Are you looking for the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall? Here’s my list of the best!
There’s nowhere quite like the wild Atlantic beach destination of Cornwall.
Boasting wide-spanning stunning coastline and picturesque scenery, Cornwall’s a dream UK beach destination for families, couple and solo travellers.
But it’s also perfect for your four-legged friends!
If you love to explore the great outdoors with their canine companions, there are plenty of dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall.
Not all beaches in Cornwall allow pooches, so it’s important to read up on which ones are dog friendly beaches all year round.
I’ve compiled the full list below!
Top dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall
All of the below are dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall all year round, so you can take your furry friend to them without worrying!
If you’re visiting Cornwall in winter, you’ll find that many other beaches are suitable for dogs.
Located on the North Cornish coast, within striking distance to St Ives but much quieter than other beaches in the area, Gwithian is a beautiful beach known for its white sand and excellent surf conditions.
It’s a huge three-mile expanse of sand, with dunes in the back and a lighthouse at one end, so there’s plenty of room for your dog to run around and explore!
While Gwithian is a good surfing beach, it’s in St Ives Bay which means that the waves aren’t usually quite as large here as places like Fistral, making it safer for both you and your dog to swim.
Perran Sands (Perranporth Beach)
Perran Sands, also known as Perranporth Beach, is a stretch of sand that sits to the southwest of Newquay and also stretches for three miles, backed by rocky cliffs.
At low tide, you can walk along the golden sands for the entire three miles; at the end, the South West Coast Path ascends up the cliffs and towards Holywell Bay.
The entire beach is dog-friendly year-round, but the main beach area (close to Perranporth town) has one restriction – in July and August, dogs must be on a lead between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. This is because the beach is busy during this time with holidaymakers, so it’s important any dogs are under control!
If you’re visiting Perranporth in July and August, there’s still plenty of space where you can let your dog off the lead – just head away from the town.
Be mindful of the tides – at high tide, the town beach is cut off from the rest of the sand.
There are steps up to the cliffs on the far end of the beach, so you could always follow the cliffs on the way back – but be careful that you don’t get cut off from either end at any point.
If you have any questions about the tides, there are seasonal lifeguards at Perranporth Beach who’d be happy to help.
The picturesque Trevaunance Cove is just down the road from St Agnes, and it’s a scenic beach that allows dogs all year round.
While St Agnes is a fairly popular destination, it’s a lot more tranquil than other towns on the North Cornwall coast, so you should be able to have a laid-back day out here!
The St Agnes to Perranporth section of the South West Coast Path is particularly beautiful; it’s part of the UNESCO World Heritage Mining landscape.
Sandymouth is probably one of my favourite beaches in all of Cornwall – and it’s dog-friendly!
Run by the National Trust, this long beach hugs the coastline between Bude and the Cornwall/ Devon border.
It’s close to the Sandymouth Holiday Resort (a fantastic dog-friendly caravan park) and is another stunning section of the South West Coast Path (although it’s part of the Hartland Quay to Bude trek – by far the toughest hike on the trail in my opinion!).
Searching for quieter beaches around St Ives? I give you Porthkidney, which is close to the Hayle Estuary, and is far quieter than Porthmeor, Porthminster and Carbis Bay!
It’s dog-friendly year-round, although the council asks that any owners keep their pooch on a lead on the path down to the beach from St Uny Church.
You can take the train here from St Ives – it’s one of the most scenic train journeys in the world and one of the best things to do in town – or take the easy hike back to the town centre that passes above Carbis Bay.
Fancy a tranquil beach on the south coast of Cornwall?
If you don’t mind a bit of a voyage to get there, I highly recommend Lantic Bay, which is close to Polruan (which in turn, is just over the Fowey River from Fowey).
From the coastal path above Lantic Bay, you can descend down the cliffs to the sheltered cove, which boasts golden sands and clear waters – and barely any other tourists (even in peak season!).
The closest car park is Lantic Bay car park, which is around a 500 metre walk away – while it’s not too far away, it’s a steep uphill and downhill climb and isn’t recommended for people or dogs with mobility issues.
One of the most “tropical” beaches in Cornwall, Pedn Vounder is fairly close to Penzance (it’s next to Porthcurno), but it’s far enough away that it remains a Cornish hidden gem.
Dogs are welcome all year round, but to access the beach you’ll need to park in Treen or Porthcurno and hike down.
Holywell Bay Beach
Holywell Bay is a glorious patch of sand between Newquay and Perranporth with beautiful rock formations, decent surfing conditions and even a mysterious cave!
