Best Beaches in Newquay: for surfing, hiking and chilling!

View of Towan beach

If you’re searching for beaches in Newquay, this blog post has you covered! Whether you want the best Newquay surfing beaches, somewhere near town to catch a few rays on the golden sands, or Caribbean-blue waters a short drive from the town, this blog post will help you to find it!

Cornwall is undoubtedly famous for its captivating coastlines, and Newquay is no exception. It sometimes gets a reputation as being a bit of a party town – this is true, but there are lots of fun things to do in Newquay for all ages, and one of the best is enjoying its beautiful beaches. 

Whether you’re in Newquay on a week-long holiday, or just stopping by on a Cornwall road trip, here’s our list of the best beaches in Newquay! 

Best Beaches in Newquay

Fistral Beach

Fistral Beach, Newquay

The golden sands of Fistral Beach have a reputation for being one of the best surf beaches in Cornwall and all of the UK. 

It’s a broad, sandy beach popular with surfers of all abilities – from novices to professionals!

Experienced surfers can take to the waves themselves, but if you’re a newbie, you can try out some surf lessons on Fistral Beach. 

However, you don’t need to love the waves to enjoy Fistral – it’s a famous beach with sun soakers and hikers as well (the South West Coast Path runs along the sand dunes above Fistral Beach).

View of Fistral Beach along the SWCP

At one end of the beach, there are a few places to grab a bite to eat, including a Rick Stein’s fish and chip restaurant, and at the other end, there is the Pentire Headland. 

Towan Beach

Iconic Towan Beach in Newquay

Towan Beach is ideally placed right by Newquay town centre and below Killacourt, which is the large grassy area just north of the Newquay high street. Due to this positioning, it is one of the most famous town beaches!

Although it gets very busy, it’s still well worth a visit. The iconic beach is most famous for Towan Island, an outcrop with a house on top connected to the mainland by a bridge. Towan Island is now available as a holiday letting, but it was the home of Sir Oliver Lodge, a local scientist. When the tide is in, the island is completely surrounded by water! 

You will need to climb down steps to get to Towan Beach, as steep cliffs surround it. The beach itself is sandy and welcoming, with turquoise waters and waves that aren’t too wild – especially compared to those on Fistral Beach!

If you do want to try surfing and are a newbie, there is a surf school located on Towan Beach – it’s a great location for inexperienced surfers. 

There is a lifeguard during the summer months (around May to September, although in some seasons they start as early as April), and public toilets, a cafe and colourful beach huts which are rentable every day.

Lusty Glaze Beach

Lusty Glaze Beach in Newquay, Cornwall

The award-winning Lusty Glaze Beach is privately owned (although entry is free!), with dramatic cliffs plunging toward the golden sands below. It is a short walk from the town centre (although Towan Beach, Newquay Harbour, Tolcarne Beach and Great Western are all closer). 

Lusty Glaze was awarded the prestigious title ‘Beach of the Year’ in 2017 – and it’s easy to see why when you visit. 

Nestled into high cliffs, this sheltered beach blocks out all of the wind – it can get a bit blowy in North Cornwall – and is the ideal place to bask in the sun in the daytime and enjoy summer evenings. 

There are also lots of watersports companies operating here – whether you want to surf, stand up paddleboard, jet ski or climb up the cliffs, you’ll find lots to do on Lusty Glaze Beach! Equally, it’s an ideal place for just enjoying the stunning Cornish coast. 

There is a lifeguard in the summer months, and year-round amenities include a cosy restaurant, a beach shop, and WCs. 

Tolcarne Beach

Tolcarne Beach in Newquay, Cornwall

Tolcarne Beach is right next to Towan Beach – at low tide, you can walk between them! Tolcarne Beach is popular with tourists who want to paddleboard, bask in the sun, and enjoy many refreshment options while in Newquay! There is also a lifeguard in the summer months, making it one of the best safe swimming beaches in Newquay.

Tolcarne Beach is within walking distance from the centre of town and is a beautiful cove surrounded by dramatic cliffs. To get to Tolcarne Beach, you’ll need to walk down quite a few steps – 132, to be exact – but once you’re there, you’ll never want to leave!

