the rays.
Though, as with most beaches, be cautious of riptides and undercurrents which can be dangerous. Lifeguards are present in the summer months but you should take extreme care nonetheless.
14.) Sennen Cove
Considered one of the most scenic spots in Cornwall, Sennen Cove is great to visit for its impressive waves and picturesque fishing village.
While you are here, you can also hop over to Land’s End which isn’t too far at all. The whole coastline around here is stunning, especially for a ramble to see Enys Dodnan Arch.
Plus, you can easily partner up a trip to Sennen Cove with a visit to Gwynver Beach, too.