Discover the best beaches in Newquay, from the surfers’ paradise at Fistral to the beautiful stretches of sand at Towan, Great Western, and Tolcarne.
Newquay is famed for its many excellent beaches and attracts families, holiday makers, and surfers to its miles of golden sand every year. But what are the best beaches in Newquay?
In this article, you’ll discover the best Newquay beaches for surfing and swimming, beaches to bring your dog along with you, and more.
I’ve been visiting this stretch of the north Cornish coastline since childhood and have spent a lot of time surfing and swimming at the various beaches around Newquay. It remains one of my favorite places in the world to visit to date.
15 Best Beaches in Newquay
Below, you’ll find a wide selection of beaches in and around the town. Whether you’re looking for a lively beach with lots of activities on offer or something a little quieter, you’ll be sure to find the perfect spot for a bit of sun, sea, and sand.
Quicklook: Best Beaches in Newquay
Towan Beach: Best Beach in Newquay Overall
Tolcarne Beach: Best for Families
Fistral Beach: Best for Surfing
Great Western Beach: Best for Swimming
Lusty Glaze Beach: Best for Relaxing
Mawgan Porth Beach: Best Dog-Friendly Beach in Newquay
Watergate Bay Beach: Best for Walking
1. Fistral Beach
Fistral beach is Newquay’s most famous stretch of sand and the best beach in Newquay for surfing thanks to its gnarly breaks and proximity to the town’s lively nightlife. The beach plays host to the UK’s top surf competitions such as Boardmasters and others.
The beach stretches for just under a mile between two headlands and is backed by cliffs and dunes, with a good selection of cafes, restaurants, surf rental places, and shops.
This is one of my favorite surfing spots in Cornwall and certainly one of the best beaches in Newquay.
Location: Fistral BeachBest For: Surfing, swimming, entertainmentAmenities: Restaurants, bars, rental equipment, toilets
Accommodation Near Fistral Beach
Below is a selection of accommodation options close to Fistral beach.
One-Bed Apartment: This one-bedroom apartment a stone’s throw from Fistral is the perfect place to watch the sunset with a glass of wine.
Fistral Sands Flat: This cozy two-bedroom apartment has space for four people and offers stunning views out over the bay. Perfect for couples and those wanting to be close to the beach.
Fistral Apartment: This modern and spacious two-bedroom apartment sleeps four people and comes with panoramic views over Fistral, perfect for those wanting quick access to the best beach in Newquay.
Restaurants Near Fistral Beach
Here are some top places to eat around Fistral.
The Fish House Fistral: This seafood restaurant on Fistral beach serves classic seafood dishes, fish curries, and more (my favorite is the Cornish crab and prawn linguine).
Rick Stein Fistral: Rick Stein is a celebrity chef with a long association with Cornwall. After running four successful restaurants in Padstow, this is his newest enterprise just steps from Fistral beach.
Sea Spray: A lovely little cafe on the beach serving up the best brunches in Newquay (their pancakes are a must-try).
2. Tolcarne Beach
Tolcarne is a gorgeous crescent-shaped stretch of soft sand backed by towering cliffs. This Newquay beach is perfect for families, those wanting to swim, and beginner surfers and bodyboarders. At low tide, there are lots of rock pools to explore and plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby.
Location: Tolcarne BeachBest For: Soft sand, kids, beach bars, swimming, bodyboarding, surfingAmenities: Restaurants, rental equipment, shops, toilets
Accommodation Near Tolcarne Beach
Below is a selection of Airbnbs around Tolcarne beach.
Self-Contained Annex: This cozy one-bedroom self-contained annex sleeps two and is a short walk to the beach.
Blue Ocean Apartments: This two-bedroom penthouse apartment sleeps up to five people and comes with a jacuzzi.
Newquay Studio: This attractive one-bedroom studio apartment sleeps two people and comes with off-road parking.
Restaurants Near Tolcarne Beach
Below are some fantastic restaurants close to Tolcarne, the best beach in Newquay for families.
Pizza Express: One of my favorite Italian restaurant chains and located just steps from the beach. Handmade pizzas, pasta, salads, and meat dishes at reasonable prices.
The Lanherne Pub and Restaurant: A family-run pub in central Newquay that serves pub classics, locally caught fish, and Cornish ales.
El Huichol Mexican Streetfood: If you’re looking for something a little different head to El Huichol for tacos, nachos, and burritos you can take away and enjoy on the beach.
