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Best Beaches for Families in Cornwall

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Emma - 24 May, 2024

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Our top Cornish family beaches

When planning a beach outing with a baby, toddler or children, safety, accessibility, and facilities are top priorities. Cornwall offers great beaches for families with children and babies. These family friendly beaches provide easy access, lifeguard cover in the main tourist season and convenient facilities. Ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable experience for both parents and children. Here are some of the best family beaches in Cornwall.

 

Gyllyngvase Beach

Located in Falmouth, Gyllyngvase Beach is one of the best beaches in Cornwall for families. The beach boasts a coveted Blue Flag, given to beaches for high standards in facilities, cleanliness and beach management. Its waters are usually calmer than those of the north coast - perfect for paddling and swimming. Lifeguards are on hand during the busy summer months. Facilities include easy access (suitable for buggies), a toilet with baby changing facilities and a great cafe right on the beach. There's also ample parking nearby and a bouncy castle in the summer months. The Queen Mary Gardens behind the beach provide a lovely shaded area for a quiet break from the sun and sand. For children that are interested in marine life, there are masses of rock pools at low tide. If older children or teenagers fancy more energetic activities, there's a paddle board centre and volleyball nets set up.

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Gyllngvase Beach, Falmouth, Cornwall © Find Me a Beach

 

Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay, near Newquay, is renowned for its surfing but it also offers plenty for families. Especially if they have a dog, as dogs are allowed here all year round. The expanse of sand is great for games and sand castle building and the consistent waves are fun for bodyboarding and surfing lessons. The beach is equipped with essential amenities, such as nearby parking, toilets, cafes and restaurants. There's easy access to the sands down a slope by the car park. Lifeguards are present during the summer months, keeping the beach safe for everyone.

Image of Watergate Bay

 

Marazion Beach

Marazion Beach, with its stunning views of St Michael’s Mount, is an ideal destination for families seeking a relaxing day out. Marazion Beach features shallow waters with a gradual slope into the sea making it perfect for paddling. There are also lifeguards on duty in July and August. There’s parking just behind the beach and a play park along the seafront if little ones fancy a break from the sand. There are toilets by the play park, in the village and plenty of cafes, pubs and restaurants around for hungry tummies. For older children interested in history, walk the causeway at low tide to St Michael's Mount or take a boat trip there at high tide.

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Marazion Beach, Cornwall © Find Me a Beach

 

Harlyn Bay

Not far from Padstow, Harlyn Bay is a lovely scenic sandy beach. It's north facing, making it more sheltered than the other beaches in this area. There are lifeguards on duty every day from May until September. Rock pools are exposed at low tide and sandy pools form around the exposed rocks, providing fun places for little ones to paddle and build dams. For older children who are aspiring surfers, book lessons with Harlyn Surf School. There is parking close to the beach and a toilet block about 150m up the road. If you fancy a bite to eat, the Beach Box Cafe with seating on an outdoor decking area, overlooks the bay. This is another beach where dogs are allowed all year round.

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Harlyn Bay, Cornwall © Ian S (cc-by-sa/2.0)

 

Summerleaze Beach

A short walk from Bude town centre, Summerleaze Beach is the ideal family beach on the north coast. There are wide golden sands for sand castle making, great surfing for beginners, rock pools at low tide and even a natural tidal swimming pool. There can be strong currents though, so it's only recommended to swim in the sea when the lifeguards are on duty, between the red and yellow flags. Summerleaze has great facilities too, including parking and toilets behind the beach, beach huts for hire, a cafe and surf schools. Including one specialising in adaptive and accessible surfing.

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Summerleaze Beach, Cornwall © Find Me a Beach

 

Porthminster Beach

If you're travelling by train, Porthminster Beach in St Ives is a great beach for families. White sand, lifeguard cover, a Blue Flag award and good facilities are some of the reasons families like to come here. There are stunning views across St Ives Bay and the waters are turquoise on a sunny day. There's a toilet block above the beach on the hillside and a cafe near the beach entrance. Lifeguards are on duty from mid-May to September. For older kids mini-golf and watersports lessons are on hand.

It's about a 5 min walk down the hill from the railway station (quite steep so allow plenty of time to get back up again). To get down to the beach from the train station platform avoiding steps: Go right up a little slope by the shelters. Then go left and walk down under the railway bridge. Go left again and you're on the path which leads down to the beach.

Image of Porthminster Beach

Porthminster Beach, Cornwall © Chris Morgan (cc-by-sa/2.0)

 

Praa Sands

Praa Sands is a lovely long sandy beach on the south coast of Cornwall backed by sand dunes and a small village. Praa Sands has everything you need for a family beach day. There's easy access down a slipway and parking, a cafe/bar, beach shop, surf hire and toilets are all nearby. There is also lifeguard cover from May to September.

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Praa Sands © Philip Halling (cc-by-sa/2.0)

 

Mawgan Porth

This is another stunning beach on the north coast, sheltered by cliffs on either side. It doesn't have a lot of beach available at high tide but boasts a large, flat expanse of sand as the tide goes out. There are rock pools and caves to explore at low tide. At this time the stream spreads out across the beach, providing fun for little ones who love to paddle in it and build dams. There is parking just across the road with flat level access to the beach. There is a cafe and shop just across the road, there's also toilets in the cafe that the general public can use (there is a charge for these). It's a popular beach for surfing and surf hire and lessons are available. Lifeguards are here daily from May to September. If you have a four-legged friend, this is a great option as dogs are allowed on this beach all year round.

Image of Mawgan Porth Beach

Mawgan Porth Beach © Roy Hughes (cc-by-sa/2.0)

 

Beach Safety

If you and your family are planning on going in the sea, try and pick a beach which has lifeguard cover.  Check on https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest/lifeguarded-beaches for beaches, with dates and times that lifeguards are on duty. Most beaches only have cover from 10am to 6pm during the busiest times of the year so it's important to check beforehand.

If you visit a lifeguarded beach, there will be flags on the beach to show you where it's safe. Stay between the red and yellow flags if swimming or bodyboarding.

For surfboards, stand-up paddleboards or other non-powered craft, stay between the black and white chequered flag but don't swim there.

If a red flag is flying, the water is dangerous so don't enter it under any circumstances.

 

Main image © Find Me a Beach

These are just a few of the beautiful beaches in Cornwall which are ideal for families to visit. Download the Find Me a Beach app and search for more beaches with lifeguard cover, cafes, toilets and easy access for free. Subscribe for detailed beach profiles, including more info on the beaches above. 

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