13 Best Beaches In Devon

The South West coast is known for some of the country's most stunning beaches, that will have you questioning whether you've been transported to the Mediterranean. And with long stretches of shore at both ends of the county, Devon is no exception. From the much-loved Woolacombe to more intimate destinations like Soar Mill Cove, there's no shortage of places to swim, surf and sunbathe around here. To find out the very top locations, check out our guide to the best Devon beaches.



This stunning sand spans across a whopping three miles, surrounded by grassy dunes and rocks. Woolacombe Beach can be found near the picturesque town of Ilfracombe, just above Exmoor in North Devon, popular with surfers, kayakers, swimmers and sunbathers alike. As well as a plethora of restaurants, cafes and hotels in the nearby area, you can also rent a colourful beach hut here to make the most of your trip. As for the views? Alongside clear blue water as far as the eye can see, you might even spot Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel on a sunny day.

Woolacombe Beach Devon | DesignMyNight

Woolacombe Beach is one of the most popular coastlines in the country.


Part of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Bantham Beach is a gorgeous stretch of coast, where the winding river Avon opens up into wide blue sea. This place has won awards from both the Marine Conservation Society and the Blue Flag for its cleanliness, so you know you're in for an Instagrammable sandy setting here. Bigbury Bay and Burgh Island are both visible from the seafront, while the water itself is perfect for surfing - thanks to mellow waves at the shore that are ideal for beginners and more extreme break further out.

Bantham Beach Devon | DesignMyNight

Bantham is a strong contender for the best beach in Devon.

Westward Ho!

The unusually named Westward Ho! wraps around the mouth of the river Taw in North Devon, claiming its title as one of the best sandy beaches in Devon for families and couples alike. There are plenty of rock pools to explore here, as well as a diverse range of nature. You can even bring along your furry friends, as dogs are allowed all year round at the top end of the beach, and across the whole area from October to April. This spot is great for swimming too, with lifeguards operating during the summer months, while there are also plenty of shops and restaurants close by. And if you fancy venturing a little further, then The Boathouse in Instow is only a 10-minute drive away.

Westward Ho Beach Devon | DesignMyNight

North Devon beaches don't get much better than this.


If you're looking for the best beaches near Exeter, then Exmouth has got to be at the top of your list. It's only half an hour away from the city by train, full of golden sand, cliffs and intriguing rock pools. This is also the ideal location for watersports, with everything from kite surfing to kayaking or stand up paddleboarding to try out. A great destination for tourists, you'll find old-school attractions like swing boats and crazy golf along the two-mile promenade, alongside all kinds of welcoming pubs and eateries such as charming seaside boozer The Grove.

Exmouth Beach Devon | DesignMyNight

Stunning seafood and watersports galore - Exmouth has got it all.


Though it may be one of the smaller ones on our list, the lesser-known Babbacombe makes for one of the best beaches in South Devon thanks to its spectacular views from the downs. This greenery-surrounded location boasts a funicular to take you down to the shore, which has been around since 1926, or if you fancy a steep hike then take the picturesque walkway instead. This secluded area is popular with both sailors and fishing enthusiasts, though it is a great destination for tourists too. There are a number of cafes and restaurants in the nearby villages, and for more variety you can make the 10-minute drive to nearby Torquay for a multitude of eateries.

Baddacombe Beach Devon | DesignMyNight

For a taste of history, take the funicular down to Babbacombe Beach.

Saunton Sands

Undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Devon for swimming and longboard surfing alike, Saunton Sands is an idyllic golden shore that spans across three miles of the county's Northern coast. The beach is lined with grassy dunes and green cliffs, and it's dog-friendly all year round as well. The long, slow waves here are perfect for watersports, and while the area is a little more remote you can find stunning accommodation along the coast, as well as great walking routes and cosy cafes.

Saunton Sands Beach Devon | DesignMyNight

Saunton Sands is all about swimming, surfing and stunning views.