3. Beacon Cove
This secluded little beach is situated between Fistral beach and Harbour beach a short walk from central Newquay.
Due to its secluded location, this is one of the quieter Newquay beaches and a great place to escape the summer crowds.
It’s also one of the dog-friendly beaches in Newquay.
Location: Beacon CoveBest For: Soft sand, kids, swimming, walkingAmenities: Car park
Accommodation Near Beacon Cove
Here, you’ll find a nice selection of Airbnb’s near Beacon Cove.
Headland Hideaway: This modern two-bedroom apartment close to Beacons Cove sleeps up to four people and is perfect for couples and families.
Huer’s Lookout: This gorgeous two-bedroom apartment boasts panoramic views of many of the best beaches around Newquay.
Palm Lodge: This charming one-bedroom home sleeps two and contains everything you need for a perfect beachside getaway.
Restaurants Near Beacon Cove
As it’s just a 500-meter walk to either Fistral or Newquay town center you’ll find plenty of eateries nearby such as the Fish House, Harbour Fish and Grill, and my favorite, the Red Lion (see Fistral and Harbour beach sections for more info).
4. Harbour Beach
Harbour beach is located right next to Newquay’s harbor and is the smallest beach in the town. Here, you can watch the fishing boats come in with the latest catch.
As it’s a working harbor it’s not safe for swimming, but it’s perfect for a walk or for eating fish and chips on the harbor wall.
Location: Harbour BeachBest For: Walking at low tide, watching the boats, eating fish and chipsAmenities: Restaurants, cafes, pubs, shops
Accommodation Near Harbour Beach
Below, you’ll find a selection of accommodation options around Newquay’s historic harbor.
Fisherman’s Cottage: This beautiful one-bedroom fisherman’s cottage is situated right next to the harbor, and is just a short walk from the best beaches in Newquay.
Cozy Annex: This stylish self-contained one-bedroom annex is located a few steps from the harbor with all the amenities of the town close by.
Harbour Cottage: This original fisherman’s cottage has two bedrooms and has been renovated with a modern twist.
Restaurants Near Harbour Beach
Here are some dining options around the harbor.
The Harbour Fish and Grill: The food is as good as the views on offer from this harborside eatery. The seven-course taster menu is a must.
The Red Lion: The Red Lion is one of my go-to places in Newquay for a pint and a bite to eat. Traditional pub grub and local seafood are specialties.
Graze Tapas Wine Bar: Tapas is always best enjoyed close to the sea, and Graze is one of the best spots for some Spanish food and crisp wines beside the harbor.
5. Towan Beach
Towan beach is the closest large stretch of golden sand to the town center (just a few steps) and is one of the best beaches in Newquay for families and another of the year-round dog-friendly beaches.
It’s one of my favorite places in Newquay to soak up the holiday atmosphere and I have many happy memories from this place.
Location: Towan BeachBest For: Soft sand, kids, beach bars, partying, swimming, bodyboardingAmenities: Restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, rental equipment, toilets
Accommodation Near Towan Beach
Here, you’ll find some excellent sleeping options next to the beach and in the heart of Newquay.
Blue Horizon Penthouse: A luxurious two-bedroom, two-bathroom beachfront property with stunning views of the coast.
No 6 Newquay: This cozy yet modern one-bedroom ground-floor apartment sleeps up to four and is just a few steps from Towan beach.
Flat in Newquay: This stylish one-bedroom apartment with a balcony is directly opposite Towan beach and is the perfect place for couples who want the convenience of everything on their doorstep.
Restaurants Near Towan Beach
Towan is so close to the center of Newquay that you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants. Here are three of the best.
The Coconut Chy: This quirky “Caribbean” shack on the beach is the perfect place to sip a pina colada and enjoy tasty snacks such as jerk chicken, curries, and more.
Walkabout Newquay: Cornwall has much in common with Australia thanks to its surf, sea, and sand, and is now also home to this ubiquitous Aussie chain serving cheap and hearty meals by the beach.
Jon Bouys: No trip to the British seaside is complete without a fish and chip supper, and Jon Bouys‘ is just the plaice to enjoy this classic dish.
6. Great Western Beach
Awarded the 2022 Seaside Award, Great Western is another of the best public beaches in Newquay and is a short walk from the town center. The beach is located between Towan and Tolcarne beaches and at low tide all three combine into a large stretch of sand (there is also a path for high tide).
