There is no greater pleasure than running around on the beach – whether you are on 2 legs or 4!
Devon is a dog lover’s paradise as dogs are welcome in nearly all shops, pubs and cafes (some even have their own dog menus!) and the beaches are a dog walker’s dream!
Here is our guide to the best dog friendly beaches in Devon.
Less than a mile from Beeson Farm, the traditional fishing village at Beesands is home to a mile long shingle beach from which you can take the coastpath towards Hallsands or Torcoss (both of which are also dog friendly). Both the pub (The Cricket Inn) and the seafood café (Britannia at the Beach) offer the most amazing food, serving fish and shellfish caught in Start Bay. There is no lovelier spot to sit and eat whilst looking over Start Bay under the watchful gaze of the lighthouse. Beesands is dog friendly all year round.
Lannacombe Beach/Mattiscombe Sands
Start Point is one of the most exposed peninsulas on the coast and one of the best coastal walks in South Devon. The dramatic cliffs and coastal path form a mile-long headland, running for almost a mile until you reach Start Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse has guided vessels along the channel for over 150 years. To the west of Start Point you will find Mattiscombe Sands and Lannacombe Beach (the latter of which has a small car park with parking for approx. 10 cars). Dogs are welcome on these beaches and you are likely to be rewarded with the sight of seals basking on the rocky outcrops along the coastpath.
Torcross and Slapton Sands
Slapton Sands is a three mile long stretch of shingle beach which runs from Torcross heading towards Dartmouth. Completely level, with easy parking (or walk from Beesands over the coastpath), dogs are welcome all year round. There are some great eateries where your dog will also be made very welcome. Discover the fascinating WWII history, when the beach was used to practice for D Day, or head into Slapton Ley nature reserve for a stroll in the shade of the woods alongside the Ley, the largest freshwater lake in the Southwest. Slapton Ley is a site of special scientific interest. The nature reserve covers 490 acres of woodland, marsh and reed-bed habitats, making it a wildlife haven for all types of birds and wildlife.
Sitting opposite the waterfront town of Salcombe, which lies across the water of the estuary, the beach at East Portlemouth is dog friendly all year round. A beautiful stretch of golden sandy beach (with a National Trust car park), it is easy to see why this is a favourite with locals and holiday-makers alike. The shallow and sheltered turquoise waters of the estuary are a great spot for paddling or a swim for you and your pooch. A favourite pastime with all children is to try and dam the stream which runs along the beach and into the Estuary. After a day on the beach, hop on the passenger ferry and head over to Salcombe, one of the prettiest towns in the area and a water sports and sailing hotspot.
Gara Rock/Rickham Sands
Park at Gara Rock itself or choose to leave the car at Mill Bay and take the scenic coastal path or the pleasant woodland walk up to the top of Gara, where you will find the fabulous Gara Rock Hotel (open to non residents) with its spectacular panoramic clifftop setting and delicious menu. It’s an ideal spot for a bite to eat. Head down to Rickham Sands, a beautiful, secluded cove and a staggeringly beautiful coastline. Dogs are welcome all year round.
Bantham and Bigbury
Some of the most expansive beaches in our area, both beaches are sandy with shallow waters, but both are renowned surfing spots (they have excellent surf schools, should you wish to learn!).
Bigbury (seasonally-dog friendly) is home to the famous Burgh Island, which is accessible on foot at low tide or by the sea tractor when the tide is in.
Dogs are not allowed on Bantham beach from May-September, but are allowed on the estuary at the southern end of the beach all year round, which you can get to at low tide. As the tide rolls out at Bantham you will discover plentiful, shallow, rockpools, perfect for adventures with little ones. Don’t forget your bucket and spade! Lifeguards are on duty from May to September.
After a day on the beach you can buy refreshments at the Gastrobus or head to one of the local pubs. Bantham has excellent facilities, including a large car park and public toilets.
Dogs are allowed on the whole beach from 30th September to 1st May with plenty of facilities on hand. They are allowed on the last stretch of beach at the very end of Queens Drive all year round.
Saunton Sands, Puttsborough and Woolacombe Beach
All three beaches are stunningly beautiful and and allow dogs off the leash all year round. A real treat for you and your four-legged friend.