Dog-friendly beaches in Devon holiday cottages

Dog-friendly beaches in Devon

Ruth King 08 February 2023

We love the beaches that our wonderful county boasts, and we also love the fact that our four-legged friends get to enjoy them too, as many of the beaches in Devon are dog-friendly!

To make it easy for you to find the perfect stretch for a pootle with your pooch, we've compiled a list of our top 20 dog-friendly beaches in Devon - including award-winning and Blue Flag beaches. Many of these Devon beaches welcome dogs all year round, whereas others may have some seasonal restrictions.

If you're looking for somewhere to stay with your dog, click the button below to browse our large collection of cottages that welcome pets. 

Our top dog-friendly beaches in Devon

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1. Putsborough, North Devon

Putsborough Beach

Putsborough Sands is one of the finest beaches in North Devon with long reaching views of the surrounding headlands. Whatever time of year you visit, the beach will be packed with surfers making the most of the high-quality waves found here. Dogs will love playing chase on this large expanse of golden sand.

Restrictions: Dogs banned below the beach shop from 1st April to 31st October. North of the shop, dogs are welcome all year round.

Insider's tip: Take a walk from Croyde to Putsborough via Baggy Point. Not only will you be able to enjoy the fresh sea air and wonderful views around the headland, but also, if you’re a National Trust member, you can park in their car park for free and avoid the parking charges at Putsborough.  

2. Saunton, North Devon

Saunton beach

Around 3.5 miles of golden sand greet you at Saunton Sands, perfect for long walks with your pooch. At the back of the beach are dunes that provide plenty more opportunity for activities.

Restrictions: Dogs welcome all year on certain parts of the beach.

Insider's tip: Avoid parking charges by visiting outside of peak hours, your pooch will love it whenever you visit! Charging hours (at time of writing) are:

  • Oct 16 – Mar 15 : 8am – 5pm
  • Mar 16 – Apr 30 : 8am – 7pm
  • May 1 – Aug 31 : 8am – 9pm
  • Sept 1 – Oct 15 : 8am – 7pm

Be aware that if you leave the car park during the chargeable period you will have to pay for that portion of your stay.

3. Westward Ho!, North Devon

Westward Ho! beach

A long stretch of soft sand on the North Devon coastline that is a firm favourite for dog walkers in the region. At low tide, a large expanse of sand is revealed; even at high tide, there is grassland to explore on the other side of the pebble ridge. Your pooch will love splashing about in the waves at Westward Ho!.

Restrictions: Dogs welcome at the north end of the beach all year, restrictions apply in the south during the summer months.

Insider’s tip: For a hearty breakfast after your dog walk, head for the Rock Pool Café which serves up arguably the best fry up in Westward Ho! as well as vegetarian options and lots for children to choose from.

4. Croyde, North Devon

Croyde beach

Although not dog-friendly all year round, Croyde is rewarding for those who choose to visit during the spring, autumn and winter. The small bay is backed with sand dunes that dogs will love exploring.

Restrictions: Dogs not permitted from 1 May to 30 September.

Insider’s tip: If you’re visiting as a family, be sure to explore the rock pools at either end of the beach. They harbour all sorts of sea creatures and it’s the perfect out of season activity to keep the little ones occupied!

5. Woolacombe, North Devon

Woolacombe beach

Regularly listed in polls of the top beaches in the UK, it’s easy to see why Woolacombe beach is a crowd-pleasing favourite for both two and four-legged guests! A 3-mile stretch of golden sand means that there is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy this natural wonder, particularly your furry friend.

Restrictions: Zonal restrictions apply between May and October. Dogs are welcome on lead, all year round, in certain areas. 

Insider’s tip: Woolacombe village has several pubs, restaurants and cafés, perfect for warming up in on a winter’s day, or having a break from the sunshine in the summer.

6. Hele Bay, North Devon

Hele Bay beach with a dog on the sand

On the outskirts of the popular seaside town of Ilfracombe in North Devon, Hele Bay is the ideal beach for those who like a little peace and quiet. Dogs will love a paddle in the safety of the many rock pools that line the beach.

