by Parkdean Resorts on 01/10/2021
Planning a holiday with your dog in Cornwall? Make sure you scope out Cornwall's dog friendly beaches before your trip, so you can head out for a day on the sand without worrying about restrictions which plague many of the UK’s beaches during spring, summer and autumn.
We’ve put together an exclusive list of dog friendly beaches in Cornwall near Cornwall’s top hot spots - with absolutely no restrictions! So you and your four-legged friend can roam free on the sand to your hearts’ content, whatever the time of year or time of day. From wild and rocky beaches where dogs will love exploring rock pools and clambering up cliffs, to sandy bays where you can both stroll the soft powder or go for a dip- we’ve got you covered. After all, fun and freedom are what dog friendly holidays are all about!
Where to stay: All eight of our holiday parks in Cornwall are dog friendly, with a wide range of accommodation options on offer. Whether you’re looking for a great value caravan holiday, a luxury lodge or want to get back to nature with our touring caravan and camping pitches. We’ve even got luxury glamping tents at Holywell Bay Holiday Park.
When’s the best time to take your dog to Cornwall?
While we’ve only listed beaches that welcome dogs year-round, there are over 50 beaches in Cornwall that enforce seasonal dog restrictions or ban dogs outright. Most restrictions only apply during July and August, however, there are exceptions. If you’re looking for a dog friendly break without restrictions, we’d recommend visiting Cornwall in late autumn, winter or spring.However, don’t fret if you’re heading to Cornwall with your dog during the summer and still want to visit some of the beaches with restrictions in place. With a little bit of planning, you can still get to nearly all of Cornwall’s beaches.
The majority of Cornwall’s beaches with seasonal dog bans in place ban dogs between 1st July - 31st August, between 10am-6pm. So if you’re visiting in summer, head down early in the morning or late evening for a stroll.
Cornwall’s Blue Flag and Seaside Awarded beaches have heightened restrictions, with a dog ban in force between 15th May - 30th September between 10am-6pm. These longer restrictions are a requirement to qualify for these awards, which have strict measures on beach cleanliness.
The above dates are just a guide. If you’re planning to take your dog to a Cornish beach with restrictions, we recommend checking the Cornwall Council website before setting off, where you’ll find dates and times for restrictions that apply to each beach.
Treyarnon Bay, Constantine Bay & Booby’s Bay Beach, Padstow
First up on our list of Cornwall’s best dog friendly beaches is a trio of three sandy bays, steps apart from each other on the western side of the Trevose Headland. Treyarnon Bay, Constantine Bay and Booby’s Beach are all just a few miles from the charming town of Padstow. If you’re staying at Newquay or St Minver Holiday Park, you can get there in just over 30 minutes by car. We recommend parking up at Treyarnon Bay car park, as parking is very limited at Constantine Bay, then walking north, across all three beaches before following the South West Coastal Path up to Trevose Head Lighthouse, at the tip of the headland. It’s a great way to combine a walk with a beach day and you can stop off for a swim (or three!) along the way.
A kite surfer at Constantine Bay Beach, with Trevose Head Lighthouse visible behind
These three consecutive bays all offer dog friendly sandy shores, punctuated by dramatic rock formations and rock pools - perfect for inquisitive dogs. Constantine Bay and Booby’s Bay are popular destinations for surfers, while smaller Treyarnon Bay offers a little more shelter from the waves. You’ll also find public toilets at Treyarnon Bay as well as a shop and cafe nearby.
Watergate Bay Beach, Newquay
A couple of miles north of Newquay, you’ll find one of Cornwall’s biggest dog friendly beaches. Watergate Bay stretches out over two miles at low tide, revealing a huge expanse of sand beneath its rocky cliffs. The flat, wet sand is great for running on too, so if your dog needs to burn off extra energy, this is the place to do it.
