Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in Cornwall

Cornwall is blessed with over 300 beaches, offering every type of coastline imaginable from secluded rocky coves to vast stretches of golden sand. This diversity means there are plenty of beaches that welcome dogs all year round. Choosing the right dog-friendly beach in Cornwall depends on your priorities - some permit dogs on the sand as well as in neighbouring cafes, while others have more space to play fetch at low tide. From popular tourist destinations like Polzeath to hidden gems like Porthcurnick, dog-friendly beaches allow your four-legged friend to enjoy Cornwall's beautiful coastline. Locations along the North Coast like Porthtowan offer great waves for surfing with your pup, while southern havens like Par Sands give miles of sand at low tide for games.

Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in Cornwall By Region

Before covering some of the top individual beaches, let's look at the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall by region.

  • North Cornwall Dog-Friendly Beaches → The dramatic Atlantic-facing beaches of the north Cornwall coast offer tons of space for dogs thanks to impressive expanses of sand at low tide. Excellent examples include Porthtowan, Chapel Porth, Polzeath and Constantine Bay.

  • South Cornwall Dog-Friendly Beaches → The southern Cornish coastline has some beautiful and often sheltered sandy coves perfect for dogs, such as Lantic Bay, Porthcurnick Beach and Carne Beach around Veryan Bay.

  • East Cornwall Dog-Friendly Beaches → The eastern shoreline of Cornwall bordering the English Channel offers long stretches of sand like Par Sands (St Austell) along with excellent walking opportunities along the Saints Way.

  • West Cornwall Dog-Friendly Beaches → Facing directly west over the Atlantic Ocean, the wild and rugged beaches of West Cornwall like Gwithian, Godrevy Cove and Prussia Cove offer spectacular storm-watching backdrops.

Porthcurnick Beach in Gerrans Bay at  Portscatho Cornwall England UK Europe

Porthtowan Beach - A Dog-Friendly Surfer's Paradise

Porthtowan Beach is a premier dog-friendly beach in Cornwall with excellent year-round facilities, golden sands, seasonal surfing waves and coastal walks ideal for energetic pups. Its spacious beach reveals acres of sand for games plus rock pools and caves to discover at low tide.


Beach Terrain and Environment

The beach faces north over the Atlantic at the foot of a deep valley, creating dramatic views showcasing Cornwall's rugged coastline. In winter months, towering waves crash against the golden sand thrilling storm-watchers, while calmer summer waves make it an excellent family and surfing beach. Porthtowan Beach contains designated swimming areas and is manned by RNLI lifeguards during peak season from May until September. Surf schools and board hire operate during this period to make the most of the consistent swell. Excellent water quality has earned it prestigious Blue Flag awards. The beach itself is lined by 100ft high sandstone cliffs ascending in both directions, with fascinating rock formations and a giant cave system towards the western boundary called the Towanroath Shaft. Low tide exposes patches of rock dotted among the huge golden sandy beach, along with numerous shallow rock pools teaming with sea life.


Facilities at Porthtowan Beach

Facilities right on Porthtowan Beach include a National Trust ranger station with a shop plus an ice cream kiosk during summer months. The spacious beachfront car park charges reasonable rates with disabled parking bays close to the sand. There is level access to the beach via wooden walkways. Behind the main beach lies the pristine tidal pool inlet of Porthtowan Tidal Pool, encircled by grassy banks - a calm alternative to the waves. There are also public toilets plus outdoor showers to rinse off wetsuits or sand. The adjacent village provides shops, cafes and a good pub, many of which welcome dogs too.


Dog-Friendly Walking at Porthtowan

Porthtowan Beach permits dogs year-round with no restrictions, making it hugely popular with local dog owners. Even on busy summer days, there is ample space to play fetch thanks to the huge expanse of sand exposed at low tide and dogs seem to love exploring the caves and rock pools. The southwest coast path passes behind Porthtowan allowing longer walks, while scenic trails crisscross the Towanroath Valley behind the beach. Each winter spectacular stormy seas attract crowds of spectators to the natural drama. The excellent facilities and variety of terrain make Porthtowan Beach a favourite for North Coast visitors with dogs all year round.