Restrictions: Dogs welcome all year round

Insider’s tip: Visit at low tide to see the secret ‘smuggler’s caves’.

7. Instow, North Devon

A person and a dog on the dunes at Instow

At Instow beach, you’ll find sand dunes and a small stretch of sand on the banks of the River Torridge that offer spectacular views across the estuary to Appledore and beyond. Dogs will love running around on the sand dunes here.

Restrictions: Some restrictions between May to September; dogs welcome all year round on certain sections.

Insider’s tip: Visit at the end of the day when the weather is fine and you’ll be treated to the most wonderful sunset as the sun sinks down behind the little village of Appledore opposite. Make the experience even more enjoyable with a drink or dinner in one of the several dog-friendly restaurants along the beachfront.

8. Rockham Beach, North Devon

Rockham Beach

This small pebble and sand beach is popular with walkers who are looking for a break after a walk on the South West Coast Path. The beach can only be visited at low tide, when dogs will love exploring the rocks, running on the sand and taking a peek in the rock pools.

Restrictions: Dogs welcome all year round

Insider’s tip: This beach is only accessible via a 1.25-mile coastal walk from the village of Mortehoe, so it makes for a scenic and peaceful dog walk away from the crowds.

9. Wild Pear Beach, North Devon

Wild Pear Beach with a dog on the sand

This little-known beach near Combe Martin delights all that visit it. A mix of rocks and sand awaits those who make the trip to the beach with dogs sure to love the peace and quiet of this tranquil location.

Restrictions: Some seasonal restrictions may apply. 

Insider’s tip: Access to the beach is via a steep 1.25-mile walk, so make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear and your dog is up to the walk. Don’t be surprised to see naturists enjoying the seclusion!

10. Soar Mill Cove, South Devon

Soar Mill Cove

One of the most picturesque beaches in the region is accessed by a mile-long walk along the South West Coast Path but is well worth the effort to see the beauty of this small sandy cove. Dogs will love both the walk to the beach and playing on the sand.

Restrictions: Dogs welcome all year round

Insider’s tip: The closest car park is at Soar Mill Cove Hotel which is a 15-minute walk away from the beach. If you’d like to combine your visit with a stroll along the coast path, parking is also available 1 mile away at Bolberry Down National Trust Car Park, or 3.5 miles away at Hope Cove.

11. Beesands Beach, South Devon

Beesands Beach

A mile-long stretch of shingle beach in South Devon, Beesands Beach has stunning views of the surrounding peninsula, with views of cliffs and hills all around. Dogs will love splashing about in the calm waters of this beach.

Restrictions: Dogs welcome all year round

Insider’s tip: Just behind Beesands Beach is Widdicombe Ley, a small lake which has a wheelchair/pushchair accessible bird hide from which you can observe the local coot and great crested grebe among other feathered friends.

12. Ness Cove Beach, East Devon

The tunnel to Ness Cove beach

Uniquely accessed through a tunnel, this is one of the most secluded and picturesque beaches in the county. Dramatic red cliffs back the beach which gently slopes into the sea. Your pooch will love the running in and out of the tunnel at this unique location.

Restrictions: Dogs welcome all year round

Insider’s tip: In anticipation of rumbling tums after your walk, book a table at The Ness restaurant which has dog-friendly eating areas and a wonderfully cosy atmosphere.

13. Salcombe, South Devon

Salcombe at sunrise

Salcombe has a grand total of five beaches, all different but as beautiful as each other. North and South Sands are the most accessible but, if you’re looking for true peace and quiet, hire a boat (or use your own) and set sail for Limbury and the Hipple. Besides the beaches, the pretty town of Salcombe is a lovely place for a wander and browse of the boutique shops, art galleries and gift shops with a well-earned coffee stop in one of the welcoming cafes. Both you and dog will love exploring the surrounding area in this beauty spot.

Restrictions: Dogs welcome all year round at all beaches except for South Sands where they are not allowed from 1 May to 30 September.

Insider’s tip: For over 20 years, The Winking Prawn over the road from North Sands has been sustaining beach goers with a fantastic array of food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee or ice cream; whatever you fancy, you’ll find it here. We recommend sampling some of the local seafood - perhaps a bucket of prawns as a nod to the café’s charming name.

