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Devon

Beaches

Devon's dog-friendly beaches

Kate Williams 17 June 2022

Whether your dog is a sand-warrior, a wave-chaser or a pebble-stroller, Devon’s beaches offer a variety of different styles for you to enjoy wanders with your woofer. 

There’s lots of choice on both sides of the county, with North Devon famed for its surfing, and South Devon home to the English Riviera and many a picturesque cove, so wherever you’re headed on holiday there’s a sublime stretch, or ten, to explore.

When you’ve read our Devon beach guide, return to our ultimate guide to Devon to find out all about this fantastic county. And once you’ve exhausted your four-legged friend (and your own two legs!), head back to one of our dog-friendly Devon cottages by the sea to rest up ready for another day of adventure tomorrow.


Devon isn't the only place with wonderful coastal getaways; to discover excellent seaside escapes throughout the UK, take a look at our guide to the top dog-friendly holidays on the beach.


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Dog-friendly beaches in North Devon

Our personal favourite: Saunton Sands

Saunton Sands

One of the most popular beaches in the UK, let alone Devon, you and your dog will go barking mad for how beautiful this stretch of sand at Saunton Sands is. It has made appearances in music videos by Robbie Williams and Coldplay and featured in many films, but above all, it is loved by surfers – even those with four legs, having formed the first ever dog surfing school on its shores, Paws on Boards

There are always plenty of paws enjoying the sand, sea and dunes, so it’s a particularly good spot if your pooch is a socialite at heart that loves making new furry friends.

  • Location: Between Braunton and Croyde
  • For the sat nav: EX33 1LQ
  • Any restrictions? No, dogs are welcome year-round!
  • Parking: Pay and display parking is available right by the beach
  • Accessibility: An easy stroll from the car park to the beach, as you’ll be parked right by the sand!
  • Facilities: WCs for the humans, plus a café/restaurant, as well as a shop for any last-minute beach goodies needed

The beach with the best facilities: Westward Ho!

Westward Ho!

Ever popular with tourists and locals alike, there’s so much space on this huge expanse for your pup to play and wander, that you can spend your whole day here if you like! Backed by a pebble ridge and Northam Burrows Country Park, there are lots of places to walk your dog at Westward Ho! and the surf is quite spectacular when the sea swells.

  • Location: Westward Ho!
  • For the sat nav: EX39 1LL
  • Any restrictions? Dogs are allowed on the north section of the beach between Sandymere Bridge and the estuary, but are not allowed south of the bridge, and must be kept on a lead on the promenade. These rules apply from May 1st until September 30th. 
  • Parking: There is plenty of parking available at Westward Ho!, with multiple pay and display car parks around the town
  • Accessibility: Parts of Westward Ho! beach can be very pebbly, and not as smooth underfoot, however, when the tide is out there is plenty of sand to stroll along
  • Facilities: There are plenty of shops, stalls and cafes along the coastline of Westward Ho!, with places to sit with your pooch off the sand. There are also WCs conveniently located just off the slipway.

Best hidden beach: Mouthmill Beach

Mouthmill Beach

Though there’s no direct access to this North Devon dog-friendly beach without a fair walk, it’s worth it at the end, with a stunning shore to explore with your pooch that is often quiet and secluded thanks to its distant location. 

Mainly rocky with sand in places, the woodland stroll to the beach is in itself a wonderful experience, and there are plenty of rock pools to explore if you have little ones in tow, as well as your furry ones. Mouthmill Beach is a great all-year-round dog-friendly beach in North Devon.

  • Location: Just west of Clovelly
  • For the sat nav: EX39 6AN
  • Any restrictions? No restrictions, open to canine companions all year
  • Parking: There is a National Trust car park situated uphill from the beach, but be advised that there is a walk to the beach itself
  • Accessibility: A fairly steep walk of around 15-20 minutes to the beach, so be sure your dog is happy with a stroll before their main fun at the beach!
  • Facilities: Lower Brownsham Farm Tea Room is situated by the car park, but there are no facilities on the beach itself – just you, your hound and an extraordinary beach

Best beach for exploring: Hele Bay

Hele Bay

This idyllic little suntrap bay near Ilfracombe has been popular with swimmers for many years and is a firm family-favourite thanks to its calmer waters. There are lots of rock pools to explore, and some secret smugglers' caves to investigate if you’re feeling adventurous! 

