The 15 best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall holiday cottages

The 15 best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall

Deborah Caine 26 February 2024

With wide open skies and sandy beaches that stretch for days, the stunning county of Cornwall offers the perfect, year-round getaway for you and your pooch.

And with over 300 beaches across Cornwall and 250 miles of coastline, it comes as no surprise that the region offers an abundance of dog-friendly beach options for you and your pup to explore, come rain or shine.

From the uber-accessible to the more remote, free-spirited finds, our handpicked selection showcases some of the very best dog-friendly beaches Cornwall has to offer. And, at the time of writing, said beaches have zero doggie restrictions, meaning that your pup(s) can frolic at leisure all year round. 

If you are looking for the ultimate doggie getaway, check out our top dog-friendly pubs and restaurants in Cornwall guide as well as our comprehensive dog-friendly guide to Cornwall.

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Dog-friendly beaches in North Cornwall

Fistral Beach, Newquay

Aerial view taken above Fistral Beach, Newquay

Surf’s up! This 750-metre-long, flat sandy beach is celebrated worldwide by the surfing community and hosts the annual ‘Boardmasters’ week-long festival. What’s more, nearby restaurants also have no restrictions on dogs and there are pay-as-you-go WCs. There’s a small car park at the beach with other parking options close by, along both Tower Road and Esplanade Road.   

Location: Fistral Beach, Newquay, TR7 1HY
Facilities: Toilets, shops, restaurants, and cafes on the beach
Lifeguard cover: 10am – 6pm from end of March to start of November
Parking: Small beach car park with other options close by
Stay nearby: Cribber Point – sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Harlyn Bay Beach

Beautiful photo across Harlyn Bay Beach with headland in background

On the eastern side of Trevose Head, west of Padstow, this sheltered, village beach offers a bit of everything: sand, pebbles, rock pools, and dunes. Head there for low tide and heaps of space for zoomies! Parking is readily available at Harlyn Bay Car Park. 

Location: Harlyn Bay, Padstow, PL28 8SB
Facilities: Toilets, kiosk café and shop during the summer
Lifeguard cover: 10am – 6pm daily during Easter and October Half Term as well as summer cover (from start of May to the end of September) and weekends during April and October.
Parking: Large car park at beach
Stay nearby: Avalon – sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

Port Isaac Beach

View across Port Isaac sandy beach and harbour from above

Does the name ‘Portwenn’ sound familiar? You may recognise this pretty, traditional fishing village with its sandy coved beach from the popular Doc Martin series. There are a few car spots at the beach but during busy season, you may be best off parking at the village car park, a half-mile walk away. As the beach is nestled in the heart of things, there are plenty of shops and eateries to be found amongst the village’s cobbled streets.

Location: Port Issac, PL29 3SG
Facilities: Toilets, shops, restaurants and cafes in village
Lifeguard cover: No lifeguard cover
Parking: Large village car park at the top of Port Isaac
Stay nearby: Sea Haven – sleeps 11 + 2 dogs 

Rock Beach

Photo across Rock Beach and the Camel Estuary

This beauty spot is a hit with the yachting community. The calm and sandy stretch of beach lies in the village of Rock, a stone’s throw over the Camel Estuary from Padstow (famed for its Rick Stein seafood offerings amongst other things). Parking is available at the beach and there’s a good selection of eateries and bars. The beach joins onto Daymer Bay, should you need more space for all those laps. Your pup may even enjoy a jaunt on the ferry over to Padstow.

Location: Rock Beach, Wadebridge, PL27 6LD
Facilities: Toilets, shops, restaurants, and cafes close by
Lifeguard cover: No lifeguard cover
Parking: Large car park at beach
Stay nearby: Rosemayne – sleeps 8 + 1 dog 

Sandymouth Bay Beach, near Bude

Photo across the beach at Sandymouth
Photo credit: Visit Cornwall

Beautiful Bude’s three main sandy beaches are fantastic for dogs, though come with some seasonal restrictions. However, the dramatic and less busy Sandymouth Bay is a mere 5.5-mile drive from Bude and dogs are welcome here whenever! There’s a National Trust car park, WCs, and a café (check opening times), and you may even glimpse the shipwreck... 

