Don't press paws (sorry, couldn't resist) on your Cornish holiday because you have a dog in tow, Cornwall is the perfect getaway for your canine companion.
Cornwall is undoubtedly known for its miles of beautiful beaches, but some of them – unfortunately for us dog lovers – are strictly for two-legged types. Before you arrive at a beach with your pooch, it’s worth doing some research to see what beaches allow canines and if so, what times of the year. During the summer months many beaches in Cornwall have restrictions, the good news is that you’ll find that many of these dog restrictions are seasonal, usually just covering the peak season, and often only during the day.
Much like humans, all dogs are different, but while visiting Cornwall’s sandy shores make sure you’re well equipped with poo bags, and keep a close eye on your fluffy friend. While dogs will need to cool down, it’s important they don’t drink too much salt water, so if you’re planning on whiling away the hours ensure your dog has access to fresh water. Keeping your dog on a lead is down to the dog in question, but if you’re walking along the coast path for safety reasons it’s always recommended. When the sun is blazing (and trust us, sometimes it even does in Cornwall) the sand can get very hot for their paws, so walks are better during mornings or evenings plus the beaches are much quieter.
To help you spend more time on the beach, and less time scouring the web, we’ve put together 10 of our favourite dog-friendly beaches.
With three miles of open space, Perranporth beach is the ultimate playground for dogs. There are sand dunes, rock pools and lovely waves to cool off in, and it has one of the largest stretches of unbroken sand in Cornwall.
At the south end of the beach (closest to the village), they do operate a lead restriction in July and August between 10-5 pm, but due to this beach’s impressive size, anywhere beyond the flat rocks are free to be explored by humans and dogs alike all day long.
Crantock view from rushy green over Crantock beach by National Trust
Crantock Beach is a pristine stretch of sand near Newquay cared for by the National Trust. Tucked away between coastal resorts, it’s a lesser known beach which yields a large expanse of sand at the mouth of the River Gannel Estuary. Keen walkers will be pleased to hear that there are plenty of footpaths nearby too.
Going beyond simply allowing dogs and their owners to enjoy the beach, at Crantock you’ll find a bowl of water and free poo bags at the car park huts when staffed. If you have a National Trust card be sure to bring it as that’ll get you free parking at this dog-friendly beach.
Widemouth Bay has two main beaches; Black Rock is a west-facing beach at the rockier (hence the name), southern end of Widemouth Bay. Black Rock is generally the quieter of the two but both welcome your four-legged friends. The beach has clean, clear sands alongside some dramatic rock formations. It’s a good spot for rock-pooling too, the perfect place for your pooch to cool off.
There’s plenty of parking (pay and display), toilets, and a dog-friendly beach café, open for a hearty breakfasts or tasty lunches.
Mawgan Porth, near Newquay
Sitting at the bottom of the bay, Mawgan Porth is surrounded by cliffs, but it’s easily accessible due to the flat land at the rear (however the car park is rather small). A less crowded option than nearby Newquay and Watergate Bay, dogs are welcome all year round.
With so much open space – it’s a long beach, rather than a wide bay – Mawgan Porth is the perfect spot for dogs to burn off some energy, plus there is a little stream running down to the ocean for your four-legged friend to cool down.
Both Carbis Bay and St Ives have restrictions on their beaches, but dog lovers rejoice, nearby there’s Porthkidney with just shy of a mile long stretch of golden sand to be explored. Thanks to the expansive space at low tide, even the most energetic dogs should be more than satisfied.
Summerleaze is Bude’s main beach, it’s close to the town centre, the iconic sea pool, and the canal. Best of all? It’s dog friendly. However, your canine companion will have to be kept on a lead from 10–6pm during July and August. At other times they can lap up the open space and run free.
There’s a large car park (pay and display) which leads directly to the beach’s dunes, then onto the beach with its wide expanse of sand. Head to the river side with your pooch, where dogs can paddle in the gentler waters of the river which leads to the sea rather than the crashing waves.
For a quieter dog-friendly beach check out Sandymouth, where at low tide, you will be afforded plenty of golden sand and there are no lead requirements. Access is trickier though due to a steep walk, but there is a paid-for car park close by.
Undeniably, Watergate Bay is one of Cornwall’s most famous beaches, but it’s not just a surfer’s paradise. Just outside of Newquay, Watergate Bay happens to be one of the few year-round dog-friendly beaches with 2 miles of sandy beaches available to you and your pooch at low tide. There are plenty of rock pools to explore, so dogs and their walkers can happily spend the day gallivanting. There are two car parks and plenty of access points down to the beach.
Constantine Island in the mid ground taken from Trevose Head across Constantine Bay with Booby's Bay in the foreground ©National Trust Images Sue Brackenbury
Booby’s Bay, near Padstow, is a beautiful beach for you and your pooch. It’s worth noting that it’s completely covered at high tide but accessible at low, and just a short walk from the National Trust car park. The cliffs at Booby’s Bay are very steep, so if you take on a cliffside jaunt, please keep your dog on a lead, rest assured the views are very much worth for the walk. It is a rather rocky beach in places, but there is plenty of golden sand to enjoy.
Mexico Towans Beach is part of Hayle’s three-mile stretch of light golden sand, starting at the Hayle Estuary and continuing up to Godrevy lighthouse. It’s a truly fabulous stretch, which has no dog restrictions all year round so there’s plenty of exploring to be done.There is a slightly steep sandy incline from the car park but when the tide is out, this beach is huge and is sure to be a favourite for walkies!
While this beach is one of the smallest on the lists, Nanjizal is truly worth a visit, particularly if you’re an adventurous dog walker. Just off the western Cornwall coastline, a mile away from Land’s End, this sandy beach is one of the prettiest and rather unknown. Dogs are welcome all-year round, and the clear calm waters are calling out for a dip, while the rock formation is breathtaking