Dog-friendly beaches in Cardigan Bay holiday cottages


Dog-friendly beaches in Cardigan Bay

Kate Atkin 06 October 2022

Dotted with sandy coves and lapped by waters home to bottlenose dolphins, Cardigan Bay in Ceredigion is one of the most spectacular coastlines in Wales. It is the largest bay in the British Isles, sweeping approximately 50 miles from Bardsey Island off the Llyn Peninsula in the north to Strumble Head in Pembrokeshire in the south.  

Whether chasing waves or scampering along the Ceredigion Coast Path, these shores are simply pawfect to enjoy with your four-legged family members. With so many Cardigan Bay dog-friendly beaches on offer, we’ve sniffed out a few of the best for your next tail-wagging adventure.

Be sure to check out our collection of pet-friendly cottages in Cardigan Bay too, where you can rest up after your wild walkies, or read our full guide to Wales and our guide to dog-friendly beaches in Wales for more holiday inspiration.

Best dog-friendly beach for scenic walkies

Penbryn Beach

Penbryn Beach

Almost a mile in length, the soft, powdery sands and shallow waters of Penbryn Beach in Llandysul are perfect for zoomies. This is, by far, one of the most beautiful dog-friendly beaches in Cardigan Bay, sheltered by wooded slopes, towering cliffs and rolling dunes. It is so stunning that it was used as a location for the James Bond film, Die Another Day. There’s even a smuggler’s cave to explore at low tide!

Cared for by the National Trust, Penbryn is remote and unspoilt, reached via an enchanting stroll through a fern-clad valley. It lies within the Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation and is home to a rich variety of plants and marine life. And with very little light pollution, it’s also a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site, perfect for stargazing. If that’s not enough, it sits directly on the Wales Coast Path, with an abundance of picture-postcard walkies in both directions.

  • For the sat nav: SA44 6QL
  • Any restrictions? Dogs are not permitted on the beach between May and September – however, they are allowed on the woodland footpath all year round, and there’s a stream to dip their paws in on a warm day
  • Parking: The National Trust car park is about 400 metres from the beach at Llanborth Farm (free to National Trust members), but there is a turning circle and dropping-off point at the beach edge for disabled visitors
  • Accessibility: The walk down to the beach from the car park is either on the lane for about 400 metres, or you can follow the footpath signs from the back of the car park which takes you through a wooded valley known as Cwm Lladron for about 0.5 miles – this route is steeper in places, but is stunning
  • Facilities: There are WCs and The Plwmp Tart dog-friendly cafe at the car park, with indoor and outdoor seating

Best dog-friendly beach for a doggy paddle

Aberporth Beach

Aberporth Beach

Not only is this one of the top Cardigan Bay dog-friendly beaches, but it’s also one of the best places in West Wales for treading some water. Aberporth Beach is a golden crescent of sand that actually offers two beaches – Dyffryn (big beach) and Dolwen (little beach), which are joined when the tide is out and separate when the tide is in. Protected by headlands on both sides, this sheltered bay offers safe bathing and is patrolled by RNLI lifeguards in the summer months.

Puppers can join the swimmers, kayakers, paddleboarders and surfers for a doggy paddle then, at low tide, have a nose around the abundant rock pools. Alternatively, the cliff-top walks along the Ceredigion Coast Path above Aberporth offer extensive views out to sea, with the chance of spotting dolphins as they follow shoals of mackerel into the bay.

  • For the sat nav: SA43 2DD
  • Any restrictions? Dogs are welcome all year round on Dyffryn Beach, but there are restrictions on Dolwen Beach where dogs are welcome between October to the end of April
  • Parking: There is a small car park above the south section of the beach, further parking can be found in the village
  • Accessibility: Easy access to the beach, plus a beach wheelchair is available from the lifeguard hut
  • Facilities: Lifeguards are on duty from July until August, and WCs, shops and refreshments are within easy reach of the beach – we particularly recommend trying some of the locally caught Cardigan Bay lobster and crab

Best dog-friendly beach for the whole family

Poppit Sands Beach

Poppit Sands Beach

Framed by grass-topped sand dunes and boating jetties, Poppit Sands is a pristine sandy beach in Pembrokeshire with views across Cardigan Bay and Cardigan Island. It’s no wonder it’s one of the top dog-friendly beaches in Ceredigion too, with half a mile of space for games of frisbee and plenty of rock pools to peer into. Found at the mouth of the Teifi Estuary, the beach is part of the Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation, so it’s great for wildlife watching – on the odd occasion, it has been known for whales to be spotted!

