You’ve probably already heard that Newquay is an amazing place for beaches. That’s why you’re here, right? In this guide we detail more than a dozen beaches in Newquay and around the nearby coastline, all based on our own experiences of visiting. We’ll show you the best Newquay beaches for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, family days out, dog adventures, or just enjoying the spectacular scenery of the Cornwall coast. 

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Newquay beaches: a quick introduction

Lisa and I have both been visiting Newquay since we were kids. My first visit was on a camping trip with my Dad when I was 8, and I was mesmerised by the vibrant surfer beaches, live music performances and skater shows that were going on. For Lisa, her first experience was a summer holiday with school friends at 18 before she left home for uni.

We’ve both returned many times over the years, and hitting the beach is always one of our favourite things to do in Newquay at any time of year.

It’s true that Newquay has a big reputation for adventure and for partying. It’s also the surfing capital of the UK. Busy, active beaches are part of Newquay’s fabric, but that’s not all there is to the place.

You can also find many quieter spots on the coastline in and around Newquay Bay. Hidden coves and beaches, where you can explore or sunbathe in peace, are just a few footsteps away from all the action.

No town in Cornwall has a greater diversity of beaches than Newquay. That’s what we love about it. Ready to find out more? Let’s dive in and take a look.

Alex and Lisa at Bedruthan Steps
Enjoying the beach views at Bedruthan Steps, just outside Newquay

Best beaches in Newquay

Newquay’s coastline is spread across two large bays. Newquay Bay, at the heart of the town, is dotted with numerous interlinking sandy beaches, while Fistral Bay faces out to the west with one long, sprawling beach at its core. That’s where we’ll begin.

Fistral Beach

Fistral Beach Newquay
Fistral Beach is the most famous of the beaches in Newquay
  • Great for: surfing, games, sunbathing and dog walks
  • Parking: there are various paid car parks close to the beachfront
  • Lifeguards: yes, from Easter bank holiday to the end of October
  • Dog friendly? Yes, all year round
  • Toilets: yes, at both ends of the beach

Fistral beach is Newquay’s most famous beach. It is world renowned because of its brilliant surfing conditions, and it has hosted many international surfing competitions over the years.

The surf is so good at Fistral Beach because of its exposure to swells from the Atlantic Ocean, facing directly out to the west with no obstruction. Far-away storms send waves teeming into Fistral Bay, and deep sandbanks at the beach accentuate them.

Pro surfers love Fistral Beach, especially the northern side, but it’s also good for beginners. You can take an introduction surf lesson with Cornish Wave, who run taster sessions here and across on Towan Beach.

Fistral Beach isn’t just about surfing. It’s a huge, long and wide beach that stretches out between two headlands, back by golden dunes. The sheer size and sun exposure make it a great all-round beach for swimming, sunbathing, games and walks. We love the fact it’s dog-friendly even in summer, which isn’t usually the case for beaches as popular as this one.

Look out for the breathtaking Headland Hotel that stands overlooking the north of the beach. If you want a truly special place to stay for your visit, this 5-star Victorian red-bricked stunner is one of Cornwall’s best hotels.

Towan Beach

Towan Beach Newquay surfing wave ride
Towan Beach is another great surfing spot at the heart of the town
  • Great for: family days out, beginner surfers, bodyboarding, swimming
  • Parking: there is a small beach car park, or several town centre car parks nearby
  • Lifeguards: yes, from May to September
  • Dog friendly? Yes, all year round
  • Toilets: yes

Towan Beach is the closest beach to Newquay town centre, situated right near the bars, restaurants and shops around Fore Street. It’s one of the calmest beaches in Newquay, being well sheltered by the western enclosure of the bay.

Waves do still find their way to the shores, and so this is an ideal beach to learn to surf in calmer waters or to try other water sports like bodyboarding. We like a swim here too when it’s gentle.

The beach is flat with great quality sand. Its location means it does get busy, especially in high season, so you can usually expect crowds.

Families with kids love Towan Beach, and there’s always a game of beach cricket going on! You could also combine a day out here with a trip to the Blue Reef Aquarium, which is right behind the beach.

Look out for Jago’s Island at the eastern end of the beach; this tall rock stack has an early 20th-century house built on it, connected precariously by a bridge from the mainland. Arthur Conan Doyle is among the celebrity guests who have stayed at the house.

