If you’re looking for one of the best beaches close to Exeter, I’d highly recommend visiting Exmouth Beach!
A haven for water sports enthusiasts, but also incredible for anyone who wants to walk and enjoy Devon’s nature and culture, this is one of the busier beaches in East Devon.
As it’s two miles long, you’ll always find a patch of sand for your towel!
With abundant rock pools, wonderful views over the estuary and accessible parking, this beach is ideal for everyone.
About Exmouth beach
A two-mile-long stretch of sand running along the coastline from the end of the Exe River to the cliffs at the start of the Jurassic Coastline, Exmouth Beach is a beautiful spot for admiring cliffs, relaxing on the beach and some incredible nature walks.
When it comes to Exmouth attractions, the beach is definitely the highlight – and there are actually tonnes of things to do on Exmouth Beach too!
How to get to Exmouth Beach
One of the best things about Exmouth Beach is that it’s very accessible and can be reached by train, bus or car.
Buses and trains connect Exmouth with Exeter City, and the 57 bus also connects the two settlements.
You can also reach Exmouth by taking the A303 from London or the M5 from Bristol or Birmingham, and then following local A roads to the town.
Things to do at Exmouth Beach
Exmouth is possibly most famous for its fantastic array of watersports.
Here, you can rent out a stand-up paddleboard, go windsurfing or kayaking!
EDGE watersports does watersports rentals and lessons – check them out here.
Stroll along the esplanade
Exmouth Beach esplanade is a lovely walk that’s dotted with palm trees – these are New Zealand Cabbage Palms that were brought over to Devon, but survive in its mildish climate!
There are swing boats for kids and plenty of ice cream shops and fish and chip restaurants – you can grab a cone of chips with plenty of salt and vinegar and watch the world go by!
The sandy beach of Exmouth is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy golden sand and the bright orange cliffs!
There’s lots of space here, so bring your beach towels down and spread out.
BBQs are allowed on some parts of the beach.
Remember to put on plenty of sun cream – you can still burn in the UK!
Stuart Line Cruises
With an office in Exmouth Marina, Stuart Line Cruises provides boat trips that span up the Exe Estuary, along the Jurassic Coast and to Torbay and further west in Devon.
Choose from a nature cruise to learn about the geology of the Jurassic Coast, a day trip to Sidmouth or Paignton or a birdwatching trip on the Exe.
You can book Stuart Line Cruises on their website, and there are options to suit all budgets.
Hike to Orcombe Point
From Exmouth Beach, it’s a 20 minute walk up the cliffs to Orcombe Point, the official start of the Jurassic Coast.
This was unveiled by Prince Charles (now King Charles!) in 2002 and is made out of local stones found along the coastline.
Explore the Maer
The grassy Maer area sits just behind Exmouth Beach, and it’s an unlikely wildlife reserve, home to birdlife and insects (and the occasional snake in the summer!).
It’s the perfect place for a stroll away from the beach!
It’s also home to Exmouth’s rusty pole – you can read more about this here.
Bowling, soft play and sea views at Ocean
Ocean is a beautiful beachfront venue with a bowling alley and soft play.
Perfect if you’re looking for things to do in Exmouth in the rain, you can also head up to their restaurant and take in the beautiful waterfront views from the deck.
Walk up the Exe Estuary
The Exe Estuary spans from Exmouth through Exeter.
On the Exe Estuary Path, which is also a cycle trail, you’ll traverse through Lympstone, Exton and Topsham.
Enjoy beautiful vistas over the River Exe and take in the historic buildings of all of the settlements on the River Exe.
Queens Drive Space
Queens Drive Space is buzzing in the summer season and is popular with beach goers.
It’s a large space that’s home to a range of food venues, mini golf and other sports and games!
There are also a few bands playing here in the summer months.
Go rock pooling
There are a few fascinating rock pools by the Maer Rocks on Exmouth Beach.
When the tide is low, you can get right to the pools and see what marine life calls them home!
Go for a swim
Of course, going for a swim is one of the best things to do on Exmouth beaches.
I swim in this water fairly regularly from late spring to early autumn (and even went for one in November the other day!) and it’s warmish; not exactly tropical but warmer than the waters around Land’s End and Woolacombe in the north!
For safe swimming, don’t enter the waves anywhere other than past the lifeboat station.
There are lifeguard services in the summer months.
