Cornwall's dog-friendly beaches

Ruth King 25 January 2020

The Cornish coast offers some of the finest stretches of beach in the UK, so it’s no wonder it’s such a popular holiday destination for dog owners. The best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall vary between vast areas of sand to tiny little coves, secluded stony bays to dramatic coastline that stretches for miles; whether you and your canine companion want somewhere for a gentle stroll or a day of splashing and digging with all the family, Kernow has the beach to match.

After a day of beautiful beach exploration, head back to one of our beachside dog-friendly cottages in Cornwall and rest those tired feet and paws before embarking on a whole new escapade tomorrow. Planning a trip to Cornwall with your pup? Here's our definitive guide to dog-friendly Cornwall

Read on to discover the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall.

Fetch beaches from:

⬆️ North Cornwall
⬅️ West Cornwall
⬇️ South Cornwall

Dog-friendly beaches in North Cornwall

Best for escaping the crowds

Crantock, west of Newquay

Crantock beach

For the sat nav: TR8 5RN

Any restrictions?: None

Parking: There is parking in the town, or the nearby Bowgie Inn car park is also available. If you fancy reaching the beach in style, head for the Ferry Boathouse on Pentire Head and get the small ferry across – dogs can join you for free!

Accessibility: There’s easy walking from the car park to the beach but be aware there are also steeper sand dunes in places which aren’t so easily accessible.

Facilities: The nearby village has a shop and pubs, whilst during the summer months there are refreshments available on the beach, and toilets in the car park. There is also a lifeguard service from May until September.

About: Skip the busy sands of Newquay and the dog restrictions of the main beaches, and head for canine-friendly Crantock with its super soft sands and crystal blue waters. High cliffs at one end of the beach provide shelter from the elements on colder days, whilst the wide expanse of sand and the large dunes that back onto it are pawfect for spending a summer’s day strolling in the sunshine and enjoying a splash in the sea together.

Best for the pup that wants to run and run

Bedruthan Steps, halfway between Newquay and Padstow

Bedruthan Steps credit: Instagram @ darren29400
Bedruthan Steps credit: Instagram @darren29400

For the sat nav: PL27 7UW

Any restrictions?: None

Parking: There is a privately-owned car park at the top of the cliff, and a National Trust car park slightly further along.

Accessibility: As the name suggests, there are lots of steps to get down to this beach, so be prepared for a bit of a hike!

Facilities: There are no facilities on the beach itself, however at the National Trust car park you will find a shop, tea room, picnic area and toilets.

About: One for the more energetic hounds and humans, Bedruthan Steps is a beauty spot sandwiched between Mawgan Porth and Porthcothan on a stretch of the Cornish coast that is famed for its dramatic, cliff-backed, sandy beaches. Be aware of tide times and prepare for a lot of steps back up to the top after a day on the beach, but if it’s a more secluded, quiet coastal day out you’re searching for, this is certainly the place for you and your pooch!

Best for thirsty hounds (and humans)

Crackington Haven, halfway between Bude and Tintagel

Crackington Haven credit: Instagram @Bertie_Cocker
Crackington Haven credit: Instagram @Bertie_Cocker

For the sat nav: EX23 0JG

Restrictions: Those with four paws are not allowed on the beach between 10am and 6pm from July 1 to August 31.

Parking: There is a car park just across the road from the beach.

Accessibility: Easy access from the car park onto the beach via a sloping path.

Facilities: The village has a pub right by the beach, as well as two cafes, a shop, surf board hire and toilets.

About: This popular beach backs directly onto the village, sheltered by much of the wind thanks to the towering cliffs either side of it. Mainly shingle with rocks towards the rear, this pretty bay remains relatively quiet compared to some of its neighbouring stretches, and with dogs welcome in the pub just off the shore, we’d highly recommend popping in for a bite to eat at the Coombe Barton Inn!

Best for the whole family

Summerleaze beach, Bude 

Summerleaze credit: Instagram @hols_photography86
Summerleaze credit: Instagram @hols_photography86

For the sat nav: EX23 8HN

Restrictions: Dogs are allowed all year, however must be on a lead between May and the end of September.

Parking: There is a large pay and display car park just off the beach.

Accessibility: Level access from the car park to the beach means this beach is pawfect for those who find harsh ascents or descents tricky, and there are even sand chairs available for those who would usually require a wheelchair.