Blackpool Sands

Though the name may bring images of theme parks and Northern weather to mind, Blackpool Sands can be found on Devon's South coast. This crescent-shaped shore boasts a lush backdrop of pine trees and rolling hills, and despite its title, this beach is made of a coarse shingle rather than sand. The area has won the Blue Flag award multiple times for its cleanliness and sustainability, so you can swim in the beautifully clear water without any worries - with plenty of watersports facilities here as well. They might not have quite as many restaurants and cafes here as other areas, but that just adds to the intimate atmosphere.

Blackpool Sands Beach Devon | DesignMyNight

Despite having Blackpool in its name, you couldn't be further from Northern climates here.

Beer Beach

Been searching for 'beaches in Devon near me' lately? Found in the picturesque village of the same name, Beer Beach is a shingled shore that's surrounded by striking limestone cliffs. You'll find a picturesque selection of colourful fishing boats here, showcasing the importance of this trade to the area. Just above the bay, Jubilee Gardens are an ideal destination for seaside walks, while if you head into the village you'll be met with a fantastic selection of cafes, restaurants and pubs which serve local beers and ales.

Beer Beach Devon | DesignMyNight

If you love coastal walks then be sure to check out Beer Beach.

Soar Mill Cove

You'll have to work a little harder to get to this beach, as it can only be accessed on foot by the South West Coast Path. As a result, Soar Mill Cove is a peaceful stretch of sand that's home to diverse nature and is popular among both tourists and canoeists. Be sure to visit at low tide, when you can climb across the rocks which surround this destination, refuelling at the nearby Soar Mill Cove Hotel. Even better? You can bring your dogs here as well.

Soar Mill Cove Beach Devon | DesignMyNight

This beach is well worth the difficult journey to get there.

Slapton Sands

The ever-popular Slapton Sands on Devon's South coast is not just a gorgeous sunbathing spot, it also houses some of the UK's rarest flora and fauna, ideal for exploring new landscapes. There's history to be discovered here too, as this was the site of the ill-fated D-Day Landings rehearsals in 1943 where 749 American servicemen tragically lost their lives, with a monument dedicated to the fallen. The sea is calm and patrolled by lifeguards during the summer, making this a great place for swimming as well - and you can even bring your dog long all year round.

Slapton Sands Beach Devon | DesignMyNight

Whether you're swimming or exploring nature, Slapton Sands has something for everyone.

Dawlish Warren

Perfect for anyone looking to swim, Dawlish Warren is sheltered by sand dunes and offers traditional seaside entertainment like go-karts, golf, watersports and fairground rides. This stretch extends all the way to the mouth of the River Exe, and it's a Site of Special Scientific Interest, also recommended by The Marine Conservation Society - due to the wildlife and variety of plants that can be found here. Dogs are allowed all year round in a specific section of the beach, and you can reach it easily by car or by train from Exeter.

Dawlish Warren Devon | DesignMyNight

Looking for a beach that's easy to access? It has to be Dawlish Warren.


Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Thurlestone is a unique beach that's split into two different sections, cut off by the jutting cliff. Both sections are sheltered from the wind and provide a shallow level of water that's perfect for less confident swimmers. You'll find a number of rock pools dotted about too, as well as the often painted Thurlestone Rock - an arch-shaped rock formation found a little way out to sea. The North beach is smaller and more peaceful, but if you're after more facilities and water sports then head to the southern section instead.

Thurlestone Beach Devon | DesignMyNight

For unique rock formations, head to Thurlestone.


This one is a little more tucked away, as it involves a 10-minute walk from the nearest car park. But if you're looking for a secluded beach far from the crowds of tourists, Mattiscombe is a great shout. You'll find this sandy spot near Kingsbridge, surrounded by rock formations that are perfect for exploring. While there may not be a lot in the way of facilities here, the views are beautiful and it's perfect for dogs as well.

Mattiscombe Beach Devon | DesignMyNight

If you're after peace and quiet, Mattiscombe offers just that.

If you can't get enough of this content, then take a look at our guide to Cornwall's beaches as well, and sign up to our UK newsletter for all the latest.