Location: Great Western BeachBest For: Soft sand, kids, paddleboarding, surfingAmenities: Restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, rental equipment, toilets
Accommodation Near Great Western Beach
Here are some great accommodation options close to Great Western Beach.
The Rocks: This beautifully decorated modern apartment with views over Great Western beach has one bedroom and sleeps two people.
Flip Flop Flat: This gorgeous one-bedroom apartment in a Victorian townhouse sleeps four and has magnificent views of Great Western beach.
Sun Decked Duplex: A luxurious one-bedroom duplex with a balcony that sleeps three people and is just a few minute’s walk from the beach.
Restaurants Near Great Western Beach
Great Western beach is as close to central Newquay as Tolcarne and Towan so there’s no end to the dining options on offer. Here are a couple of great choices:
Great Western Surf Cafe: This excellent beachside cafe serves a selection of lunchtime snacks and interesting evening meals from burgers to Asian and Mexican.
Butchers Bistro: A charming little bistro across the road from Great Western beach specializing in steaks from Cornish cattle and locally caught seafood.
7. Watergate Bay Beach
This beautiful stretch of coastline and sandy beach three miles up the coast from Newquay is an excellent spot for walking.
It’s also a gnarly place for experienced surfers to catch the massive waves that come sweeping in from the north Atlantic.
One of the best beaches close to Newquay and definitely worth the 15-minute drive (or 45-minute walk) from the center of town.
Location: Watergate Bay BeachBest For: Soft sand, kids, beach bars, paddleboarding, surfing, swimmingAmenities: Restaurants, cafes, shops, rental equipment, toilets, car park
Accommodation Near Watergate Bay Beach
Below, you’ll find some excellent sleeping options close to Watergate Bay.
Number Seven: This luxury one-bedroom apartment with en-suite sleeps four and is only a few steps from Watergate beach.
The Waves: This modern one-bedroom apartment is close to the beach, sleeps up to four people, and is the perfect place for small families to stay.
The Hayloft: This gorgeous two-bedroom loft conversion is in an old stone barn with stunning countryside views.
Restaurants Near Watergate Bay Beach
Here are a few excellent dining options around Watergate Bay:
Emily Scott Food: This upmarket seafood restaurant is next to the beach and is the perfect place for a romantic evening in wonderful surroundings.
The Beach Hut: This beachside restaurant is a great option at any time of the day. I love the exciting menu of classic and contemporary dishes (my favorite is the Cornish crab bisque).
Wax Watergate Bay: This bar and kitchen overlooks Watergate Bay and serves a wide selection of dishes from pizzas and burgers to fish and chips.
8. Lusty Glaze Beach
Lusty Glaze is a small secluded cove and one of the few private beaches in Newquay, although it’s usually open to the public and is free to visit. It won beach of the year in 2017 and is the perfect location for beach weddings and other special ceremonies.
Location: Lusty Glaze BeachBest For: Weddings, events, relaxing, swimmingAmenities: Resort, bar, restaurant, toilets, car park
Accommodation Near Lusty Glaze Beach
Here are some excellent Airbnbs around Lusty Glaze beach.
Jam First: This modern one-bedroom apartment is a few steps from Lusty Glaze and comes with off-street parking.
Tiny Pebbles Retreat: A cozy one-bedroom chalet close to both Porth and Lusty Glaze beaches.
Private Room: This bright and airy private room at Lusty Glaze is a great budget option for couples and solo travelers. It’s also vegan/vegetarian friendly.
Restaurants Near Lusty Glaze Beach
Lusty Glaze has some excellent dining options, a few of which you’ll find below.
The Lusty Glaze cafe: An excellent cafe with stunning sea views where you can grab a pizza, some tasty waffles, or other light snacks.
The Pickled Chef: If you’re looking for a little more sophistication then the Pickled Chef is a great option, with a great seafood menu.
9. Porth Beach
Porth beach is one of the best beaches in Newquay for swimming as surfing is banned during the summer; meaning it’s also the perfect place for families to enjoy the beach.
With miles of golden sand to run about and build sand castles on, this is definitely a great place to bring the kids.
Location: Porth BeachBest For: Soft sand, kids, swimming, relaxingAmenities: Restaurants, cafes, shops, toilets
Accommodation Near Porth Beach
Below, you’ll find some wonderful places to stay at Porth beach.
Ground Floor Flat: This two-bedroom apartment close to Porth beach sleeps four guests and is a few footsteps from the southwest coast path.
Beachfront House: This stylish two-bedroom beachfront house is just a few steps from Porth beach and is a fantastic option for families and couples.
