The best family friendly and activity beaches in Cornwall

PUBLISHED: 13:52 03 July 2020

Sailing at Polkerris

Sailing at Polkerris


Discover new beaches for work rest and play in Cornwall

Carbis Bay is a firm family favourite near St IvesCarbis Bay is a firm family favourite near St Ives


Usually recommended for their easy access, facilities and young swimmer-friendly water, there are plenty of beaches on offer for families. Consider issues like parking, lifeguard cover, toilets and facilities for food and drink.

We love Gilly beach in Falmouth. There is plenty of parking nearby and other necessary amenities like beach shops, cafe and bakery.

The wide expanse of Praa Sands which lies between Penzance and Helston is a fantastic family beach. The water is generally quite flat with easy access and great amenities.

Porthminster Beach in St IvesPorthminster Beach in St Ives

Bude in North Cornwall is a classic seaside family-friendly place. Crooklets and Summerleaze beaches offer plenty of space to set up camp for the day. The tidal swimming pool sustained damage and is currently out of action.

Perranporth is one of the best family beaches. The sand stretches back almost into the town and two mile north so its worth spreading out.

Water play

There’s no such thing as a beach without play but some beaches take fun more seriously than others. Surfing is a real sport for many, but it only takes two hours to learn the basics, so even newbies can be riding waves like a pro within a short space of time. If surfing doesn’t appeal, there’s windsurfing, kayaking, coasteering, stand-up paddleboarding and open water swimming to try out.

Fistral Beach reigns supreme for surf as the spiritual home of British surfing. It’s impressive Cribbar Wave (AKA The Widow Maker) is matched by its friendliness where fun-seeking first-timers can mingle in the water with serious surfers.

You can also try Porthmeor in St Ives, Holywell Bay and Watergate Bay for more action. Gwithian has a great wave and Polzeath has the added attraction of the occasional dolphin visitor.

Crantock Beach near NewquayCrantock Beach near Newquay

Mount’s Bay is a popular spot for wild swimming with a swim around its magical St Michael’s Mount. Clubs meet regularly to swim together.

Most surf schools will offer surf boards and stand up paddle board kit for hire. There’s also kayaking and coasteering adventures to be had. Many sailing clubs offering taster sessions - try Polkerris and Mylor to get started.


Sunset surfing at Fistral BeachSunset surfing at Fistral Beach

Conventional wheelchairs can be difficult to handle on sand, and the beach environment can cause damage to equipment. Thankfully Cornwall’s beaches offer sand chairs. These special chairs can be hired for use during a holiday for a day’s outing directly on the beach. Polzeath, Fistral and Gylly in Falmouth among them.

Find out more at

Latest from the Cornwall Life