A town that’s famous for an island, a coastline and a river – it’s no surprise that there are lots of beaches in Looe.
Whether you’re looking to kick back and relax on a stretch of sand close to the town centre, or if you’d prefer to find a quieter beach (especially in the busy summer season) a little out of town, this guide details the very best Looe beaches and tips for visiting all of them.
I’ve spent a lot of my life in Cornwall, thanks to the fact that I live just over the River Tamar in Devon and that my family are from here (I’ve actually traced my Cornish ancestry back to the 13th century – it’s fascinating!).
Looe is one of my favourite spots to visit to enjoy a slice of Cornish culture, while not being too far a journey from my home in Devon (I can easily visit it on a day trip).
So I’ve visited all of these beaches in Looe over the course of my lifetime – and can offer my expert opinion on which is best for which purpose!
So, here are all of the best beaches in and near Looe!
Best Beaches in Looe
While East Looe Beach is the closest to the town centre, there are a few others that are walkable (or bikeable).
I’ve included all of these in the “beaches in Looe” section, and the beaches that are closer to another town or village are in the “beaches near Looe” section.
East Looe Beach
A stone’s throw from the town centre, East Looe Beach is perfect for a beach day when you don’t want to travel too far.
It’s well protected by the natural form of Looe Bay and the pier, which makes it safe for swimming.
A sandy beach, it’s ideal to bring a bucket and spade and build castles, or to picnic or just relax on the sand.
You can also rent out water sports equipment from here – everything from stand up paddleboards to self-driving boats! Guided boat trips leave from here too.
There are plenty of amenities, including public toilets, ice cream shops and coastal pubs.
Due to its location, this is a very popular beach, particularly in school holidays. However, if it gets to obusy, you can always explore the bustling town of Looe!
If you want to engage a little in Looe’s smuggling history, visit The Smuggler’s Cott, an atmospheric historical pub that was attached to East Looe Beach by a smuggling tunnel!
Ideal for when East Looe Beach is too busy, Hannafore Beach is just past Hannafore Point, on the West Looe side of the river.
With views out to Looe Island, this shingle beach is a long expanse, with tonnes of rock pools to explore.
It’s a dog-friendly beach all year round.
This beach is technically closer to Polperro, but it’s on the Looe to Polperro walk, so you can walk here from Looe in just over an hour.
Talland Bay is a small cove with two beaches. There’s a cafe in the cove, but otherwise it’s very quiet – and it’s usually not too busy here, thanks to its remote location.
At low tide, you’ll find a lots of rock pools to explore.
It’s also dog-friendly all year round!
There’s also a beach at Polperro, but I haven’t recommended it in this post as it’s very tidal and merges in with the harbour.
However, I would recommend visiting the ancient fishing village of Polperro for its other attractions, including the excellent smuggling museum, the quaint streets lined with fisherman’s cottages and The Blue Peter Inn.
Situated just to the east of Looe, Millendreath Beach is a sandy cove.
While the conditions here can be excellent, it’s completely covered in high tide. So if you’re planning on visiting this beach, check tide times before heading out!
It’s easily reachable from Looe via the coast path.
At less than a mile from East Looe Beach, Plaidy Beach is best accessed by walking along the coastal path.
Backing onto a residential area, this beach is a lot quieter than East Looe.
It’s mostly covered at high tide, but at low tide, there’s some sand to laze on and has impressive rock pools.
It catches the sun as it’s southeast facing!
There is very limited car parking here, so the short walk on the South West Coast Path is definitely the way to go.
Best Beaches near Looe
If you’re happy to drive a little (some of these beaches are also accessible by bus from Looe), then there are a few other beaches worth checking out in the area too.
These are all less than a 45 minute drive from Looe.
Whitsand Bay Beach
22 minute (11 mile) drive from Looe
Sprawling across the Cornish coastline for three miles, Whitsand Bay Beach is the place to go if you want to find a forgotten, unspoilt expanse of sand in South Cornwall.
