Leave your shoes behind but don't forget your bucket and spade. View our choice local beaches on the north Cornwall coast - for families - children (young and old) - couples - dogs and their owners - picnickers - walkers - surfers and body boarders. Something for everyone - we share our guide to some of our favourite beaches - and more!
Of course, it would be as perfect as it gets if your holiday cottage is practically on your favourite beach - and here at West Country Beach Holidays, we do have several properties that are walking distance from the beach - you can view the selection here. We know that's not always possible, so here's our favourite beaches for every occasion.
If parking close-by is important, these are some of our favourites:
Polzeath - this beach is always towards to the top of every list - with parking right on the beach. Though it does get pretty busy, especially if the surf is good. Weekly parking options are available - see Cornwall Councils website for details.
Next door is Baby Bay - accessed from Polzeath on foot at low water, but with parking close by in New Polzeath when the tide is in. Known as Polzeath’s little sister, Baby Bay is more popular with swimmers looking to avoid the surfers and body boarders of Polzeath - go for an early morning dunk with just the sea birds for company.
Daymer Bay - is more sheltered than Polzeath - it's rare to see big waves - so often easier for swimming within the bay. There's no life guard, but it is dog friendly all year round and has parking (via an app) close by - please ensure you follow the instructions as there have been comments about penalty notices.
Rock Beach not only has a car park right by the beach - but there's also access to the ferry to Padstow. It has wonderful long stretches of sandy beach with wonderful dunes - it's a great place for all the family and you get a nice sunset too.
Harlyn Bay is another favourite - the car park is next to the beach - its dog friendly - and it's slightly more north facing aspect makes it quite sheltered.
Next on our list is Constantine Bay with parking right next to the beach. Depending on the conditions, this is also a great place to surf, and at low water there are some wonderful rock pools to explore.
View our holiday properties within walking distance of a beach here.
For those in search of some action ...
Again, Polzeath features towards the top of our list - with a variety of options for tuition and adventure from surfing to paddleboarding and kayaking to coasteering - look at Surf's Up and Era Adventures to name just a couple.
Next, the sheltered cove of Port Gaverne is home to Cornish Rock Tors who offer a wild swimming experience. Whether you are a triathlete in training or a casual swimmer looking for a fun experience, Cornish Rock Tors can get you out and swimming with confidence. The experienced guides are all lifeguard trained and will tailor a route to suit your ability.
View West Country Beach Holidays Active Holiday ideas here
Off the beaten track
Our favourite 'secret' beaches all involve a bit of a walk to get to but that's the beauty of them - and once there, you can relax and dream of discovering your own.
Tregardock Beach - there are no facilities and the beach can only be reached by a walk either via Trebarwith Strand and Backways Cove or from Delabole direction. It is a bit of a treck to get there - but it really is worth it for the pristine and secluded beach.
Near Padstow is Hawkers Cove. Due to the limited parking this is usually very quiet and at high water there's just a little patch of sand and a slipway. Its a beautiful sheltered spot overlooking the entrance to the Camel Estuary.
Greenaways Beach is one of our favourites - check the tides before you go, as it is best to arrive when the tide has started to go out - otherise there's hardly any beach to see! The sand is coarse and there's lots of lovely rock pools. Parking is not too far away at Tristram, and from there its a walk along the coast path, and then a some steep steps down. Many a happy hour searching for special pebbles and an elusive Cowrie shell.
View our Romantic holiday ideas here.
For some of us with a dog (or two), the idea of holidaying by the beach without them is inconceivable - so our favourite beaches without any restrictions are:-
Trebarwith Strand - owned by the National Trust - is a mile long sandy beach best visited when the tide is out. Do make sure to check tide times as people have been cut off. Parking is close by.
Harlyn - also mentioed above as the car park is very convenient. A lovely family beach with a friendly cafe.
Please dont forget to clean up after your dog and either place in a nearby bin, or take away with you.
View our Dog Friendly holiday properties here.
And the all-essentials - from a delicious ice cream to snacks or nearby pubs and restaurants
Top of the list again is Polzeath - with a choice of coffee bars, ice cream shops - beach cafe's and more. I seem to remember the ice cream from Vanilla was delicious - but perhaps I need to try some more!
The beach at Rock is very close to The Blue Tomato cafe - something of a local institution and a visit is a must - for a drink, snack - eat in or takeaway. From Rock, the ferry to Padstow takes you to foodie haven and there are just too many options to talk about. Theres probably more choice of ice cream flavours and places to buy than days in a holiday!
At Harlyn there's the Beach Box cafe right on the beach - or, for something more sophisticated, about a 10 minute walk through the village is one of the well known Pig restaurants.
And, of course, in the summer, most beaches will have pop-up restaurants, bars and be visited by an ice cream van.
View our Foodie holiday ideas here.