There’s no need to leave your dog at home when you visit Cornwall – almost a third of visitors to the county are dog owners. And what with bountiful beaches and hundreds of miles of coastal trails to explore, it’s little surprise that so many of them decide to bring their hounds on holiday.
Whether you and your four-legged friend fancy frolicking in the sea, making paw-prints in the sand or scampering up the sand dunes, here are 25 of the best beaches in Cornwall that welcome dogs year-round.
1. Sandymouth, Bude
With its rock pools, waterfall and rock formations, this beach is a favourite with families and dog walkers – especially when the tide ebbs to reveal a sweep of sand along which you can walk the two miles back to bustling Bude.
2. Black Rock Beach, Widemouth
One of Cornwall’s most popular surfing beaches, Widemouth Bay is a great place to watch the waves roll in. While dogs are prohibited on the busy north section of the bay during the summer, canines are welcome all year at the southern end known as Black Rock Beach, which is marked by the prominent rocky outcrop at the shoreline.
3. The Strangles, Crackington Haven
Stray a mile from Crackington Haven and you and your dog can explore the awesome rock formations and crunchy sands of Strangles Beach. Many photographers make their way here to snap the rock stack, stone arch and Cornwall’s highest cliff, High Cliff, which towers 224 metres above the sand and shingle shoreline.
4. Trebarwith Strand, nr Tintagel
Caves, cliffs and sugary sands – when the tide ebbs Trebarwith Strand beach, a short hop north of Port Isaac, is a gem for families and dogs alike. A low-tide beach backed by rugged cliffs, it is overlooked by the dog-friendly Port William Inn, and when the tide comes in you can walk over the cliff-tops to Tintagel.
5. Daymer Bay, Rock
Sandwiched between the popular beaches of Rock and Polzeath, Daymer Bay is a sheltered sandy crescent backed by Brea Hill. Wear the dog out on a climb to the top of this perfectly formed knoll and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the scenery that inspired the late Poet Laureate John Betjeman. Or, trot along the coast to Rock and board the ferry for an adventure to foodie Padstow and the coastline beyond.
6. Hawker’s Cove, Nr Padstow
Just a couple of miles west of the bustling harbour town of Padstow, you and your four-legged friend can pad along the gently-shelving sands of Hawkers Cove. Stretching over 1.5 miles as the tide ebbs and boasting gob-smacking views to Stepper Point, the Doom Bar and The Rumps, it’s a favourite of dog walkers, picnickers, kite flyers and paddlers.
7. Harlyn Bay, Nr Padstow
The stretch of coast path from Padstow to Porthcothan not only serves up bucket loads of stupendous scenery to be enjoyed with your dog at your heels, but also a string of sandy coves to play in. The sandy expanse of Harlyn, a stone’s throw from St Merryn, is popular with surfers and dog walkers, hemmed by eye-popping cliff paths and with a beachside café where you can fuel up and watch the waves from the deck.
8. Mawgan Porth, Nr Newquay
A sandy runway flanked by dramatic cliffs and exposed to the full force of the Atlantic swells, Mawgan Porth beach is a year-round beauty for windswept beach walks, rock-pooling and dipping paws in the surf. When you’ve had enough of chasing balls and sea gulls, follow the wooded valley inland to pretty St Mawgan.
9. Watergate Bay, Newquay
Surfers and dogs hog the beach year-round at Watergate Bay, both species bounding with excitement and unable to resist the mile of Atlantic-lashed sands backed by staggering cliffs. The welcome to hounds extends beyond the beach, with The Beach Hut café and the Watergate Bay Hotel inviting sandy dogs into the mix.
10. Fistral Beach, Newquay
The UK’s unofficial surfing capital where many of the UK’s pros cut their teeth, Fistral beach in Newquay boasts a long sandy beach backed by dunes. A natural playground for the whole family, including the dog, pack your boards and balls for a fun-packed day on the sand, then retreat to one of the beachside cafés in time for sunset.
11. Holywell Bay, Nr Newquay
Six miles south of Cornwall’s surfing capital, Holywell Bay keeps the crowds at bay. With giant sand dunes for tumbling down, a stream to paddle in and frothy Atlantic waves pounding the shore, this is the perfect territory for dog walkers. You can also follow the South West Coast Path to hound-friendly coves in both directions.
12. Perranporth Beach, Perranporth
Although dogs must be kept on leads on a small part of the beach in the summer months, dogs can roam free along the rest of Perranporth‘s three miles of golden sand year-round and access all areas out of season. It’s a popular beach with families and surfers but stray from the crowd and you will be rewarded with acres of space and impressive sand dunes to explore. There are excellent restaurants, pubs and facilities at the entrance to this wonderful dog-friendly beach.
13. Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes
Perfectly placed for a day by the coast with your four-legged friend, Trevaunance Cove flaunts a dog-friendly pocket of sand within footsteps of Driftwood Spars – one of Cornwall’s best hound hangouts serving doggie ice cream and treats from a microbrewery. Surrounded by staggering coastal scenery, you can hike over the cliffs in either direction, tracing world heritage mining territory on route to Porthtowan or Perranporth.