Just behind, you’ll find dog-friendly Hillsborough Nature Reserve. Whether you’ve got a pooch that loves lazing in the sunshine or one that just can’t help but splash in the sea, Hele Bay is just pawfect for a dog-friendly beach day in Devon.

  • Location: Just east of Ilfracombe
  • For the sat nav: EX34 9QZ
  • Any restrictions? Hele Beach allows playful pups all year
  • Parking: Roadside parking is available, and there is a pay and display car park just down the road
  • Accessibility: Easy walking down to the beach where you’ll find a flat sand and shingle cove
  • Facilities: Hele Bay has a café overlooking the beach, and there are WCs and a shop too

Best beach for something different: Lynmouth

Lynmouth

This pretty shingle beach at Lynmouth is surrounded by the dramatic cliffs and woodland of North Devon and Exmoor, and is divided by the River Lyn. On rare occasions, this beach becomes small yet mighty, providing one of the best surfing spots in the county, and is popular with walkers of the South West Coast Path, sun-seekers, and wildlife spotters as dolphins are often visible when there are breaks in the waves. If you decide to head up to Lynton, take the historic cliff railway, where your pooch can join you for the unique experience for just £1!

  • Location: Just down from Lynton on the north coast of Exmoor National Park
  • For the sat nav: EX35 6EN
  • Any restrictions? No, dogs welcome all year round
  • Parking: There is parking on the Esplanade at Lynmouth and Watersmeet, as well as a large car park up the hill in Lynton
  • Accessibility: Dependent on which car park you use, it is a level walk to the beach itself once you’re in Lynmouth
  • Facilities: The village has lots of lovely shops and restaurants, so you won’t have to worry about taking a packed lunch as the smell of pasties will be more than enough to turn you off your pre-packed sandwiches

Best beach for surfing: Woolacombe

Woolacombe

Frequently featured in TripAdvisor’s top beaches in the UK and even Europe, this sandy heaven couldn’t more pawfect for a seaside trip with your pooch. 

At Woolacombe, several miles of sand are lapped by crystal-clear sea water, backed by colourful beach huts and plenty of things for families to do. For a romantic spot to watch the sunset, take a stroll up to one of the benches along the east end of the beach. You can sit in awe with your plus one, and one with paws.

  • Location: Woolacombe
  • For the sat nav: EX34 7DN
  • Any restrictions? Dogs are banned in the zoned area of the beach from May to October but are allowed in adjacent areas if kept on a lead
  • Parking: Woolacombe has lots of parking options, including a large pay and display car park right by the beach, and other spaces further up the hill
  • Accessibility: The beach is easily accessible and made of soft sand, so even little toes and paws can wander along this beauty
  • Facilities: Woolacombe has a selection of shops and cafes, as well as a large pub overlooking the sea, and plenty of places to nip in and grab an ice cream – or two!

Best for long walkies: Putsborough Sands

Putsborough Sands

Just along from its more famous neighbouring beach at Croyde, Putsborough boasts golden sands and is a firm favourite for families in the area. The café offers delicious food for humans, and there are lots of coves to discover together when the tide is out. 

If you’re feeling like you’ve had enough of sea-splashing fun, take a stroll on the South West Coast Path, when Croyde is one way and Woolacombe is the other.

  • Location: Just down the road from Croyde
  • For the sat nav: EX33 1LB
  • Restrictions: Dogs are welcome all year round, however, there are selected areas where dogs are banned from April 1st until October 31st
  • Parking: There is a pay and display car park right by the beach
  • Accessibility: There are steps and a ramp, so the beach is easily accessible for all abilities
  • Facilities: There is café right by the slipway which also sells beach goodies, WCs are available for the humans and there are dog bins for the four-legged visitors’ mess!

Best beach for making puppy pals: Instow

Instow

The calm waters of Instow Beach make it ideal for a relaxing afternoon walkies across the sand or an early morning stroll with your canine companion. It’s popular with local dog-walkers so you’re sure to run into lots of other pups out and about with their owners. 

With views over colourful Appledore and its bright cottages, you can even get a ferry across the estuary to see what delights its neighbouring village holds. Protected from the swell of the sea by its sandbanks, Instow is a safe and sheltered option for families searching for some sandy fun.

  • Location: Across the water from Appledore, close to Bideford
  • For the sat nav: EX39 4JH
  • Restrictions: Only certain sections of the beach will now permit dogs
  • Parking: There are two pay and display car parks at Instow, and there is also roadside parking available
  • Accessibility: Instow is mainly flat, and the beach itself is soft and level
  • Facilities: The village has some lovely little shops offering souvenirs and local produce, and there are some pleasant pubs scattered along the shore that welcome dogs too

Most scenic beach: Combe Martin Beach

Combe Martin Beach

This gorgeous cove at Combe Martin is in a wonderful location on the north coast of the county, set between towering cliffs with stunning views out to sea. 