Facilities: Toilets, showers, a shop and café are all available right by the beach, and Bude’s town centre is also just a few minutes’ walk away.

About: Perhaps Bude’s most popular beach, it’s a rare thing for a sandy stretch that is so busy to welcome dogs all year round, albeit with some restrictions, which is what makes Summerleaze so special. A favourite with families, surfers, couples and of course, dog owners, this is a true all-rounder that caters to the needs of everyone throughout every month, making it a must-visit when you’re in the area. There are also plenty of other beaches close by that are worth a visit with your hound, including Crooklets Beach where there is a seasonal dog ban, and Breakwater Beach where pooches are free to roam all year without restriction.

Best for accessibility

Polzeath, between Padstow and Port Isaac

Polzeath credit: Instagram @foxreddarcymaisy
Polzeath credit: Instagram @foxreddarcymaisy

For the sat nav: PL22 6TB

Restrictions: A dog ban is in place between 10am and 6pm from July 1 to August 31.

Parking: Polzeath has an array of car parks available, including one right on the beach.

Accessibility: Smooth sand and level paths make this one of the most easily accessible beaches on our list.

Facilities: Polzeath has a selection of shops, restaurants, pubs and amenities available, so you’ll never be too far from something delicious to eat or pawsome to buy!

About: The gently shelving sand and wide expanse of beach at low tide make this a favourite with locals and holidaymakers alike. Award-winning and surrounded by facilities to keep you going in between digging in the sand and splashing in the sea, a trip to the Waterfront Café Bar is sure to sort you and your canine companion out, as they’re dog-friendly and serve some seriously tasty food and drink.

Dog-friendly beaches in West Cornwall

Best for discovering a hidden gem

Bosahan Cove, east of Helford

Bosahan Cove credit: Instagram @amy_henners
Bosahan Cove credit: Instagram @amy_henners

For the sat nav: TR12 6JL

Any restrictions?: None

Parking: Helford village has parking located just over a mile from the beach.

Accessibility: To access the beach, you need to either walk through woodland via the Bosahan Estate, or take the coast path, so make sure you’ve got some solid shoes and that your pooch can handle the walk before and after your fun on the beach.

Facilities: Unfortunately, there are no facilities on the beach itself; this is much more of a hidden gem where you can take your own picnic, so be sure to take some water and snacks for your dog too! 

About: The true definition of ‘hidden gem’, this magical cove may be small, but it packs an enchanting punch. Sit on the soft sand backed by ancient woodland and watch as the boats bob on crystal clear waters at the mouth of the Helford River. A tranquil slice of heaven, you and your pooch will have plenty of fun in this beautiful dog-friendly bay.

Best for aquaphobic pups

Loe Bar, a few miles south of Porthleven

Loe Bar credit: Instagram @bronwen.a
Loe Bar credit: Instagram @bronwen.a

For the sat nav: TR13 9DZ

Any restrictions?: None

Parking: Parking is available in Porthleven, so it is a little walk from the car to the beach.

Accessibility: Walking along the coast path to access the beach, accessibility is not as straightforward as some of the other coves, so be prepared for a bit of exercise before you get there!

Facilities: As you’re not allowed to swim in these waters, few people venture to this quiet stretch, meaning there’s not much around until you’re in Porthleven itself.

About: If your hound loves the beach but hates the water, this one’s for you. Widely known for its perilous waters, you’re not allowed to swim here, but that means the beach itself is often very peaceful, particularly for dog owners. A tranquil spot to while away the hours with your pooch, as long as you keep your dog out of the water and under control, you’ll enjoy a wonderful day at the beach here.

Best for energetic pups

Porthkidney beach, east of St Ives, near Hayle

Porthkidney beach credit: Instagram @edobso1
Porthkidney beach credit: Instagram @edobso1

For the sat nav: TR26 3DY

Any restrictions?: None

Parking: There is limited parking nearby in Lelant, but more spaces further afield if you don’t mind a bit of a walk beforehand.

Accessibility: The beach is flat and sandy, with a walk either along the coast path or through the golf course to access it.

Facilities: There are no facilities directly on the beach, but a short walk will take you to either Carbis Bay or Lelant depending on the direction you walk, where you will find all the amenities you will need.

About: Frequented by many a dog owner thanks to its year-round dog-friendly policy, this sandy slice of heaven is far removed from the other busy beaches along the Cornish coast. Sheltered at the western end, there is lifeguard cover from July until September, and your pooch will love having such a wide-open space to roam around freely.

