Cornwall, with its 400 miles of coastline, stunning turquoise waters, and golden sand, is a dream destination for family holidays. With so many beaches to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start.
To help you out, I've compiled a list of the 22 best beaches in Cornwall for families, taking into consideration factors like accessibility, shallow waters for young children, rock pools for exploration, and, of course, ice cream!
Whether it's building sandcastles, catching a wave, or simply soaking up the sun, the best beaches in Cornwall for families offer something for everyone. With these insider tips from a local (me!), you'll be well-equipped to plan the ultimate seaside getaway!
You might also like to read about the top dog friendly beaches in North Cornwall!
- Best Beaches in Cornwall for Families
- Sandymouth Beach (North Cornwall)
- Summerleaze Beach (North Cornwall)
- Widemouth Bay (North Cornwall)
- Polzeath Beach (North Cornwall)
- Harlyn Bay (North Cornwall)
- Treyarnon Bay (North Cornwall)
- Mawgan Porth (North Cornwall)
- Watergate Bay (North Cornwall)
- Crantock Beach (North Cornwall)
- Perranporth Beach (North Cornwall)
- Chapel Porth, St Agnes (North Coast)
- Gwithian Beach (North Coast)
- Carbis Bay (North Coast)
- Porthminster Beach (St. Ives)
- Sennen Cove (West Cornwall)
- Porthcurno Beach (West Cornwall)
- Praa Sands (South Coast)
- Kynance Cove (Lizard Peninsula)
- Gyllyngvase Beach (Falmouth)
- Carne Beach (Roseland Peninsula)
- Porthpean Beach (St Austell)
- East Looe Beach (South Coast)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Best Beaches: A Recap
- You might also like
- 💬 Comments
Best Beaches in Cornwall for Families
Get ready for a coastal escapade as I take you on a tour from Sandymouth Beach (near Bude) on the North Coast, meandering along the picturesque Cornish coastline, and finishing up in Looe on the South Coast. This carefully curated journey will uncover the best family-friendly beaches Cornwall has to offer.
Sandymouth Beach (North Cornwall)
Sandymouth Beach, in North Cornwall (a stone's throw from Devon), is a true gem of the region, boasting dramatic cliffs, intriguing rock formations, and a vast expanse of golden sand, not to mention Sandymouth beach cafe perched above the beach, offering a range of delicious hot and cold food (try the Surf Burger when you visit!).
Managed by the National Trust, this picturesque beach is well-maintained and equipped with a dedicated car park nearby, ensuring visitors can park with ease. Although the beach is accessible via a moderately steep path from the car park, it might be challenging for those with mobility issues or pushing a stroller.
Nevertheless, it's an excellent destination for families, and children will love exploring the numerous rock pools during low tide.
✔️ Great for rock pooling.
📍Sandymouth Beach EX23 9HW
Summerleaze Beach (North Cornwall)
Located in Bude, Summerleaze Beach is a popular family destination thanks to the unique sea pool (which my kids practically live in during the summer holidays!). It provides a safe and sheltered swimming environment for children, and it's where all three of my children (as well as myself, 35 years previously!) learned to swim.
In addition to the beach's soft golden sand and intriguing rock pools, visitors can enjoy the reassuring presence of RNLI lifeguards during the bustling peak season (as well as the Easter holidays). Bude's town centre is conveniently located just a short stroll away, providing access to a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants (be sure to check out the top dining spots in Bude if you're in the mood for a delicious meal!). I highly recommend stopping by Scoop ice cream shop on Lansdown Road, where you can indulge in authentic Cornish ice cream, as well as an extensive selection of dairy-free options (and even ice cream for your four-legged friend!).
✔️ Best sea pool in North Cornwall.
📍Summerleaze Beach, Bude, EX23 8HJ
Widemouth Bay (North Cornwall)
A much-loved family favourite of ours is Widemouth Beach, located 2 miles south of Bude. This beach is our top choice when we're seeking a perfect blend of surfing and rock pooling adventures (and it's just a 5-minute drive from our house!).