Great Western Beach

Great Western Beach
Great Western Beach sits in the middle of Newquay Bay
  • Great for: long walks, paddling, exploring pools and caves
  • Parking: Newquay Station Car Park is the closest, with more town centre parking nearby
  • Lifeguards: no
  • Dog friendly? Yes, all year round
  • Toilets: yes, open 10am to 6pm in through summer (closed in winter)

Just along from Towan Beach to the east is the vast expanse of Great Western Beach, hidden from view under jaw-dropping high cliffs.

Despite its central location, Great Western Beach is one of the quietest beaches in Newquay. It is riddled with quirky little rock pools and caves around its edge, so it’s amazing for kids (or big kids like us) to go exploring.

Great Western Beach is also one of Newquay’s biggest, and is dog-friendly all year round. When the tide is low it’s a fabulous spot for long, leisurely walks, and having a splash along the rippling shore.

The beach takes its name from the legendary Great Western Railway, which skyrocketed Newquay as a tourist destination when it opened in 1876. The line ran until 1960, but its name and aura lives on in vintage posters of this sprawling beach.

Lusty Glaze Beach

Lusty Glaze Beach
Lusty Glaze Beach at sunset
  • Great for: water sports and adventure activities, family fun, sunset views
  • Parking: the beach has a pay and display car park
  • Lifeguards: yes, from April to October
  • Dog friendly? Not allowed from May to September
  • Toilets: no

Lusty Glaze Beach, also called Newquay Beach, has the most incredible visual setting. It is nestled among a horse-shoe of towering cliffs, creating a spectacular natural cauldron.

Access to the beach can be tricky. When the tide is low, you can walk across from neighbouring Tolcarne Beach, or across the coastal path over Glendorgal Headland from Porth Beach on the other side. But at other times, the only way is by descending a steep 368-step stairway.

This doesn’t stop Lusty Glaze Beach from being a popular one. It’s often busy, and one of the main draws is its adventure activities. The beach is a hub for pursuits like rock-climbing, abseiling, and even bungee jumping! There’s an activity centre at the beach where you can sign up.

Lusty Glaze beach faces to the west, so if you come at the end of the day you can enjoy an awesome sunset view across Newquay Bay.

Porth Beach

View from Trevelgue Head
The view of Porth Beach from Trevelgue Head path
  • Great for: exploring rock pools, coastal walks, sunbathing
  • Parking: there is a small car park next to the beach, and you can also access from Lusty Glaze Beach Car Park
  • Lifeguards: yes, from May to September
  • Dog friendly? Not allowed from May to September
  • Toilets: no

Porth Beach occupies a huge narrow inlet on the far eastern side of Newquay Bay. The long and narrow beach provides a large expanse of sand that is neatly sheltered between two headlands.

We love Porth Beach because it’s usually quiet and there is a great little maze of rock pools, especially underneath the cliffs of Trevelgue Head on the east side. The sand slopes gently down to the water, intersected with little streams.

Trevelgue Head has an ancient fort and settlement site at its very tip. You can follow a marked trail all the way to the end of it, traversing a footbridge along the way. The views are gorgeous in both directions when you reach the end, where we like to take a picnic.

Porth Beach can be a cool surfing spot if you’re heading to Cornwall in winter, but surfing isn’t allowed in the summer months.

Whipsiderry Beach

Whipsiderry Beach Newquay
Whipsiderry Beach is a beautiful hidden beach in Newquay
  • Great for: exploring rock pools and caves, sunbathing
  • Parking: use the parking for Porth Beach or road parking in Trevelgue village
  • Lifeguards: no
  • Dog friendly? Yes, all year round
  • Toilets: no

In our humble opinion, Whipsiderry Beach is the most beautiful of all the beaches in Newquay. This secluded cove beyond the far side of Trevelgue Head is a real hidden gem.

I first came across Whipsiderry Beach by accident when walking along the coastal path. The only entry point to the beach is via a steep and narrow stairway that hugs the cliff.

Low tide is the best time to visit Whipsiderry Beach and make the most of its caves, rock stacks, islands and pools. Even at the height of summer it’s usually quiet. It’s like a little sandy adventure playground all to yourself.

Newquay Harbour

Newquay Harbour beach
Newquay Harbour has a small, sheltered beach when the tide is out
  • Great for: quiet sunbathing
  • Parking: there is a small harbour car park, and other parking in the town centre nearby
  • Lifeguards: no
  • Dog friendly? Yes, all year round
  • Toilets: yes

Newquay Harbour has been a focal point of life in the town for almost 800 years. It’s still a thriving fishing port, especially known for its shellfish, and hosts festivals and events in the summer.