Seashore Seaview: A beautifully decorated two-bedroom house that sleeps up to four guests just seconds from the beach.
Restaurants Near Porth Beach
If you’re looking for dining options then check out these excellent eateries near Porth Beach.
Watermark Brasserie and Bar: This stylish brasserie serves up a tasty selection of locally caught seafood and other fresh dishes.
Estrella Morada: This tapas joint just a few feet from the beach is the perfect place to indulge in one of my favorite cuisines with a glass of wine.
10. Whipsiderry Beach
This hidden gem was voted one of the 20 best beaches in Europe by the Sunday Times and is the perfect place to relax away from the crowds of the town beaches. The beach is sheltered by cliffs on either side so the water is usually calm and it’s a great spot for sunbathing.
Location: Whipsiderry BeachBest For: Soft sand, kids, sunbathing, swimmingAmenities: Resorts, gym
Accommodation Near Whipsiderry Beach
Below, you’ll find some awesome accommodation options at Whipsiderry.
The Snug: A cozy one-bedroom chalet on the cliffs above Whipsiderry beach. The space also includes access to shared decking with a hot tub.
Clifftop Apartment: This ocean-themed sea-view apartment has two bedrooms and sleeps four people.
Tiny Home: A cute one-bedroom home with open-plan living space and everything you need under one roof.
Restaurants Near Whipsiderry Beach
The nearest restaurants to Whipsiderry can be found at Porth (see above).
11. Crantock Beach
Beautiful Crantock beach is overseen by the National Trust and is one of the best beaches near Newquay for walking and getting out into Cornwall’s stunning nature.
The beach is backed by sweeping sand dunes and is a haven for wildlife. If you’re lucky you may even spot a dolphin or two.
Location: Crantock BeachBest For: Nature, walking, soft sandAmenities: Bar, restaurant, car park
Accommodation Near Crantock Beach
Here are some accommodation options at Crantock.
The Cottage: This gorgeous two-bedroom cottage is set in a rural location but is still within walking distance of Crantock village and beach.
Private Room: A private double-bedroom in a quirky home close to Crantock beach with a beautiful garden.
The Annexe: A modern and stylish self-contained annex with one bedroom close to Crantock beach and village.
Restaurants Near Crantock Beach
There are some great pubs and restaurants in Crantock, and below you’ll find a couple of the best.
The Old Albion Inn: This traditional Cornish pub serves up pub classics and the freshest local seafood (their fish and chips is phenomenal).
C-Bay Bar and Bistro: This Crantock bar and bistro is the perfect place for a romantic meal away from the hustle and bustle of central Newquay.
12. Mawgan Porth Beach
Another of the closest beaches to Newquay Airport so, if you really can’t wait to hit the water this, along with gorgeous Watergate Bay, is the place to go. This is another dog-friendly beach in Newquay as four-legged friends are allowed all year round.
Location: Mawgan Porth BeachBest For: Walking, swimming, surfingAmenities: Restaurants, golf, car park
Accommodation Near Mawgan Porth Beach
Here are some great Airbnbs near Mawgan Porth
Porth Farm Cottage: This beautiful granite cottage in Mawgan Porth has two bedrooms and is within walking distance of the beach and town.
Beachside Hideaway: This two-bedroom apartment overlooking the beach is the perfect place for a romantic getaway or family holiday.
Mawgan Porth Glamping: If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary or want to go “off-grid” then this renovated caravan a short walk from the beach is just the thing for you.
Restaurants Near Mawgan Porth Beach
Beach Box: the Beach Box Cafe is the perfect place for light snacks and refreshments a stone’s throw from the beach.
13. Hollywell Beach
Hollywell is a stunningly beautiful wild stretch of the north Atlantic coastline and is so big that it doesn’t get crowded, even in summer.
This is a great place to relax, walk the dog and blow away the cobwebs, and is one of my favorite places to escape the crowds.
Location: Hollywell BeachBest For: Walking, nature, swimming, bodyboardingAmenities: Pub, car park
Accommodation Near Hollywell Beach
These Hollywell beach properties are perfect for your Cornwall vacation.
Hollywell Beach House: If you’re looking for a little luxury for the whole family then a stay at the three-bedroom Hollywell Beach House is an excellent option.
The Beach House: This three-bedroom house with a huge balcony is right on the beach, perfect for long summers in Cornwall.