Families will appreciate the ample space available for picnics, sandcastle building, and beach games, while the waves offer an ideal environment for swimmers and novice surfers. During the summer months (and Easter holidays), visitors can feel secure knowing that RNLI lifeguards are on duty, ensuring a safe experience for everyone. For those interested in exploring, the beach is bordered by lots of small rock pools, providing an opportunity to discover fascinating marine life.
✔️ Great for surfing and bodyboarding.
📍 Widemouth Beach, Widemouth Bay, Bude, EX23 0AW
Polzeath Beach (North Cornwall)
Polzeath Beach, on the North Cornwall coast near Wadebridge, is a great spot for families, offering miles of golden sand and a Blue Flag status for its pristine water quality. The beach is easily accessible, and there are RNLI lifeguards on duty during the summer months. Polzeath is also known for its surf schools, making it an excellent choice for families interested in learning to surf together.
✔️ Blue flag beach and great for surfing.
📍Polzeath Beach, Polzeath, Wadebridge PL27 6TB
Harlyn Bay (North Cornwall)
Harlyn Bay, near Padstow, is a beautiful sandy beach with rock pools and shallow waters, perfect for families with young children. The beach offers easy access, a large car park, and seasonal lifeguards, ensuring a safe and enjoyable day out. Harlyn Bay is also a great spot for surfing, with several surf schools nearby.
✔️Accessible with a large car park.
📍Harlyn Bay, PL28 8SB
Treyarnon Bay (North Cornwall)
Treyarnon Bay is a great family-friendly beach destination. The beach offers a wide expanse of fine sand that's perfect for children to play and explore. Facilities at Treyarnon are basic, but there are public toilets, a small beach store, and a coffee and ice cream hut. The beach is also wheelchair accessible, with sand chairs available to hire.
It's also a popular surf spot from mid to high tide, making it a great destination for families who love water sports. Overall, Treyarnon Bay is a pretty and gentle family beach that is perfect for a day out with the kids.
✔️ Sand chair available for disabled visitors.
📍Treyarnon Bay, PL28 8JS
Mawgan Porth (North Cornwall)
Mawgan Porth is a popular family beach nestled between Bedruthan Steps and Watergate Bay in Newquay, and offers the perfect mix of sand dunes, rock pools, and shallow waters. The beach is easily accessible and has a large car park, making it convenient for families with young children. The nearby village offers a range of facilities, including cafes, surf shops, and public toilets.
Catch Seafood, Bar & Grill, located right next to the beach, is well worth a visit if you love seafood! I recommend the roasted fish and hot seafood platter with a glass of Picpoul de Pinet (which they sell by the glass).
✔️ Great for families with young children.
📍Mawgan Porth, Newquay TR8 4BL
Watergate Bay (North Cornwall)
Watergate Bay is another family favourite, boasting two miles of golden sand, high cliffs, and a range of water sports. The beach has a Blue Flag award and is known for its natural beauty, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists. During high tide, the beach transforms into a fantastic location for surfing and kite flying, while low tide reveals rock pools teeming with marine life for young children to explore.
✔️ Great for kite flying and building sandcastles.
📍Watergate Bay, Newquay, TR8 4AD
Crantock Beach (North Cornwall)
Situated near Fistral Beach on the mouth of the River Gannel, Crantock Beach is a hidden gem on the North Cornwall coast, owned by the National Trust. The beach is backed by dramatic sand dunes and is perfect for building sandcastles or exploring the rock pools at low tide. There is a large car park nearby, as well as public toilets.
✔️ Large accessible car park.
📍 Crantock, Newquay TR8 5RN
Perranporth Beach (North Cornwall)
Perranporth Beach, located between Newquay and St Agnes, is a popular spot for families thanks to its three miles of golden sand, clear waters, and extensive sand dunes. We often stay at the Perran Sands Holiday Park (just behind the dunes) in low season, and have the beach almost to ourselves!
It's an excellent place for surfing, bodyboarding, dune jumping, and kite flying, with surf schools and equipment rental shops available nearby. There are also public toilets, cafes, and a large car park for added convenience. Perranporth Beach is dog-friendly, allowing the whole family to enjoy a day by the sea (though they are required to be on a lead during July & August).
