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 rocky and beautiful 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
While Fistral Beach is the most famous beach in Newquay (and often wears the crown for the “best” in the area!), other Newquay beaches include beautiful Towan, privately-owned Lusty Glaze, the very long Porth Beach and nearby beaches like Watergate Bay and Mawgan Porth. Let’s look at them in a little more detail!
1. Fistral Beach
Fistral Beach, renowned as one of Cornwall’s premier surf spots, boasts pristine golden sands that have lured wave enthusiasts from all corners of the globe.
This broad, sandy expanse caters to surfers of every skill level, accommodating both beginners seeking to conquer their first wave and seasoned pros eager for an exhilarating ride.
However, the allure of Fistral extends far beyond the surf scene.
Sun-worshippers find solace on its sun-drenched shores, while avid hikers are captivated by the mesmerising South West Coast Path, tracing its course along the majestic sand dunes overlooking Fistral Beach.
At one end, food enthusiasts can indulge in the delectable offerings of Rick Stein’s renowned fish and chip restaurant, tantalizing taste buds with the freshest catches of the day.
Whatever your adventure, you’ll find something to love at this world-class sandy beach!
2. Towan Beach
Nestled conveniently by the town centre, beneath Killacourt, this renowned sandy haven has rightfully earned its status as one of the most celebrated town beaches.
Despite its popularity, Towan Beach remains an absolute must-visit.
Its claim to fame lies in the enthralling Towan Island, a picturesque outcrop with a house perched on top, connected to the mainland by a charming bridge.
Formerly the residence of esteemed local scientist Sir Oliver Lodge, this island is now available as a holiday rental.
Compared to the dramatic surges of Fistral Beach, Towan offers a calmer surfing experience, making it an ideal destination for novice wave riders.
A surf school conveniently located on the beach welcomes those eager to try their hand at this exhilarating sport.
However, if you just want to kick back on the sands and relax, that’s entirely possible in Towan!
3. Lusty Glaze Beach
Lusty Glaze Beach is a jewel in Newquay’s crown.
It stands out from the rest with its privately owned status, although entry is free for visitors to enjoy.
The beach boasts breathtaking cliffs that dramatically plunge towards the golden sands below.
In 2017, Lusty Glaze was honoured with the prestigious title of ‘Beach of the Year‘, a testament to its beauty and appeal.
Nestled into high cliffs, this beach offers a sheltered haven, shielding visitors from the often strong winds of North Cornwall.
It’s the perfect place to bask in the sun during the day and relish summer evenings.
During the summer months, a lifeguard is present for added safety, and year-round amenities include a cosy restaurant, a beach shop, watersports facilities and toilets.
4. Tolcarne Beach
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’s 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!
5. Great Western Beach
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.
6. 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’ (a Cornish name).
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!
7. Porth Beach
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.
8. Whipsiderry Beach
Just past Porth Beach, Whipsiderry Beach is one of the lesser-visited on this list because it is small, and there are steep steps to descend down to it.
But its rock pools and enchanting caves make it well worth the visit.
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.
9. Watergate Bay
Watergate Bay is a laid-back resort town that (to me) feels like the East Coast of Australia, sitting just three miles from Newquay.
It’s a fantastic place to enjoy a holiday atmosphere close to Newquay, with restaurants (including Fifteen by Jamie Oliver), cafes and watersports companies just a short walk from the shores.
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, you’ll traverse along the coast path – a wonderful way to take in all of the best Newquay beaches!
10. Holywell Bay Beach
It’s one of the best beaches near Newquay for Poldark fans – scenes from the TV show were filmed around here!
A quiet spot compared to some of the other Newquay beaches, Holywell Bay Beach is ideal for enjoying the surrounding nature and taking to the water on a bodyboard or surfboard.
You can also explore the beautiful dunes here.
Facilities include National Trust-run toilets and a pub.
11. Porth Joke/ Polly Joke Beach
Porth Joke Beach is a small hidden gem of a beach near Newquay – it’s my (Cornish) dad’s favourite local beach in Cornwall.
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.
12. 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!
13. Crantock Beach
Crantock Beach is on the other side of the Gannel River from 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.
14. Perranporth Beach
Perranporth Beach is one of the most popular beaches in North Cornwall for surfing and lazing by the sea.
Its a perfect family beach, as there is a large expanse of sand even at high tide.
There’s also a car park right by the beach, along with the many amenities of Perranporth – which is also a popular spot for Cornwall staycations.
It’s also home to the UK’s only bar right on a beach!
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.
15. Perran Sands
Perran Sands, which links up to Perranporth, a nearby town, 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 however, it’s still advisable to check the conditions before you head out, even if you’re experienced.
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 on the northern end.
The southern end, however, 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.
Pro tip: Make sure you’re aware of tide times when on the beach so you don’t get cut off!
16. Bedruthan Steps
This isn’t technically one of Newquay’s beaches – and at the moment, the beach is out of bounds – 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 craggy 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 provides 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 enjoy 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.
We did the Porthcothan to Newquay hike when we were spending the summer hiking the South West Coast Path and adored it; it has a wonderful mix of spectacular views while not being too strenuous!
FAQs about Newquay beaches
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.
How many beaches are there in Newquay?
In total, there are seven main beaches in Newquay:
- Fistral Beach
- Towan Beach
- Great Western Beach
- Tolcarne Beach
- Lusty Glaze Beach
- Porth Beach
- Crantock Beach
There are also a few in the surrounding areas!
What is the famous beach in Newquay?
Fistral Beach is the most famous beach in Newquay.
It is renowned for its impressive waves, making it a hotspot for surfers.
Fistral Beach hosts numerous surfing competitions, drawing professional surfers and enthusiasts alike.
The beach also offers stunning views, with cliffs and sand dunes surrounding the area.
Which beach is best for swimming near Newquay?
When it comes to swimming near Newquay, there are a few beaches that are generally considered safe and suitable for swimming.
Towan Beach is a small, sheltered beach close to the town centre.
Or, Porth Beach is situated just outside of Newquay and is known for its calm waters.
What is the main surfing beach in Newquay?
Surfing’s definitely one of the best things to do in Newquay, and Fistral Beach in particular is a global surfing hotspot, known for its consistent Atlantic swells and excellent wave conditions.
It caters to surfers of all skill levels with its left and right-hand breaks.
Fistral Beach offers surfers convenient facilities like equipment rentals, surf schools, and shops.
The beach’s popularity has fueled a vibrant surfing culture, attracting events and competitions year-round.
Are you ready to visit the best Newquay beaches?
As you bask on any of these Newquay beaches, listening to the rhythmic melody of crashing waves harmonizing with the lively chatter of seagulls soaring above and feeling the velvety sand, you’ll think “ahh, this is what staycations in Cornwall are all about!”.
Newquay’s beaches beckon, and hopefully this guide has helped you choose the best one for your needs and preferences.
Newquay’s 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.