Countless Ways to Enjoy the Sea in Cornwall in 2024

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It’s no great secret that the majority of visitors to Cornwall are attracted by the coastline and who can blame them! There are just so many different ways to enjoy this spectacular coastline, about 400 miles of it if anyone is counting. So, what can you do on the beach in Cornwall? Cornish Secrets explains all below!


Equip yourself with a good book and windbreak and while away the hours enjoying the sounds of a busy beach, the crashing of the breakers, and the sounds of children playing. Intersperse your reading with a wander for a cornet – Cornish Dairy Vanilla, of course – or a dip in the water.

Paddling and swimming

Some beaches are more swim-friendly than others. Try and pick a lifeguarded beach and always swim between the flags to stay safe. A wetsuit will keep you warm, but if you choose a small cove where the tide comes in over hot sand, then the sea can feel like a swimming pool. Housel Bay is one of our favorites. The cove sits beneath the Housel Bay Hotel and is accessed from the hotel garden. Now if ever I’ve heard an excuse to stop for a cream tea after climbing back up the cliffs…


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Children love inflatables on the beach, and they are always for sale in the beachside shops. But be aware that they are usually for use in swimming pools and not on open water so they can be unpredictable. Never use them if the lifeguards are flying an orange windsock, as this means it is too windy to be out on the water.

Beach games

When you are tired of the water, there is just an endless array of beach games to amuse you and the children. Beach badminton, swing ball, Crossnet, which is like volleyball, but you only need four people, so it is easier for families to play, are some of the options. Beach cricket or rounders are colossal fun but you do need quite a few people for these games. For little ones, play musical towels just like musical chairs and for something quieter, why not try sand art or Pictionary.

Pictionary is excellent if you need to calm children down with something restful. Before you head out for the day, write down a list of beach and beach-related objects on pieces of paper – sandcastle, ice-cream, crab, fish, waves, and so on. Fold up the papers and put them in a bucket. Each child has to take an article from the bucket and then has one minute to draw the object in the sand, of course. The other children have to guess from the picture what it is.

Bucket and spade fun

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No trip to the seaside would be complete without a sandcastle or two being built. Remember, not all beach sand works well for castles, and wet sand is best so ideally when the tide has just gone out. Encourage the children to decorate the castle with shells or anything else they can find lying around.

Treasure hunts and scavenger hunts

If you are in a cove, then there will be numerous rock pools to explore and possibly even caves exposed at low tide. Send the children off to see what they can find. Always be aware of what the flow is doing; if it is coming in, it can cut people off in low lying caves where that section of the beach effectively disappears. Don’t encourage them to climb up the base of cliffs, which is also dangerous and easy for them to get swept off a rock by a massive wave. An adult should always supervise.

Water sports

Just playing around with a surfboard or paddleboard in shallow water can be a tremendous amount of fun. Still, for the more serious-minded, there is tuition to be had if you visit specific beaches, particularly on the north coast. Cornwall has lots of surf schools with either group or 1:1 education for all ages.

Boat trips

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Cornwall has endless coastal cruises and boat trips, whether you are keen to take in the landscape from the water, want a guided tour of some of the best and most famous locations, or just fancy taking the water taxi into Falmouth. Most busy harbors offer sightseeing trips to local points of interest.


Whether you are a first-timer, an amateur, or a real professional, virtually every large harbor will offer skippered fishing trips to catch anything from tuna to mackerel, bass to shark. There are wreck and reef fishing, and for the non-fishermen at the party, there are diving boats and even wildlife trips to take in famous Cornish species.

Stay safe on the beach

Always remember your sunscreen, windbreak, and plenty of hats. Obtain a copy of the Tide Tables or use your phone, still know what the tide is doing. Unless you are an experienced beachgoer, then use more prominent, lifeguarded beaches. Learn the flags and what they mean. Always remember that there are four emergency services, the fourth one is the coastguard, and they can be accessed by dialing 999 and asking to put straight through to the coastguard.

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Enjoying the sea in Cornwall means something different to every visitor. It could be a different cove every day of the week or the exhilaration of swimming in the breakers or just lying on warm sand catching up with some me-time with a creamy Cornish dairy vanilla cornet.

The seaside in Cornwall offers just so many possibilities for couples of all ages and family groups. There is such a range of beaches that wherever your holiday home is located, there will always be several excellent beaches in the vicinity. Children will love the blend of picnicking on the sand, paddling and swimming in the sea, foraging in the rock pools and building sandcastles and playing games. It’s a classic formula that is pretty hard to beat, which is why Cornwall is always top of the pops when it comes to a traditional seaside holiday.