Located in South West England, Devon is a county just north of the English Channel. Neighboring Cornwall, another seaside haven in the United Kingdom, beaches in Devon attract countless visitors every year – from far and wide.
When choosing from the best beaches in Devon, you’ll have options. Whether you want to sunbathe under the speckled sun, frolic in the chilly water, or rip down a smooth A-frame wave – there’s a beach for you!
If you’re traveling from far, then make sure you read our guide on the best surfboard travel bags here!
Novice and veteran surfers alike favor Devon for its rippable surf spots. The beaches are equally gorgeous for beach-goers that enjoy the shore. Let’s dive into the best bays in Devon to indulge in a day in nature.
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Best Time to Visit Devon Beaches
If you enjoy the beach for the usual summer sensations, then the months between June and September are your best bet. The weather is warm, and so is the water, and the beaches welcome families, couples, and solo travelers to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand.
Do crowds make you flustered? Then you may prefer to visit a Devon beach in Autumn (September to December) when there are fewer crowds, but the weather isn’t freezing.
Autumn is also the best time to visit Devon as a surfer. During this time, the water is warm enough to endure with a well-fitted wetsuit, and the wind isn’t too strong. Intermediate and experienced surfers, in particular, will enjoy the strong and consistent swell that offers a variety of surf breaks.
Surf spots in Devon are more beginner-friendly during the summer season when the waves are more gentle.
Cornwall is another area that boasts stunning beaches. Check out the best beaches in Cornwall here.
Best Devon Beaches
If you’re looking for a sandy beach, Devon has you covered! Surfing beaches can be found on both the north and south coastlines, with the majority being located in the north. Here are a few of the best beaches Devon has to offer.
Croyde Bay is one of the best surf beaches in North Devon, particularly revered by intermediate and advanced surfers. During the low tide, the waves hike up to an A-frame and crush down. When conditions are really working, you can also expect to get shacked up with prime barrels.
As one of the most popular surf spots in Devon, the spot can get really crowded. On the plus side, there are plenty of surf schools and rentals in the area in case you’re not traveling with your surf kit.
When you’re not in the water, you can visit one of the many pubs and cafes in the area. Bustling with good energy, it’s no wonder that Croyde Bay is such a hit for beach-goers!
Make sure that you pack the right surf wax for cold water. Read our guide here.
Saunton Sands is well known as one of the beloved sandy beaches Devon has to offer. Visitors love to relax on the gentle beach that seems to stretch on forever, with beautiful restaurants overlooking the seaside.
Surfers of all levels enjoy a variety of swell, especially beginner surfers and longboarders. The slow beach break in the shallow waters is great for beginners, and longboarders love the outer breaks.
Saunton Sands can get crowded on the weekends, especially during the summer season. If you’re visiting as a sunbather and your interest in surfing is piqued, then there are also several surf shops in the area to give it a bash!
Woolacombe is one of the best sandy beaches in Devon for surfers, strollers, and bathers alike. The large beach extends for two miles and conjures a feeling of natural wonder. It’s easy to spend the whole day at Woolacombe, with ample parking, beach cafes, and surf schools nearby.
As far as surfing goes, Woolacombe is best for beginners and longboarders, with a quality beach break. The mellow swell also brings a smile to several intermediate board riders that are looking for a fun time.
Keep in mind that the ocean is unpredictable and there may be times when a strong set comes through, and the reef break can be tricky.
Putsborough beach is another natural haven in North Devon that is located on the same stretch as Woolacombe beach. Putsborough is one of the most underrated beaches in the area that offers clean breaks for both surfers and swimmers.
While the beach is great for surfers of all levels, the section near the rocks is reserved for experienced surfers who know how to navigate the waters. There’s also a strong rip current so it’s best to do your research before dipping your toes in the water.
The waves can build in size, making it one of the better beaches in the area for experienced surfers.
Bantham is one of the best beaches in South Devon which has a section for surfers of all levels. The beach isn’t as accessible as the beaches in the north, but there is parking and lots of pubs and cafes in the area.
As far as surfing beaches in South Devon go, Bantham is the pride and joy of the area. Not only does the beach boast outstanding beauty, but the surf also works in glorious ways. Keep in mind that the level of the wave can vary depending on where you get into the water.
Bantham beach has shifting sandbanks, but the two main peaks include the Rip to the left and the Rivermouth to the right. Both of these sections are best for more experienced surfers. Beginner surfers should stick to the shallow, sandy break.
Where to Stay in Devon
If you live in the area, then you can easily visit the Devon seaside for the day. Coming from further? Then you may want to book a spot to stay for the night (or more). If you’re a digital nomad, then you can even look at spending a long period of time balancing work and play!
Explore the following spots to stay as a starting point.
- Croyde Bay Hotel in Croyde Bay
- Thistledene in Saunton Sands
- Watersmeet Hotel in Woolacombe Beach
- Holiday Home the Anchorage in Putsborough Beach
- The Sloop Inn in Bantham Beach
Discovering the Beautiful Beaches in Devon
The seaside offers so much joy and tranquility, excitement, and relaxation… What other space can offer so much?
These beaches in Devon are just a few of the many in the region. If you want to start ticking them off the list, then they are a great place to start!
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