Great Western Beach

Great Western Beach, Newquay

Great Western Beach is right next to the Great Western Hotel and can be accessed by steep steps from its side. Great Western is the closest beach to the train station, making it a popular stop with daytrippers – but people staying in the town usually opt for Towan or Fistral Beach instead. This means that it isn’t usually a busy beach!

However, it is in the heart of Newquay town centre, close to all restaurants and bars, and it has its own amenities. You can also access the connected beaches of Towan and Tolcarne at low tide. Like Towan and Tolcarne, there is a seasonal lifeguard here, so it is good for swimmers. 

Newquay Harbour Beach

Newquay harbour beach

Newquay Harbour is the historic quayside area of the town – it was established in the 17th century, and the town was named after it! Before the quay appeared, Newquay was a small fishing village named ‘Towan Blystra’. 

Newquay Harbour is a great spot to go boat-watching, with all sorts of ships bobbing around. If you’re into photography, this is definitely a place to visit.

There are also many amenities at Newquay Harbour, including The Boathouse, a beachside street food dining area. A range of different stands offer lots of tasty food here – you can get anything from Cornish seafood to tacos to ramen! It’s a great spot to visit for dinner if your group wants a range of different food. 

There is also a small beach at Newquay Harbour – you can laze on the sands here, although the water isn’t suitable for swimming or surfing – there are too many boats bobbing around! 

Porth Beach

Porth Beach near Newquay

Porth Beach is a 30 minute walk from Newquay town centre. The beach is known for its long, sandy expanse – you won’t need to worry about finding a spot here, even when the tide is in. 

There is a popular pub here called The Mermaid, which serves local drinks and plenty of food. You can also enjoy a walk around the nearby Porth Island – the South West Coast Path traverses it. 

If you’re looking for dog-friendly beaches in Newquay, you can take your furry friend to Porth Beach anytime apart from 15th May – 30th September between 10:00am – 6:00pm. 

Porth Beach is also on the Newquay to Watergate Bay walk. 

Whipsiderry Beach

Whipsiderry Beach, one of the best beaches near Newquay

Whipsiderry Beach is just past Porth Beach on the Coastal Path. It is one of the lesser-visited Newquay beaches because it is small, and there are steep steps to descend down to it. However, it is worth visiting to explore its rock pools and fascinating caves. 

You can only access Whipsiderry Beach at low tide, and it’s essential to know tide times so you don’t get stuck – ask a lifeguard at Porth Beach if you are unsure. There is no lifeguard service or amenities at Whipsiderry beach itself, but it is right next to Porth Beach.

Beaches Near Newquay

Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay Beach

Watergate Bay is a laid-back, Aussie-style resort town just 3 miles from Newquay. It’s a beautiful place to enjoy a holiday atmosphere close to Newquay, with restaurants (including Fifteen by Jamie Oliver), cafes and watersports companies on site. 

It’s also a popular spot for surfing (book onto a lesson or take your own board!) or just enjoying the expanse of sand. There are also a lot of places to stay in Watergate Bay, including the popular Watergate Bay Hotel. 

Watergate Bay is around a 10 minute drive or 1 hour 20 minute walk from Newquay. If you walk, it is along the coast path and a beautiful way to take in all of the best Newquay beaches! 

Holywell Bay Beach

Holywell Bay Beach, best beaches in Newquay

Hollywell Bay Beach is owned by the National Trust and is part of the Newquay to Perranporth walk. It’s one of the best beaches near Newquay for Poldark fans – lots of the TV show was filmed around here! 

It’s a quiet spot compared to some of the other Newquay beaches, but it’s ideal for enjoying the surrounding nature and taking to the water on a bodyboard or surfboard. You can also explore the fascinating dunes here. 

Facilities include National Trust run toilets and a pub in Holywell. 

Porth Joke/ Polly Joke Beach

Holywell Bay, one of the best beaches near Newquay, Cornwall

Porth Joke beach is a small hidden gem of a beach near Newquay. Known locally as Polly Joke beach, it’s a small cove with epic surf breaks. Some amazing wildflowers grow here in the late spring and early summer. 

