A Complete Guide to the Best Family Beaches in Cornwall

Cornwall has over 400 miles of coastline just waiting to be explored. Scattered around the coast, you’ll find over 300 stunning beaches, secluded coves and secret beach beaches. From the vast touristy beaches of Porthmeor, St Ives and Perranporth to the hidden treasures of Kyance cove and Porthgwidden, St Ives. If you’re planning a family holiday to Cornwall, you should stay near one of the best Cornwall, UK beaches to make your trip even more amazing.

Here’s a complete guide to the best family beaches in Cornwall, including the best beaches in South Cornwall and the best beaches in North Cornwall to get you started in planning that perfect Cornwall family holiday. You’ll discover some of the best secluded beaches in Cornwall, pebble beaches in Cornwall and the best swimming beaches in Cornwall. You’ll definitely have a list of your top 10 beaches in Cornwall fr your next trip after this!

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Best Beaches in Cornwall Map

Blue Flag Beaches Cornwall

The prestigious blue flag award means that beaches have met the prestigious criteria including water quality, safety and services and environmental management.

Each year the beach has to earn its blue flag status to be assured of the amazing qualities on your visit.

Please note that blue flag status is not given to smaller coves. The award is often given to more tourist orientated beaches, but you can guarantee certain safety services and a level of safety at a blue flag beach.

Only seven beaches in Cornwall have been awarded a blue flag. These are, without a doubt, some of the most beautiful beaches in Cornwall and some of the best beaches in Britain:

  • Porthminster Beach – St Ives
  • Porthmeor Beach – St Ives
  • Carbis Bay Beach – Carbis Bay
  • Gyllvgvase beach – Falmouth
  • Porthtowan Beach – Porthtowan
  • Great Western Beach – Newquay
  • Trevone Beach – Padstow
  • Widemouth Bay Beach – Bude

Best Family Beaches in Cornwall A-Z

Carbis Bay Beach – Blue Flag

best family beaches in Cornwall, Carbis bay beach, St Ives, Cornwall with kids

Carbis Bay Beach is located just three minutes by train from St Ives’ town, featuring pure white sand and crystal clear water. The beach is less busy than those in St Ives but still gets very crowded during peak season. The sea is usually calm, so it’s the perfect beach for the little ones to swim.

Walking from St Ives to Carbis Bay is a great activity to do with kids and teens. The walk takes in some of the South West Coast Path and has amazing views of Porthminster Beach and Carbis Bay beach from up high.

Location | TR26 2NWWest Cornwall

Features: Blue Flag Award, RNLI Lifeguards (seasonal)

Amenities: Parking, Cafe, Restaurant, shop, toilets

Stay: Carbis Bay Hotel

How to get to Carbis Bay Beach

To drive to Carbis Bay Beach, take the A3074 to St Ives. Pass through the village of Lelant and take the right hand turning signposted ‘Carbis Bay Beach’. Parking at Carbis Bay beach on arrival in Carbis Bay.

Parking on Carbis Bay beach can be as much as £20 per day, so you may want to consider using public transport or the JustPark app to find cheaper parking. It’s also possible to walk from St Ives along the south-west coast path.

The A17 (St Ives to St Just via Penzance) and the T2 bus (St Ives to Truro via Hayle, Camborne and Redruth) stop in Carbis Bay.

The St Ives branch line train also stops in Carbis Bay, the train ride is one of the most scenic beaches in the UK and one not to be missed! You can board the train in St Ives, Lelant or St Erth.

Carne Beach, Roseland Penninsula

Carne Beace Cornwall, Roseland Peninsula, Best family beaches in Cornwall
Image Credit: Reading Tom

Carne Beach is a remote beach located on the Roseland Penninsula and protected by the National Trust. This beach is best visited at low-tide where a vast expanse of shingle beach is present. There’s still a thin stretch of beach at high tide to enjoy. Rocks are on either side and great for rock climbing and rock pooling.