✔️ Best sand dunes for exploring.
📍Perranporth TR6 0BH
Chapel Porth, St Agnes (North Coast)
St Agnes is home to several family-friendly beaches, including Chapel Porth (owned by the National Trust) and Trevaunance Cove. These beaches are known for their soft sand, clear water, and dramatic cliffs. During low tide, the rock pools at Chapel Porth provide endless fun for young children. The nearby village of St Agnes offers a variety of cafes, shops, and ice cream parlours for families to enjoy.
Grab a takeaway pizza from The Cornish Pizza Company (their pizza's are named after local mines) and take it down to the beach at sunset! My favourite is the Wheal Alfred, a goat's cheese, tomato, and black olives combo.
✔️ Dramatic cliffs for a spectacular backdrop.
📍Chapel Porth, St Agnes TR5 0NS
Gwithian Beach (North Coast)
Gwithian Beach is a stunning beach located near Hayle. The beach is part of the longest beach in Cornwall, with a total length of around 4 miles of golden sand. It's a popular destination for families and surfers, with its consistent swell providing good surfing conditions year-round.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including swimming, surfing, kite-surfing, and windsurfing. It's also home to a seal colony, with seals often spotted on the beach and in the water. Facilities at Gwithian Beach include toilets, parking (at nearby Sandy Acres beach), and a seasonal lifeguard service.
✔️ Vast expanse of golden sand.
📍Gwithian Beach, Hayle TR27 5BU
Carbis Bay (North Coast)
Carbis Bay near St Ives is known for its soft sand, clear water, and excellent surf conditions, making it perfect for water sports such as paddle boarding and surfing. St Ives also offers surf schools for older children, plenty of space to play, and a bustling town centre filled with surf shops, ice cream parlors, and eateries.
There are several parking options for Carbis Bay Beach. Carbis Bay Hotel has a small car park which you can pay for, however, spaces are limited and it can fill up quickly. There is also the Porthrepta long stay pay & display car park nearby on the approach road, which is a 5-minute walk from the beach.
✔️ Sheltered beach with turquoise clear water.
📍Carbis Bay, St Ives TR26 2NP
Porthminster Beach (St. Ives)
Porthminster Beach, situated in St. Ives, boasts soft sand, clear waters, and easy access, making it a perfect choice for families with small children. It also offers stunning sea views, and plenty of facilities, including public toilets, cafes, and a large car park. St Ives railway station is located a short 2 minute walk from the beach.
Pick up a Smashed Tomato pizza, just across the road (my kids are a fan of 'The Smasher' pizza), and enjoy it whilst watching the sunset on the beach.
✔️ Beautiful beach close to the railway station.
📍Porthminster Beach, St Ives, TR26 2EB
Sennen Cove (West Cornwall)
Located near Land's End, Sennen Cove is a picturesque beach with a small harbour that adds to its charm. The beach offers a mile of golden sand, making it a great place for families to relax and play. With lifeguards on duty during the summer months, Sennen Cove is a safe choice for swimming and surfing. There are also public toilets, cafes, and surf schools nearby.
✔️Charming harbour at the southern end of the beach.
📍 Sennen Cove, Sennen, TR19 7DG
Porthcurno Beach (West Cornwall)
Porthcurno Beach (owned by the National Trust) is a popular beach in West Cornwall with good reason. The white sand and clear water create a serene atmosphere for families to enjoy. During low tide, the shallow waters are perfect for small children, while the South West Coast Path offers breathtaking sea views for those who want to explore. There is a large car park nearby, as well as public toilets for convenience.
✔️White sand reminiscent of a tropical paradise.
📍Porthcurno, Cornwall TR19 6JX
Praa Sands (South Coast)
Praa Sands is a beautiful beach located on the south-west coast of Cornwall, boasting a mile of golden sand and clear turquoise waters. This beach is perfect for families, offering easy access, a large car park, and lifeguards on duty during the peak season. Young children will love exploring the rock pools at low tide, while older children can try their hand at paddle boarding or bodyboarding.
