Best Beaches in Dorset
Dorset is renowned for its charming seaside towns, dramatic clifftop walks and of course, its pristine beaches. The county’s beaches can cater for every taste in beaches so no matter whether you’re looking for sunbathing spots, amusements, fossil hunting opportunities, or natural spectacles, we’ve got the beach for you.
The coast of Dorset has a great range of beaches from family-friendly sandy coves to rugged cliffside bays. With so much choice, selecting a beach can be difficult. That’s exactly why we’ve selected what we consider to be the best beaches in Dorset to help you on your way.
Weymouth Beach, Weymouth
Weymouth’s history as a popular seaside resort dates back a long way and holidaymakers have been flocking to this corner of Dorset since before the reign of Queen Victoria. The sheltered, shallow waters of its golden sandy beach are ideal for bathing and are adjacent to the centre of Weymouth, a town that enjoys more sunshine than anywhere else in England. These qualities have been recognised by the travel titan TripAdvisor,
Weymouth Beach was named as one of the top 25 beaches in Europe in its 2022 Traveller's Choice Awards. The mild shallow waters are ideal for swimming and visitors can enjoy a range of activities on the beach during summer - from donkey rides and pedalos to Punch & Judy shows. Windbreaks and deckchairs can be hired and there’s also a classic pier at the southern end on which a miniature train runs. Weymouth holds Blue Flag and Seaside Awards and is recommended by the Marine Conservation Society. There are RNLI lifeguards attending to the beach from the 1st of May to around the end of September. There are also loads of free public toilets, baby change, shower facilities. The beach can be reached by a short drive from either of our twin holiday parks Haven Weymouth Bay and Haven Seaview so there really is no reason to miss out on this, one of the finest beaches in Dorset.
Avon Beach, Christchurch
If the hustle and bustle of Bournemouth Beach is not your thing then Avon Beach is an excellent alternative. While it can occasionally get busy in the summer, there is generally more than enough room for everyone. The beach is backed by a pleasant promenade at one end and charming, pastel-coloured beach huts at the other, the sandy/shingly beach slopes gently towards the shore offering fine views of the Isle of Wight.
Undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Dorset, Avon Beach has all you could need for a family day out; hireable deck chairs, sun loungers, and windbreaks as well as RNLI lifeguards patrolling between July and September. Car parking is available on a pay and display system, but this fills up quickly in the peak season. It has a nice restaurant (The Noisy Lobster) as well as a fish and chips stall and toilets on the same site. A shop selling a variety of beach goods such as buckets, spades and crabbing equipment tops off the brilliant beach experience.
Lulworth Cove, West Lulworth
This sand and shingle beach needs no introduction, a true highlight of the Jurassic Coast and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is known for its remarkable, horseshoe-shaped cove, formed over ten thousand years ago by erosion from the sea. Perfect for the whole family and the dog (keep to the left side of the beach when with canine), there is also the Heritage Centre there to help you figure out the best walks and learn about the history of Lulworth from 150+ million years ago to the present day.
Lulworth Beach is stunning and provides a great place to relax. You can swim in the cove, take a boat or kayak trip, or simply walk around and take in the stunning natural beauty. Parking is available just off the beach, along with plenty of places to eat and public toilets.
Lyme Regis Beach, Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis draws both literary and archaeological enthusiasts and has earned the unofficial title of ‘The Pearl of Dorset’. Not only is it home to some of the best fossil-hunting in the country but also one of the best beaches in Dorset, if not the best. Clean and well lifeguarded, Lyme Regis Beach occupies a perfect position between the delightful 13th-century harbour known as the Cobb and the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast.
The beach and local amenities stand up well even when the beach gets extremely busy in the summer months with plenty of toilets available and lifeguards on duty. There are also plenty of options to pick up a quick ice cream, snack, or pint, just off the beach. There is nearby parking, but please be aware that these car parks do get full quickly.
