Hollers of "there’s sand in my sandwich!” might just be the cherished soundtrack of British summers by the seaside. Orchestrating a family day at the beach can feel like a grand expedition with all those accoutrements – body boards, wind breaks, snorkels, and sun cream  – but the memories that await at the shore make their inevitable way into the family folklore.

Flanked by pristine sands and countless hidden coves from Anglesey to Pembrokeshire, family holidays to Wales go hand-in-hand with crab scuttles, toppling sandcastles, and thoughts of sea dragons. With little ones in tow, eyes aglow with promises of rockpools and nostalgic 99's, these Welsh beaches tick every box for families, from water sports to deckchair hire for the grown-ups. Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside...


For coasts and castles

Llansteffan Beach, Carmarthenshire

Best beaches in Wales: Llansteffan Beach in Carmarthenshire, Wales

With miles of pristine sand and a nearby car park to transport your buckets and spades, where better to host the annual family sandcastle tournament than Llansteffan Beach? Take inspiration from the ancient ruins of Llansteffan Castle, which loom high above the bay, and you might just return to your luxury self-catering beach house in Pembrokeshire or Ceredigion with the “gold medal” cockleshell. 

If you worked up an appetite with all that digging, stop for deli spoils sans sand on the grassy picnic area, or tuck into fresh fish and chips wrapped in newspaper courtesy of Florries. After all, salty skin and salty chips go hand in hand on a British seaside holiday. 


For rock pooling

Pendine Sands, Carmathenshire

Best beaches in Wales: Pendine Sands in Carmathenshire, Wales

Forget jostling for space on the seafront. This Welsh beach stretches for over seven miles, making light work of finding a private spot – even in peak summer. It’s one of a handful of family-friendly Welsh beaches where you can park on the sand at low tide, making wrestling with body boards and parasols a thing of the past. Once you’ve set up camp, grab the magnifying glass and jelly shoes for an afternoon of rock pool investigation. 

Hermit crabs sketched and periwinkles photographed, head to the promenade where you’ll find everything from kayaks to cortados, or stay put and wait for the touring ice-cream van (serving clotted cream and raspberry ripple) to pull up beside your blanket. It's the ideal day trip from your luxurious base camp in Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire.


For beach babies

North Beach, Tenby

Best beaches in Wales: North Beach in Tenby, Wales

South Wales is spoilt for charming bays, but North Beach takes the crown when it comes to family-friendly amenities, making it our top spot for baby’s first sojourn to the seaside. We’re talking convenient car parking, ramp access (read: no more precarious pushchair carries down stony steps), and deckchair hire by the day. 

A sheltered suntrap with lifeguards on duty from June to September, a family dip in these Blue Flag waters is a non-negotiable (even for teens ordinarily glued to screens). After setting your swimmers out to dry, clamber on Goscar Rock before exploring the cobblestone seaside town of Tenby. Our local tip? Pick up some freshly-caught spoils from Simply Seafoods, before heading back to your baby-friendly cottage in Pembrokeshire or Ceredigion for grilled gambas laden with garlic and a glass of chilled Picpoul. 


For wildlife

Newborough Beach, Anglesey

Best beaches in Wales: Newborough Beach in Anglesey, Wales

Set on the south-western tip of Anglesey and backed by verdant forests, sand dunes, salt marshes, and miles of nature reserve to explore, the archetypal family-friendly beach looks a lot like Newborough. Think porpoises making a splash offshore, prehistoric woodlands that emerge during low tide, and red squirrels foraging in the forest across the way.

Pad through dunes lined by Corsican pines where white sand awaits, as do vistas of Snowdonia National Park to the east and iconic Llanddwyn Island to the west. Still looking for ways to tire out the little ones before heading home to the hot tub? Pick up an Animal Puzzle activity pack in the car park and let them take the lead, searching high and low for creatures and clues along the one-mile trail. 


For shipwrecks

Rhossili Bay Beach, Rhossili

Best beaches in Wales: Rhossili Bay Beach in Rhossili, Wales

No list of Welsh beaches could be complete without mentioning Rhossili Bay. Straight from a postcard scene and with swathes of unspoilt sandy shores, you can see as far as Devon on a clear day (we knew Granddad’s binoculars would come in handy). Set in the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it makes the ideal stopover en route to Pembrokeshire or the Brecon Beacons.

Keep little adventurers entertained with a waterside wander to Worms Head, a snake-shaped tidal island accessed by a rocky causeway at low tide, and look out for the ruins of Helvetia, a Norwegian oak barque which sank in 1887. Ever-shifting sands and fierce winter winds claim more of her timber skeleton each year, but that all adds to the mystique. Return to your coastal cottage with stories of swashbuckling days that little sailors will remember for many years to come. 


For water sports 

Freshwater East Beach, Pembrokeshire

Best beaches in Wales: Freshwater East Beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales

Sheltered from the wind and backed by golden sand dunes (known affectionately as “the Burrows”), it’s no surprise that families flock to Freshwater East Beach throughout the seasons. Spend a sun-dappled afternoon hunting for fossils and splashing in the stream that runs directly into the Atlantic, or balance on a paddle board for an afternoon on the water, finding hidden coves far from the crowds. If you’re visiting in winter you’ll share the sand with Pembrokeshire’s wild ponies, while spring brings vibrant blankets of wild orchids to the seascape. 


For traditional seaside haunts 

Barmouth, Snowdonia

Best beaches in Wales: Barmouth in Snowdonia, Wales

Wistfully reminiscing on those British seaside holidays of old? Barmouth offers one seashell-lined trip down memory lane. Punch & Judy approved, this family-friendly beach ticks off just about every traditional seaside attraction, from vintage arcade amusements to donkey rides, and a vintage steam railway a short ferry ride across Mawddach Estuary. 

Snowdonia’s most coveted coastal spot, it’s wise to arrive early to secure a parking spot on the promenade. Here, you’ll find all the amenities you need, including nostalgic souvenir shops selling sticks of rock, galleries showcasing local artists, and beach shacks offering Tulum-inspired tortilla bowls and stellar water views, too.  


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