Definitely one of the best dog beaches in Cornwall, there’s plenty of space here, but it’s also fairly accessible, with a small car park, National Trust-run toilets and even a pub with a dog-friendly garden.
Staying in Penzance or Marazion? Prussia Cove is one of the best dog beaches in the area!
With smuggling connections, this patch of sand used to be known as “King’s Cove”. The Carter family, who lived in the cove, were smugglers, and one of the family members, Harry Carter, started to be known as the “King of Prussia”. Hence the name!
Nowadays, it’s much more peaceful. It’s a sheltered beach, but is quite small, but there are plenty of rock formations and pools to keep your dog entertained!
One of the quietest of all the Cornish beaches, Seaton (not to be confused with Seaton in East Devon) is located in Cornwall’s lesser-touristy southeast, and dogs are welcome all year round.
It’s not the most scenic beach in Cornwall but has typically safe, calm waters – perfect for nervous dogs – and at low tide you can walk along the sand all the way to Downderry Beach (also dog-friendly).
Be mindful of tide times if you’re doing so, but you can walk along the promenade at high tide as well.
One of the busier Cornwall beaches that allow dogs year-round, Watergate Bay boasts plenty of facilities and even some dog-friendly holiday parks.
It’s a popular surfing destination, so the waters might be a little busier and rougher than in other spots, but it’s a spacious beach at low tide, with plenty of sand, rocks and plenty of rock pools!
Watergate Bay is close to Newquay, so it’s a fantastic alternative to the town’s beaches, most of which hve dog restrictions in the summer. Another dog-friendly option is Mawgan Porth Beach, which you can walk to from Watergate Bay.
A shingle beach located near Helston, Loe Bar is typically quiet even during the busy summer season.
This is largely because it’s not safe for humans or dogs to swim in the sea, due to strong offshore currents.
However, it’s a unique spot to stroll around as it’s a bar of sand with the Loe Pool behind.
You can even walk from here to Helston which is a lovely woodland/ coast walk.
It’s also ideal if you’re planning on exploring the Lizard!
Surprisingly, Fistral Beach (located on the north coast of Cornwall right by Newquay) is dog-friendly year round.
I say surprisingly because it’s one of the busiest in the region – and the majority of beaches that welcome dogs in the summer months are quieter.
Fistral’s a famous beach among surfers, with people of all levels taking to the waves each day.
You might find it a bit too busy for your dog to run around to their heart’s content; if so, I recommend heading to nearby Holywell Bay or Perranporth.
Situated on the Lizard Peninsula, Cadgwith Cove is a charming village with a small beach that’s lapped by turquoise waters.
It’s one of Cornwall’s last authentic-feeling fishing village, and is one of my favourite places to visit in the region and has one of the most relaxing and charming beaches on the peninsula.
While you’re in the village, don’t miss Cadgwith Cove Inn, a charming 300-year-old pub with an excellent food menu (I had probably the best pasta I’ve ever tasted outside of Italy here!).
It’s dog-friendly, and on Friday nights a local singing group gathers to perform Cornish songs.
There is a seasonal dog ban between 1st July to 31st August on the Cadgwith Cove east beach, but they are welcome on the Cadgwith Cove slipway beach year-round.
Bamaluz is a tiny beach, but it’s worth knowing about if you’re staying in St Ives.
Tucked between Porthgwidden Beach and St Ives Harbour, it sits minutes from the town centre and its many attractions and provides an excellent stop-off for dogs and their owners if you want some quick beach time while enjoying the town.
Beach Etiquette and Rules
When visiting Cornwall’s stunning beaches with a dog, there are a few points of etiquette to bear in mind!
Most beaches that I’ve recommended above don’t have lead guidelines for dogs – but do double-check when you arrive at the beach, as these can always change.
Sometimes temporary leash guidelines can come into place, particularly if there’s certain wildlife in the area or if there have been recent incidents surrounding dogs.
Be mindful that in some beaches, especially at Loe Bar and potentially some of the busier surf-friendly beaches, you might not want your dog to go in the water. If you can control your dog, then by all means let them off the lead still – but if you can’t, you might want to keep them on one!
Of course, it goes without saying that any waste needs to be disposed of thoroughly!
Leaving dog waste on the beach not only spoils the environment but can also pose health risks to both humans and other animals.
Always carry waste bags with you and promptly pick up after your dog – most beaches have designated bins.
The beaches recommended in this post have been designated as dog-friendly largely because they don’t see too many tourists, even in peak season.
The Duchy’s most popular beaches are typically not dog-friendly all year because they have too many tourists – and while we love dogs here at Go South West, not every tourist in Cornwall does!