A combination of shingle and pebbles, when the tide is out there is plenty of sand at the water’s edge to splash in, and there are lots of rock pools to peer into and see what creatures lurk there. In the winter months, many dog owners congregate on this beach, so be prepared for Fido to make some new four-legged friends!

  • Location: Combe Martin
  • For the sat nav: EX34 0DJ
  • Restrictions: Dogs are not allowed on the beach from May 1st until September 30th
  • Parking: The Kiln and Parade car parks are both pay and display from March until October
  • Accessibility: The main car park overlooks the beach, so you’ll be able to spot your car from the sea while you paddle!
  • Facilities: Combe Martin has many lovely cafés and shops, and there are WCs in the car park

Dog-friendly beaches in South Devon

Our personal favourite: Babbacombe Beach

Babbacombe Beach

This pretty little cove is a popular diving spot, covered in sand and shingle and backed by thick woodland – so there are plenty of options for walkies! 

There’s a breakwater at one end of the beach, so if your pooch is happy to sit and sunbathe, you can cast a line and see what wonders of the deep crop up. Of all the bays along this stretch of coast, Babbacombe is up there with the best!

  • Location: Just east of Torquay
  • For the sat nav: TQ1 3LX
  • Any restrictions? No, dogs welcome all year round
  • Parking: There are a few spaces close to the beach within walking distance, or there is parking available at nearby Princes Street car park
  • Accessibility: The road down is fairly steep, however, you could always catch the Babbacombe Cliff Railway for a different mode of transport
  • Facilities: WCs for the humans are seasonally open (April to October) and there is a café and deckchair hire available

The beach with the best facilities: Teignmouth

Teignmouth

Teignmouth is a firm family favourite that boasts everything a traditional British beach holiday should have, particularly in the summer months. 

There are lots of things for little ones to do on the pier, but the beach itself is wonderful in the autumnal period when crowds die down and you’re free to wander with your woofer along the deep red sands – you may even want to have a paddle if it’s warm enough!

  • Location: Teignmouth
  • For the sat nav: TQ14 8AY
  • Restrictions: Dogs are not allowed on this beach from May 1st until September 30th
  • Parking: Teignmouth has lots of parking available
  • Accessibility: There is plenty of easy access ramps and steps to the beach directly from the promenade
  • Facilities: Teignmouth boasts many shops and pubs, as well as a free summer entertainment programme in July and August on the beach itself, and pleasure boat cruises and deckchairs

Best hidden beach: Row Cove

Row Cove

Row Cove is secluded as can be, you and your dog may well have the run of the beach if you time it right! Pawfect conditions for rock pooling mean little ones will love exploring the cove, while dog owners are likely to make many new friends on one of the busier days with lots of canines and their humans making use of this idyllic bay.

  • Location: Near Plymouth
  • For the sat nav: PL8 1HE
  • Restrictions? No, dogs are welcome all year
  • Parking: There is some parking available nearby at Revelstoke Park, but as it’s situated on the South West Coast Path, you may want to just pitch up here for an hour or two on your stroll along the coast
  • Accessibility: The cove is accessed via Revelstoke Caravan Park, and there are lots of steps down to this beach. Though they are well maintained, the beach is not accessible for those with disabilities.
  • Facilities: This is a very secluded beach at the far end of Bigbury Bay, so, unfortunately, there are no facilities here

Best beach for something different: Broadsands Beach

Broadsands Beach

If this is the first of South Devon’s dog-friendly beaches you’ve experienced, the reddish sand is sure to come as a surprise, however, it only adds to how wonderful this bay Broadsands Beach is. 

This large, curved stretch with beach huts along its edges is situated between rocky headlands and has a large grass area just behind where dogs and their owners are welcome. It’s time to make some sandcastles and have a paddle!

  • Restrictions: Dogs are not allowed on the beach between May and September
  • Location: In the middle of Paignton and Brixham
  • For the sat nav: TQ4 6HL
  • Parking: There is a large pay and display car park just a short walk away
  • Accessibility: The promenade is level, however, there are steps down to the beach itself
  • Facilities: The beach is fully kitted out for lots of visitors, offering a café/restaurant, WCs, disabled facilities, deck chair and beach hut hire, and a lost child centre

Best beach for surfing: Challaborough Beach

Challaborough Beach

A horseshoe-shaped cove on the south coast, Challaborough Beach is one of the few beaches in South Devon where waves can become surfable at times. The flat sand makes strolls with your pooch out of season a walk in the park… or on the beach. 

