9 Best Beaches in Dawlish, Devon (2023 guide)

Are you looking for the best beaches in Dawlish? You’re in the right place – I live locally and these are my favourite sandy bays and hidden coves!

A gorgeous town sitting on the South Coast of Devon, Dawlish boasts a plethora of picturesque beaches, including the charming Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve. 

There’s a town beach, and the sands extend all the way to Teignmouth. 

Plus, there are plenty of beaches near Dawlish and Dawlish Warren, including Exmouth which is the start of the Jurassic Coast. 

While there are a few other things to do in the town, Dawlish’s beaches are definitely among the best! 

One of my favourite things about Dawlish is that it’s much quieter than a lot of other Devon locations – which usually translates to much more tranquil beaches!

I live in nearby Exmouth, and when our beaches get too busy, I know there will usually be space in Dawlish. 

So check out my favourite Dawlish beaches in this post! 

Best Beaches in Dawlish

There are two beaches in Dawlish: Dawlish Town Beach and Dawlish Warren Beach. These are the closest to the town centre (as the name suggests, Dawlish town beach is just a short walk away) so are among the most convenient if you’re staying in the town. However, there are plenty of other beaches near Dawlish too!

Dawlish Town Beach

View of Dawlish beach, with houses behind the sea wall and the expansive sea stretching out in front.

How to get there: Walking distance from the town centre!

Dawlish Town Beach spans over a mile and a half, with sand dunes at the beginning, eventually leading to Dawlish Town. 

The beach is expansive, with plenty of space to pop your towel on, even in the summer months!

With easy access to the town’s pubs, restaurants and cafes this is the perfect place for a beach day. 

The GWR railway line runs alongside this charming beach, and it’s largely thought of as one of the most beautiful railway routes in the country

Dawlish Warren Beach

How to get there: It’s a five-minute drive east or ten minutes on the train – if you want to walk, it’ll take just half an hour.

A popular beach for tourists, Dawlish Warren sits in the midst of a wildlife reserve and boasts an array of family-friendly attractions. 

Dawlish Warren Beach

It actually is a prestigious blue flag, accredited for its clean water and safe swimming conditions. There is also lifeguard cover in the summer months. 

This makes it one of the best family beaches in the region!

It’s also worth visiting Funder Park, with lots of rides and attractions for kids. 

Girl walking to Dawlish Warren Beach

You can see all of the best things to do in Dawlish & Dawlish Warren here.

Beaches near Dawlish

You’ll need to drive, hike or take the bus or train a short distance to check out these beaches near Dawlish, but Teignmouth, Shaldon, Exmouth and even the English Riviera are all not too far away. Dawlish is an excellent base to explore the River Exe and South Devon region, including some of its best sandy bays and hidden coves!

Teignmouth Town Beach

How to get there: It’s a 10 minute drive or just four minutes by train! You could also walk between Teignmouth and Dawlish, which takes about an hour.

Teignmouth Town Beach is really easy to reach from Dawlish; you can either take the train or do the Dawlish to Teignmouth coast walk along the railway wall. 

Teignmouth town beach, with golden sands, groynes and the blue water in the distance

Beach goers can enjoy a 1.8 mile stretch of sand with a Victorian Pier. There aren’t many activities, but it’s possible to swim. 

It’s definitely one of the best things to do in Teignmouth.

Teignmouth Back Beach

Teignmouth Back Beach (also called Teignmouth River Beach) is a small estuary beach with views over to nearby Shaldon. 

Teignmouth back beach, with boats bobbing on the river estuary

How to get there: Drive or take the train, and then walk to Teignmouth Back Beach.

This is where the Teignmouth to Shaldon ferry departs from, and as it’s estuary-located and is a working river beach, it’s not suitable for swimming. 

However, it’s worth visiting to take in the traditional scenery and get a slice of local Teignmouth life! 

Read about the best Teignmouth beaches here!

Shaldon Beach

Red sands of Shaldon Beach with boats lining the back. It's river beach, so there are views across to Teignmouth.

How to get there: Drive to Shaldon (15 minutes) or take the 22 bus which serves the town.