Those humans eager to dive into the saltwater will enjoy bathing here in the marked safe zone, while adrenaline junkies can take advantage of the more adventurous water sports on offer, including surfing, coasteering and kayaking. If your canine still has energy left to burn after a day of sandcastle bombing, take them on a scamper along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path which runs alongside.

  • For the sat nav: SA43 3LR
  • Any restrictions? Dogs are allowed on much of the beach all year round but are banned from the western section from 1 May to 30 September
  • Parking: Car park opposite the RNLI Lifeboat Station by the beach (free during the winter months)
  • Accessibility: The beach is accessible via a level, wooden boardwalk next to the lifeboat station, which leads directly onto the sand and is suitable for disabled access
  • Facilities: Lifeguards are on duty in the summer months, there is a café, shop and WCs by the car park, plus additional shops, pubs and amenities in the village of St Dogmaels, 2 miles south

Best dog-friendly beach for rock pooling

Llangrannog Beach

Llangrannog Beach

Nestled below a series of craggy cliffs, Llangrannog Beach is one of the best-loved dog-friendly beaches in West Wales. There is a distinctive rock on the shore called Carreg Bica which according to legend, was once a giant’s tooth – and within its folds are lots of tiny fossils.

At low tide, you can walk past this rock to the hidden sandy cove of Cilborth Beach. Children and tufty-pawed pals alike will adore exploring the rock pools and caverns along the way, and you might even spot seals sunbathing on the rocks. From here, you can join the Ceredigion Coast Path which follows a 60-mile route along the Cardigan Bay coastline, or visit the neighbouring peninsula and island of Ynys Lochtyn, which is home to a seal colony.

  • For the sat nav: SA44 6SN
  • Any restrictions? Dogs are allowed on the Cilborth side of the beach all year round, but are not allowed on the main section of Llangrannog Beach between 1 May and 30 September
  • Parking: Small car park next to the beach or there is free parking in the upper part of the village – a shuttle bus operates between the upper car park and the beach during the summer
  • Accessibility: Access is good and there are beach wheelchairs for hire
  • Facilities: RNLI lifeguard service between May and September, and WCs, shops, pubs and cafes in Llangrannog village

Best dog-friendly beach for a selfie

Tresaith Beach

Tresaith Beach

Tresaith is set in a sheltered bay named after the River Saith which tumbles over the towering, greenery-clad cliffs onto the golden sand. This dazzling waterfall is around 30-metres high and is sure to wow your whole pack. Add to this, views as far as the Llyn Peninsula on a clear day, water often frequented by seals and dolphins, and plenty of facilities close to hand, and it’s no surprise that this is one of the most popular beaches for dogs in Cardigan Bay.

To escape the crowds for a while, bound across to the second, smaller beach at the northern end of Tresaith past the waterfall. Watch out for the tides though, as this hidden beach is only accessible along the sand, which disappears at high tide.

  • For the sat nav: SA43 2JL
  • Any restrictions? Dogs are restricted to a section of the beach between 1 May and 30 September
  • Parking: Free parking along the seafront itself is limited, but there is a pay-and-display car park at the top of the hill, a short walk from the beach
  • Accessibility: There is a slope leading down to the beach for wheelchairs and disabled parking bays for Blue Badge holders close by
  • Facilities: RNLI lifeguard service between July and August, and WCs, a shop, cafe and pub can be found in the village behind the beach

Best dog-friendly beach for a sweet treat

Aberaeron North and South Beach

Aberaeron Beach

Aberaeron is a picturesque Georgian coastal town adorned with pastel-painted houses. Its colourful seafront is divided by the harbour into Aberaeron North Beach and Aberaeron South Beach. North Beach is the larger of the two and is backed by the coastal path and promenade. Here, pups can feel the salty breeze through their fur as they watch the fishermen, sailing enthusiasts, and windsurfers riding the waves.

South Beach tends to be a bit quieter, where a good game of fetch can be enjoyed on the coarse sand. This section is popular with bodyboarders and surfers, as well as those hoping to spot the resident porpoise population. We recommend treating the whole pack to a cone of the town’s famous honey ice cream from the dog-friendly café, The Hive, before you head for the sand!

  • For the sat nav: SA46 0BE
  • Any restrictions? Dogs are allowed on North Beach all year round, but restrictions apply on South Beach from May to the end of September
  • Parking: Pay and display car parks close to both beaches
  • Accessibility: Slipway onto South Beach and a promenade running beside North Beach
  • Facilities: Lifeguard service during the summer months on South Beach only, WCs by both beaches, and further facilities within Aberaeron itself

Best dog-friendly beach for making puppy pals

New Quay’s Harbour, Dolau and Traeth Gwyn Beaches

New Quay Harbour Beach

Situated at the southern end of Cardigan Bay, New Quay is a popular seaside town with a lively harbour and terraced streets sloping down to its three beaches, two of which allow dogs all year round. Harbour Beach (North Beach) is the main beach and is patrolled by lifeguards in the summer, so it’s great for a refreshing dip – however, this stretch of sand does have seasonal restrictions.