It’s not so well known that the harbour also features a beach. Small inlets of sand are revealed when the sand goes down, and this is one of the most sheltered spots along Newquay Bay. When the weather is nice, this becomes a great little sun trap.

Best beaches near Newquay

Newquay sits along one of the most scenic stretches of the Cornish coastline, and if you travel away from the town in either direction you will soon find many more great beaches. This is why we love Newquay as a base for a Cornwall road trip adventure.

Here’s a selection of our favourite beaches near Newquay to try for something a little different.

Crantock Beach

Crantock Beach
Crantock Beach is just to the west of Newquay
  • Great for: exploring wildlife, long walks, 
  • Parking: the beach has a National Trust car park, plus parking in the village
  • Lifeguards: yes, from May to September
  • Dog friendly? Yes, all year round
  • Toilets: yes, at the car park

Crantock is only separated from Newquay by the River Gannel, but you have to drive around the estuary to reach it, which takes about 15 minutes. 

This is one of the largest beaches within the vicinity of Newquay, covered by fine golden-white sand. A labyrinth of dunes at the rear of the beach known as Rushy Green is one of its defining features. This was once a great place to explore, but the dunes have become unstable and it’s now advised to avoid them.

You can still meet a lot of wildlife around this relatively untouched beach, and it’s a nice scenic spot for long beach walks. The water can be fun for swimming and water sports, but there are also unpredictable currents, so it’s best to have a dip only when the lifeguard service is on.

Polly Joke Beach

Polly Joke sunset
Sunset view at Polly Joke Beach
  • Great for: exploring, walks, paddling, sunbathing and the famous Polly Joke poppies
  • Parking: car parking in West Pentire village
  • Lifeguards: no
  • Dog friendly? Yes, all year round
  • Toilets: no

Perched midway between Newquay and Holywell Bay inside a narrow cove, Polly Joke Beach is one the great untouched beauties of the Cornish coast. 

It take a little effort to reach the beach; you need to park up in West Pentire village and walk about 10 minutes along the coastal path. But once you arrive, you can enjoy this picturesque little beach and its network of rock pools with very few tourists around.

In late spring, the fields around the beach bloom with bright red poppies. The Polly Joke poppies are a unique sight, famous among locals. Check out this guide to the Polly Joke poppies if you want to try and see them yourself.


Perranporth Beach Cornwall
Perranporth is one of the most popular beaches near Newquay
  • Great for: swimming, surfing, family adventures, dog walks and games
  • Parking: a choice of car parks near the beach
  • Lifeguards: yes, from May to September
  • Dog friendly? Yes, but must be on a lead in July and August
  • Toilets: yes

Perranporth Beach is one of the most popular in the area and is featured in our guide to the best beaches in Cornwall. It’s an absolutely huge sandy beach that is riddled with rock formations, pools and caves to explore.

The beach is always busy, even in off-season. We came on a Saturday in January when the weather forecast was good, and it was absolutely packed! It’s great for family fun at the beach and there’s loads of space to explore, but not the best option if you want to avoid the crowds.

A pub called the Watering Hole sits at the heart of the beach, and is a nice spot to grab a bite to eat with sea views. The beach is right next to the resort town of Perranporth, so you’re never far away from a shop or a café.

Natural rock formations at either side of the beach give Perranporth Beach some interesting quirks. Most notable is Chapel Rock, which stands in the middle of the beach and features a concealed natural tidal swimming pool.

Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay
View of Watergate Bay from Trevelgue Head
  • Great for: swimming, surfing, adventure activities, walks, games
  • Parking: there’s a car park near the beach and road parking nearby
  • Lifeguards: yes, from May to September
  • Dog friendly? Yes, all year round
  • Toilets: yes

Over to the east side of Newquay, Watergate Bay features another colossal unbroken stretch of sand enclosed by towering cliffs. The beach extends more than 2 miles and has some of the best quality water anywhere in the UK.

A little village sits over the bay, where you can park up and be on the sand in seconds. While it’s a popular spot, the beach is so vast that you’re never short of space.

Watergate Bay has great conditions for surfing, and is also a hub for various other water sports. The coastal walks around the beach are also breathtaking, both in terms of the views and the physical exertion required!