Take a boat to Starcross
Starcross sits at the other side of the Exe Estuary, and you can take a boat to there from Exmouth Marina.
Starcross is a small village, but from here, you can walk down to Dawlish Warren Beach, which is known for its golden sand and excellent water quality; it’s actually received a blue flag award due to its cleanliness.
Walk to Budleigh Salterton
Exmouth is located on the South West Coast Path, and one of the best walks in the area traverses the beginning of the Jurassic Coast, heading to Budleigh Salterton to the west.
Take in stunning views from Orcombe Point and walk through some clifftop woodland, enjoying the varied terrain until it descends to Budleigh Salterton beach.
It takes about two hours from Exmouth town centre to Budleigh.
To get back to Exmouth, you can either take the bus, a taxi (I use AJ Taxis) or walk on the cycle path.
Exmouth beach accessibility
There is parking right on the esplanade, with some disabled parking spaces.
Plus, the beach wheelchair system offers free wheelchair rentals, enabling users to get down onto the sand.
Where to park at Exmouth Beach
There is plenty of parking along Exmouth Beach, although it can be packed in the summer months.
Where to stay near Exmouth Beach
The Dolphin Hotel is a cosy guesthouse very close to Exmouth beach. The en-suite rooms are uniquely furnished, and a delicious breakfast is included every day. Click here for rates and to reserve your spot.
Devon Cliffs Haven Caravan Park is potentially the best place to stay near Exmouth Beach.
It’s around a 30 minute walk from the beach, but it’s right by Sandy Bay Beach and consists of lots of different holiday homes, all of which have multiple bedrooms, a kitchen, a lounge and shower room.
On site there’s a pool and beach restaurant and bar.
The Point is located in Exmouth Marina; one of the most luxurious places to stay in Exmouth!
This apartment in particular has two bedrooms, each with double beds and an apartment with bathroom and kitchen facilities. It’s a stone’s throw from Exmouth beach. Click here for more information.
Are dogs allowed on Exmouth beach?
Dogs are not allowed on Exmouth Beach in the summer season, which runs from 1st May to 30th September.
However, they’re allowed there for the rest of the year!
Beach shops in Exmouth
The biggest beach shop in Exmouth is Budgens, which stocks various food and drinks including picnic supplies and beach gear.
Beaches nearby Exmouth
I’ve created a full blog post about the most beautiful beaches around Exmouth; here are some of the main ones!
- Budleigh Salterton Beach: This is a pebbly beach that’s right by the town of Budleigh Salterton.
- Sandy Bay Beach: This is a private beach sitting just underneath Devon Cliffs.
- Exmouth Estuary Beach (Shelly Beach): The closest beach to Exmouth’s main beach, Shelly Beach is a small patch of shingle sitting on the estuary.
Exmouth Beach FAQs
Does Exmouth have a nice beach?
Yes, Exmouth has a wonderful lifeguarded beach with golden sands, Jurassic Coast cliffs and crashing blue waves. It’s the perfect place for a sea swim, beach day or coastal picnic or BBQ!
Is it safe to swim at Exmouth beach?
Exmouth beach has an active lifeguard service, so it is fairly safe, but it’s important to only swim by the lifeguard station and avoid the areas where there are no swimming signs.
It generally has calm waters, thank to the fact that it faces the English Channel rather than the Atlantic Ocean, like the beaches in North Devon.
Exmouth normally has clean bathing water, but occasionally the beach is closed due to beach pollution. There will be massive signs up if it is closed!
But generally, yes, I swim at Exmouth beach all the time!
What is the best month to visit Exmouth?
The warmest months of the year are usually July and August, but these are school holidays, so the beach can be rammed!
My favourite months are probably May, June and September, when it is warm but not as hectic as the busy summer months. The sea is fairly cold in May, but it stays warm into September.
The autumn and winter has more unsettled weather, but it’s much quieter and the seafront is gorgeous on a crisp morning!
Do you have to pay to park on Exmouth seafront?
Yes, Exmouth seafront has paid-for parking all along the beach. You can pay for your parking using cash or the RingGo app.
Is it worth going to Exmouth?
Absolutely! I’m a bit biased (I live here), but it’s a wonderfully accessible town beach. It’s a popular spot for beach activities with a beautiful stretch of sand and water-based activities.
With beautiful cliff views, extensive sands and plenty of activities, there’s so much to offer on beautiful Exmouth Beach.