Location: TR2 5AGSouth Coast

Features: Dog Friendly, Parking

Amenities: Restaurant (at the Nare hotel)

Stay: Nare Hotel – One of the most luxury hotels in Cornwall.

Related Post: Best Theme Parks in Cornwall for Families

Crantock Beach, Newquay

Crantock beach, Newquay with kids, best beaches in Cornwall, Cornwall beaches, Best beaches in North Cornwall
Image Credit: Michael Podge

This huge expanse of golden sand owned by the National Trust is great for families. Just a 15 minute drive away from Newquay, the beach is well worth the trip.

Crantock beach also benefits from being part of the South West Coast Path, a 630-mile mega-walk around Cornwall, Devon and beyond from Poole in Dorset to Minehead in Somerset. Walking the coast either side of Crantock beach will enable you to experience the coast path.

The beach is backed on either side with dunes, making a fabulous walk. Calm days make Crantock good for snorkelling and swimming, while windier days provide an opportunity for surfing and wind surfing. Canoes are also available to hire.

Location: TR8 5SE

Features: RNLI Lifeguarded

Amenities: Parking, toilets, coffee bar, shop

Stay: The Pentire Hotel

How to get to Crantock Beach

To drive to Crantock beach, take the A3075 towards Goonhavern. Take a right turn, following local signage.

Using public transport, Bus 85 service between Newquay and Truro stops in Crantock village, where it’s a 1/2 mile walk to the beach.

Fistral Beach, Newquay

selective photography of surfboard on seashore, Fistral beach Newquay
Photo by Leif Christoph Gottwald on Unsplash

As one of the world’s most famous surfing beaches, Fistral is one of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall – the perfect place to learn to surf. Backed by cliffs and dunes, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful scenery.

If you visit Fistral Beach at the right time, you might even see a surf competition. Famous events include Boardmasters, National surf championships and Groms. If you’re planning on going in the water with kids, make sure you visit when the lifeguards are present.

Location: TR7 1HYNorth Cornwall Coast

Features: RNLI Lifeguards (1st April – 29th October).

Amenities: Toilets, showers, key holding, beach wheelchair, chargeable parking, bar, takeaway, restaurant

Stay: Fistral Beach Hotel & Spa

How to get to Fistral beach

Fistral beach is just a 5-minute walk from Newquay’s town centre. There’s a train service to Newquay from Par on the mainline, taking you straight into the town centre.

Newquay bus station has buses running all over Cornwall. From Truro, catch the 87 bus by First Kernow for 1 hour, 28 minutes to reach Newquay.

Newquay is a 28-minute drive from Truro, 48 minutes from St Ives and 33 minutes from Padstow.

Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth – Blue Flag

Falmouth with kids, blue flag beach, Falmouth, Gyllngvase beach
Image by Henry Burrows | Flikr

As one of the best beaches in Falmouth for families, Gyllngvase beach is a vast expanse of sand only 10 minutes walk away from Falmouth centre, where you’ll find plenty of unique shops and restaurants. The beach itself is overlooked by the famous Pendennis castle and has views toward the Roseland Peninsula.

Location: TR11 4PA

Features: Blue Flag Award, RNLI Lifeguards, pushchair friendly, car park

Amenities: Watersports, cafe, shops nearby

Stay: St Michaels Resort

How to get to Gyllngvase Beach

Gyllngvase Beach is 5-minute walk from the town centre of Falmouth. If you’re driving to the beach from elsewhere, there’s a car park at the beach.

To reach Falmouth by train, there’s a local train service from the mainline station of Truro via Penryn and Falmouth docks.

To reach Falmouth by bus, board the U1 from Truro (46 minutes) or the U4 from Helston (1 hour).

Harlyn Bay, Padstow

Harlyn Bay, Padstow, things to do in Padstow, Padstow beaches Cornwall
Image Credit: Shirokazan

Just west of Padstow, Harlyn Bay Beach is one of the best beaches in North Cornwall and perfect to visit as a family. The vast expanse of beach is also popular with surfers, and the beach is an excellent place to learn to surf. Kids will love rock pooling. There are rock pools scattered around the edge of the beach.

