Places to Go

Family Holidays: The best beaches for families in Cornwall

A trip to the beach with the kids is not always a straightforward affair, there are lots of very important things to consider, take account of and double check. And the list? It goes something like this: beach activity paraphernalia i.e. windbreak, towels, beach balls, buckets and spades, lunch, drinks, wetsuits, bodyboards etc - hence not being too far from car to beach is essential, as is easy access to ice-cream, shallow safe water for the little ones to play, lifeguards, and oh yes perhaps a waterproof coat – well we all know what the Cornish weather can be like.

I personally just have the Black Dog as my dependent, which puts a whole different spin on things. But when we’re with friends and their little ‘uns these are just a few of our favourite beaches to take in a Cornish day by the seaside, all of which, in my humble opinion, are just perfect for a family excursion.

Perranporth Beach 

 Enjoy Perranporth Beach at low tide

Quite possibly one of the finest beaches on the north coast, and our local. When the tide’s out the beach stretches in an uninterrupted, golden, three mile strip of sand all the way up to Ligger Point. There are two approaches to the beach here, with a set of lifeguards at both, either at the town beach or via Perran Sands Holiday Park. Town is by far the easier option for anyone with buggies, little people and lots of stuff. There’s a pay and display car park right on the beach, a little surf shack renting out boards, the iconic Watering Hole pub, loads of ice-cream options on the high street – we recommend Planet Ice, and the stream that runs onto the beach makes for a really good play area especially for smaller children. And it’s dog friendly all year.

Swanpool Beach

Swanpool beach

We love this beach; it’s got a nice, local, intimate feel to it, and the access is pretty darn good with a car park just a few short strides away. There isn’t a life guard service here, but it’s a sheltered bay, framed by a sandy, pebbly shore and views out over a busy bay. Kayaks are available to hire, a short run of beach huts hug the hillside, and there’s the lovely Swanpool nature reserve just a short walk up the road, for a change of scenery. But perhaps best of all, by a cat’s whisker, is the cafe, which serves up all manner of quirky ice-creams, topped with such delights as jelly babies, chocolate beans and liquorice allsorts. Yum! Dogs on leads are allowed during the summer months.

Chapel Porth

View across Chapel Porth Beach

A National Trust favourite of ours, not far from where we live. A gorgeously cute little cove, with parking and a rather tasty little cafe. Parking is free for NT members, there’s a life guard service during the summer months and a dog seasonal dog ban (not so great for the Black Dog). When the tide is out the sand sweeps around the west corner of the bay and runs all the way over to Porthtowan. For refreshments there’s lots of lovely clotted cream laced treats available at the cafe, such as a rather splendid sausage baguette served with onions and mushrooms cooked in cream, and of course the world famous hedgehog ice-cream.

Marazion Beach

Marazion beach looking over St Michaels Mount

What child wouldn’t want to go to a beach that overlooks a fairy tale castle! Marazion beach is incredibly family friendly, it never gets massively busy, there’s loads of easy access parking, life guards, a children’s play area not far away, a fresh water inlet for safe paddling and the town itself is stuffed with lots of places to pick up ice-cream. And of course, the staggering views out over to St. Michael’s Mount are absolutely unique.


Sian Pickles spends her time out and about in Cornwall with her black dog – walking, eating, drinking and swimming. You can catch up with her on Twitter @blackdogadventu and follow their adventures on herAdventures with the Black Dog blog.

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