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Best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall

With over 250 miles of coastline and over 300 beaches, Cornwall is a mecca for beachgoers for good reason. That’s not the best part though… with a fun-loving selection of dog-friendly beaches and holiday cottages, there’s no need to leave the dog behind when you visit!

A sausage dog standing in the sand at Porthmeor beach in St Ives, a great dog-friendly beach in Cornwall during off season

Whether you want cliffs for walking or shores for a sandy game of fetch, the Cornish coastline is full of beaches, bays, and coves that welcome dogs throughout the year. You’ll also find a refreshing assortment of dog-friendly pubs, perfect for that post-beach pint as you wait for your hair (or fur) to dry.

Excited to start exploring the Cornish coast? Here are a few of our favourite dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall to get your adventures started…

North Cornwall

When it comes to dog-friendly beaches in North Cornwall, you are spoilt for choice! From the dog-friendly beaches around Newquay that welcome surfers and dog walkers, to the hidden coves that provide a dreamy spot for a nap in the sand with your furry best friend, this rugged stretch of Cornwall is a pooch’s playground.

Watergate Bay, Newquay

Looking out over the sandy beach, cliffs and hotel at Watergate Bay, one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall

Lifeguards: Seasonal (May – September)
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: Café, restaurant, toilets, shop
Accessibility: Sloping path to the beach from the car park

When it comes to dog-friendly beaches in Newquay, you really do have the pick of the litter as the popular seaside town is home to seven (yes, SEVEN) golden beaches that welcome humans and hounds alike. While the likes of Fistral beach and Crantock beach certainly deserve an honourable mention, Watergate Bay is our favourite due to the sheer size of the sands on offer. A beach of epic proportions (and an even more epic cliff backdrop), you’ll find plenty of caves to explore and waves to ride, making it a great choice for the whole family. Oh, and did we mention the hot chocolates at The Beach Hut? They’re worth a trip all on their own!

Port Isaac beach

The pretty village and harbour beach at Port Isaac, a great dog-friendly beach in North Cornwall

Lifeguards: No
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: Toilets and plenty of places to eat in the village
Accessibility: The beach is accessed by a gentle slipway

Situated at the foot of the unbelievably charming Port Isaac, this pretty harbour beach is perfect – sorry, pawfect – for a dog-friendly run around. At low tide, there is plenty of space for all your favourite beachy activities, plus plenty of rockpools and a stream for dogs (and kids) to explore. After your sandy adventure, you can head into the village itself, which was made famous by TV’s Doc Martin, where you’ll find a selection of dog-friendly cafés waiting to refresh you and the pooch. It is worth remembering that Port Isaac is an active harbour, so keep an eye out for boats when swimming.

Perranporth beach

Surfers and beachgoers enjoying the spacious sands at Perranporth beach, one of the great dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall

Lifeguards: Seasonal (May – September and weekends throughout April and October)
Dog-friendly: Yes (Dogs must be on leads in July and August between 9am and 5pm)
Facilities: Beach café, toilets, surfboard and wetsuit hire
Accessibility: Easy access from the car park

When it comes to a beach day that pleases the whole family, you really can’t go wrong with Perranporth. The wide flat sands are perfect for games, the seas offer consistent surfing, and there is an actual bar on the beach for those that want to enjoy a drink with the feeling of sand between their toes (or paws). Dogs are welcome on Perranporth beach throughout the year, although they do need to be kept on a lead during July and August. The sand dunes behind the beach are a veritable puppy playground though and offer plenty of off-the-lead opportunities all year round.

Harlyn Bay, nr Padstow

The blue waters and rock formations at Harlyn Bay

Lifeguards: Seasonal (May – September)
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: Shop, toilets
Accessibility: Car park is next to beach although a large ridge of sand makes disabled access difficult

Widely known as one of the best family-friendly beaches in Cornwall, it will be of little surprise that Harlyn Bay welcomes every member of the family, dogs included. The crescent shape of the bay means the waters here are amongst the safest in the county, which when combined with the seasonal lifeguard cover makes the beach ideal for swimmers. There are lots of interesting rock pools and sand dunes as well, which help to keep the pups and kids entertained during your beach day. When you’ve dusted off the sand, take the short walk up to the dog-friendly Lobster Shed for some fresh dining.