Note: Access from the car park is not pushchair friendly. However, there’s a slipway just down the road from the car park to make access easier.

Location | PL28 8SQNorth Cornwall Coast

Features: RNLI Lifeguards (5 May – 30 September), Easter bank holiday and weekends during April)

Amenities: Surfschool, shop, toilets

Stay: The Pig at Harlyn Bay OR View our top campsite recommendations in and around Padstow here >>

Kennack Sands, Lizard Peninsula

Kennack Sands, Cornwall, Lizard Peninsula, best family beaches in Cornwall
Image Credit: Reading Tom

This more remote beach is located on the picturesque Lizard peninsula. The beach is very sheltered and significantly less windy than others in Cornwall, and there are plenty of rockpools for the kids to play in. Kennack Sands is also popular with surfers, and it’s a great place to learn to surf.

Location: TR12 7AP

Features: RNLI Lifeguards seasonally (weekends 19 May – 6 July and daily 7 July – 2 September)

Amenities: Toilets, Cafe, shop, toilets

Stay: Cadgwith Cove Inn

How to get to Kennack Sands

To drive to Kennack sands, take the Ruan Major turning from the main Helston-Lizard road. Continue through Kuggar to Kennack Sands.

The Lizard Peninsula is difficult to visit by public transport. From Helston, take bus 34 toward the Lizard for 43 minutes and get off at Kuggar. There are no train stations nearby. Buses to the Lizard leave from nearby Redruth train station.

Kyance Cove, Lizard Peninsula

Kyance Cove, Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall beaches, The Lizard, Helston, Cornwall coast
Image Credit: Chris Lovelock

Kyance Cove is a National Trust site on the Lizard Peninsula – one of the most famous beauty spots in Cornwall and one of the most photographed, filmed and painted beaches in the UK.

The beach is famous for its white sand, turquoise sea and rock stacks. Rather than a beach for a day in the sun, Kyance cove is more of a key sight to see in Cornwall to take in its natural beauty and a picturesque walk.

Note: Plan your visit by the tide as the beach almost disappears at high tide. The descent is quite steep with steps at the bottom of the path onto the beach and can take about 10 minutes; there’s also an alternative pushchair route that is flatter and follows a track around the beach’s back to emerge by the café. This route, which you’ll need to take at high tide, takes between 15 to 20 minutes. There is no public vehicular access to the cove. 

Location: TR12 7PJ

Amenities: carpark (10 minutes away), cafe, toilets

Stay: Housel Bay Hotel

How to get to Kyance Cove

Walking to Kyance Cove | The South West Coast Path links Kynance with Lizard to the south, and Mullion to the north and this stretch offers walkers fantastic wild scenery.

Maenporth Beach, Falmouth

Maenporth Beach Falmouth
Image Credit: Tim Green

Just two miles southwest of Falmouth, Maenporth beach is brilliant for kids with shallow, crystal clear waters and a nice family atmosphere.

Location: TR11 5HN

Features: Flat access, parking

Amenities: Shop, cafe

Stay: The Falmouth Hotel OR View our top campsite recommendations in Falmouth here

Polzeath Beach

With its long sweep of fine sandy coast, Polzeath Beach is a popular getaway for families. 

If you like water adventure, you will love the beach even more as its waves are great for surfing or bodyboarding.

Amenities: Lifeguard service, sand chairs, cafes, pubs, dog-friendly, parking, and disabled access

Location: PL22 6TB – North Coast

Perranporth Beach, Newquay

Perranporth Beach

Location: TR6 OND – North Coast

Features: RNLI Lifeguards

Stay: It’s best to stay in a holiday cottage in Perranporth so you can be right next to the beach. View the best holiday cottages here.

Porthcurno Beach

Best family beaches in Cornwall

Midway between Penzance and Lands End, Porthcurno beach is one of the prettiest beaches in Cornwall and great for families! You’ll find beautiful white sand, crystal clear waters and surroundings of beautiful scenery. The beach is overlooked by the world-famous Minack Theatre – an open-air theatre.