Lifeguards do not operate here, and there are no amenities like toilets or refreshments. However, it’s well worth visiting for the epic scenery! 

It’s also important to be aware of the risk of cliff falls. Don’t sit directly under cliffs and follow any signs about areas to avoid. 

Penhale Sands

Technically in Perranporth, Penhale Sands is a must-visit beach near Newquay for those who love exploring! Penhale Sands is a network of dunes that is believed to be where St Piran landed. Connecting to Perran Sands and Perranporth Beach, this is a great spot to go hiking! 

Crantock Beach

Poly Joke Beach, one of the best beaches in Newquay

Crantock Beach is on the other side of the Gannel River to the rest of the beaches in Newquay, separated from Fistral by the Pentire Headland. 

The National Trust own and look after Crantock Beach, and there are a variety of enjoyable walks in the area

There are lifeguards at Crantock Beach, and it’s important to only swim in the areas specified by them. 

Perranporth Beach

beautiful Perranporth Beach in North Cornwall

Perranporth Beach is one of the most popular beaches in North Cornwall for surfing and lazing on the sea. It’s the perfect family beach, as there is a large expanse of sand even at high tide, and there’s a car park right by the beach as well as the many amenities of Perranporth – which is also a popular spot for Cornwall staycations.

Being a flat beach, it is also a lot easier to access than the other beaches around Newquay – there are no cliffs to climb down to reach Perranporth! 

Perranporth Beach is also famous for having the UK’s only proper beach bar – that is, a bar completely on the beach! (We don’t really have the weather for them, but Newquay’s beaches are beautiful enough to warrant one!). 

The town of Perranporth has a fun atmosphere, with lots of restaurants and water sports companies. 

Perran Sands

Perran Sands near Perranporth, North Cornwall

Part of the South West Coast Path, Perran Sands is one of the most popular Cornish surfing beaches. Larger and faster waves here mean that Perran Sands is more suitable if you are an advanced surfer – and it’s still advisable to check the conditions before you head out. 

Perran Sands is around 3km long, and it’s well worth climbing up the South West Coast Path on the northern side to check out the fantastic beach view. It’s a wild, rugged beach without facilities – although the southern end is only a short walk from Perranporth. In fact, Perran Sands connects to Perranporth Beach at low tide, but at high tide, you will need to walk over a headland.  

Bedruthan Steps

Bedruthan Steps

This isn’t technically one of Newquay’s beaches or even a beach near Newquay, but I couldn’t write this list and not include Bedruthan Steps, up there with Kynance Cove on the most beautiful places in Cornwall (in my opinion). 

Bedruthan Steps are rocky outcrops that stretch out from the coastline near Carnewas Beach. Sitting in waters that wouldn’t look out of place in the Mediterranean, Bedruthan Steps are a dramatic view from various spots along this section of the South West Coast Path. 

At the moment, Bedruthan Steps Beach is closed. This is due to a significant landslide in 2019 – more information can be found here. However, it’s still a fantastic place to take in the coastal views. 

You can drive here from Newquay and park at the Bedruthan Steps car park. Alternatively, take a bus to Porthcothan and hike back to Newquay, taking in Bedruthan Steps, Mawgan Porth Beach and Watergate Bay. This hike took us about five hours, and you can see full directions here. 

What is the best beach in Newquay? 

It’s hard to say! If you’re looking for a surf beach, I’d recommend Fistral. However, for beautiful scenes, it’s got to be Towan! If you’re looking for somewhere a bit more isolated, I would recommend Polly Joke or Perran Sands, both of which are a little way from the town. 

The Best Newquay beaches!

I hope that this list of amazing beaches in Newquay will help you to explore the town! Its bays and sandy stretches are nothing short of spectacular, and I guarantee that you’ll fall in love with them! 

Newquay is one of the best places to visit in Cornwall. If you’re planning a trip here, check out my where to stay in Newquay and how to get to Newquay guides!

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