Dolau Beach (South Beach) is a smaller, sheltered cove with turquoise waters to the west of the harbour, and welcomes four-pawed pals all year round - as does Traeth Gwyn, which stretches all the way to Llanina Point at the eastern end of New Quay’s sweeping bay.

  • For the sat nav: SA45 9PS
  • Any restrictions? Dogs are welcome all year round on Dolau and Traeth Gwyn, but they are banned on Harbour Beach between 1 May and 30 September
  • Parking: Limited charged parking close to the beach with some disabled spaces, further parking (charged in summer) is available up the hill in the town
  • Accessibility: Harbour Beach and Dolau Beach are easily accessible, however, there are steps to Traeth Gwyn
  • Facilities: RNLI lifeguards on Harbour Beach during the summer months, WCs by the harbour, and a great choice of pubs, restaurants and shops in the town

Best dog-friendly beach for magical sunsets

Little Quay Beach

Little Quay Beach

Just up the road from New Quay and Aberaeron, you’ll find Little Quay Beach or Cei Bach as it’s known locally. Part shingle, part sand, this sheltered stretch is in a prime location overlooking Cardigan Bay, so make sure you get there in time for the spectacular sunsets.

When the tide is low, your happy hound can make paw prints in the sand all the way to New Quay Harbour, or you can join the Ceredigion Coast Path and head to Aberaeron where you can take in the vistas over the iconic waterfall footbridge. Red kites are often sighted in the area, so keep your eyes peeled during your dog walk.

  • For the sat nav: SA45 9SL
  • Any restrictions? None, dogs are allowed here all year round
  • Parking: Roadside parking on the way to the beach
  • Accessibility: There is a slipway down to the sand
  • Facilities: WCs are available, and places to eat can be found near New Quay Harbour

Best dog-friendly beach for all-year-round fun

Aberystwyth South Beach

Aberystwyth South Beach

Quieter than the town's North Beach and dog-friendly all year round, Aberystwyth South Beach is a tail-wagging treat for furry water babies. Sandwiched between Aberystwyth Castle and the harbour breakwater, it is a wide, gently sloping sand and shingle beach, where playful pups can have endless fun wave jumping and digging for treasure until the sun goes down.

The southernmost part of the shoreline is a favourite with experienced surfers and bodyboarders, and there are awe-inspiring views down the coast. And just behind the beach is Aberystwyth’s bustling harbour and marina full of sailing boats and white-sailed yachts – boat trips are available during the summer months, some of which are pet friendly too.

  • For the sat nav: SY23 1DZ
  • Any restrictions? Dogs allowed on the beach south of the slipway, towards the harbour, at any time of year – restrictions apply between the slipway and Castle Point on the northern end
  • Parking: Pay and display parking along the promenade, plus further car parks in the town
  • Accessibility: The beach can be accessed via a concrete slipway opposite the end of South Marine Terrace, or there are steps between the slipway and the breakwater at Castle Point, and two more flights of steps between the slipway and the breakwater at the south end of the beach
  • Facilities: RNLI lifeguards from July to September, WCs and refreshments by the beach, and a wider selection of amenities on the main North Beach promenade and in the town

Dog-friendly beaches in Cardigan Bay with no restrictions

These beaches are just a pawful of the many dog-friendly beaches in Ceredigion. For a full list of Cardigan Bay beaches that allow dogs with no restrictions, click below or visit our Dog-friendly Index for even more pet-friendly attractions and ideas for days out in the local area.

  • Ynyslas Beach
  • Llanrhystud Beach
  • Aberaeron North
  • Aberaeron Harbour
  • Aberaeron South
  • Gilfach yr Halen
  • Little Quay or Cei Bach
  • Llanina or Traeth Gwyn
  • Castell Beach
  • Cwmtydu Beach
  • Cilborth Beach

Dog-friendly holidays in Cardigan Bay

You and your pack would be barking mad to miss out on all these Cardigan Bay dog-friendly beaches, so why not treat yourselves to a staycation and make the most of them? Some of our dog-friendly cottages in Cardigan Bay are just steps away from a sandy cove, and many boast glorious sea views too. Just click the button below to paw through our full collection.

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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