Location: Sandymouth, Bude EX23 9HW
Facilities: Toilets and seasonal beach café 
Lifeguard cover: 10am – 6pm from mid-May to end of September
Parking: National Trust car park nearby
Stay nearby: The Nook – sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

Dog-friendly beaches in South Cornwall

Hemmick Beach

People walking and chatting at Hemmick Beach
Photo credit: Visit Cornwall/ Matt Jessop

Only 9 miles from St Austell on the Roseland Peninsula, this south-west-facing sand beach is set at the bottom of a steep lane. As the National Trust parking is about a 1-mile walk away across fields, this beach tends to stay pretty quiet even during the summertime rush. Thus, as you would expect, there are no facilities - so be sure to bring your own snacks! 

Location: Hemmick Beach, PL26 6LL
Facilities: No facilities
Lifeguard cover: No lifeguard cover
Parking: National Trust car park which is a mile away
Stay nearby: Silverdale – sleeps 6 + 2 dogs 

Lantic Bay

Aerial shot across Lantic Bay and surrounding coastline

This National Trust jewel in Cornwall’s south-east, oozes a cool, Mediterranean vibe. It’s tricky to access owing to its remote location – prepare to park a mile east of Polruan and then set off for just over a mile's walk along the footpath, before hitting the steep climb down to the cove. But once there, you’ll find a sandy oasis with a scattering of shingle and aquamarine seas with vistas to Pencarrow Head. Yes, you’ll need to bring your own supplies.

Location: Lantic Bay, Polruan, PL23 1NP
Facilities: No facilities
Lifeguard cover: No lifeguard cover
Parking: National Trust car park on main road into Polruan
Stay nearby: 8 Ocean View – sleeps 8 + 2 dogs 

Par Beach

Photo across the sandy beach at Par
Photo credit: Fowey.co.uk

Doggy paddles galore and basic facilities on tap – this dune-filled sandy beach stretches for a half mile, allowing plenty of space for playing fetch! Parking, a café, shops, and the like are close to hand, making this dog-friendly beach in Cornwall, a super-accessible playground.

Location: Par Beach, St Austell, PL24 2AR
Facilities: Toilets, shop, café, and pub close by
Lifeguard cover: No lifeguard cover
Parking: Large car park at beach
Stay nearby: Violet Cottage – sleeps 4 and 1 dog

Seaton Beach

Sunny day at Seaton sandy Beach
Photo credit: Visit Cornwall/ Adam Gibbard

To the east of Looe and 18 miles from Plymouth, this pebble and shingle beach has all the facilities needed for a doggy day out. There are rock pools and a river to splash about in; swimming is generally safe and the beach is fairly sheltered by the cliffs. There are car parks just behind the beach as well as a children’s park and nature trail. 

Location: Seaton Beach
Facilities: Toilets, restaurant, and cafe in village
Lifeguard cover: 10am – 6pm from mid-May to end of September
Parking: Car parks nearby
Stay nearby: Sunnycliff – sleeps 4 and 3 dogs 

Whitsand Bay

Photo across Whitsand Bay and surrounding coastline
Photo credit: Visit Cornwall/ Adam Gibbard

This westerly-facing beach popular with surfers, offers amazing views from Rame Head and offers 3 miles of sand and a scattering of rock pools. It's probably best to leave the car at the car park near Tregantle Fort above the beach (red flags will be on display if the military are using it as a firing range), and then take the steep walk down. The beach is super clean and the perfect sunset spot. For info, there is a café with customer WCs, but no public WC.

Location: Whitsand Bay, PL10 1JT
Facilities: Café with customer WCs, but no public WC
Lifeguard cover: Lifeguard cover on Freathy, Sharrow, Tregantle and Tregonhawke Beach
Parking: Two car parks nearby
Stay nearby: Driftsands – sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

Dog-friendly beaches in West Cornwall

Bamaluz Beach, St Ives

Photo of Bamaluz Beach with sand and pebbles

There’s no denying St Ives is a tourist hot spot and if you’re staying in the area, it’s useful to know where to find dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall, because St Ives’ main beaches are out of action for dogs during high season. However, this little gem – dubbed locally as the ‘dog’s beach’ is hidden away but easily accessible for you and your pooch, with boulders and rock pools to explore. There are a set of steep steps down onto the beach but the closest car park is less than half a mile away.