Looking north-west along Watergate Bay Beach
Watergate Bay’s west-facing sand attracts waves from the Atlantic making it a popular spot for surfers, bodyboarders and kite surfers. While the beach does get busy around high tide, as crowds gather around the remaining sand by the Watergate Bay Hotel, if you head down for low tide you’ll easily be able to find a spot for yourself. There are two car parks on site, just around the corner from each other and plenty of facilities nearby if you’re planning to make a day of it.
Fistral Beach, Newquay
As Newquay’s best known and most popular beach, you might be surprised to learn that Fistral Beach is dog friendly year-round! A rare exception for Britain’s flagship beaches. With excellent dog friendly facilities nearby, including restaurants, bars and shops, as well as local walks on offer, it’s the perfect all-day beach destination for you and your dog.
A stormy day at Fistral Beach in Newquay with the Towan Headland visible beyond
The best time to head down to Fistral is low tide if you’re taking your dog, when the beach is at its widest - with plenty of room to roam, run and fetch. Park up at Tower Road car park and stroll through the golf course path to get to the sand. After you’ve had your fill of sun and sea, stop off for some tasty fish and chips at dog friendly Rick Stein’s before drying off with a quick stroll up the coastal path along the headland.
Holywell Bay Beach, Newquay
Maintained by the National Trust, Holywell Bay Beach is one of Cornwall’s favourite dog friendly beaches. Just 15 minutes’ drive from bustling Newquay, the charming village of Holywell offers a much more rural vibe than Newquay’s main beaches. With an extensive network of dunes behind it and domineering headlands at either side, walking onto Holywell Beach feels like you’re discovering a hidden paradise. If you’re staying at Holywell Bay Holiday Park, Holywell Bay Beach is just a stroll away down the beach path, making it an ideal destination if you want to spend the majority of your break on the beach.
Lifeguards patrolling Holywell Bay Beach with distinctive Gull Rock visible on the horizon
Dogs will love splashing around and cooling off in the stream running down to the beach, while the grassy sand dunes are the ultimate playground. While Holywell is popular with both families and surfers, its large size usually means you can find a spot to yourself. Parking can be found nearby, just around the corner from Gull Rocks Bar & Coffee House, the perfect place for a post-beach pint.
Mexico Towans Beach, St Ives
While the majority of St Ives’ central beaches enforce dog restrictions throughout the warmer months of the year, due to their Blue Flag status, it’s not completely off limits for dog owners on holiday. A couple of miles west of St Ives you’ll reach The Towans, a collection of spectacular beaches overlooking St Ives Bay, which join together at low tide to form one long stretch of sand. While Hayle Towans at the south end and Gwithian Towans at the north end have dog restrictions in place, the central belt of beach known as Mexico Towans welcomes dogs year-round.
Looking across the Towans towards St Ives in the distance
At Mexico Towans you and your dog can both experience what makes St Ives’ beaches so famous - the crisp white sand and emerald green seas. Backed by the Towans’ grassy dunes, you’ll find plenty of areas for you and your dog to explore - as the Towans rarely get busy. Park up at Sandy Acres car park, where you’ll find a cafe offering up tasty treats and refreshments to break up your day.
Longrock Beach, Penzance
If you’re heading to Penzance on South Cornwall’s coast and want to see nearby St Michael’s Mount, Longrock Beach is a great dog friendly option where you can walk along the sand and shingle shoreline, and take in the views across the bay. While it’s definitely more of an urban beach and less glamorous than some of Cornwall’s hot spots, it’s always quiet and a favourite amongst local dog walkers, making it a fantastic spot for exercise if you want to get away from Cornwall’s crowds.
St Michael's Mount, visible across the bay from Longrock Beach
Park up at Longrock car park, where you can walk west, all the way into Penzance at low tide - without encountering any dog restrictions. The South West Coastal Path runs alongside too, so if you prefer to keep off the sand or want to cycle alongside your dog, it’s an ideal choice.
Lankidden Cove, The Lizard
If you’re staying at nearby Sea Acres Holiday Park and fancy stretching your or your dog’s legs, head west along the coastal path to Lankidden Cove, just over a mile beyond popular Kennack Sands Beach. As one of the Lizard Peninsula’s few truly dog friendly beaches, with no restrictions year-round, Lankidden Cove is a bit of a hidden gem.
