Devon's spectacular sands

Feel the sand between your toes

Devon’s coastline has it all - golden sandy coves, waves fit for surfing, deckchairs fit for sleeping, rockpools to be rambled and all the fish and chips and ice cream your heart could desire. Here’s our tips on the must-visit sandy spots around south Devon.

North Sands beach

Family & dog friendly

North Sands is a sandy beach a short walk from the centre of Salcombe along Cliff Road. The ruins of Salcombe castle provide an impressive backdrop for a splash in the shallow water with the kids. At high tide the sand disappears completely, but just take the cue to head to The Winking Prawn, a beachside cafe offering delicious seafood and other tasty treats. North Sands is also a great choice for Fido, with dogs welcome all year round. Just to tick all the convenience boxes, there’s parking and a shop too

Gara Rock beach

Unspoilt sandy cove

Accessed via the passenger ferry from Salcombe town, or via road from the Kingsbridge direction, Gara Rock beach is an unspoilt sandy  cove. Its seclusion is partly down to the path to get there from the nearest parking spots at Gara Rock hotel. The path can be rocky and uneven in places, but you’re rewarded with rockpools, tunnels and mini-caves to explore. Perfect for paddling and swimming, it can also be a surf spot for those with experience. The nearest facilities are back at Gara Rock hotel half a mile away. You can take your pooch for a paddle there all year round. 

South Sands

Sheltered sun-trap cove

Sheltered in a sun-trap cove with car parking and disabled access, South Sands has it all: loads of the yellow stuff, beauty, activities, convenience and accessibility. Opportunities for enjoying the ocean are endless - you can hire equipment for canoeing, catamaran sailing, wind surfing, dinghy sailing, and scuba diving. You can also do power boat and sailing courses. There’s toilets and an onsite cafe, and dogs are welcome any time October to May, and before 10am or after 7pm the rest of the year.


Oodles of space

Popular with families, Bigbury lives up to its name by offering oodles of space for sandcastles, kites and cartweels. At low tide you can also access Burgh Island, with its instagram-worthy views of south Devon. Get stuck into some surfing or bodyboarding or just enjoy a long walk along the expansive sands. There’s a car park with toilets, a cafe and beach shop, and on certain parts of the beach dogs are welcome all year round.


The best scenery

A three mile stretch of fine shingle, Slapton Sands enjoys some of the best scenery in the South Hams. Its deep waters are just right for a spot of shore angling or a bracing swim, less ideal for little ones to paddle. But with so much space to toss a frisbee, play bat and ball, or for the dog to race around (pooches are welcome year round) it’s still a great spot for a family day out. History lovers will enjoy learning about the tumultuous past of the beach, which was taken over by the allied forces to use as a rehearsal area for the D-Day Landings. Around the Torcross area of the beach you’ll find some lovely spots to feast on fish and chips, and there’s toilets and parking a short trot away. 

Harbour beach

Hope Cove

As it’s a short sandy stroll to the gorgeous village of Hope Cove, Harbour beach is ideally located for convenience. Paddle through the crystal clear waters and have a poke in the rockpools before wearing out your camera phone’s shutter button snapping the picturesque Bolt Tail headland. Shops and restaurants await in Hope Cove village, choose from breezy beach cafes, smarter hotel restaurants and even a tapas  bar. You’ll find a car park at nearby Mouthwell Sands as well as some on road parking. There’s also toilets and a beach shop.