14. Blackpool Sands, South Devon

Blackpool Sands beach and the sea

This privately owned beach has won several awards over the past few years. The beach’s turquoise waters give it a Mediterranean feel and it's a treat to visit all year round. Dogs will love splashing in the clear water on this beach.

Restrictions: Dogs not allowed on the beach between March and the end of November.

Insider’s tip: The Venus Café on the beach is open every day – ideal if you’re looking for refreshment in the summer or a warming drink out of season.

15. Exmouth Beach, East Devon

Exmouth Beach

Exmouth Beach is a long sandy arc with dramatic views of the surrounding coastline. Wander along from Exmouth harbour and enjoy this wonderful 2-mile stretch of sandy beach. Your four-legged friend will love long walks along this beach. (Click here to read our guide on the best harbours to visit in Devon too - Exmouth is on the list!) 

Restrictions: Dogs are welcome all year on parts of the beach, but are banned between 1st May and 30th September on the main beach.

Insider’s tip: Windy days bring kite surfers in their dozens to zip up and down the beach, providing a spectacle for those braving the windy weather for a walk along the seafront. If you’re tempted to give it a go yourself, head for Edge Watersports where you’ll find expert tuition and equipment to hire.

16. Wembury Beach, South Devon

Wembury Beach at sunset

Flanked by rock pools either side, Wembury Beach is popular with visitors due to the large expanse of sand that is revealed at low tide. Parking is limited at the beach but why not take a relaxing stroll along the South West Coast Path to reach it? The beach is perfect for a day out with your dog on the South Devon coast.

Restrictions: Dogs are welcome all year round to the west of the main beach but are banned on the main beach between 1st May and 30th September.

Insider’s tip: If you’re looking for a longer walk, take a stroll along the coast path towards Bovisand in one direction and Newton Ferrers around the Yealm Estuary in the other.

17. Dawlish Warren, East Devon

Dawlish Warren

Dawlish Warren beach has the feel of a traditional British seaside location with amusements, shops and ice cream stalls lining the beach. Our four-legged friends will be more interested in the miles of soft golden sand on the beach.

Restrictions: Restrictions on some parts of the beach from 1 April to 30 September. 

Insider’s tip: Dawlish Warren is great for families – be sure to take some change as the children will no doubt be begging to have a go on some of the pay-as-you-go rides near the car park. For a more educational visit, take a wander through the nature reserve behind the beach which is a habitat for thousands of native and migrating birds. Dogs are permitted in most areas on a lead, although some areas are dog free to protect the wildlife.

18. Bantham Beach, South Devon

Bantham Beach at sunset

Bantham Beach is one of the largest stretches of sandy beach in the county that has beautiful views across the estuary to Bigbury-on-Sea. Rock pools and sand dunes are found at Bantham Beach making it one of the most complete beaches in Devon. Dogs will love exploring the different terrains and sniffing the fresh sea air.

Restrictions: Dogs banned on the main beach between 1st May and 30th September. They are welcome on the estuary side all year round.

Insider’s tip: There are two main choices for food at Bantham: the seasonal Gastrobus in the car park which serves breakfast, burgers, pizzas and all the usual hot and cold beverages, and also The Sloop pub with its ever-changing, locally sourced menu.

19. Strete Gate Beach, South Devon

Dogs playing in the sea

Located the start of a coastal spit, Strete Gate Beach is a wide open, shingle beach that dogs will love playing a game of fetch on. The coastal spit is the perfect destination for a long coastal walk in Devon with your four-legged friend.

Restrictions: Dogs welcome all year round

Insider’s tip: Strete Gate Beach has long been popular with naturists since the 1930s. The section at Pilchards Cove used to be the naturist area, but due to landslides, it is now the north section of Slapton Sands. If you’re heading for the naturist area, or wish to avoid it, please see the signs in Strete Gate car park for more information.

20. East Portlemouth, South Devon

East Portlemouth Beach

Nestled on the banks of Salcombe Harbour, this pleasant village boasts a stretch of sandy beach that welcomes dogs all year round. A ferry is available across to Salcombe so you experience more than one of Devon’s great beaches in a day. Dogs will love running about on this quiet beach.