✔️Lots of parking available.
📍Praa Sands, Penzance TR20 9TB
Kynance Cove (Lizard Peninsula)
Located on the Lizard Peninsula, Kynance Cove is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall, boasting turquoise waters and soft white sand. The beach is only a short walk from the National Trust car park, making it a great place for a family day out at the beach. The cove offers a picturesque backdrop with high cliffs and is perfect for exploring rock pools during low tide.
✔️ Pretty and picturesque (and you might spot a seal).
📍Kynance Cove, Helston TR12 7PJ
Gyllyngvase Beach (Falmouth)
The popular beach is known for its wide arc of golden sand and inviting water, making it a great spot for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is also popular for water sports, with kayaking, paddle-boarding, and windsurfing all available.
Gyllyngvase Beach is a Blue Flag status beach, meaning it's recognised for its high standards of cleanliness, safety, and facilities. Visitors can enjoy a range of amenities, including public toilets, showers, and changing rooms. There's also a beachside café that has won awards for its food and drink (they serve their famous 'Roast on the Coast' every Sunday between 4 - 7 pm). Gyllyngvase Beach is wheelchair accessible, with sand chairs available to hire.
✔️Excellent beach cafe and clean water.
📍Gyllyngvase, Queen Mary Road, Falmouth, TR11 4DP
Carne Beach (Roseland Peninsula)
Carne Beach, located on the Roseland Peninsula near Veryan, is a hidden gem known for its natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere. The beach offers soft sand, clear water, and a backdrop of high cliffs, making it an ideal spot for families seeking a quieter beach experience. There are limited facilities at Carne Beach, so make sure to pack a picnic and enjoy a tranquil day by the sea.
✔️Quiet and unspoilt.
📍Carne Beach, TR2 5PF
Porthpean Beach (St Austell)
Porthpean Beach, near St Austell, is a sheltered, family-friendly beach with soft sand and calm waters. The beach offers easy access and a range of facilities, including a large car park, public toilets, and a nearby cafe. Porthpean Beach is a great place for swimming, rock pooling, paddleboarding, and beach games, making it an excellent choice for a family day out.
✔️ Great for paddleboarding in the calm waters.
📍Porthpean Beach, St Austell, PL26 6AY
East Looe Beach (South Coast)
East Looe Beach is a family-friendly beach on Cornwall's south coast, offering soft sand, shallow waters, and a variety of facilities, including public toilets, cafes, and a lifeboat station. East Looe Beach is also a popular spot for rock pooling and paddle boarding. There's a small car park directly adjacent to the beach and a larger car park by Looe harbour.
✔️Close to the charming town centre of Looe.
📍East Looe Beach, Looe, PL13 2AF
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! All the beaches mentioned in this guide have safe swimming conditions, with lifeguard services available during the summer months.
It's always a good idea to check the specific beach's dog policy before visiting. Cornwall Council has an up-to-date list of beaches with dog restrictions.
The summer months, from June to August, provide the warmest weather and longest days. However, Cornwall is beautiful all year round, and visiting during off-peak seasons like spring or autumn can still offer fantastic beach experiences, with fewer crowds and more affordable accommodation options.
Cornwall is home to a wealth of attractions, including picturesque coastal towns, historic sites, and stunning gardens. Don't miss out on visiting landmarks like the Eden Project, Tintagel Castle, or the Lost Gardens of Heligan for a well-rounded Cornish adventure.
Best Beaches: A Recap
Cornwall truly has a wealth of stunning family-friendly beaches to choose from, each offering its own unique charm and attractions. From the bustling atmosphere of St Ives and the surfing paradise of Polzeath to the child-friendly sea pool at Summerleaze Beach in Bude, there is a beach to suit every family's preferences.
With this list of the best beaches in Cornwall for families in your back pocket, you'll have no trouble finding the perfect spot for your next family holiday. Don't forget to pack sunscreen, beach toys, and, of course, a healthy appetite for ice cream!
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