Best for families with curious kids

Gwithian beach, a few miles east of St Ives

Gwithian beach

For the sat nav: TR27 5BT

Restrictions: Seasonal dog ban from Easter until October

Parking: There is plenty of parking available right by the beach.

Accessibility: Sloping paths take you to the beach itself making access simple and easy underfoot (and underpaw!)

Facilities: A café and beach shop are situated in the car park, and there are further amenities dotted nearby.

About: Sit back and watch the surfers in awe at this furnomenal sandy bay. Ideal for families with plenty of rock pools for little ones and loved by adrenaline junkies for the swell of the sea that makes it pawfect for water sports, you and your dog will love this stretch whether you choose a winter walk, an autumnal stroll or a whole day in the summer sun.

Best for pretending you’re in the Caribbean

Porthcurno beach, Porthcurno

Porthcurno Beach

For the sat nav: TR19 6JX

Restrictions: Waggy tails and wet noses aren't allowed on the beach between 10am and 6pm from July 1 to August 31.

Parking: There is a large pay and display car park just above the beach.

Accessibility: Though the fine sands of the beach mean it’s not suitable for wheelchairs, access onto the beach itself is easy and straightforward.

Facilities: There’s a café just off the beach, and a restaurant a short walk away. There are also public toilets in the car park.

About: Soft white sand and turquoise waters make this beach a hot spot of activity and tourism, with many flocking to see its beauty in person. Though your pooch may not be allowed on this beach at the height of the season, we certainly recommend avoiding the crowds with a visit in the autumn or early spring when the temperatures are cooler, the people fewer, and there are plenty of other furry explorers for your hound to befriend!

Best for year-round sandcastles

Praa Sands (Hendra), between Helston and Penzance

Praa Sands

For the sat nav: TR20 9TQ

Restrictions: Pooches are banned from the beach between 10am and 6pm from July 1 to August 31.

Parking: The car park is set just back from the beach.

Accessibility: A sloping pathway down to the sand makes this beach easily accessible for all.

Facilities: The Sandbar is at the end of the beach footpath and welcomes your four-pawed pals inside, so you can hide from the elements if the weather takes a turn, or simply sit back and enjoy a drink with a view.

About: Blindingly white sand is ready to welcome you at this beautiful South Cornwall beach, where doggos will love exploring the sand dunes and splashing in the sea; kids will want to build sandcastles all day long and thrill seekers will discover there are more wicked waves here than you could shake a surfboard at! We’d recommend heading here for a wintry walk together, before heading to Sandbar for a hot chocolate and admiring the view from the warmth of the bar.

Dog-friendly beaches in South Cornwall

Best for sheltered walkies

Carne beach (Gerrans Bay), between Portscatho and Portloe

Carne beach

For the sat nav: TR2 5PF

Any restrictions?: None

Parking: There is on-site parking available at both Carne and Pendower nearby.

Accessibility: There are a handful of steps down onto the beach from the road, but other than that, access is fairly easy.

Facilities: Just above the beach is the Nare Hotel, which is open to non-residents for food and drink.

About: Found on the picturesque Roseland Peninsula, this sandy expanse is the pawfect destination for a more tranquil beach trip. Sheltered by Nare Head which reaches a height of almost 300 feet, this hot spot is popular with walkers, dog owners, kite surfers; whatever you want out of your beach escape, you’ll find it here, and your pooch is sure to have the ultimutt experience too.

Best for escaping the city for the day 

Whitsand Bay, east of Portwrinkle

Whitsand Bay

For the sat nav: PL11 3BY

Any restrictions?: None

Parking: There are two car parks available, both within a short distance of the beach.

Accessibility: One car park leads directly to the beach, whilst other routes can sometimes prove a little trickier because of the beach’s location at the bottom of such sheer cliffs, with uneven paths leading the way.

Facilities: There is a country club located nearby, however facilities near the beach itself are limited.

About: Enjoy the best of both worlds with a stay near this stunning beach, as it’s also not far from the city of Plymouth just across the border in Devon. Exchange urban utopia for coastal bliss and watch your woofer run free on the pretty sands backed by towering cliffs. There’s a lifeguard here during the summer months if you fancy a dip, but avoid the water at other times of the year due to the strong current.

Best for making friends 

Par Sands, east of St Austell

Par Sands

For the sat nav: PL24 2AR

Any restrictions?: None

Parking: There is ample parking at the rear of the beach.