Holywell Bay - Golden Sands and Coastal Trails

Holywell Bay Beach is a stunning 2-mile-long golden sandy beach near Newquay, hugely popular with dogs thanks to tons of off-lead space, dunes, rock pools and direct access to Cornwall's coastal path for walks.


A Vast Sandy Beach

Flanked by impressive cliffs, Holywell Bay Beach occupies a sheltered position facing north over the Atlantic. Lifeguards patrol busy central areas in summer while the sheer size means crowds dissipate quickly. Low tides push back the ocean almost half a mile, creating a vast playground for dogs with endless soft sand for running games and rocky stretches to climb and explore. Several small streams cross the upper sands, flowing down from Penhallow Hill which makes refreshing dog paddling spots. Rugged headlands frame both ends - Porth Joke to the west and Penhallow Point to the east. Below Newquay town the tidal creek of Penpol Creek makes an idyllic inland alternative walk if seeking calmer sheltered waters.


Coastal Walks and Facilities

Joining miles of golden sand, the southwest coast path crosses behind Holywell Bay Beach making longer walks easy. A dog-friendly cafe called Rock House located behind the dunes provides refreshments, while a beach shop at the fun park is also dog-friendly. Public toilets and a pay-and-display car park occupy the low inland cliffs above the beach. Dogs can roam off-lead across much of Holywell Bay Beach except a small central stretch during Easter until September when zoned restrictions apply. With tons of space, walking opportunities plus dog-friendly facilities, it ranks among the finest destinations when seeking an epic dog-friendly beach around Newquay.

Chapel Porth - A Sheltered Dog Friendly Cove

Chapel Porth Beach is a picturesque northern Cornwall cove with golden sands, craggy cliffs and excellent dog-friendly facilities. The tidal range reveals tons of beaches at low tide for games and adventures.


Stunning Scenery

Chapel Porth Beach occupies a deep valley flanked by high cliffs below St Agnes Head on Cornwall's wild northern coastline, facing the full brunt of Atlantic swells. At high tide, it assumes a classic Cornish cove shape measuring 150 metres across, while low tides push back the sea over half a kilometre exposing tons of golden sand dotted with fascinating rock pools. The valley setting creates memorable sunset views as the golden sand and azure ocean water glow under pink skies, enjoyed from the Beach House cafe's decking. Year-round dogs roam freely across Chapel Porth Beach and delight in exploring its many rock features like the Giant's Punchbowl - a rocky inlet perfect for cooling off on hot days. Smugglers and miners left their mark centuries ago inside hidden tunnels and caves carved into the cliffs.


Dog-Friendly Beach Cafe

When it comes to facilities, the excellent dog-friendly Beach House Cafe located in the old tin mine buildings behind the beach features a spacious outdoor terrace perfect for drinks, snacks and meals after some coastal adventures. Dogs even get their water bowls! The former mine site also features a millpond complete with resident ducks, overlooked by the remnants of engine houses which makes for very scenic walking. Paths from here lead to neighbouring beaches at Porthtowan and Trevaunance Cove. Thanks to picturesque scenery, historical charm, excellent walking opportunities plus a fab dog-friendly cafe, Chapel Porth Beach appeals to both humans and hounds seeking quality time on this stretch of Cornwall's dramatic north coast.

"Porth Chapel, a hidden cove not far from Porthcurno, Cornwall, southwest England."

Porthcurnick Cove - Cornwall's Tranquil Retreat

Porthcurnick Beach is an idyllic south coast cove whose compact size belies spacious sands and coastal views. Offering a sheltered valley setting away from crowds, it delights dogs with rock pools, short walks and a dog-friendly cafe.


A Sheltered Sandy Cove

Occupying a sheltered valley on Cornwall's Roseland Peninsula facing gently sloping hills, Porthcurnick Beach assumes a classic horseshoe shape measuring about 200 metres across. Ringed by low eroded cliffs, the fine golden sands meet grassy banks dotted with granitic boulders which make perfect lookout spots. Despite its modest size, there is ample room for dog walking even at high tide with some secluded sand patches among rocky groynes revealed towards Vault Beach. When the sea fully recedes it uncovers swathes of rippled sand mingled with millions of rock pools prime for splashing adventures.