Make sure that you can control your dog and ensure that they don’t disturb any groups of people who are using the beach to relax – especially if they have young children or older adults.
A very large dog once jumped up at me while I was walking on Holywell Beach and nearly knocked me over – personally, I didn’t mind, but I can imagine it could have been a very scary incident for some and possibly even injured them.
Plus, ensure that your dog interacts with other dogs safely. Again, if you think that your pooch could get over-excited or aggressive, keep them on a lead.
Other things to do in Cornwall with dogs
I’ve written a full list of things to do in Cornwall with dogs, which focuses on some of the best pet-friendly attractions for your trip here – so do use that guide to plan your doggie trip to Cornwall too!
Some of the attractions I mention are:
- The Lost Gardens of Heligan
- Tintagel Castle
- Pendennis Castle
- Wheal Martyn
- Shipwreck Treasure Museum Charlestown
- Bodmin Keep
Most beachfront pubs and cafes in Cornwall have an outdoor seating area, and nearly all of these are suitable for dogs.
There are a few dog-friendly restaurants in Cornwall (where dogs are permitted inside), including Lenninwick Lodge in Newquay, The Hub in St Ives, Dolphin Tavern in Penzance and the Ship Inn in Fowey.
Before embarking on your beach holiday in Cornwall, don’t forget to pack all the essential items for your dog. These may include:
- Food: If you like particular food for your dog, bring enough for the duration of your stay, along with treats and supplements – although there are plenty of superstores in Cornwall, so you can always stock up if necessary. In particular, the Tesco Extra in Camborne has a wide expanse of dog food. Or you can stock up on Amazon before you go by clicking here!
- Water and dishes: Pack a portable water bowl or bottle (here’s a great one!) to keep your dog hydrated during your beach excursions and a regular dish for meal times, which you can leave at your accommodations.
- Lead and collar or harness: You may need a lead for some beaches and other dog-friendly attractions and don’t forget a collar with an up-to-date ID tag. Here’s a fantastic heavy-duty lead.
- Toys: Beach toys could include balls for them to fetch or chew toys (which they might want if they’re teething). You could also pack some separate toys to keep in your accommodation. Here’s a toy selection pack.
- Towels: Pack plenty of clean doggie towels for drying off after a swim – your accommodation probably won’t want you to use their clean fresh towels!
- Poo bags: Stay environmentally friendly by cleaning up after your dog with bio-degradable poo bags. You can stock up on poo bags by clicking here.
- First aid kit: A basic first aid kit should include items such as bandages, wound spray and tweezers for tick removal. You can top this up during your trip, but it’s a good idea to go out with the essentials each day should any minor accidents occur. Here’s a doggie first aid kit on Amazon.
Dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall FAQs
What beaches in Cornwall are dogs allowed on?
Some beaches in Cornwall have restrictions, but they’re allowed on a variety of beaches year-round, including Holywell Bay Beach, Perran Sands, Lantic Bay and Gwithian. Take a look at my full list for the best beaches for dogs in Cornwall!
Are dogs allowed on St Ives Beach?
Dogs are allowed on Porthkidney, Gwithian and Bamaluz Beach in St Ives year-round, with seasonal restrictions on the other beaches (due to the fact that they’re busy with tourists in the summer months). St Ives is generally a very dog-friendly town.
Where are dogs not allowed on the beach in Cornwall?
It largely depends on the beach – some beaches have blanket bans, while others permit dogs in the winter months only, and some allow them year-round. Popular beaches that don’t allow dogs in the summer include Carbis Bay Beach, Gyllngvase Beach and Polzeath Beach.
Are dogs allowed on Newquay beach Cornwall?
Dogs aren’t allowed at some Newquay beaches, like Tolcarne Beach, but they are permitted on Fistral Beach and in nearby beaches like Holywell and Watergate Bay.
Can I walk my dog on the beach in Cornwall?
You can walk your dog on designated dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall – depending on the location, there may be seasonal or blanket bans, or you may need to pop your dog on a leash.
Are dogs welcome in Cornwall?
Dogs are very welcome in Cornwall, and due to the region’s focus on outdoor activities and nature, it’s a fantastic place to come on holiday with your pet. There are plenty of dog-friendly hotels, restaurants and attractions, and this post has highlighted the best beaches to take your canine friend!
Are you ready to visit the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall?
The azure waters and golden sands of Cornwall’s best beaches are ready to welcome both you and your furry friend!
As long as you know which beaches to aim for, you’ll find an ideal destination for you and your canine companion, even in the height of summer!
So pack your dog treats and supplies and head west to Cornwall for a summer holiday to remember.