Best Beaches in Devon

Devon has been a popular tourist destination for many years. Each summer, a flock of Northerners travel down to visit the English Riviera of Torbay, climb the peaks of Dartmoor and walk along the cliffs of Exmoor. Of course, pretty much everyone is a Northerner if you’re from Devon (aside from the Cornish!).

With tourists affectionately termed as “Grockles”, Devon relies on the tourism industry for much of its business throughout the year. And it wouldn’t maintain that business without some of the best beaches in the UK. So, let’s look through a few of them.

Best Beaches in Devon

Croyde Bay beach

Whilst many people stay along the Southern coast of Devon when going on holiday, there are some great beaches in North Devon too. Probably the most well known is Croyde Bay beach, which you can find around a half hour drive from Barnstaple and 10 miles South of Ilfracombe.

Located within Braunton, this North coast is perfect if you’re looking to try your hand at surfing throughout the summer. It’s not the best place to come to if you’re looking for a quiet getaway, as from May to September this beach can get pretty busy with locals as well as tourists.

It is a good place to visit if you’re looking for tons of fun activities to partake in though, with the opportunity for surfing and much more available. There are also some great coastal paths to see here too, and you can make the trek between Croyde beach and the much larger Saunton Sands within an hour and 20 minutes.

For those that are just after a quick getaway for a few nights, this may be the perfect place to visit, with plenty of accommodation and campsites in the area too. This makes it one of the best beaches in Devon to come to, especially if you’ve got kids with you.

Woolacombe beach

If you travel just a little North of Croyde Bay beach, you’ll come to the much larger Woolacombe beach. This 3-mile stretch of sand is known for being a seaside resort, with some of the best views North Devon has to offer.

It’s well known for surfing, but you don’t need to be a surfer to enjoy this beach. And if you do want to try out some sort of activity but aren’t quite brave enough for surfing, it’s a good place to come paddle-boarding too.

It’s not just the beach at Woolacombe that people come to the area for, as much of the countryside is still unspoilt too. This makes for some amazing scenic walks in the surrounding areas.

Throughout the summer, you’ll find plenty of lifeguards here who can ensure the safety of you and your family. With more than 2000 car parking spaces, it can get very busy though, so it’s best to get here pretty early to ensure a good spot on the beach.

Barricane beach

Those searching for a cute beach to post on their Instagram will love Barricane beach. It’s a small cove tucked away further up the coast from Woolacombe beach, and many people actually prefer it.

The main reason for this is that the area is surrounded by rockpools, which makes for a great place to take the children exploring – bear in mind that there are rarely lifeguards here, so it’s not the best part to go swimming. There are a lot of different shells here to pick up too, with some interesting exotic ones to find.

The good thing about this beach is that it’s very closed off, which means that when the winds are strong, you can still find somewhere quiet and sheltered. If you’re planning a trip along this coast, then you’ll probably want to stop at Barricane beach to see what it’s like.

Saunton Sands

Saunton Sands is one of the more popular beaches along the Northern coast of Devon. It’s surrounded by other great beaches, many of which are also featured in this list, but it’s the longest of the bunch, and one of the larger beaches in the country.

It’s one of the best beaches in Devon to come to if you’re wanting to start surfing, but you’re not completely confident just yet. The waves are relatively calm, which will allow you to get to grips with riding them on the ocean.

Aside from just the beach, there are some awesome hotels that line the coast here too. There are plenty of sand dunes for the kids to have fun with, and a lot of different activities to enjoy at the beach as well.

Beer beach

Right on the border between Devon and Dorset, Beer beach is located in the quaint little village of beer. It’s actually only a 20 minute drive away from Lyme Regis, which is known for being one of the best places to take the kids fossil hunting in the UK.

Before you get there though, you’ll come to the town of Seaton, less than 2 miles from Beer beach. Though there’s not a great deal here for you to do, but there are a couple of good restaurants to visit in the town centre.

Not the best for relaxing, this pebble beach has tons of rock pools to explore, with lots of fishing boats in the area too. You’ll want shoes to walk on the beach here, but it does stay pretty clean all year round. Whilst it may not be some people’s idea of the perfect beach, it’s still worth a visit.


All in all, Devon is definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for somewhere to visit with the UK. There’s a ton of small villages and towns here to see – if you want surfing, then the North coast of Devon is perfect. For a more relaxed vibe, you can head to the South coast to find a great place to relax.

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