Back at the beach you can grab a bite to eat at the Beach Hut, or something a bit more fancy at Emily Scott restaurant.

Mawgan Porth

Mawgan Porth
The beach at Mawgan Porth is in an enclosed cove about 4 miles north of Newquay
  • Great for: swimming, surfing, family days out
  • Parking: car park at the beach and in the village
  • Lifeguards: yes, from May to September
  • Dog friendly? Yes, all year round
  • Toilets: yes

Located a short drive to the north of Newquay just beyond Watergate Bay, Mawgan Porth is a fantastic all-round beach that brings many of the benefits of the beaches in Newquay but without the crowds.

The beach at Mawgan Porth sits in a little cove that opens out into a wide stretch of sand. High cliffs at either side provide great shelter, and the open exposure to incoming Atlantic swells brings in some great waves for surfing.

Mawgan Porth is a great option for a day out at the beach with a range of activities. The coastal path to the north is spectacular, with the opportunity to take the short walk up to the beauty spot at Bedruthan Steps.

If you’d like to stay somewhere near Newquay that provides some peace and quiet but is quick and easy to get into town, Mawgan Porth is perfect. The little village above the beach has some beautiful accommodation options, such as Mawgan Porth Apartments overlooking the sea.

Bedruthan Steps

Bedruthan Steps Alex Regan
Walking Regan down to Bedruthan Steps on one of our trips to the Newquay coastline
  • Great for: walks, exploring caves, sunbathing
  • Parking: a National Trust car park is a short walk away
  • Lifeguards: no
  • Dog friendly? Yes, all year round
  • Toilets: yes

The last of our recommendations on beaches near Newquay is one of Cornwall’s most famous beauty spots. Bedruthan Steps is among the county’s most photographed places, and has become a highly popular location for weddings.

You can see why. The beach is punctuated with a series of towering rock stacks that create a breathtaking scene when viewed from the coastal path above. The name derives from a mythical giant called Bedruthan, who is said to have used the stacks as stepping stones.

Visits to the beach at Bedruthan Steps do come with a few caveats. Beach access is sometimes restricted by landslides, as was the case on our last visit. The tide provides a hazard too, as it comes in quickly and you can easily be cut off if you’re not careful. It’s wise to check the tide times before you set off.

Even if you’re not able to get onto the beach, the pathway above Bedruthan Steps provides one of the most stunning walks in Cornwall. We like to follow the path between here and Mawgan Porth and spend a little time at each beach, but the path is equally beautiful if you continue north past Bedruthan Steps in the other direction.

Dog friendly beaches in Newquay

Wrapping everything together, these are our top recommendations for the best dog-friendly beaches in Newquay. The following beaches are all dog friendly through the year, are easy to access with your pooches, and have great space for walks and a splash in the sea:

  • Fistral Beach
  • Towan Beach
  • Great Western Beach
  • Crantock Beach
  • Perranporth Beach (must be on leads in July and August)
Dog friendly beaches in Newquay: Perranporth
We took Regan out for some adventures at Perranporth Beach on a sunny January Saturday

Beaches in Newquay for families

Newquay is a great place to travel with kids, as there is just so much to keep them entertained. These are our top picks for beaches in Newquay with families:

  • Towan Beach: right next to town and features the Blue Reef Aquarium
  • Lusty Glaze Beach: tricky to access, but has a crèche
  • Porth Beach: lots of space, and the best for exploring rock pools

Newquay surfing beaches

These are the top Newquay surfing beaches, which all have lifeguard cover in season:

  • Fistral Beach: top spot for pro surfers (can be good for beginners too)
  • Towan Beach: ideal for beginners, with calmer conditions
  • Lusty Glaze Beach: has an adventure centre that offers beginner lessons
  • Perranporth Beach: great for all abilities with large swells in summer
  • Mawgan Porth: excellent all-round conditions, surfable all year at any tidal stage

Map of Newquay beaches

The map below shows the locations of the best beaches in Newquay and nearby that we’ve featured in this guide:

What’s your opinion on the best beaches in Newquay? Let us know in the comments below. 

To find out how you can combine a trip to Newquay with a remote working adventure, see our guides to taking a workation in Cornwall and the best coworking spaces in Cornwall.

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Our comprehensive guide details the best beaches in Newquay, including for families, dog-friendly, surfing, swimming and walks. #newquaybeaches #newquay #beachesnewquay

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