Restrictions: Dogs welcome all year round.

Insider’s tip: Time your visit when the tide is out and it’s possible to walk to along to Mill Bay.

Full list of dog-friendly Devon beaches

Dogs allowed all-year round

The beaches included on the list below generally have no restrictions on walking your dog at any point during the year. However, some locations request that pets are kept on a lead, and rules and regulations can be changed throughout the year. Make sure you check the signage at the beach you are visiting to be sure you're safe.

  • Anstey's Cove
  • Babbacombe
  • Beacon Cove
  • Beesands
  • Blackpool Mill
  • Blegberry Beach
  • Bovisand Bay
  • Broad Sands
  • Bucks Mills
  • Cellar Beach
  • Churston Cove
  • Clovelly
  • East Portlemouth
  • Elbury Cove
  • Elender Cove
  • Fairy Cove
  • Fishcombe Cove
  • Gammons Head
  • Great Mattiscombe
  • Grunta
  • Hallsands
  • Heddon's Mouth
  • Hele Bay
  • Holcombe, Teignmouth
  • Horseley Cove
  • Institute Beach
  • Landcombe Cove
  • Lannacombe
  • Leas Foot Sands
  • Livermead Sands
  • Lynmouth
  • Maidencombe
  • Man Sands
  • Mill Bay
  • Moor Sands
  • Mouthmill Beach
  • Ness Cove
  • Newberry Beach, Combe Martin
  • North Sands, Salcombe
  • Northam Burrows
  • Oyster Cove
  • Peaked Tor Cove
  • Peppercombe
  • Petit Tor
  • Rapparee Cove
  • Rockham Bay, Mortehoe
  • Row Cove
  • Saltern Cove
  • Scabbacombe Sands
  • Seacombe Sand / Rickham Sand
  • Sedgewell Cove
  • Shipload Bay
  • Shoalstone Beach
  • Sillery Sands
  • Slapton Sands
  • Slapton Sands - Monument
  • Soar Mill Cove
  • South Sands, Salcombe
  • Spekes Mill
  • St Mary's Bay
  • Strete Gate Beach
  • Sugary and Castle Cove
  • Sunny Cove
  • Teignmouth Back Beach
  • Thurlestone North
  • Thurlestone
  • Watcombe
  • Welcombe Mouth
  • Weston Mouth
  • Wildersmouth, Ilfracombe
  • Wonwell Sands
  • Woodcombe Sand
  • Woody Bay
  • Wringcliff
  • Yarmer Beach

Seasonal dog ban in place

  • Bantham
  • Barricane Bay, Woolacombe
  • Blackpool Sands
  • Branscombe
  • Breakwater Beach
  • Broadsands Beach
  • Budleigh Salterton
  • Challaborough
  • Combe Martin
  • Coryton Cove, Dawlish
  • Croyde Bay
  • Dawlish Warren
  • Exmouth
  • Goodrington Sands
  • Hollicombe
  • Hope Cove
  • Instow
  • Jacobs Ladder, Sidmouth
  • Meadfoot
  • Mouthwell Sands
  • Oddicombe Beach
  • Paignton Sands
  • Preston Sands, Paignton
  • Putsborough Sands
  • Sandy Bay
  • Sandymere
  • Saunton Sands
  • Seaton
  • Shaldon
  • Sidmouth
  • Teignmouth
  • Torre Abbey
  • Tunnels Beach, Ilfracombe
  • Wembury
  • Westward Ho!
  • Woolacombe

Although there are plenty of dog-friendly beaches in Devon, some only allow man's best friend for parts of the year. As a rule, seasonal bans run from Easter Day up until 1st October. However, as previously stated, make sure you check the signage at the beach to be certain.

Enjoy a dog-friendly stay in Devon

If you're dreaming of a coastal getaway with man's best friend, we have a wide range of dog-friendly cottages close to some of these fantastic dog-friendly beaches. Take a look at our full collection below.

NB: The information was correct at the time of writing and will be checked and amended regularly to ensure it remains correct. However, if you believe some of the information needs updating, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

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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