Accessibility: The firm sand and close car park make this a popular choice if you need a beach that’s more accessible.

Facilities: There are public toilets, a shop and a café all close by, so it’s up to you if you take a picnic or dine out by the beach.

About: Though the view may not be as spectacular as some of the other beaches in our list, this stretch is much quieter than many, so it’s the ideal choice if you want a peaceful stroll with your pooch. The waters are crystal clear, and the number of dogs mean your hound is going to be one happy pupper with all the new friends they’ll make!

Best for combining coast and culture

Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth

Gyllyngvase Beach

For the sat nav: TR11 4PA

Restrictions: There is a seasonal dog ban from 15 May to 30 September between 10am and 6pm.

Parking: There is a long-stay car park opposite the beach on Queen Mary Road.

Accessibility: Level access to the beach along with disabled toilets make this a superbly accessible beach. You can even hire a sand chair from the cafe.

Facilities: There are toilets by the beach and lifeguard cover in the summer. There’s also a cafe open all year round for hot and cold food, drinks and ice creams.

About: Known by locals as Gylly beach, this wide bay of soft pale sand is the most popular of Falmouth’s two beaches (the other, Swanpool, is further south and also worth a visit). In the summer it’s popular with families due to its sheltered and crystal-clear sea. In winter, it’s likely the only other people you’ll see during your walks along the beach are surfers, making it a great off-season destination with your dog.

Best for winter walkies

Pentewan beach, north of Mevagissey

Pentewan Beach credit: Instagram @poffrey1977
Pentewan Beach credit: Instagram @poffrey1977


For the sat nav: PL26 6BX

Restrictions: There is a seasonal dog ban from March until November

Parking: There is a large car park right by the beach.

Accessibility: Level pathways from the car park to the beach make this stretch easily accessible for everyone visiting.

Facilities: There are toilets and refreshments available from the holiday park situated just behind the beach.

About: With supremely soft, clean sand and calm waters to suit all kinds of water sports, it’s no wonder that this beach is loved by so many! Whilst the peak season sees the sands of the bay fill up with holidaymakers, the winter months allow for dog owners to stroll to their hearts’ content, with Fido paddling through the shallows as the humans are wrapped up in scarves.

Best for calm, crystal seas

Polkerris, a short drive from Fowey

Polkerris credit: Instagram @mollstrav
Polkerris credit: Instagram @mollstrav

For the sat nav: PL24 2TL

Restrictions: A seasonal dog ban is in place from Easter until October

Parking: There is parking available in the hamlet close to the beach.

Accessibility: A gentle slope takes you from the hamlet to the beach.

Facilities: Public toilets, a shop, café and pub are all easily accessed directly from the beach.

About: This idyllic sandy cove is a picture-pawfect location for a lazy day on the sand as the waves lap the shore. With plenty of activities to partake in for the more energetic holidaymakers, time it right either side of peak season and you could enjoy a balmy day on the sand with your pooch before the summer hits and dogs have to evacuate the bay for the humans.

Best for peace and quiet

Ready Money Cove, just outside Fowey

Ready Money Cove credit: Instagram @fishforthoughtcornwall
Ready Money Cove credit: Instagram @fishforthoughtcornwall

For the sat nav: PL23 1JD

Restrictions: Four-pawed visitors are not allowed on the beach between 10am and 6pm from July 1 to August 31.

Parking: There is a reasonably large car park available just a short walk from the beach.

Accessibility: The slipway allows for easy access onto the sand.

Facilities: There are public toilets depending on the season, and Fowey boasts a wide range of amenities.

About: This pretty little bay might be small, but it’s a furnomenal beauty spot to while away some time together. Sheltered by the cliffs, it has tidal rock pools that children will love to explore, and your furry friend is sure to love a game of fetch during the winter months when there are fewer visitors and humans in the way of playtime.

Dog-friendly beach holidays

If Cornwall has already stolen your heart, you’ll be head over paws by the time you’ve visited some of these beautiful beaches. Take a trip over to our dog-friendly Cornwall cottages by the sea page to discover somewhere to rest your head in between coastal explorations.

Feeling inspired to take a trip to the beach? Don't restrict yourself to the ever-popular region of Cornwall - the UK's world-renowned coast is scattered with incredible beaches. Take a look at this post on the best dog-friendly beaches in the UK and see what gems you can discover.

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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