Whether you’re into rock pooling, swimming, surfing (a rarity in this part of Cornwall!) or just lazing on soft sands, Whitsand Bay has plenty to offer.
There are some lifeguards in the summer months, but do be mindful of any watersports activities.
Dogs are permitted on the beach year-round.
14 minute (5 mile) drive from Looe
Seaton Beach sits just along from Downderry; you can actually walk between them when the tide is out.
It’s mainly a rocky and shingle beach and is quite quiet compared to many other nearby beaches, but it has plenty of rock pools and is lovely for beach walks!
18 minute (6 mile) drive from Looe
Downderry Beach sits just along from Seaton Beach; it’s possible to walk between them when the tide is low.
There are no lifeguards, although there’s a few amenities in the village.
While the area closest to the village is “clothed”, parts further away are nudist.
Kingsand and Cawsand Beaches
32 minute (16 mile) drive from Looe
Kingsand and Cawsand are two interlinked fishing villages on the Rame Peninsula.
They’re a little way from Looe, but I would recommend visiting; we once parked at Rame Head and walked on the coast path to the villages, and returned the same way.
You’ll enjoy epic coastal views with very few tourists – because of its inaccessiblity, the Rame Peninsula is often known as “forgotten Cornwall”.
The beaches aren’t lifeguarded, but are very sheltered and have calm water thanks to being in Plymouth Sound (I was once on a sailing trip in the area and we docked outside of Kingsand and Cawsand – as soon as we entered the sound the water completely stilled!).
It’is a popular spot for watersports, and there are a few pubs and restaurants in the villages.
Finnygook Beach and Hoodny Cove
22 minute (11 mile) drive from Looe
Tucked into Whitsand Bay, by the village of Portwrinkle, is Finnygook Beach.
A family friendly beach, it has plenty of rock pools and is a good place for snorkelling (although there are no lifeguards).
Hoodny Cove is next door; it’s a little more isolated and smaller, but it’s worth heading here if Finnygook is busy.
Portwrinkle’s amenities are in easy reach of both beaches.
22 minute (8.5 mile) drive from Looe
Lantic Bay is one of the best beaches in Cornwall; while most of the sands around this south eastern area of the Duchy are situated in rocky coves, Lantic Bay is broad, with white sands that dramatically contrast to the blue sea.
This sandy bay is pure paradise. It’s only accessible on foot or by boat, which makes it not as frequently visited as elsewhere in the region, but if you can make it down, it’s well worth it.
Lantic Bay consists of two coves, which are linked at low tide, but you can’t access one from the other at high tide.
It’s a pleasant beach for swimming, but be aware that there are no lifeguards here any time of year.
Dogs are permitted here all year round.
Readymoney Cove Beach
42 minute (24 mile) drive from Looe
Readymoney Cove Beach is small but adorable. Sitting about a 15 minute walk from the town of Fowey, it’s surrounded by tall trees and is the perfect suntrap on a summer’s day.
You can walk from Readymoney Cove to St Catherine’s Castle which sits on top of the cliffs, although it’s pretty inaccessible (if you want to see the best castles in Cornwall, check out my full list!).
Don’t forget the best things to do in Fowey while you’re there! Fowey is about 40 minutes from Looe, or you can drive to Polruan on the other side of the estuary (around 25 minutes) and take a passenger ferry over.
Can you swim in the sea at Looe?
Yes, Looe Bay is sheltered, with calm waters that make it great for swimming.
Does Looe have a sandy beach?
Yes, East Looe Beach is sandy, perfect for relaxing on or playing beach games! Other sandy beaches around Looe include Whitsand Bay Beach (a must-visit!) and Lantic Bay Beach.
Can you surf at Looe?
Dog-friendly beaches near Looe
Below are the best dog-friendly beaches near Looe:
The best Looe beaches!
While Looe is a coastal town itself, the town beach can be crowded; which is where this list of beaches near Looe comes in! Whether you want to find the nearest beach that won’t be full of crowds, or a perfect beach for a family day trip, this guide has you covered.