Location: TR29 6JX – West Cornwall

Features: RNLI Lifeguards (summer season only), car park

Stay: If you want to be right by Porthkernow beach, it’s best to stay in a holiday cottage. Click here to view the best holiday cottages in Porthkernow.

How to get to Porthcurno Beach

If you’re driving to Porthcurno beach, simply take a turn off the coast road between Penzance and Lands End.

To reach Porthcurnow by public transport, you’ll first need to travel to the town of Penzance. To do this, either catch the train to Penzance from almost anywhere in the UK. You can also catch the bus to Penzance (T1 from Truro, Redruth and Camborne and A17 from St Ives. The A1 bus will then take you from Penzance to Porthcurno. The journey from Penzance will take around 45 minutes.

Porthkidney Beach, Lelant

Porthkidney Beach, Lelant

Set between Hayle and St Ives on the South-West Coast path, Porthkidney beach is a huge expanse of sand where you’ll meet far fewer tourists than on the beaches of St Ives. It’s perfect for a quiet family day out.

Location: TR26 3DY – West Cornwall

Features: RNLI Lifeguards

Stay: Boskerris Hotel

How to get to Porthkidney Beach

To drive to Porthkidney beach, the main parking area to walk onto Porthkidney beach is located just in front of St Uni Church. There’s a small path running alongside the church, leading down some steps to the beach.

To reach Porthkidney beach by public transport, catch the St Ives branch line train to Lelant. The beach is a 0.8-mile walk away from the train stop. You can also catch the T2 or A17 bus to Lelant and walk from there.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives – Blue Flag

Porthmeor beach, Blue flag beach, St Ives

Porthmeor beach is one of the best sandy beaches in Cornwall. This vast expanse of sand has a nice family-friendly atmosphere, plenty of rockpools to climb, and lots of rockpools to discover – the perfect place to spend your family holidays in Cornwall.

Porthmeor is one of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall and also the perfect place to learn to surf. The fantastic waves have also named Porthmeor one of the best bodyboarding beaches in Cornwall. St Ives surf school provides some great lessons for kids and adults alike for one of the best family activities in Cornwall!

Location: TR26 1JZWest Cornwall

Features: Blue Flag Award, RNLI Lifeguards (seasonal), car park

Amenities: cafe, takeaway, juice bar, pizza cafe toilets, shower, accessible (down a steep hill at one end or less steep hill on the island side).

Stay: Find a nearby holiday cottage in the Porthmeor or Downalong area at Holidaycottages.co.uk here.

How to get to Porthmeor Beach

There’s a small car park just above porthmeor beach. There’s also another car park on the beach’s island side, which is larger. If you’re visiting in high season, park in the much larger Trenwith car park at the top of St Ives and catch the bus which regularly runs to Porthmeor beach via St Ives Rugby Club. You can also walk from Trenwith car park to Porthmeor beach.

To reach Porthmeor beach by public transport, either catch the train to the mainland station of St Erth then board the St Ives branch line and walk to Porthmeor beach.

You can also catch the T1 bus from Truro, Redruth, Camborne or Hayle or the A17 from Penzance, St Erth and Carbis Bay.

Porthminster Beach, St Ives – Blue Flag

Porthminster beach St Ives, best family beaches in Cornwall

Porthminster beach is one of the best beaches in England, and I think it’s the best beach in Cornwall. The white sand is fringed with palm trees, and the sea stays calm most of the year. You’ll have fantastic views out into St Ives Bay towards Godrevy Lighthouse and St Ives town.

Location: TR26 2EB

Features: Blue Flag Award, RNLI Lifeguards, parking

Amenities: Shower, beach wheelchair, takeaway, restaurant, cocktail bar, shop, ice-cream shop

Stay: St Ives Harbour Hotel and Spa or find a holiday cottage here

Porthminster beach, St Ives, Cornwall with kids

How to get to Porthminster Beach

There’s a small car park at St Ives train station just above Porthminster beach if you’re driving. Alternatively, you can park at the St Erth park and ride and catch the St Ives branch line train, which stops just above Porthminster beach.