Sunset Balcony: A wonderful two-bedroom first-floor apartment just minutes from Hollywell beach with stunning coastal views.
Restaurants Near Hollywell Beach
Smugglers Den Inn: This gorgeous 16th Century Inn has its own pizza oven and grill in the perfect setting not far from Hollywell beach.
14. Gannel Estuary Beach
The estuary of the River Gannel meets the sea just south of Newquay and this is an excellent place to really experience Cornwall’s great outdoors.
From sunbathing to sailing, hiking, kayaking, or horseback riding, the beaches on either side of the estuary offer little slices of heaven.
Location: Gannel Estuary BeachBest For: Walking, kayaking, sailing, horseback ridingAmenities: Bars, restaurants, car park
Accommodation Near the Gannel Estuary
Here are some awesome accommodation options along the Gannel Estuary.
South Fistral Cottage: This homely cottage is tucked between Fistral beach and the Gannel Estuary and is the perfect place for couples.
Little Lotus Coast and Sea: A two-bedroom apartment on the Gannel Estuary with a Scandinavian theme that sleeps four people.
The Beach House: This large private room with an en-suite bathroom is the perfect place for budget travelers and digital nomads.
Restaurants Near the Gannel Estuary
Sixty Bistro: A charming bistro a few minute’s walk from the Gannel Estuary, serving up a selection of pizzas, pasta, salads, burgers, and more.
15. Perran Sands Beach
The beach at Perranporth, nine miles south of Newquay, is another of Cornwall’s top surfing beaches.
This beautiful stretch of golden sand is also hugely popular with families looking for somewhere a little quieter than Newquay.
Location: Perran Sands BeachBest For: Soft sand, kids, beach bars, paddleboarding, surfingAmenities: Bars, restaurants, rental equipment, toilets
Accommodation Near Perran Sands Beach
Below, you’ll find some accommodation options near Perran Sands beach.
Droskyn Corner: This one-bedroom rental unit is just a five-minute walk from the beach and offers a wonderful escape for couples.
Beachcroft: A private room in a modern home right next to Perranporth beach – a great budget option.
Top Floor Apartment: This three-bedroom apartment a stone’s throw from the beach is perfect for large families.
Restaurants Near Perran Sands Beach
If you’re feeling peckish then be sure to check out some of Perranporth’s fab eateries.
No 4 Breakfast Bistro: A charming bistro with indoor and outdoor dining that serves one of the best steaks in Cornwall.
The Waterfront: Beachfront restaurant specializing in burgers and hot dogs.
Summer House: A pleasant restaurant overlooking Perran Sands Beach serving contemporary and classic British fayre.
Beaches in Newquay: FAQs
Towan is the best all-round beach in Newquay as it has something for everyone.
Fistral and Great Western Beaches are perfect for partying with lots of beachside bars and pubs.
Tolcarne is the best beach for families as it is more sheltered than some of the other Newquay beaches.
The secluded Beacon Cove is one of the most romantic spots in Newquay.
The beaches outside of the town such as Crantock and Mawgan Porth are some of the best off-track beaches.
Summer is definitely the best time to visit Newquay’s beaches if you want the ideal weather for swimming and surfing.
Newquay is surrounded by awesome beaches so no matter where you are you’ll not have far to go to reach the sand.
Watergate Bay has the clearest water in Newquay (but all the beaches have exceptionally good water).
The sand around Newquay is golden rather than white (the whitest sand in Cornwall is at Kynance Cove).
Newquay’s beaches are all adjacent to each other so the color of the water is largely the same.
The beaches around Newquay are safe for experienced swimmers. Most of the town’s beaches are patrolled by lifeguards from April to September making it very safe if you swim between the flags.
Harbour Beach is one of the safest in Newquay as it is sheltered, but there aren’t any lifeguards. All of Newquay’s beaches are safe for experienced swimmers.
The Cornish coast is home to several species of shark, but none of them pose a danger to humans.
There are eleven beaches in Newquay.
Ready For Newquay’s Beaches?
It’s no secret that Newquay is one of the top vacation destinations in the UK with so many wonderful beaches in and around the town. Whether you’re looking for ultimate relaxation and stunning scenery or surfing and partying until dawn (I enjoy a mixture), you’ll not be left disappointed.
Now you know all about the best beaches in Newquay the only thing left to decide is which one to hit first (you know you can’t go wrong with Fistral). Cornwall is such a fantastic destination, and Newquay is its beating heart. So go on and book your perfect trip to Cornwall today.