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Newquay's Best: Family-Friendly Beaches

Voted one of the nation’s favourite seaside towns in the ‘Which Holiday Survey’ and best family holiday destination by readers of ‘COAST’ magazine, Newquay is proud to be one of the coolest towns on the Cornish coast. There are 12 superb beaches within easy reach of our family-friendly hotel in Newquay, as well as many smaller hidden coves for you to discover. Every beach is different, and all are worth exploring.

Planning a visit? Download a printable beach guide and check out our insider tips about Newquay’s most family-friendly beaches…

Crantock Beach

In 2013 the well-travelled folks at the Radio Times were inspired by the BBC series 'COAST' to compile a list of Britain's best beaches. They scouted high and low, visiting the stunning, historic, kooky and quaint beaches of the UK, desperately seeking the ultimate must-see seascapes. At the end of their search Newquay's own Crantock Beach came out on top. To those in-the-know it's no surprise, Crantock is a wonderful bundle of loveliness! The quaint hidden cove offers an escape from the crowds, even at the height of summer.


  • Windbreaks, deckchairs, boards and wetsuits can be hired wave-side and a kiosk serves snacks and ice-cream, so all you need is bathers and towels.

  • Take a stroll along Crantock Beach to reach The River Gannel at the northern end. This tidal river is a popular and ideal spot for families offering sheltered swimming and perfect paddling!

  • Lifeguard cover runs from mid-May to the end of September.

Porth Beach

Porth Beach Newquay

If you want to escape the surfers, this is the beach for you – surfing is not permitted during the summer season. The large area of flat golden sand is just made for families – perfect for flying kites and playing rounders. Cross the narrow footbridge to the east and you’ll find yourself on Porth Island, look carefully and you might come across the impressive prehistoric defence earthworks. Head to the end of the island to discover the blow hole which, at mid-tide on a blowy day, can be quite a sight!

Please note that surfers and hounds are on the black list – they’re welcome in the winter but are strictly no-go between Easter and September.


  • A narrow and shallow beach, the long tidal drop of golden sand makes this beach an ideal family base. Protected on both sides by headland it offers great shelter too.

  • RNLI Lifeguard service 17th May – 28th September, 10:00am – 6:00pm.

  • Easy access – parking and disabled access available.

Towan Beach

Towan Beach Newquay


Towan is a popular, busy beach right in the centre of town. It backs onto a buzzy promenade where you’ll find plenty of shops and cafes. Towan Beach is a super-sandy, laid-back day out. If the weather takes a turn for the worst, or you get bored of buckets and spades, Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium is close at hand. Please note that the town centre parking is your best option for accessing this beach, it’s just a few minute’s walk from the sand.


  • The beach is sheltered by Towan Head so the waves here are pretty small – ideal for wannabe surfers and safe splashing.

  • At the foot of the Island several natural bathing pools appear. Warmed by the sun, these are a lovely spot for small children to play.

  • Lifeguard cover runs from mid-May to the end of September.

Tolcarne Beach

Tolcarne Beach Newquay


Tolcarne Beach nestles in a beautiful crescent-shaped bay set against a background of cliffs. The beach offers soft sand, easy swimming, fun family surfing, exciting rock pools to explore at low tide, sea fishing and the unique 'Tolcarne wedge' for boogie boarding. The waves here are usually pretty good and the lifeguards make sure everyone stays safe.

Please note that there are no parking facilities at Tolcarne but the beach is just a short walk from the Town Centre car parks. Hounds are a no-no from 1st April – 31st October.


  • Tolcarne is ideal if you love organised activities and beach hire with plenty of amenities. There’s a café, shop and surf hire.

  • Easy access either by steps or by a sloping roadway. Lifeguard cover runs from mid-May to the end of September.

  • Oodles of space with lots of lovely firm sand at low-tide (perfect for sandcastles!)

Holywell Bay Beach

Holywell Bay Beach


Holywell Bay Beach is on the rugged North Cornwall coast, around 6 miles drive from central Newquay. However, it’s well-worth the trip. At low tide the beach offers a massive mile-long stretch of sandy loveliness. Holywell Beach is pretty exposed to some fairly large Atlantic swells so is a great place to watch the local surfers perfecting their skills. When the tide’s out the rock pools are brilliant fun – little nippers will love paddling about in the shallow streams and pools.


  • Easy level-access from the car park. There’s also a large leisure park with attractions and go-karts within easy walking distance.

  • Lifeguard cover runs from mid-May to the end of September.

  • Well-behaved hounds are welcome all year round.

Fistral Beach

Fistral Beach Newquay


Right on our doorstep, Fistral Beach is Newquay’s iconic beach. Mention it to any surf enthusiast and they’ll know it, and not just for its waves – it’s also the backdrop for many events including Boardmasters – Europe’s largest surf and skate festival every August. Overall, Fistral Beach is great a great all-rounder, perfect for surfing, strolling, sunset-watching, sandcastles…and of course sunbathing (weather dependent).


  • Fistral Beach is quite possibly the best-equipped beach in Newquay. Seafron facilities include shops, showers, toilets, car parking, restaurants, surf hire, surf lessons and cafés all in easy reach.

  • The RNLI Lifeguard Station is a new state-of-the-art centre with full cover from May to September and voluntary weekend cover on busy weekends through the winter. The brand new facilities include a dedicated first aid room and a large observational area allowing an excellent view of this huge beach.

  • Fistral Beach is just a 100m walk from The Esplanade Hotel which is also home to the acclaimed Quiksilver Surf School – make sure you call in to book lessons and hire high quality surf gear!

The Best of the Rest...

Great Western Beach

Lusty Glaze Beach - Newquay

Mawgan Porth Beach

Newquay Harbour

Watergate Bay


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