To reach Porthminster via public transport, catch the train from any mainline station to St Erth then the St Ives branch line to St Ives. You can also catch the A17 bus from St Erth and Penzance and the T1 from Truro, Redruth, Camborne and Hayle. The bus station is a 4-minute walk from Porthminster beach.

Portreath Beach

Portreath Beach, best family beaches in Cornwall

Location: TR16 4PHWest Cornwall

Features: RNLI Lifeguards, lost child centre

Amenities: Toilets, cafe, restaurant

Stay: Click here to view holiday cottages in Portreath

Praa Sands Beach, Helston

Praa Sands beach, best family beaches in Cornwall, cornwall beach

Halfway between the towns of Penzance and Helston, Praa sands is a large stretch of sand with soft golden sand and crystal clear waters. Dunes back the beach itself in a sheltered position, perfect for young kids.

Location: TR20 9TQWest Cornwall

Features: RNLI Lifeguards (seasonal), Car Park

Amenities: Surf shop, beach shop

Stay: Praa Sands Holiday Park

Sennen Beach (Whitesand Bay)

Best beaches in South cornwall, sennen cove, cornwall with kids
Image by Tom Bastin | Flikr

Just a few miles from Lands End – the southernmost point of the UK, Sennen beach is one of the best beaches in west Cornwall. The beach is over a mile long and features golden sand and waves perfect for learning to surf. Some of Sennen beach is backed by dunes making it a perfect sheltered spot for families.

You won’t have to walk far for amenities either. The beach itself has a surf shop, and beach bar, and the village of Sennen is right next to the beach, where you can find a variety of souvenir shops, holiday cottages, takeaways and restaurants to suit all budgets.

If you’re not staying nearby Sennen beach, it’s well worth a trip.

Location: TR19 7DG

Features: RNLI Lifeguards, surf hire, surf lessons, car park

Amenities: Toilets, beach bar, cafe, restaurant, shop

Stay: View the best Sennen holiday cottages and availability here.

How to get to Sennen Beach

The easiest way to get to Sennen beach, especially with kids, is to drive. The beach is 18-minute drive from Penzance, 32 minutes from St Ives and 36 minutes from Porthleven.

The nearest train station to Sennen beach is Penzance – 8.5 miles away. Regular bus service runs between Lands End and Penzance via St Just. Some buses continue onto St Ives.

Summerleaze Beach, Bude

Summerleaze beach, Bude, Bude with kids
Image Credit: David Geen

Summerleaze beach is just five minutes walking from the centre of Bude – a perfect location for families.

View the best beaches in Bude here >>>

Location: EX23 8HN

Features: RNLI Lifeguards (seasonal), car park, sandy play area, sea pool, RNLI Shop

Amenities: Beach huts toilets

Stay: The Beach at Bude Hotel

How to get to Summerleaze Beach

Click here for in-depth information on getting to Bude

Widemouth Bay – Blue Flag

Widemouth Bay beach, Cornwall, best beaches in Cornwall
Image Credit: Robert Pittman

Widemouth Bay is one of the most popular beaches with families in Cornwall. The slight wind makes the beach perfect for bodysurfing, bodyboarding and learning to surf. When the tide is out, there are plenty of puddles to splash around in and rock pools to explore and go fishing.

Features: Blue Flag Award, RNLI Lifeguards (weekends/seasonal)

Amenities: Ramp onto the beach, toilets, cafe

Stay: Widemouth Manor

How to get to Widemouth Bay

Widemouth Bay is just 5 minutes from Bude driving. You can read how to get to Bude in this post.

For more help on planning the perfect trip to Cornwall with kids, visit our Cornwall Travel Planning Guide.

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Which beach do YOU think is the best family beach in Cornwall? Let us know in the comments below:

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