The sheltered aspect of the bay means it’s beautiful any time of the year, so being restricted to the off-peak months is no bad thing, and as it is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you’re guaranteed a stunning day out.

  • Location: Near Dartmouth and Bigbury-on-Sea
  • For the sat nav: TQ7 4HZ
  • Restrictions? Dogs are not allowed on this beach between May 1st and September 30th
  • Parking: There is parking available right by the beach, however, it is a fairly small area. For more parking, head to nearby Bigbury and park up, as the walk back to the beach is only 15 minutes
  • Accessibility: There is slipway access and pathways onto the beach, which is sandy with rocks and rock pools in places
  • Facilities: Just off the beach there is a shop and café, so you don’t need to lug anything with you if you don’t want to!

Best for long walkies: Branscombe

Branscombe

This stunning dog-friendly beach right on the border of Devon and Dorset is a true beauty spot, with miles of shingle being lapped by crystal-clear waters that continue to Beer Head. The pawfect place to lay back and relax, or wander along with your pooch. 

There are plenty of local walks if the pebbles get too much underfoot, with the South West Coast Path running along the cliffs and a woodland stroll to the village of Branscombe. It’s a real dog-friendly gem on the South Devon coast!

  • Location: Branscombe near Seaton
  • For the sat nav: EX12 3DP
  • Restrictions? Dogs are only allowed on certain parts of the beach
  • Parking: There is parking right by the beach, and additional parking in Branscombe, however, be advised that it is a fair walk
  • Accessibility: The beach is shingle and pebble, so be advised that it is not suitable for those who are unsteady on their feet, or for those in a wheelchair
  • Facilities: There’s a café right on the edge of the beach and WCs for the humans

Best beach for making puppy pals: North Sands

 North Sands

Completely submerged at high tide, North Sands may be small but it’s hugely popular with families and dog owners as it welcomes pooches all year round – it's regularly named as one of the best dog-walkies beaches in the area. 

The sea here is very calm, so there’s plenty of time for swimming and paddling with the other dogs about, and when the tide’s out, there’s lots of space for sunbathing – or digging holes if your dog can’t deal with lying still for more than five minutes! This is one of the best all-year-round dog-friendly beaches in Devon.

  • Location: Salcombe
  • For the sat nav: TQ8 8LD
  • Restrictions? No, dogs are welcome at North Sands all year
  • Parking: There is ample parking close to the beach
  • Accessibility: A 15-minute level walk from Salcombe itself, the beach is easily accessible from both the town and nearby car park and there is disabled access onto the beach
  • Facilities: There are WCs on site, as well as a café/restaurant for visitors

Best for the whole family: Hope Cove

Hope Cove

A true coastal sanctuary, Hope Cove Beach is a very pretty dog-friendly beach in South Devon, and is popular with locals and travellers alike, with many flocking to its shores to enjoy the pristine sands and picturesque surroundings. 

It’s also popular with divers thanks to the many shipwrecks found just out to sea. Backing onto Hope village, there is a delightful dog-friendly pub called the Hope and Anchor, just pawfect for a relaxing drink or evening meal after a day at the beach.

  • Location: Hope and Torquay
  • For the sat nav: TQ7 3HW
  • Restrictions? Hope Cove is split into two beaches, Inner and Outer. Outer Hope allows dogs all year, however, they must be kept on leads. Inner Hope (or Mouthwell) has a seasonal dog ban between May and September.
  • Parking: There is parking available close to the beach
  • Accessibility: There is disabled access to the beach and plenty of easily-accessible paths leading down to each end of the bay
  • Facilities: There is a dog-friendly pub just off the smaller of the beaches, and there is also a café and WCs

Beach time!

Take a closer look at these dog-friendly beaches on this map.


Stay at a dog-friendly self-catering holiday cottage in Devon

If our top dog-friendly Devon beaches have you head over paws in love already, head to our Devon coastal cottages to discover a fantastic property in the area. You could be exploring the sand and sea with your four-legged friend before you know it! For even more beaches check out our dog-friendly index!

Return to our dog-friendly Devon guide to find out more about this fantastic holiday destination.

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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