Hidden Hut Cafe Nearby

While there are no designated facilities actually on Porthcurnick Beach, the nearby Hidden Hut cafe located in coastal fields offers excellent seasonal fare like wood-fired pizzas and local fish dishes. Better still, dogs are welcome both inside and out in the garden area. Benches overlook the sandy cove framed by rolling green hills making an idyllic dining spot after beach adventures. For Cornwall visitors prioritising a relaxed, uncrowded cove that welcomes dogs off-lead year-round, Porthcurnick Beach ticks all the boxes. Picturesque scenery adds further appeal whether enjoying a brisk walk or leisurely lunch.

Coastal Pathway leading to Porthcurnick Beach Cornwall England Landscape

Porthcurnick Beach in Gerrans Bay at  Portscatho Cornwall England UK Europe

Polzeath Beach - Sand, Surf and Rock Pools Galore

Polzeath Beach is a spectacular sandy Cornish beach flanked by giant rocky headlands and offshore islands. Hugely popular with beachgoers, surfers and dogs, it reveals over a mile of flat rock pools and golden sands to explore each tide.


A Surfer's Paradise

Lying midway between Padstow and Port Isaac facing the Atlantic Ocean, Polzeath Beach enjoys consistent peak surfing waves from September through May that helped establish its global reputation. Lifeguards supervise busy central areas in summer when the beach also appeals to families thanks to gentle shelving sands. Polzeath village located behind the dunes offers cafes, shops and holiday accommodation as well as a large pay-and-display car park with direct beach access. During peak tourist months, a useful zoning system operates to separate surfers from swimmers for safety. Rental outlets provide wetsuits, boards and lessons for beginners. When the waves subside from June onwards, mellow bucket and spade holidays take over.


Stunning Beach Terrain

The beach borders two headlands - Pentire Point to the west and Hayle Bay mouth where the Camel Estuary meets the sea borders the eastern extreme. The vast intertidal areas contain fascinating geology like the Giant's Hedge maze of granitic slabs revealing acres of rippled sand flats at low tide, dotted with rocky islets and smooth basins which dogs adore splashing in. Volcanic outcrops like The Cow and Calf create fun obstacles. Dogs are only excluded from central zones during summer but have endless space north and south year-round to play fetch. With superb scenery, walks and that true sense of space and freedom, Polzeath Beach makes an awesome choice for dog-friendly stays in Cornwall.

Gwithian Beach - Dog Walking Heaven

Spanning over three miles of golden sand and dunes, Gwithian Beach is one of Cornwall’s most spectacular beaches that welcomes dogs year-round both on its epic sands and inside the legendary Godrevy Beach Cafe.


A Cornish Giant

Facing due west over St Ives Bay, Gwithian Beach frames the mouth of the Hayle River extending north up to Mexico Towans past Godrevy Lighthouse and south down to Hayle. The sheer scale means it never feels crowded even on hot summer days. At low tide a vast sandy expanse lies exposed with patches of rock harbouring crystal clear pools. A network of dunes dotted with bushy tussocks backs parts of the beach adding scenic variety. Seasonal lifeguard lookouts survey busy zones while four friendly cafes provide sustenance for hungry beachgoers - the Godrevy Cafe being legendary for its epic all-day breakfasts and welcoming dogs as VIPs!


Dog Walking Heaven

Another reason Gwithian Beach ranks so highly among Cornwall’s dog-friendly beaches is the wealth of walking opportunities in all directions thanks to a path network through surrounding farmland, woodland plus access to the coast trail linking St Ives. It satisfies even the most energetic of dogs! Owners have peace of mind letting dogs roam off-lead across almost all areas of sand apart from central zones patrolled in summer. Special dog waste bins make clearing up mess easy while an outdoor shower to rinse grit and sand can be found alongside the Godrevy Cafe. For those seeking the ultimate dog-friendly beach in Cornwall with space, scenery and hospitality in spades, discover Gwithian’s majestic golden sands and make the Godrevy Cafe a pitstop during adventures!

