St Ives beaches holiday cottages

St Ives beaches

Cath 21 June 2023

St Ives is renowned for its superb collection of beautiful beaches, with gorgeous golden sands and crystal-clear waters; on a warm summer’s day, it’s easy to believe that you could be somewhere a lot more tropical than the UK!

St Ives has a beach to suit everyone – whether you are a family, surfer, watersports enthusiast or sun worshipper. Many of these beaches are also surrounded by the South West Coast Path and offer fantastic working routes. Read our guide on some of our favourite walks in and around St Ives here (/st-ives-guide/walks-in-and-around-st-ives) 

Hopefully see you at a beach near us soon! 

Porthmeor Beach

Portmeor beach

Porthmeor beach is the largest beach in St Ives. Due to its westerly facing, it is popular with families and surfers alike. During the summer the waves are generally more mellow, ideal for family body boarding or surf lessons at the Surf School which runs all summer. Autumn then brings in the Atlantic weather systems which can produce excellent surfing conditions, best watched from the cafe.

  • Parking: The two closest car parks are Porthmeor Beach and Barnoon
  • Facilities: Beach cafes nearby and surf school on the beach
  • Safety: RNLI lifeguard patrols from April to October
  • Dogs: Dogs are banned between 15th May – 30th September between 10am – 6pm

Harbour Beach

Aerial view across Harbour beach

The Harbour beaches can be found at the Smeatons pier end of the Wharf and beside the old slipway. These are increasingly popular and of course are right in the heart of the town (although all the beaches are never far away).

From here you can take a tour of the bay under your own steam in a self-drive hire motor boat or relax and take in the view. With its history of fishing and the sea, St Ives is also very proud of its Lifeboats, which look after the users of the sea and coastline and are celebrated each year on Lifeboat Day in August.

  • Parking: The two closest car parks are Sloop and The Island
  • Facilities: Range of restaurants, cafes and shops nearby
  • Safety: No lifeguard cover
  • Dogs: Dogs are banned between 1st July – 31st August between 10am – 6pm

Porthminster beach

View across Porthminster beach

Porthminster Beach is a family beach. Retaining the 1930's feel, the beach has a putting green and chalets and is well protected by the town and piers. The beach has cafes at each end and boasts one of St Ives' most popular restaurants where you can enjoy a fine meal overlooking the beach.

  • Parking: The closest car park is St Ives train station
  • Facilities: Porthminster beach café and about 5 minutes’ walk from St Ives town centre
  • Safety: RNLI lifeguard patrols from mid-May to mid-September 
  • Dogs: Dogs are banned between 15th May – 30th September between 10am – 6pm

Porthgwidden beach

View over Porthgwidden beach

Porthgwidden Beach is a much smaller beach, nestling between 'the Island' and the old pier. Usually, the quietest beach in the town it is ideal for those seeking a little peace and quiet.

  • Parking: The closest car park is The Island car park
  • Facilities: Beach café and toilets nearby
  • Safety: No lifeguard cover
  • Dogs: Dogs are banned between 1st July – 31st August between 10am – 6pm

Carbis Bay beach

Aerial view across Carbis Bay

Carbis Bay Beach serves those living and staying in Carbis Bay, being particularly well sheltered by Porthminster Point. You may also see the St Ives Gig Club practising or as here, holding a race day against teams from around Cornwall. Gig rowing is a traditional Cornish sport which is currently undergoing a huge revival, with many towns in Cornwall now having their own gig club.

  • Parking: One small car park by the beach
  • Facilities: Cafes and restaurants close by 
  • Safety: RNLI lifeguard patrols from July to September
  • Dogs: Dogs are banned between 15th May – 30th September between 10am – 6pm

Map of St Ives beaches

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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