Daymer Bay, Wadebridge

The view across the Camel Estuary from Padstow towards Daymer Bay, one of the great dog-friendly beaches in North Cornwall

Lifeguards: No
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: Pay-for toilets
Accessibility: Steps down to beach

A stone’s throw from Wadebridge and a water taxi away from Padstow, Daymer Bay is perfectly placed for some north coast beach vibes – especially when you have the dog in tow. The decently sized beach is backed by dunes and sandhills giving the dog plenty of space for running, sniffing, digging – or whatever it is that your dog likes to do at the beach! The beach itself sits on the mouth of the pretty Camel estuary and is considered safe for swimming, although be mindful as there isn’t any lifeguard cover here (check out our guide to beach safety for advice). There is a large car park by the beach but be aware that cameras operate here, and charges apply when you first enter the car park.

West Cornwall

Combining the dramatic cliffs of the north coast with the golden sandy beaches of the south, West Cornwall is a beach goers paradise, especially if you have the dog with you. Step onto the South West Coast Path for a dog walk with a staggering view before popping onto one of the many dog-friendly beaches for a refreshing dip in the sea.

Bamaluz beach, St Ives

The rock and sandy Bamaluz beach, one of the dog-friendly beaches in St Ives

Lifeguards: No
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: Toilets, cafés, shops all in town
Accessibility: Steps down to beach

One of two dog-friendly beaches in St Ives, Bamaluz is ideally located for some beachy goodness without leaving the iconic cobbled streets of St Ives behind. Sitting happily between Porthgwidden and the harbour, this little sandy nook is often overlooked by passers-by, meaning it manages to avoid the same crowds as the bigger beaches in St Ives – score! Throw in the fact that it’s dog-friendly all year round and you have the perfect escape for you and the dog (although do check tide times as it’s best enjoyed at low tide). St Ives has lots of mouth-watering – or should we say, drool-worthy – pubs and restaurants that welcome dogs so you can round off your dog-friendly day in St Ives the right way – with a big plate of local grub!

Porthkidney Sands, St Ives

A spaniel puppy on Porthkidney Sands with Godrevy lighthouse in the background

Lifeguards: Seasonal (July – September)
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: No
Accessibility: Slope down to beach not suitable for wheelchairs

Another great dog-friendly beach near St Ives, Porthkidney has certainly laid claim to a lion’s share of the world’s sand as the beach is seemingly unending at low tide – perfect for tiring out the dog… and the kids! There are lots of access points to the beach from the South West Coast Path on the Lelant end of the beach, making it a great stop-off mid-walk. There aren’t any facilities here so a picnic is essential, but with St Ives such a short distance away, you can always pop in for a cheeky ice cream by the harbour.

Mexico Towans, Hayle

The white sands and dunes of Mexico Towans in Hayle, one of the best dog-friendly beaches in West Cornwall

Lifeguards: Seasonal (May – September)
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: Small café in the Sandy Acres car park
Accessibility: It’s a moderate trek through the sand dunes to the beach

Also known as Sandy Acres (and given the miles and miles of golden sand, we think this name is more befitting), Mexico Towans is a popular spot with every type of beachgoer. Three miles of sand as well as dunes running alongside means there is plenty of space for the dog to test its top speeds, even at high tide. The walk down to the beach is a bit of a trek and can be tiring on the way back up, but a coffee and a cake from the café in the car park will act as a welcome reward.

Gwenver

Looking down the cliffs at dog-friendly Gwenver in West Cornwall

Lifeguards: Seasonal (May – September)
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: No
Accessibility: Long, steep steps down to the beach from the car park

Beloved by surfers and dog walkers alike, Gwenver (or Gwynver) is one of those beaches that never disappoints, whether you want views, waves, or soft sand perfect for eager paws. At low tide, you can walk around the beach to neighbouring Sennen, which is one of the most popular surfing beaches in the area thanks to the consistently decent waves (although it’s worth noting Sennen has a seasonal dog ban between May and September, 10am to 6pm). If you’re hankering after a relaxed drink and a pizza at the uber dog-friendly Surf Beach Bar in Sennen, you can always take the cliff path round in peak season, which provides a lovely stroll for you and the dog. The walk back up to the car park is on the steep side, but there are plenty of opportunities to stop for a breather as you look back at the stunning views behind you.

Prussia Cove

The incredibly pretty and dog-friendly Prussia Cove in West Cornwall

Lifeguards: No
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: No
Accessibility: An uneven road and steps down to the beach from the car park

This little cove might not be one of the biggest beaches on this list, but it’s certainly one of the prettiest. A tiny natural harbour to the right provides a great place to swim and snorkel on calmer days while the rocks that surround the cove offer tiny paws, hands, and feet plenty of room for clambering and exploring. You might even spot a seal while visiting as the surrounding waters are often home to a maritime local or two. We recommend timing your visit with the low-mid tides as they provide more beach to enjoy, especially in the summer months when the beach is at its busiest. You can also take the coast path in either direction to set up camp on one of the other coves in the area, all of which welcome dogs throughout the year.