A drone’s eye view of hidden Lankidden Cove, video sourced from biscuitsalive on YouTubeWith a sheltered white sand beach, shallow clear waters and plenty of rockpools to explore, it really is a Cornish paradise on a sunny day. Care is advised for swimming, as this isolated beach has no lifeguard cover and as access is strictly on-foot, don’t forget to bring a picnic along too. The closest car park is at Kennack Sands Beach.
Nestled on Cornwall’s Roseland Heritage Coast, Porthcurnick Beach offers up soft sand below foot and clear waters. At low tide, rock pools teeming with colourful sea life provide plenty of entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.
An aerial view of Porthcurnick Beach's crystal clear waters and white sands
Porthcurnick Beach is a great choice if you’re planning a swim or want to let your dogs go for a paddle thanks to it’s calm and sheltered waters facing south across the Channel. You’ll find a large car park just outside of nearby Portscatho, which offers local pubs and eateries, just a few minutes’ walk away.
Lantic Bay Beach
Dog friendly Lantic Bay Beach is an ideal choice if you fancy combining a coastal walk with a beach day. Situated on a particularly beautiful stretch of the South West Coastal Path, you and your dog can walk for miles in either direction before heading down to the beach to cool off with a paddle in Lantic Bay’s enticing waters. Just take care not to go in too far, as strong currents are common in the bay.
Lantic Bay's colourful vista of green heathland, silver sand and blue waters
Just a few miles on foot from the charming town of Fowey, it’s a great day out if you’re staying nearby. If you’re planning to drive, there’s a reasonably sized National Trust car park behind the fields at the top of the cliff. What Lantic Bay’s isolated location lacks in facilities, it more than makes up for in views.
Last but not least on our list of Cornwall’s best dog friendly beaches is beautiful Tregantle Beach in Whitsand Bay. Best visited at low tide, you’ll be greeted by a sweeping vista of compacted golden sand, perfect for long walks and runs.
Sweeping Whitsand Bay and Tregantle BeachSitting in the shadows of Tregantle Fort, this beach is fairly remote - with no facilities or cafes nearby, however, if you’re looking for peace and quiet, you’ll find it in abundance, so pack up some sandwiches, scooby snacks and a flask and make a day of it. Parking can be found nearby around Tregantle Fort.
Tips for taking your dog to the beach
This one goes without saying. Clean up after your dog and dispose of it in a litter bin. Regardless of whether the beach is dog friendly, there are heavy fines enforced for those who don’t pick up. Cornwall is one of the UK’s most beautiful settings and every visitor to the region has a duty to do their part to keep it clean and pristine for everyone to enjoy. Take only pictures, leave only footprints (or pawprints!)
Take a lead with you. Even if a beach is dog friendly, unfortunately not everyone is a dog lover - and while your dog might be excited about running up to strangers, this can be seen as intimidating and unwelcome behaviour by other beachgoers. We’d always recommend keeping your dog on a lead if the beach is busy or there are children around, especially if your dog is prone to running off or getting over excited
Pack plenty of fresh water and treats. Cornwall can really heat up in the summer, and combined with all that excitement and running around, it’s important to keep your dog hydrated and energised. We’d also recommend bringing along a beach tent or sun-shade if you’re heading to a beach with no shelter on a sunny day
Any dog owner knows that once you get sand in your car or accommodation, it’s game over. Prevention is the key. Pack a few big bottles of clean water and a couple of fluffy towels to rinse and dry off your pooch before heading home from the beach each day - leaving the sand where it belongs, on the shore
Bring dog shampoo and a brush. If you’re planning to spend every day at the beach on your holiday, it won’t take long for that dreaded wet dog smell to develop. Sand and salt can also irritate your dog’s skin and matt their fur - contributing to overheating. Make sure you pack some gentle dog friendly shampoo and give them a quick bath every couple of days while you’re away to keep them looking and feeling fresh
Don’t forget to check out our pet friendly packing list when packing for your UK break