RNLI’s Top Ten lifeguarded Welsh beaches

RNLI lifeguards are back on Wales’ beaches for the summer, patrolling over 40 beaches along our coastline. They monitor the sea conditions, offer safety advice and keep an eye on you, your family and friends having fun on the beach and in the sea.

Did you know the safest place to swim or bodyboard is in between the red and yellow flags? Here are some of our favourites for family fun, rockpooling, adrenaline watersports, and scoffing ice cream. For your full list of lifeguarded beaches in Wales, visit the RNLI website

1. Whitmore Bay, Barry Island – for family fun

Whitmore Bay, Barry Island

Whitmore Bay, Barry Island

Famed in recent years as the location for Gavin and Stacey, Barry Island has attracted visitors since the 1870s and the appeal of its golden beaches, cafes and family amusements is stronger than ever. Barry Island Pleasure Park attracts thousands of visitors looking for the thrill of the fairground. Here you’ll also find Barry Island RNLI experience where the whole family can have a go in an inshore lifeboat and learn all about staying safe on the beach. Look out for the big yellow welly. 

2. Rest Bay, Porthcawl – for watersports

Kitesurfing at Rest Bay, Porthcawl

Kitesurfing at Rest Bay, Porthcawl

 Rest Bay is a popular beach with miles of fine quality golden sand and some rock pools backed by low cliffs and The Royal Porthcawl Golf Club. Excellent for water sports, beach surfing, canoeing, kite/wind surfing and body boarding; a Surfing Academy offers lessons during peak season. Very good for walking - you can walk along the coastline to Pink Bay and beyond. 

3. Aberavon Beach, Port Talbot – for ice cream scoffing

Lifeguards patrolling at Aberavon beach.

Lifeguards patrolling at Aberavon beach by RNLI / Faye Maher
Aberavon Beach has something for everyone. Families need look no further for things to do on one of Wales’ longest sandy beaches, which boasts an Aquasplash playground, children’s play areas and grassed open areas providing hours of family fun. The Celtic Trail, part of the National Cycle network, takes you along the promenade at Aberavon and is one of its most leisurely and enjoyable sections with fantastic views and a good selection of ice cream parlours and cafes.

4. Caswell Bay, Gower – for rock pooling

Caswell Beach, Gower Peninsula

Caswell Beach, Gower Peninsula
 With its soft pleasant sand and interesting rock pools Caswell Bay is a firm favourite with families with young children. Ample cliffs overlook the sands and there are numerous coastal paths with stunning views over the bay, where on a good day you can even catch a glimpse of North Devon across the Bristol Channel. Close by is Bishops Wood nature reserve offering a diverse range of wildlife and beautiful nature walks. Caswell Bay is suitable for water sports. 

5. Cefn Sidan, Carmarthenshire – for easy access

Cefn Sidan beach and sea with Gower coast in background

Cefn Sidan, Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire

 by Discover Carmarthenshire
 Described as one of Europe’s best beaches this eight mile stretch of long golden sand is one of the treasures of the Pembrey Country Park. With its lifeguards and flat sands this safe friendly beach provides excellent access and facilities for disabled visitors and young children. 

6. Tenby, North Beach, South Pembrokeshire – for picturesque views

Tenby North Beach, Pembrokeshire

Tenby North Beach, Pembrokeshire

 by Steve Millward
 A superb, sheltered, sandy beach with the pinnacle of Goskar rock sticking out of the sand in the middle. North Beach is one of the most photographed views in Wales with the harbour at the western end. An enclosed, east facing beach, it's a real sun trap even on windy days. This bustling resort is a 'must see' along Pembrokeshire's dramatic coastline, offering excellent water sports and a good variety of cafes, restaurants, shops and pubs to choose from. In the distance you’ll see the old and new lifeboat stations jutting out of Castle Hill – pop in to see the crew and the lifeboat if you have time. 

7. Whitesands, North Pembrokeshire – for surfing

Male surfer riding waves, Whitesands Bay

Surfing at Whitesands Bay, Pembrokeshire
 Whitesands Bay is a wide sandy beach in St Brides Bay, Pembrokeshire; it is located about two miles west of St. David's and about one mile south of St David's Head. This is one of the best surfing beaches in the country and therefore very popular. The surf ‘break’ is at the northern end and on busy days there are canoeists, surfers and body boarders competing for the best waves. 

8. Llangrannog, Ceredigion – for dolphin spotting

Mother and father walking along Llangrannog beach, Ceredigion

Llangrannog beach, Ceredigion
 Originally a hidden village above the old port, Llangrannog is now one of Ceredigion's most popular beach destinations and is part of the Wales Coast Path. The sandy beach nestles below the cliffs and is a favourite destination for families on days out, beach holidays and with surfers. There are great rock pools to explore, find colourful seaweeds, shellfish such as limpets and mussels as well as starfish and crabs. Keep your eyes out and you may even spot a dolphin in the distance.

9. Aberystwyth, North Beach, Ceredigion – for time travelling to the Victorian era

View of Aberystwyth from above looking towards the pier and Pen Dinas

Aberystwyth, Ceredigion
 Aberystwyth's North Beach and seafront is a focal point of the town and a favourite attraction for visitors and locals alike - and those who just want to relax by the seaside. Close to the town, the clean, dark sand and shingle beach is accompanied by traditional seaside treats such as bandstand entertainment and the town's Victorian Pier. Built in 1864, Aberystwyth Pier's was once some 242 metres in length but time and marine storms have seen it reduced to today's 90 metres.  

10. Rhyl and Prestatyn beaches, Denbighshire - for bucket-and-spade tradition

Lifeguard setting out red and yellow flags at Rhyl beach.

Lifeguard setting out red and yellow flags at Rhyl beach by RNLI / Callum Robinson
Rhyl and Prestatyn. The names go together like fish and chips, Punch and Judy, sea and sand, conjuring up visions of the traditional Great British seaside holiday in all its unabashed glory. The area may be enjoying a thoroughly modern makeover, but it’s still about fun and value-for-money and enjoying a good old-fashioned seaside day out. Don’t forget your bucket and spade. 

And don't forget to keep safe and have fun!