A dreamy year-round destination, Cornwall invites families to share cherished moments on sandy shores throughout the year. From expertly crafted sandcastle fortresses ringed by protective moats to energetic games of cricket followed by cooling dunks in the sea to picnics of thickly cut sandwiches and homemade lemonade from the cool box, Cornwall’s beaches provide the perfect arena for holiday bliss.
With so many beaches and coves all around the county to choose from for family-friendly fun, it can be a little hard to know where to start. Fortunately, we’ve put together a list of some of the best beaches for kids in Cornwall, so you can enjoy sand-between-toes adventures with your little ones.
You can jump to your favourite beach from the list below, or scroll on to read more about Cornwall beach holidays with the kids.
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Family-friendly Gyllyngvase Beach
A short walk from Falmouth town centre, Gyllyngvase – or Gylly, as the locals call it – is one of the top beaches for kids in Cornwall. Overlooked by a great restaurant and several activity providers offering water-based adventures, there is plenty available to keep everyone happy, from tots to teens. Book your children onto a stand-up paddleboarding course and watch them experience the joy of conquering the perfect balancing technique, or simply spread out blankets and gather everyone around for a hearty picnic under the sun.
Access to the beach is flat, making it great for families with pushchairs. There are public WCs with baby-changing facilities so there’s no need for a panicked WC run! The Gylly Beach Cafe is, as the name would suggest, on the beach making it convenient to grab an ice cream, a drink or some proper lunch. The beach itself has soft, golden sand which is perfect for sandcastle building and there are plenty of rock pools for discovering marine life. And in the summer, bouncy castles and volleyball nets are set up on the sand.
Family-friendly Perranporth Beach
A huge sandy beach, Perranporth is an excellent choice for families of all sizes. Only a hop, skip and a jump from shops and eateries and affording ample space for everyone to find a quiet corner on the sand, you are ideally sandwiched between coast and conveniences. Take your little one by the hand and enjoy a paddle in the stream that cuts across the beach and let older children explore the fascinating caves and sea pool. Perranporth Beach also welcomes fur babies year-round (although they must be kept on leads in July and August).
Only 8 miles from Newquay, this is a great alternative to Fistral Beach if you like a little more space and fewer crowds. You could walk the sandy beach for miles if the little ones had the energy, or you can take them in for their first surf. There are plenty of rock pools to stare into and when the time comes, the town offers a plethora of ice cream parlours, including some that offer doggy ice cream. There’s a pub right on the beach if Mum and Dad want a taste of amber nectar and at low tide, the rock formations on the beach provide the perfect climbing frame. Sit back, sip your beer and let the kids play.
Family-friendly Poldhu Cove
Tucked into a sandy crook of the Lizard Peninsula, Poldhu Cove near Mullion is a great option for families with youngsters in tow. Served by an award-winning beach cafe with a menu of simple hot food and cold drinks and snacks, as well as an excellent Cornish surf school run by local man Dan Joel, children will be in their element making themselves at home with buckets and spades. For mini beachgoers, there is a shallow stream embedded in the middle of the beach that is wonderful for first-time paddlers.
This lovely west-facing beach, also known as Black Pool Cove, is close to Mullion if you need to pick up a picnic en route and has lifeguards throughout the summer. Poldhu is National Trust-owned and offers safe swimming between the flags and surfers often frequent this spot too. If the kids are interested in a bit of history during their beach picnic, then there is a monument to Marconi along the southern cliff. Marconi was a great inventor who sent the first wireless signal.
Family-friendly Porthminster Beach
Truly paradisaical, St Ives’ Porthminster has to be one of the best beaches in Cornwall full-stop. A haven for all, from little nippers to big kids, it rewards visitors with white sand, impossibly blue seas and a smattering of restaurants and cafes, as well as St Ives’ wider assortment of bistros and boutiques just a short walk away. Douse the kids in sun cream and look forward to great days out in Cornwall with the kids playing hours of frisbee, making sand angels and cooling off in the heavenly waters before flopping back on your towel and wholeheartedly embracing the holiday vibe.
There is certainly a tropical feel to Porthminster and as you sit back and take in the views of Godrevy Lighthouse with the palm trees behind you, you start to see why. The azure waters are safe for swimming thanks to the sheltered aspect and if you’ve brought your bodyboard, the waters are sometimes suitable but you won’t find any surfing going on here. The award-winning beach café offers great seafood options for lunchtime and if you and the family need a sand-free activity, there’s an 18-hole mini golf course behind the beach.
Family-friendly Summerleaze Beach
One of Bude’s beautiful beaches, Summerleaze Beach in Bude is particularly popular amongst families with children for its superb sea pool. Part natural, part man-made, the sea pool is refreshed with each tide and provides safe swimming conditions for little fish and bathers still gaining confidence in the water. A handy advantage, the beach is also only a short stroll from Bude town centre so you can regroup and refuel in one of the great restaurants waiting to welcome you in later on.
If you’re expecting the sun to be a little fierce, you can always book one of the pretty beach huts through the Bude Tourist Information Centre, or failing that you could take the kids to look around the RNLI shop, popping to the WC on the way back. There is lifeguard cover during the summer, the Easter holidays and also over the October half term. The water is surfable at all tides if you were thinking of taking older children in on their boards, just research and be aware of the rip tides here.
Family-friendly Praa Sands
A long sliver of powdery soft sand, Praa Sands is a strong contender for the best beach for kids in Cornwall. With shops offering board and equipment hire, vendors selling deliciously thick ice creams topping crunchy, chocolate-dipped cones and a restaurant and bar overlooking the glistening waters, you can relish all the primal appeal of a day by the sea whilst still enjoying great access to high quality, child-friendly amenities.
This south-west-facing beach is a mile of blindingly white sand that is backed by a series of dunes that offer some protection from offshore winds, meaning the shallow paddling waters are perfect for parents and their little ones. The beach is terrific for sandcastles and there are likely to be a few surfers in the water, which is great if your kids need a little encouragement to get into the water or even if they just want to watch. There is lifeguard cover during the summer months, and dogs are allowed on the beach most of the year, just not from 10am to 6pm during July and August.
Family-friendly Treyarnon Bay
Just around the corner from the surfing hotspot of Constantine Bay, Treyarnon Bay flaunts a gorgeous expanse of soft sand that gently slopes towards the sea. Backed by dunes and etched with rocky nooks and crannies, it’s the ideal adventure playground for little kids and big kids at heart. As well as Constantine Bay village, St Merryn is only a couple of miles away and Padstow is 4 miles away, both hosting a wide variety of shops and restaurants where your kids will be sure to find a sweet treat or souvenir.
The small car park can get busy on sunny days so you may want to get here early. There are also WCs and a small shop but we’d recommend bringing a picnic with you for the day. After eating, continue the adventures, exploring the rock pools and venturing to the north of the beach to test out the natural swimming pool. Treyarnon Bay was even recommended as one of the best family beaches in the Padstow area by the Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide.
Map of the top beaches for kids in Cornwall
Family holidays in Cornwall
After all the fun you’ve had with the kids on the beach, you’ll need somewhere to wash all the sand off them, before feeding them a proper meal and letting them recuperate in comfortable beds. In our collection, we have cottages with outdoor showers and taps, holiday homes with hot tubs for mum and dad, properties with swimming pools for salt-free swims, and all manner of family-friendly abodes. Tap the button now to get searching.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.