Location: Bamaluz Beach, St Ives, TR26 1PR
Facilities: Toilets, shops, restaurants, and cafes in town
Lifeguard cover: No lifeguard cover
Parking: Two car parks nearby
Stay nearby: Sail Loft Studio – sleeps 6 + 1 dog 

Loe Bar Beach

View taken from above Loe Bar Beach, near Porthleven

If you’re looking for dog-friendly Cornwall beaches with a difference, this wildcard option comprises a half-mile-wide shingle beach, separating the sea from the Loe - the county’s biggest freshwater lake. The strong currents here mean that swimming’s not advisable but there are WCs and a nearby car park, which makes this location easily accessible for walkies.

Location: Loe Bar, Porthleven, TR12 7PY 
Facilities: Toilets, shops, restaurants, and cafes in Porthleven
Lifeguard cover: No lifeguard cover and it is not considered safe to swim here due to strong currents
Parking: There is a small car park to the east of Porthleven, about 15 minutes’ walk away
Stay nearby: Pip’s Cottage – sleeps 8 + 2 dogs 

Mexico Towans

Aerial shot across Mexico Towans and surrounding coastline

Towans means dunes in Cornwall and 2 miles or so north of Hayle, this roomy dog-friendly beach also known as possibly, the more apt ‘Sandy Acres’, sits in the middle of a 4-mile stretch of sand. Though dog-friendly all year round, the adjoining beaches are not. If you’re feeling peckish, there’s a handy little café by the car park.

Location: Mexico Towans, Hayle, TR27 5AF
Facilities: Toilets and cafés close by
Lifeguard cover: 10am – 6pm from mid-July to start of September 
Parking: Car parks nearby
Stay nearby: Sea Esta – sleeps 5 + 1 dog 

Porthkidney Sands, near Lelant

The golden sands at Porthkidney Sands

At the mouth of the Hayle Estuary, this mile-long, north-facing beach, a few miles from St Ives, is dog heaven. But fear not, its size means there is room enough for all. The river’s current is strong, so best to avoid letting your pup swim here. The beach runs alongside a golf course and there’s on-street parking by Lelant Church. This beach offers no facilities other than the luxury of peace and quiet, so pack a picnic. Check for incoming tides when walking around the shoreline and if needed, cut up through the dunes onto the coastal path. 

Location: Porthkidney Sands, Lelant, TR26 3DY
Facilities: No facilities 
Lifeguard cover: 10am – 6pm from mid-July to start of September 
Parking: Limited parking nearby
Stay nearby: Phillack – sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Gwenver Beach

Photo taken above Gwenver Beach
Photo credit: ExploreCornwall.uk

Close to Penzance, legend claims this unspoilt beach is named after King Arthur’s wife, Guinevere. The beach has no facilities, which adds to its natural charm. At about 150 metres long, it’s not the biggest beach in Cornwall but in fine weather, you’ll see over to the Isles of Scilly and Brisons Rocks, a mile off the coast. With a car park at the top and a steep, mile's meander down – an end-of-day BBQ, sounds just the tonic.

Location: Gwenver Beach, TR19 6JB
Facilities: No facilities 
Lifeguard cover: 10am – 6pm from mid-May to end of September
Parking: Small car park about a 10–15 minute walk from beach
Stay nearby: The Stables at Brea Farm - sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Dog-friendly Cornwall beaches map

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Book a dog-friendly holiday in Cornwall

Our dog-friendly Cornwall beaches map pinpoints the locations of our featured finds, and if you’re feeling inspired to think about your next Cornish seaside break with your pup, we have plenty of cosy and comfortable, dog-friendly cottages for you to settle into after burning off energy at one of the many dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall. 

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.

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