Swanage Beach, Swanage
Swanage Beach is a fine sandy beach that has been awarded Blue Flag status for its cleanliness and amenities. The pleasant sand and shallow sea with clear water makes the beach good for swimming and kayaking. It is an ideal holiday spot for families and the seasonal lifeguards on duty make this perfect for splashing about with the children and grandchildren.
The beach is backed by a promenade lined with beach huts and amusements, so there’s plenty to do even if the sun isn’t shining. Swanage has all the facilities you’d expect at a seaside resort, such as beach huts, toilets, nearby cafes, restaurants and other eateries, as well as shops selling all the usual beach souvenirs.
Bournemouth Beach (Pier), Bournemouth
Bournemouth has seven miles of golden sandy beaches backed by clay cliffs and the main beach was ranked as one of TripAdvisor's Travellers’ Choice Awards best beaches having been one of the most popular staycation and day trip destinations in the country over the past few years. The beach is made up of soft sand and is family-friendly. Swimming in the water is very safe as RNLI Lifeguards are based there from early April to the end of September.
Bournemouth’s beach has been welcoming beachgoers for over two centuries and still draws huge crowds in the summer to this day. The pier that was built in 1880 stretches over 300 metres into the sea and is still a sight to behold. Bournemouth Beach is reached from the town centre via the Pier Approach through the Lower Gardens. At the West Cliff and East Cliffs there are lifts available that will transport you up or down for a small charge.
Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth
Bowleaze Cove is situated on the outskirts of Weymouth on the Jurassic Coast. Enjoy a wonderful walk along the pebble beach which goes all the way to Weymouth or explore the beach at low tide when further patches of sand and several rockpools become visible.
In summer, the beach is popular with families as well as anglers and jet-ski enthusiasts, but the water is zoned for the safety of swimmers. The entertainment complex is clean and accessible, with a bar, restaurant, shop, café and an ice-cream parlour as well as a mini-amusement park for the kids. The beach is just a five-minute drive from our Haven Weymouth Bay and Weymouth Bay Holiday Parks, but bear in mind the car park closes at 7pm. You can also reach the cove with a 30-minute walk which will take you past the ruins of a Roman temple at Jordan Hill.
Rockley Sands, Poole
At just over 150 metres long, this is the smallest beach on the list, but it’s a pretty, sandy number (true to its name) and is found just a short walk from Ham Common, a secluded nature reserve that is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with a peaceful lake, ideal for a relaxing stroll.
Rockley Sands Beach has a charming view over Poole Harbour and the Purbecks but the tidal mud flats towards low tide mean that swimming is not recommended, not least because there is no lifeguard. The beach is easily reached on foot from our Rockley Park caravan park, one of the best in the region, but there is also enough parking at the beach for about 30 cars. Rockley Sands is a dog friendly beach, even offering a dedicated exercise area for dogs. As for facilities, there is a beach shop and café, as well as toilets.
Chesil Beach, Portland
Believed to be between 4000 and 7000 years old, Chesil Beach is not only one of the three major shingle and pebble structures in Britain, but it is one of the most unique beaches of any kind in the country. Stretching nearly 17 miles from Portland to West Bay, the beach is comprised of a huge bank of pebbles known to geographers as a tombolo (but no you won’t be winning any prizes on this one). The Chesil is popular for fishing, walking and re-charging your batteries. Even on the busiest day, it is always possible to find a peaceful spot to get a sense of perspective and inspiration from the stunning surroundings
The eastern portion of the Chesil bank backs onto Fleet Lagoon, where the bouncing bomb used by the Dambusters in World War Two was tested. The southern extremity is called Chesil Cove and is very popular with scuba divers as the waters are shallow, with little tidal current. If you do choose to swim at Chesil Beach then it is recommended to swim widthways, close to the shore, to avoid the strong rip currents. Chesil is also home to various wildlife with jellyfish, Grey Seals and Basking Sharks spotted in the area. Chesil Beach truly is one of the most tranquil beaches in Dorset and is just a short drive from our Littlesea Holiday Park.