South Devon is arguably the prettiest county in the UK and boasts of many of the best beaches in the UK. Fine golden sands, dazzling blue water, and many other attractions await visitors to the beaches in South Devon.
Renowned for its remarkable coastline, South Devon beaches range from the stretch of sandy beaches to picturesque coves overhung by lush vegetation. Whether you need a getaway or a luxury weekend vacation, your trip will not be complete without a visit to the beautiful coast.
Here are some of the best South Devon beaches you can experience.
Most Famous Beach In South Devon
Bigbury On Sea Beach
Bigbury is an award-winning beach near Kingsbridge, that is famous among families and water sports enthusiasts. It offers a good stretch of fine golden sand and safe shallow clean water suitable for paddling and swimming. There are rock pools to explore and an excellent range of facilities on-site, making it one of the most popular beaches in South Devon.
The beach is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and it is backed by rolling hills and rocky cliffs of the South Hams. Some interesting walking trails nearby include a scenic stretch of the South West Coastal Path. You can take your dog with you for a walk, as dogs are allowed throughout the year. However, please take note that they are restricted to specific areas during summer.
The beach is suitable for kitesurfing, windsurfing, swimming, body boarding, and sea kayaking. Families with little kids will love it here because of the gentle water and soft sand. The Discovery Surf School on the beach offers lessons on various water sports and equipment for hire. There is a beach shop and a popular café.
Best Beaches In South Devon For Families
South Milton Sands Beach
South Milton is one of the most renowned beaches in South Devon. The beach is not just famous because of its scenery and lies in the “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”, but also because it offers a wide range of watersports.
The stretch of pure golden sand and clean water safe for swimming make this beach popular among families as well. It is a remote beach and doesn’t get as much crowd as other South Devon beaches. A notable feature at South Milton Sands is the famous Thurlestone Rock – an arched rock peeking off the beach’s rocks.
There are a lot of rock pools for kids to explore. Although dogs are allowed all year round, there are strict regulations to follow.
Hope Cove Beach
Hope Cove is a twin beach with two sandy bays, an inner and outer Hope. This beach is popular among families because it has many convenient facilities. Both Hope Cove beaches are sandy and backed by red sandstone cliffs.
Hope Cove is one of the best South Devon beaches for various activities. The beach is suitable for swimming, sailing, kayaking, fishing, rock pooling, and windsurfing. Rugged cliffs surround it, and in summer, wildflowers flush headlands. The smaller and more popular of the two Hope Cove beaches is also known as Mouthwell Sands.
Bantham beach is no doubt a stunning beach. The beautiful beach is part of the designated “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” in South Devon. It is located at the mouth of the river Avon and looks over Bigbury and Burgh Island. The rolling hills and sand dunes of the South Hams serve as an impressive backdrop in this area.
Bantham beach is an ideal family beach with its vast expanse of shallow sloping sands, rock pools, and many facilities. The beach is privately owned and is known as one of the best beaches in South Devon for surfing. If you want to give surfing a trial, you can start at the Bantham Surfing Academy. There is a pub and a café where you can get snacks and drinks.
This is one of the best beaches in Devon for family vacations by the coast.
Dawlish Warren Beach
Dawlish Warren is a one-and-a-half-mile-long sandy beach that is a favorite among families. The South Devon beach is a quality destination with access to plenty of activities and the enticing ocean. It has a sheltered dune, award-winning clean water, and amusement arcades, making it a spot for a family day out by the sea.
The beach is suitable for water sports such as surfing, paddling, and kayaking. There are amusements like go Karts, golf, and rides. You can grab a bite at any cafes and restaurants on the beach. You can also have a picnic on this beach.
North Sands (Salcombe) Beach
North sands is a sandy South Devon beach located south of Salcombe. Getting to this beach requires a leisurely fifteen-minute walk along Cliff Road from the town center. This beautiful beach has an impressive backdrop of the ruins of Salcombe castle.
Although the beach is small compared to other South Devon Beaches, the fine golden sand and clear blue water make it a favorite for families. The bay makes it suitable for swimming, and the waters are calm and safe for children.
The beach is completely submerged at high tide, but at low tide, nice and soft sand is revealed, which is suitable for sunbathing and relaxing. There is a beach café and shop on the beach. Dogs are allowed throughout the year; the beach has been named one of the most dog-friendly beaches in the area numerous times.