Sitting opposite Teignmouth Back Beach, Shaldon Beach is another small patch of sand with working fishing boats, with some restaurants and pubs behind it. 

Again, it’s not suitable for swimming, but it’s a pleasant spot to picnic! 

Ness Cove Beach

View of Ness Cove Beach, one of the best Teignmouth Beaches with red cliffs and the blue waves on the left.

How to get there: Drive to Shaldon (15 minutes) and find the smuggler’s tunnel by the Shaldon Wildlife Trust, or take the 22 bus to Shaldon and walk from there.

Ness Cove Beach is my favourite in the area. 

Located close to Shaldon, it’s a really unique place to visit because it’s only accessible via smuggler’s tunnel. 

Built in the 1860s by the 8th Lord Clifford of Chudleigh, it was apparently only made to give access to the beach. 

The current Lord Clifford has stressed that it wasn’t used for smuggling, although Ness Cove Beach is known to have been a smuggler’s haven in the past!

Nowadays, it’s very tranquil, and due to the fact that it’s harder to get to than other beaches in the area, it’s often quite here than other beaches in South Devon. 

Holcombe Beach

How to get there: it’s a half-hour walk, five minute drive, or the 2 or 22 bus will take you most of the way.

Holcombe Beach is a tiny, isolated beach tucked in the cliffs between Dawlish and Teignmouth. 

This patch of golden sand is a very little-known secret, but it’s worth heading to if you’re in the area and the other bays are too busy! 

Exmouth Beach

Orcombe point, Exmouth beach on the Jurassic coast of Devon, UK

How to get there: take the train from Dawlish to Starcross and then hop on the ferry over the Exe for a day of fun in Exmouth! Direct trains are also available.

The enormous sandy beach in the seaside town of Exmouth sits opposite the Exe Estuary to Dawlish Warren. 

While the entry to the River Exe is very narrow – just 200m across at its narrowest – it’s impossible to cross it by car or foot (although people have enquired about whether it would be!). 

However, there is another way to get there – the Starcross to Exmouth ferry. 

You can take the train or drive from Dawlish to Starcross, a small village on the banks of the River Exe. 

From here, a passenger ferry takes you to Exmouth Marina. If you’ve drove, you’ll have to leave your car at Starcross.

The good news is that you can walk from Exmouth Marina to Exmouth Beach easily, and even hike to Orcombe Point, the start of the Jurassic Coast if you desire (and even follow the South West Coast Path to Budleigh)! 

Orcombe Point Near Exmouth in Devon

Exmouth Beach is a huge, two-mile-long expanse that marks both the end of the Exe Estuary and start of the Jurassic Coast.

A family-friendly beach, there are rides like swing boats, fish and chip restaurants, ice cream shops and rock pools. 

You can even take a walk around The Maer, a surprisingly lush nature reserve with fascinating smuggling history.

Also, don’t miss watersports like paddleboarding – Exmouth’s known for them! 

Check out all of the best things to do in Exmouth here, or take a look at all of the Exmouth Beaches here!

I live in Exmouth, and absolutely love the town, so I’d definitely recommend doing a day trip here if you’re staying in Dawlish.

Budleigh Salterton Beach

A photograph of Budleigh Salterton Beach in Devon

How to get there: you could drive around the Exe (45 minutes) or head to Exmouth and then take the 357 bus to Budleigh.

This beach is a bit further from Dawlish, but it’s worth adding to the list because, while it’s pebbly, it’s often much quieter than others in the region. 

A beautiful place for a walk, Budleigh Salterton basks in gorgeous Jurassic Coast scenery, with stunning cliffs, and a few cafes right on the shore.

It’s also worth taking a stroll up the River Otter, which connects Budleigh Beach to Otterton – and beavers (not otters, it has nothing to do with the name!) actually live in the river!  

It’s one of my favourite places in East Devon – and I’m a local!

Are you ready to check out the best Dawlish Beaches?

This selection of beaches in and around Dawlish has something for everyone!

Whether you’re looking for a place with watersport equipment or boat hire, somewhere with clean and calm waters to swim or a lovely beach that’s a bit more isolated, you’ll find it all nearby Dawlish! 

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