14. Mexico Towans, Nr Hayle
On over a mile or so of surf-lashed sands, there’s plenty of space at Mexico’s to chase Frisbees and do some doggy-paddle in the shore-break. Part of the three-mile St Ives bay, this stretch lies between Black Cliff (by Hayle Estuary) and Peter’s Point (where the sand dunes turn into cliffs as you reach Gwithian).
15. Porthkidney Sands, Nr St Ives
While bucket-and-spade brigades descend upon neighbouring Carbis Bay and Hayle Towans, Porthkidney Sands remains untouched by the masses, reserving its dune-backed beauty for a handful of dog walkers and their energetic companions. No wonder the locals have dubbed it ‘Happy Dog Beach’. A must-visit beach while staying in the St Ives area.
16. Gwenver, Sennen
Wild, remote and gob-smackingly beautiful, Gwenver is paradise for bona fide beach lovers and their friendly four-legged pals. Fortunately, a thigh-burning flight of steps between the car park and beach deters anyone who isn’t serious about setting foot on the coarse white sands and scrambling over wave-hewn granite boulders to dip their toes and paws into the Caribbean-blue sea.
17. Nanjizal Cove, Land’s End
Whether you stroll just over a mile from Land’s End or across the countryside to reach this wild and rocky little cove, it’s worth the walk off the beaten track. There aren’t miles of sand to bound along, but you’ll be greeted by impossibly turquoise sea surging through a dramatic rock arch and is a spectacular spot to get your paws wet and explore the sea caves and rock pools at low tide.
18. Dollar Cove, Lizard Peninsula
Search for lost treasure on this wild cove where a Spanish ship foundered in 1802 losing two tonnes of silver coins overboard. Aside from hunting for the silver coins as you pad along the shoreline, explore the granite outcrops and play in the waves that break along the sandy bay. After a long day out, head to foodie haven Porthleven for some well-earned treats.
19. Kennack Sands, Lizard Peninsula
Tucked in a nook just east of Lizard Point, this beautiful stretch of sand is popular with families and dog walkers year-round. Explore the rock pools that hem the outcrop of rocks splitting into two bays, and wander up the hill for lunch in the dog-friendly Potter’s Bar in Kuggar.
20. Porthoustock Beach, St Keverne
This east-facing beach on the Lizard has a large flat expanse of coarse dark sand that’s perfect for flinging the ball and letting the dog run for miles along the shoreline. Overshadowed by industrial relics of the nearby former quarry, it’s also frequented by divers heading out to the gnarly Manacles Reef.
21. Carne Beach, Roseland Peninsula
A perfect crescent of sand and shingle sheltered by Nare Head, Carne Beach is a favourite haunt of dog walkers year-round. The nearby Nare Hotel serves a doggy a la carte menu from its perch overlooking the beach, or you can don your walking boots and treat the hound to a 5km hike along the South West Coast Path and dine al fresco at The Hidden Hut on Porthcurnick Beach, near St Mawes.
22. Par Beach, Par
Located in St Austell Bay, is Par Beach which opens up into a large expanse of sand to explore at low tide. It’s one of the most dog-friendly beaches to visit in the area. After stretching the legs on the beach, tuck into a meal at Par Beach Café which also extends a warm welcome to canine companions.
23. Lantic Bay, Polperro
If you’re keen for a bit of a hike to a stunning beach with your dog at your heels, then this jaw-dropping bay won’t disappoint. Revealing its glistening shoreline as you walk over the brow of the hill, descend onto the golden sands cut into towering cliffs.
24. Seaton Beach, nr Looe
A vast south-facing beach that meets the River Seaton at the foot of the Hessenford Valley, this sand and pebble playground has everything you need for a memorable day out with the pooch. Walk along the shoreline to Downderry or Looe at low tide, fuel up in the beachfront café or meander into the beachside country park that offers even more dog-friendly walks.
25. Finnygook Beach, Portwrinkle
The beaches of Cornwall’s hidden south-east corner are places of legend, beauty and contrast. Strike out on a dog walk around the wild Rame Peninsula and trace Whitsand Bay’s vast golden sands all the way to Portwrinkle’s Finnygook Beach, where the ghost of smuggler Silas Finn is said to haunt the cliffs.
Explore These & Other Dog Friendly Beaches in Cornwall
This long list of our favourite dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall is still only a small selection of the total number of bays and coves where four-legged friends are free to roam for most, if not all of the year. If you’re visiting the county on holiday and want to check if dogs are allowed at the local beach, there’s a full rundown of restricted beaches on the Cornwall Council website.
Find the Paw-fect Dog Friendly Pad in Cornwall
Cornwall is the ideal destination for a dog-friendly holiday. As well as beautiful beaches and stunning scenery, there is an abundance of things to do, places to see and spots to snack with a four-legged friend. There is also a wide choice of dog-friendly holiday homes and cottages in all corners of Cornwall. Start your search and book a holiday to remember in this dramatic county.