If you are looking to beach hop around this region, here are some of the top beaches in Salcombe.
MORE UK BEACHES:
Best South Devon Beaches For Watersports
The crescent-shaped beach is set against an attractive backdrop of pines. The beach is mostly a coarse shingle, but there is some sand towards the top.
Blackpool Sands is one of South Devon’s beaches renowned for watersports. Watersports enthusiasts love it here because water suits and other equipment such as kayaks and Standup paddleboards are available for hire. This makes it convenient without having to lug around a bunch of gear.
There are sand pits for children to build sandcastles, and water sports lovers can try kayaking, windsurfing, diving, and swimming.
The beach is privately managed, and there is only one café on this beach, which can get very busy. Therefore, you might want to bring your own snacks and refreshments. Nevertheless, it is one of the great options when visiting Devon with kids.
This beach is on the mouth of the River Teign estuary, making it an excellent base for a day by the seaside. The traditional South Devon seaside resort has some excellent examples of Georgian architecture along with a Victorian pier. The long stretch of golden sandy beach offers enough space for everyone, even during summer.
Teignmouth is popular with water sports enthusiasts; you can surf, kayak, and swim here. Teignmouth has two beaches Back beach and Town beach. The Town beach features vast golden sand that is great for building sandcastles, playing beach games, and sunbathing. The clean waters are home to many sea life.
The Victorian pier on this beach has an amusement arcade and an award-winning Den play area. This is one of the fun places to visit in South Devon for families with kids.
The Back beach, also known as River beach, lies on the sheltered estuary side of the town. It is a good place to stroll and admire the pretty fishing boats or watch the sunset.
This is another of the South Devon beaches that is a designated “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. Challaborough is a sheltered sandy beach that combines a horseshoe cove with rugged cliffs. This beach is sandy and rocky, making it the ideal location for sandcastle building and rock pool exploring.
Challaborough is a favorite for water sports enthusiasts because there can be solid undercurrents and large breaking waves. Families also love this beach because it has many facilities and there is a holiday park surrounding the beach. This blue flag beach is suitable for swimming.
Best Beach In South Devon For Naturists/ Nudists
Slapton Sands Beach
Don’t be deceived by the name; this long arc of the beach is, in fact, mainly shingles and pebbles. However, this doesn’t affect its fame and undeniably appealing scenery. This is one of South Devon’s beaches designated as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,” and a haven for wildlife.
This beach is backed by a large freshwater lake, Slapton Ley, which forms an essential part of a nature reserve. It is home to many rare flora and fauna. Slapton Sands is a family favorite because of its calm water and many spaces. It is also an excellent spot for water sports like surfing, windsurfing, and canoeing. You can also swim here.
A beach café sells refreshments, and dogs are allowed throughout the year.
Where to Stay Near Beaches In South Devon
This beautiful hotel is sited in the heart of Exmouth and is less than a 6 – minute walk from the marina and beach. The hotel features a lounge bar and an on-site restaurant. This hotel is close to many attractions, including Powderham Castle. All the bedrooms have the necessary facilities and most offer sea views. The hotel provides breakfast ranging from Vegan and vegetarian to full English/Irish.
This elegant guesthouse is 1 minute’s walk from the beach and is located in a quiet town. The rooms have facilities and offer a view of the courtyard or the river. The potters offer continental, full English /Irish, Vegan, and vegetarian breakfast.
Teignmouth beach is less than one kilometer away. Golf and horseback are available nearby, and Dartmoor National Park and Torquay are within a 15-minute drive.
This luxurious beachfront hotel offers a spa with five treatment rooms, an indoor pool, a hot tub, sauna, and fitness area. The rooms are spacious and modern, and most rooms have balconies and sea views. The hotel offers a variety of breakfasts, including continental, vegetarian, full English, and buffet.
The famous market town of Kingsbridge, Dartmoor National Park, and Plymouth city center is less than an hour’s drive from this hotel.
Exploring The Best Beaches In South Devon
These are some of the best beaches in South Devon. We all know there is nothing like a seaside vacation without an excellent beach. South Devon is blessed with many top-notch beaches, ideal for a proper bucket and spade vacation.
The beaches in South Devon tick all the right boxes and appeal to different types of holidaymakers. Whether you need a spot to relax, swim, take on water sports or spend time with your family, there is a South Devon beach that suits you.
If you are traveling in the Devon region, be sure to check out the top beaches in North Devon for some beach hopping action.