South Cornwall

Home to some of the longest beaches in Cornwall, the south coast is a dog-friendly haven. Let the pups off the lead for some sandy zoomies or make the most of the still waters for some dog-friendly dips in the turquoise sea.

Seaton beach, Torpoint

Someone walking their dog on the sandy and dog-friendly Seaton beach near Torpoint

Lifeguards: No
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: Café, shop, toilets, children’s play area
Accessibility: Easy access to the beach

Combining woodland walks with riverside fun, Seaton beach enjoys a remarkably peaceful existence on the South Cornish coast. Made up of sand, shingle, and pebbles, with the river Seaton providing endless entertainment for kids, and the beach is very popular with families. The sheltered aspect of the beach also means winds and waves are rarely a worry here, making the water generally safe for swimming (although care should always be taken as there are no lifeguards here). Just round the coast lies Downderry beach as well, another much-loved dog-friendly beach in South Cornwall.

Gorran Haven

The pretty village and beach of Gorran Haven, which is dog-friendly all year round

Lifeguards: No
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: Toilets, shops and cafés in close by in the village
Accessibility: A gentle slope down to the beach

When it comes to idyllic beach days, you just can’t beat a harbourside wonderland. Situated right in front of the lovely village of Gorran Haven, this sandy patch of paradise is perfectly placed for a day in the sun with the family. The sand here is destined for sandcastles while the water is great for swimming (keep an eye out for boats though), plus the close proximity to the village means an ice cream is never far away. Pull up a perch on the pier for some fish and chips free of sand or get stuck into the sandy ways of life in Cornwall as you spend all day in this scenic haven.

This stretch of coast around Mevagissey is home to a bunch of great dog-friendly beaches so why not give them all a go!

Porthallow beach

The shingly beach at Porthallow, one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall

Lifeguards: No
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: Café and pub close by
Accessibility: The car park is practically on the beach!

If you’re looking to escape the crowds in favour of a smaller, more atmospheric beach day, then the dog-friendly beach at Porthallow should definitely be on your summer to-visit list. With The Five Pilchards pub overlooking the beach and the tempting foodie fare of Fat Apples Café close by, the accompanying refreshments are a big part of the appeal when it comes to beach days at Porthallow. The beach itself is pebbly and generally quite sheltered, making it a lovely spot to enjoy the pretty backdrop. The waters around here are also very popular with divers as you’re nice and close to the popular diving spot at the Manacles reef.

Mullion Cove

The pretty harbour and cove at Mullion, which is dog-friendly all year round

Lifeguards: No
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: Café, toilets
Accessibility: Five-minute walk to the beach from the car park

Situated on the staggeringly beautiful Lizard peninsula in the pretty fishing village of Mullion, this dinky little cove (don’t worry, it gets bigger as the tide goes out) is loved by locals and visitors alike thanks to its spectacular location and generally sheltered waters – thank you, harbour walls! When visiting Mullion Cove, we whole-heatedly recommend taking a jaunt along the surrounding coastal paths as the views around the area are simply jaw-dropping. You’ll also find plenty of interesting things to do around Mullion, including a visit to the wonderfully dog-friendly Cornish Seal Sanctuary.

Whitsand Bay, Rame

The miles and miles of Whitsand Bay, one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall

Lifeguards: Seasonal (May – September)
Dog-friendly: All year round
Facilities: Café at Tregonhawke
Accessibility: Steep paths unsuitable for wheelchairs

With almost four miles of sand to play with at low tide and dog-friendly all year round, Whitsand Bay is a veritable playground for energetic pups. There are strong rip currents here, so swimming isn’t advised (although there is lifeguard cover in the summer months), but surfing is often popular with diving taking place on calmer days, so there are plenty of seafaring activities for those who want to leave the land behind. The surrounding coast paths are also popular as this stretch of the South West Coast Path is great for dog walking – you might even stumble across a cliff-side café or two!

Find out more about the many fantastic dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall and find your own favourites!

Ready to hit the beach with the dog in tow? Explore our collection of dog-friendly holiday cottages in Cornwall and start planning your pup-tastic visit to Cornwall.

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