The 6 best dog-friendly beaches in Devon

If you’re an outdoorsy pup, it’s hard to imagine anywhere in the country that you’d rather be than a beach in Devon. And, Devon’s just as fond of its dogs as they are of it – the 6 best dog-friendly beaches in Devon are just a small handful of the county’s beaches that warmly welcome dogs.

Different beaches have their own specific rules and requirements for dogs. Some allow dogs to access all areas, off the lead, throughout the year. For others, they have provided dedicated sections where dogs can explore off lead, and others ask that dogs visit during quieter times of day or off-peak seasons. (Don’t worry, we’ve covered all these details for you).

Holkham Beach - Dog Friendly Norfolk

Below, we’ve shared our top tips for the perfect beach holiday with you and your four-legged friend. Keep reading to find our list of the 6 best dog-friendly beaches in Devon (including both the North and South coasts), and our top tips for holiday prep.

The 3 best dog-friendly beaches in North Devon

North Devon boasts some of the best surfing spots in the country (and indeed, the world).

Equally, if you’re not mad about the surf, these beaches are also renowned for their natural, untouched beauty. These great expanses of long, golden sands offer the perfect areas for dogs to sprint along. 

1. Woolacombe Beach

At three miles long, Woolacombe Beach offers panoramic, uninterrupted views of the clear blue sea. Plus, you’ll struggle to find a beach anywhere in the UK that has softer sands and better waves.

As a result, this is one of Devon’s most popular surfing spots. But alongside this, Woolacombe is also extremely welcoming to dogs. The beach is split into three zones, two of which allow dogs all year round.

I recently stayed at Woolacombe Bay when on my big ‘A Walk in the Parks‘ hike across all National Parks in England and have a full review of this great holiday destination coming soon.

the best dog friendly beaches in Devon

2. Saunton Sands

Saunton Sands is one of the most luxurious, elegant beaches in the county. Visually, the beach is absolutely breathtaking, with sea that stretches as far as the eye can see.

But, this is true of almost all North Devon’s beaches. So, what makes Saunton Sands utterly unique are the Braunton Burrows, which are positioned immediately behind the beach.

The Braunton Burrows Biosphere Reserve is UNESCO-protected, and this sand dune system is the largest in England – perfect for exploring! 

There are also two great spots to eat, in the form of the Beachside Grill, and the Saunton Sands Hotel (if you’re looking to treat yourself).

And the best part? Saunton Beach welcomes dogs all year round.

3. Croyde Bay

Another firm favourite amongst surfers, Croyde Bay is renowned for its powerful waves and great vibes. In fact, it has been rated as one of the top surfing beaches in the entire world.

It is also conveniently located to Croyde village. This charming, timeless seaside village is the perfect place to grab a scone or an ice cream, before taking a leisurely stroll down to the beach.

Or, if you fancy a more energetic walk, the South West Coast Path offers a wealth of dramatic awe-inspiring scenes. You can access the path from Croyde Bay, and (if you’re up for a serious walk) you can follow the path all the way up to Woolacombe.

Croyde Beach does have some limitations for dogs. The beach is dog-friendly in the off-peak season, from October 1st to April 30th. Outside of these dates, dogs can be walked on the dunes instead. But, it is recommended that you stick to the dune paths and keep your dog on the lead, as this area is an adder breeding ground.

The 3 best dog-friendly beaches in South Devon

South Devon is known for its stunning natural beauty, which includes part of the world-renowned English Riviera.

It also offers a wealth of charming, traditional seaside towns, including the likes of Torquay, Paignton, Dartmouth and Salcombe. So, there’s no shortage of spots for exploration!

1. Bantham Beach

Bantham Beach offers the best of both worlds – the beach is renowned for being one of the most family (and dog!) friendly in Devon, while also boasting the claim of being among the most beautiful.

This coastal destination is located in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and has also received a number of awards, from both the Marine Conservation Society and the Blue Flag. What’s more, Bantham has been featured in Lonely Planet as one of Europe’s best beaches (and is the only English beach to make it on the list).

In addition to the usual soft sands and rolling waves, the beauty of Bantham Beach comes from its views of Bigbury Bay and Burgh Island.

Bantham Beach welcomes dogs, but they are only available in the River Beach area throughout the entire year. They are allowed at the rest of the beach, but only out of season, from December 31st to April 30th.

Brancaster Beach - A Dog Friendly holiday in Norfolk

2. Slapton Sands

When you think, ‘classic British seaside’, Slapton Sands is the embodiment of the image that springs to mind.

Soft sands? Check. Picturesque coastal houses? Check. Clear blue sea? Checks all round.

In addition to all these classic plus points, Slapton Sands is also in an AONB and, just beyond the sea and sands, there is the Slapton Ley. This freshwater lake is a key nature reserve, and is home to some of the rarest plant and animal species in the country.

Slapton Sands is completely dog-friendly, and pups are welcome throughout the year.

3. Thurlestone Beach

Also commonly known as South Milton Sands, Thurlestone Beach is located conveniently near Salcombe, making it the perfect spot to add to a Devonian road trip.

Thurlestone Beach is a long and expansive stretch, surrounded by dramatic sea cliffs and lush greenery. It also has rock pools to the South, which are a great activity for the whole family (including your pup!) to get stuck into. 

Dogs are allowed at the beach all year round, and there are a number of stunning walking routes around the area, offering the perfect outdoorsy day out.

Our tips for making the most out of a trip to Devon with your dog

  • Choose the perfect location – find a place to stay that is both dog-friendly, and has easy access to the beach. Simply Sea Views are coastal holiday specialists, offering a long list of Devon cottages by the sea. Browse through their 3,700+ Devon beach and sea view holiday cottages, specify how many humans and dogs will be staying in the property, and find a cottage that ticks all your holiday requirements.
  • Plan a number of nice pit stops – when you’re driving (especially on the initial drives to and from Devon) do some research in advance, and find a couple of nice places to stop on your journey. These should offer more than your usual, standard service station, as you’ll need space to give your dog a walk, a drink and the chance to relieve themselves.
  • Plan coastal walks – Devon is home to some of the most extraordinary walks in the country, including the South West Coast Path. It’s hard to predict who’ll enjoy this activity more, you or your pup!
  • Pack carefully – make sure you prepare for the season, and all the activities you’re planning. In addition to the usual essentials, you’ll need a portable dog bowl, different lead lengths, towels and a thick coat (after a cold sea swim), for example.
  • Be careful in wildlife spots – in natural reserves or wildlife areas, make sure you keep your wits about you, and keep your dog on a short lead.
Holkham Beach - Dog Friendly Norfolk
the best dog friendly beaches in Devon

We hope you enjoyed this list of the 6 best dog-friendly beaches in Devon.

If you’re planning an upcoming holiday to Devon what other recommendations would you like us to share?

Or, if you think there are any beaches that we’ve missed, we’d love to hear your recommendations! You can share your favourite local spots with us in the comments, or get in touch via our socials.

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