Prussia Cove - Cornwall's Hidden Rocky Cove

Prussia Cove is an idyllic rocky Cornish cove only accessible on foot via coastal trails, revealing a secluded beach at low tide perfect for dogs seeking solitude, sea views and new scents.


A Peaceful Retreat

Nestled on Cornwall’s south coast between Porthcurno and Perranuthnoe, Prussia Cove lies inland from the dramatic cliffs of Mount’s Bay. Facing south, it enjoys a sheltered position from Atlantic swells. Granite boulders line the intertidal zone with patches of coarse golden sand exposed fully at low tide. Its off-the-beaten-track location deters crowds, reached only by 30 minutes of scenic walking along the coast path from the nearest road access at Boscawen. While facilities are non-existent, a freshwater stream flows across the sand into the sea - the perfect spot for dogs to cool off and have a drink after some exploring.


Coastal Trails Offer Adventure

During peak tourist months, the secluded tranquillity of Prussia Cove offers a welcome contrast to the busy nearby beaches around Penzance. The scenic coastal walk itself satisfies energetic dogs as it crosses inlets over footbridges, passes a disused mine and traverses undulating terrain with impressive south coast views. Once you reach the rocky cove itself, inquisitive dogs will delight in exploring among the scattered boulders and rock pools - especially chasing small crabs! It’s the quintessential Cornish seclusion that adventurous dogs love with new exciting scents everywhere. Just keep them leashed if you have any safety concerns near cliff edges. For intrepid Cornish visitors and coastal-loving dogs seeking guaranteed tranquillity and adventure, a walk to Prussia Cove amply rewards those favouring gorgeous scenery over glitzy amenities. Discover a true coastal gem! For Cornwall visitors wanting to escape the summer crowds with their dogs, a walk to Prussia Cove (or Porthowstock as it was traditionally known) offers a scenic peaceful retreat far from the madding crowds!

Coastal Pathway leading to Porthcurnick Beach Cornwall England Landscape

Porthcurnick Beach in Gerrans Bay at  Portscatho Cornwall England UK Europe

Par Sands Beach - Miles of Sandy Bliss for Dogs

Par Sands Beach is a spectacular 2-mile-long stretch of golden sand, consistently ranked among the top dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall thanks to its sheer size and abundant space for exploring.


A Vast Dog-Friendly Beach

Par Sands Beach extends over two miles from Par on Cornwall's south coast towards the hamlet of Tywardreath, spanning the low cliff promontory of Par Headland near the western end. This creates a vast beach even at mid to high tide, while low tides push the sea back almost half a mile revealing golden sands that seem to continue forever. The beach benefits from regular cleansing by Atlantic waves which replace sand lost through erosion, keeping the beach environment healthy. Excellent water quality has earned Par Sands consecutive Blue Flag awards for over three decades and there are lifeguard patrols from May until September. Despite its size, you'll rarely feel crowded on Par Sands Beach even in peak tourist season. The low tide period creates such a huge area that dozens of family groups and countless dogs can all share the spacious sands in harmony rather than chaos!


Dog Walking and Facilities

Dogs are welcome year-round on Par Sands Beach with very few restrictions - only between Easter Day and 1 October must dogs be kept on leads in a small designated area patrolled by lifeguards, usually a span of around 300 metres. The remainder of this vast beach permits dogs to play freely off the lead all year round. Low tides are the prime time for enjoying Par Sands Beach with your dog when the receding sea reveals what feels like endless golden sands dotted with millions of rock pools prime for adventures and stick chasing! Aside from the huge sandy beach itself, facilities include a spacious pay-and-display car park located behind the low sandstone cliffs, with steps down providing access to the beach along its entire eastern length. There are also toilets near the car park in addition to a small beach cafe, while the excellent Par Beach Dog Spa sits close by if your dog needs a wash and brush up after some sandy fun! For anyone prioritising space and freedom for their dog during a beach holiday, Par Sands Beach is arguably the prime destination thanks to its sheer mammoth size and superb facilities.

Footprints in the sand on Par beach, Cornwall on a sunny day in winter

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