The essential Devon beach guide holiday cottages

The essential Devon beach guide

Devon is unique in that it is the only county in England that has two separate coastlines, found in North Devon and South Devon respectively - so be sure to explore them both when you visit Devon.

Along each of the Devon coastlines, you will find gorgeous golden beaches, secluded coves, and glistening water. The county is also home to nine spectacular Blue Flag beaches, which is a commendation of the cleanliness and water quality of the beaches, while both the North and South Devon coastlines are designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There are also many dog-friendly beaches in Devon, which are either open throughout the year or at specific times in the calendar, so be sure to check the restrictions on these.

North Devon beaches:


When it comes to stunning sandy stretches, North Devon has got to be up there with some of the best beaches in the UK. Golden stretches including Croyde and Woolacombe are ideal for surfing, while the latter also stretches a gorgeous three miles to the quieter Putsborough beach - an ideal walk in all seasons.

Further along the coast from Croyde is Saunton beach, featuring three miles of golden sand and undulating sand dunes that are perfect for picnics. Westward Ho!, viewable from Saunton on a clear day, is a popular beach with water sports enthusiasts as well as kite-surfers. The village there also offers unique shops, quaint cafes and welcoming pubs.

There are numerous town beaches in North Devon which offer much easier accessibility than some of the harder to reach places. One of these is Instow beach, where you’ll find a wide expanse of sand with dunes at the northern end, and an ideal spot to watch the sunset - another of the most alluring aspects of the beaches in North Devon.

Not only that, but hidden among the renowned stretches of sand are many secret beaches, including one which sells authentic Sri Lankan curry of a summer's evening! Find out more about secret beaches in North Devon via our guide.

South Devon beaches:

South Devon beaches

South Devon is also home to some of the UK’s best beaches, ranging from quiet coves and inlets to bustling town beaches. No fewer than 22 beaches can be found in the English Riviera, and this area has the highest concentration of Blue Flag beaches in England. One of the most popular beaches in South Devon is Bigbury. The large stretch is perfect for families as there is plenty of room for playing on the sand and going for a refreshing paddle in the water. At low tide, the lovely Burgh Island is also reachable on foot.

Salcombe is a popular location for sailing and other seaside activities, and, as the town features four beaches, visitors are spoilt for choice when they enjoy a holiday here. Salcombe South Beach is a fine sandy stretch located just to the south of the Salcombe North Beach, another sandy town cove.

Blackpool Sands meanwhile will make you feel like you have been transported to the Mediterranean due to the glassy azure waters and being framed on three sides by lush greenery.


Dog-friendly beaches

There’s no better feeling than finding a long stretch of beach with your dog, letting them off the lead and seeing them enjoy themselves, leaving happy pawprints across the sand.

Here at Stay in Devon, we love the beaches that our wonderful county boasts. We also love the fact that our four-legged friends get to enjoy them too during a dog-friendly holiday in Devon! To make things even easier for you to find the perfect beach during a Devon holiday we have compiled a list of our top 20 dog-friendly beaches in Devon. We’d love to hear if we’ve missed your favourite one off the list so please get in touch with your suggestions via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Beach activities:

Surfing in Devon

As they face out to the Atlantic Ocean, many of the beaches in North Devon have gained a reputation for their quality of surf. Beaches such as Croyde and Woolacombe often host surfing competitions, and the former is home to GoldCoast Oceanfest, a three-day festival dedicated to celebrating surfing, music and other beach sports.

Putsborough is another popular beach in North Devon with local surfers due to its sheltered shoreline, while South Devon beaches including Bigbury-On-Sea, Thurlestone and Bantham Beach also offer perfect conditions to hit the waves.

There are also plenty of other adrenalin-fuelled watersport opportunities in Devon, including kiting, paddleboarding, jet-skiing, coasteering, sea kayaking and more.

Devon beaches are one of the many reasons to love Devon and are also ideal for families, as a large number of them have regular lifeguards during the main holiday season, while there are rockpooling and crabbing opportunities at the likes of Dawlish Warren, Wembury, Woolacombe and Shoalstone.

We've also been busy doing plenty of research, and have come up with a handy guide to jellyfish and how to make sure you remain safe from them around Devon's coasts. On top of that, we've also created an infographic showcasing some alarming beach pollution statistics.


Our guide to Devon beaches will help you decide your perfect coastal holiday in Devon, and help you choose the perfect accommodation from our range of self-catering holiday cottages.

Like it? Share it...

Read more like this

6 of the best beaches in South Devon

Take a look at six of our favourite beaches in South Devon.

Days out in Devon for kids

There’s so much to do and so much to see throughout this huge county, you and the kids will be spoilt for choice during your family break! When you have decided which of these exciting attractions you simply have to visit during your family holiday, we’ve chosen a few of our top family-friendly cottages in Devon for you to investigate.

The most beautiful coastal cottages in Devon

No matter where you choose to stay on your holidays in this part of the world, the sea isn’t very far away. One way to get in-sync with nature is to stay at one of our fantastic coastal holiday cottages in Devon. We have properties close to the North and South Devon coast, whether it’s a beach you want or the wonderfully winding South West Coast Path, a sea view is near at hand to soothe you.
Stay in Media Limited is registered in England and Wales. | Registered office: Travel Chapter House Gammaton Road Bideford EX39 4DF | Company No. 07391123 | VAT reg: 107706918