The Best Dog Friendly Beaches in Cornwall

School’s out for summer and it’s set to be a scorcher, with no better place to be than sat by the sea on hot summer days, surrounded by family and friends. The Duchy is renowned for its stunning coastline and boasts a vast array of dog friendly beaches across the county, and we’re lucky enough to have The Cornish Dog on board to share with us some of their favourite dog friendly beaches in Cornwall, ready to take notes?

There are three types of dog ban on Cornwall’s beaches during the summer, each with different restrictions. The first type is an outright ban, where dogs are not allowed on the beach at all. Typically these bans fall between Easter Sunday and 30th September, though there can be some variation, so it’s important to do your research! The second type of ban is a partial ban, where dogs are allowed on beaches in the evenings, after 7pm. The third and least common ban is where dogs are allowed on beaches, so long as they’re on their leads. This type of ban usually lasts a couple of months during the peak of summer. Of course, there’s a fourth kind of beach too, the dog friendly beach like the ones mentioned in this post, where dogs are welcome all year round!

Woody and Pepé by Hattie from The Cornish Dog

Nansidwell, Falmouth

Falmouth’s popular beaches Gyllynvase, Swanpool and Maenporth are all subject to the most restrictive dog ban during the summer months. Fortunately though, just around the corner, towards Mawnan Smith lies Nansidwell. A gentle woodland walk takes you down to two beaches that are both dog friendly all year round. They’re a mix of sand and shingle, with rock formations separating the two beaches. It’s a popular place for locals and tourists alike and if you’re lucky you may even spot Seasalt’s own Pepé out for his morning swim. During the summer, particularly on hot days, I avoid walking Woody during the midday sun (between 11am and 3pm.) Dogs aren’t able to control their temperature as effectively as humans, making them more prone to suffer from heatstroke. Unfortunately, if not treated quickly this can be fatal. Instead, I walk Woody early in the morning or late in the evening and always ensure he has access to shade and fresh water.

Image by Hattie from The Cornish Dog

Grebe Beach, Durgan

Just around the corner from Nansidwell lies the Helford River. A place that has inspired generations of artists and creatives; from Daphne Du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek to Seasalt’s own print designers, taking inspiration from sunny days spent out on the boats. There are plenty of dog friendly beaches along the river but Grebe has got to be one of our favourites. In fact, not a week goes by without us visiting! The community really comes alive during the summer months, and the annual village regattas at Port Navas, Helford Passage, Helford Village and Durgan are a great way to sample a taste of the Helford way of life. If you’re spending the day out and about with your dog, frozen treats work wonders to cool them down. You can purchase frozen yoghurts and dog ice creams from most pet shops, or make your own and freeze them.

Image by Hattie from The Cornish Dog

Poly Joke, West Pentire

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a hot summer’s day with your dog, we’d highly recommend Poly Joke. There are plenty of caves and crevices to explore, providing precious shade for your pet. It’s important to keep your dog cool during the summer by avoiding excessive exercise in the midday sun. Woody struggles at this time of year due to his dark coat, so I make sure there’s plenty of shade and cool water wherever we go. Of course, a trip to the beach is the perfect remedy for this however; it’s not always possible to spend all our time by the sea! Soaking Woody’s Seasalt Dog Bandana and putting it in the freezer overnight helps him stay cool in the hottest of heat waves. The light cotton fabric can be worn in a variety of styles and doesn’t get too stiff when frozen.

Hattie and Woody enjoy a walk along Crantock Beach. Image by Hattie from The Cornish Dog 

Crantock Beach, Newquay

There’s a circular walk that connects Hollywell Bay, Poly Joke and Crantock Beach. It’s just less than 5 miles and a great way to spend the long summer evenings. For those who are less mobile or simply dislike longer walks, you can also enjoy the beauty of Crantock by parking in the National Trust car park next to the beach. A short walk over or around the dunes, depending how adventurous you’re feeling and you’ll reach the sand. Crantock is family friendly, with surfboard hire, seasonal lifeguards and coffee vendors all on site. The Gannel estuary runs through the sand before meeting the sea and turns a glorious turquoise under the summer sun. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your dogs paws this summer, as the surfaces they’re walking on can heat up quickly. To avoid your dog blistering their pads, be sure to test the temperature of the pavements, paths and beaches before letting your dog off the lead to fully explore. Bringing a towel for them to sit on is also a good idea, as it’ll give them a cooler surface to relax on.

Image by Hattie from The Cornish Dog

Prussia Cove, Penzance

Prussia Cove is a little oasis just outside of Penzance. At high tide the beach disappears, so be sure to check the tide times before visiting! The walk down to the beach is a bit of a scramble, as you pass over jagged rocks. It’s definitely worth it though and the white-pebbled beach and crystal clear waters will blow you away. Prussia Cove is our favourite place for sea glass hunting; there are so many stunning pieces to be found. Woody likes to help as best he can by digging holes for me to search through. Woody and I spend most of our time together, even more so during the summer months. Dogs die in hot cars and there have been a spate of incidences recently here in the Duchy. If you do find a dog locked in a hot car, it’s important to establish its health and condition, take note of the car registration, try and find the owner and call 999 and ask for the police if the dog is exhibiting any signs of heatstroke.

Hattie and Woody at Gwynver Beach. Image by Hattie from The Cornish Dog

Gwynver Beach, Sennen

Gwynver beach is tucked at the bottom of a hill, just outside Sennen Cove, near Land’s End. The walk down is incredibly steep and uneven, not suitable for pushchairs or those who are less mobile. Gwynver (or Gwenver as it’s also known) is a popular surfing hotspot and there are always big waves here. I love watching the surfers from the sand, while Woody enjoys paddling, running and exploring with his friends. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water for both you and your dog to keep you both hydrated this summer. It’s a long walk uphill to the car if you forget!

Image by Hattie from The Cornish Dog

Constantine Bay, Padstow

The walk from Trevose Head to Constantine Bay is not one to miss. The cliff top scenery is breath-taking in all weathers, with wildflowers and gorse lining the route. I normally keep Woody on his lead on this walk, as there are some sheer drops along the way. Constantine Bay is a beautiful, soft, sandy beach, a popular place for surfing on the north coast. I make sure I bring the ball launcher whenever we visit, as Woody loves playing fetch in the sand! Mental stimulation tires out dogs just as effectively as physical walks. Brain games are perfect for this time of year, particularly during the heat. At home, something as simple as stuffing a cardboard box with treats, sealing it and letting your dog rip it apart. I also like treating Woody to meals alfresco, by scattering his food on the beach for him to sniff out and enjoy.

Image by Hattie from The Cornish Dog

Hannafore Beach, Looe

If you enjoy rock pooling, Hannafore Beach in Looe is the place to go. At low tide, vast reefs and rocks are exposed, providing the perfect place for a seaside safari. Looe Island is in sight from the beach, a Marine Conservation Zone owned by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. There are regular boat trips to the island throughout the day, however the nature reserve isn’t dog friendly. Swimming is not only a great way for your dog to exercise and cool down on hot days, it’s also a great way to bond. I enjoy taking Woody out for paddles and sea swims as often as I can and it’s been so rewarding watching his confidence in the water flourish over time.

These are just some of our favourite dog friendly beaches in Cornwall. We’re always discovering new coves and places, so be sure to take a look at The Cornish Dog and follow us on Instagram to keep up with our adventures!