Beaches

St Ives boasts some of Cornwall's best beaches for surfing and sunbathing!

St Ives has 5 gorgeous beaches each with the softest sand and shallow shorelines making them perfect for rolling up your jeans in any weather for a walk and feeling the powers of the sea revive and restore between sandy toes. The Cornish sea is a spectacular shade of blue and turquoise with sea temperatures varying from around 7 degrees (if the winter is particularly cold) to 18 degrees in the late summer and early autumn. Depending on which direction the wind is blowing, any one of the beaches in St Ives can offer a sheltered bathing and swimming experience.

We love all of the beaches in St Ives and regularly walk them with loved ones and our dogs (we know how lucky we are living here!) so here is an introduction to them all and have no doubt you will fall in love with them also.



Porthmeor beach is a Blue Flag beach on the west side of St Ives.  It is the best beach for surfing and so that is where you will find St Ives Surf School which run lessons for all ages and sizes of groups.

The beach stretches between The Island where St Nicholas’ Chapel presides and Man’s Head (called such because you will see the shape of a man’s head in the rock stack on the headland cliff!) so there is a large expanse of soft sand. There are public loos at the beach, a shower to rinse off after being in the sea and a beach cafe too. In fact, there is a beach cafe on the beach, then above the beach is Porthmeor Cafe which offers indoor and heated dining-in booths serving the most delicious breakfast to dinners. On the other end of the beach is West Beach cafe that serves pizza, Pimms and seafood. We love Porthmeor beach because you can walk your dogs on it all year round. It is tidal but even when the tide is high, there is still a lot of beach to walk and have fun. Granted, there are times of the day during seasonal bans you aren’t allowed to go on the beach with your dog but every day you can share special moments with your best friend whatever the month. Click here to see when the seasonal bans are for Porthmeor beach.

A great addition to Porthmeor beach are the Porthmeor chalets which can be booked for the duration of your St Ives holiday. If you plan to spend every day on the beach and have buckets, spades, beach breaks, tents, surfboards, bodyboards, wet suits and so on, a chalet will be a godsend rather than carrying everything to and from your holiday cottage. To enquire and to book ahead of your stay, click here

RNLI lifeguards watch out for everyone’s safety so much fun and relaxation can be had for all the family. The lifeguards are on Porthmeor beach between April and the end of October. To find out specific dates, please do visit RNLI Lifeguard’s website.

In summary, Porthmeor Beach in St Ives offers:

  • Sandy beach
  • Beach cafes
  • Public loos
  • Surf school
  • Beach shower
  • Lifeguarded between Easter and October half term inclusive
  • Seasonal dog restrictions


On hot, sunny, balmy days you may be mistaken in thinking you are on a Caribbean island when visiting Porthminster beach.

Lined with palm trees, the sand is almost white and oh so soft. The sea colour is turquoise or a very light blue and is most often calm being in a sheltered position. It’s a favourite with couples and families as it has a beach cafe and a restaurant that takes in the full sea views of St Ives Bay looking across to St Ives harbour. There are public loos at the beach and also welcomes dogs all year round with the exception of certain times of the day when they aren’t allowed to be walked on the beach, click here to find out about seasonal dog bans on Porthminster beach.

Porthminster beach also hosts the annual St Ives Food Festival and is a wonderful location for many to come and try the most delicious local Cornish food. Click here to see our gallery of photos of the food festival.

St Ives Surf School chooses to teach SUP boarding (Stand Up Paddle) as well as sea kayaking from their watersports centre on Porthminster beach as the waves reaching the shore are normally far gentler and much easier to get to tranquil water in an attempt stand up on the SUP board as well as paddle the kayak around nearby headlands leading to Carbis Bay in an easterly direction or St Ives harbour if heading west.

RNLI lifeguards are on Porthminster beach between mid-May and the end of September. To find out specific dates, please do visit RNLI Lifeguard’s website.

In summary, Porthminster Beach in St Ives offers:

  • Sandy beach
  • Beach cafes
  • Public loos
  • Watersports centre teaching SUP paddle boarding and sea kayaking
  • Lifeguarded between mid-May and September inclusive
  • Seasonal dog restrictions


A small, sandy beach cove between St Ives harbour and the protective grassy slopes of The Island, it is the nearest beach if staying in the heart of Downalong, St Ives.

The views from Porthgwidden beach reach as far as Godrevy Lighthouse in Hayle! It is a firm favourite for young families due to it being so sheltered with public loos and a cafe that has indoor and outdoor (heated and covered area) dining. Stepping into the sea at Porthgwidden beach is like stepping into liquid cobalt. It’s a wonderful place to swim, snorkel and rock pool. It welcomes dogs with seasonal bans at certain times of the year.

Another reason why it is a firm favourite for young families (who normally have much more beach paraphernalia!) is because there are beach huts that can be hired for the duration of holidays in St Ives meaning no need to lug beach trolleys to and from holiday cottages. To enquire about hiring a beach hut, click here.

Porthgwidden beach does not have a RNLI lifeguard post so we urge you to take great care when having fun in the sea.

In summary, Porthgwidden Beach in St Ives offers:

  • Sandy beach
  • Beach cafe
  • Public loos
  • No lifeguards
  • Seasonal dog restrictions


The beach stretches as far as Lambeth Walk when the tide is out so plenty of soft sand and shallow, clear paddling pools to enjoy!

As it’s a tidal harbour, during low tide the sand is shared with beached fishing boats and their moorings making it a treasure of colourful boats and makes for a stroll full of sights and sounds. RNLI Lifeboat launch their Shannon class boat for practice exercises regularly so when the tide is out, their launch and recovery of the water jet-propelled boat is a spectacle to behold. Curious about how and what they do? Click here for more information. This beach has a seasonal dog ban in place so click on this link to find out when.

St Ives Harbour beach is an active beach and there is never a dull moment. Being tidal, be careful not to get caught out on a sandbank within the harbour walls, you will get wet feet! The harbour beach is surrounded by cafes and restaurants so, without getting sandy feet, you can sit and watch the world go by either on the many benches on the harbour front or within the St Ives restaurants with sea views.

St Ives Harbour beach does not have a RNLI lifeguard post so we urge you to take great care when having fun in the sea.

In summary, St Ives Harbour Beach offers:

  • Sandy beach
  • Restaurants, cafes and takeaways very nearby
  • Public loos at Sloop Inn car park behind beach
  • No lifeguards
  • Seasonal dog restrictions


A charming dog-friendly all year round beach cove with the most captivating sea colour!

This is the only beach in St Ives that entirely disappears when the tide is high. It has steps that lead down so it is not suitable for everyone. It’s an absolutely joyful beach as it is sheltered, offers wonderful rock-pooling when the tide is low and, if you time it right, you can walk around to the back of Smeaton’s Pier and join the harbour beach. It is the only dog-friendly beach in St Ives that welcomes dogs all year round and at any time of the day (tide permitting of course!) It is moments from Downalong holiday cottages and a short walk leads you to St Ives Harbour and the Wharf front.

There are no beach cafes or public loos actually on the beach but a short 1-minute walk means neither is very far away at all!

Bamaluz beach does not have an RNLI lifeguard post so we urge you to take great care when having fun in the sea.

In summary, Bamaluz Beach in St Ives offers:

  • Sandy beach
  • Disappears at high tide
  • Public loos very nearby
  • Cafes and restaurants very nearby
  • No lifeguards
  • Dog-friendly beach all year round