North Wales

Barmouth, Gwynedd

Did someone mention donkey rides? Barmouth has the full menu of traditional seaside attractions: amusements, swing boats, land train, a light railway over the estuary in Fairbourne, a safe beach, and so on. But it’s also in a beautiful spot: the view back up the Mawddach estuary towards Cader Idris and Snowdonia mountains is utterly spectacular.

Donkey on the beach
children's ride with sandy beach in background,
fathers and young children fishing.

Barmouth, Gwynedd, North Wales

Benllech, Anglesey

Benllech is a lovely beach on the sheltered east coast of Anglesey, and is deservedly popular with families. Its big golden sands shelve gently into the sea, making it safe for swimming and paddling, and it’s easy to access with a pushchair.

A busy sandy beach on a sunny day.
Two young children with buckets on a sandy beach.

Benllech, Anglesey, North Wales

Porth Dafarch, Anglesey

The sheltered Porth Dafarch bay on Holy Island has got the lot: The beach has soft sand, rock pools to play in, parking close by, and decent toilets. All this, and it’s very pretty indeed, as you’d expect from a National Trust-owned beach. Porth Dafarch is also handily situated between the little resort of Trearddur Bay and the RSPB South Stack Cliffs Reserve.

Two adults and two young children running into the sea.
Four children exploring a rock pool on a beach.
A young child playing with a frisbee on a beach.

Porth Dafarch, Anglesey, North Wales

Mid Wales

Mwnt, Ceredigion

Mwnt is an extraordinarily pretty little cove, with a sheltered beach that’s protected by a thumping great headland. But there’s also a decent car park, ice-cream kiosk and toilets, making it easy to enjoy for everyone. A restored 13th century church on the hilltop and regular appearances by dolphins offshore add to the charm.

A small child building a sandcastle and another small child running away from the sea on a sandy beach.
A sandy beach in a bay with deep blue sea.

Mwnt, Ceredigion, Mid Wales

Llangrannog, Ceredigion

Generations of Welsh-speakers spent happy childhood hols at the Urdd centre in Llangrannog, and many return with their own children to the lovely hidden beach, which is dominated by a huge rock known as Carreg Bica (a giant’s tooth, according to local legend). The Urdd also opens its excellent facilities, which include a dry ski-slope, horse riding, climbing and go-karts, to day-trippers.

View of a busy, sandy beach in a cove from above.
A sandy beach with lots of people on the sand.

Llangrannog, Ceredigion, Mid Wales

West Wales

Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire

Pendine Sands has rocks pools and cliffs to the right, a seven-mile stretch of golden sand to the left, plenty of shops, and a public toilet, right on the seafront. These pancake-flat sands were once used for land speed records: a new Sands of Speed museum is being built, as part of a major sprucing-up of the resort. Cars are allowed onto the beach at certain times – just don’t get caught by the tide.

waves coming in on sandy beach viewed from above.

Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire, West Wales

Whitesands, Pembrokeshire

Whitesands is deservedly popular with families, thanks to great facilities that include a snack bar, plenty of parking, toilets, and some of the country’s best bodyboarding, all on a big beautiful beach supervised by lifeguards. The attractions of St Davids are only a short drive away, and if the kids fancy a spot of gentle mountaineering then Carn Llidi, the crag overlooking the beach, is a bracing 90-minute round-trip.

People swimming in the sea
Sandcastle on the beach
Surfer on the beach.

Whitesands, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Newport Sands, Pembrokeshire

You can drive onto Newport Sands or Traeth Mawr (‘Big Beach’), which means you can take all your kids’ necessities right onto the sand (apart from a toilet, perhaps, but they have those here, too). At low tide you can wade across the River Nevern to Parrog, where Newport Boat Club is a popular venue for crabbing competitions. One note of caution: the river is a knee-deep joy for small children at low tide, but it’s a no-go zone for a couple of hours either side of high tide.

Newport Sands, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Tenby, Pembrokeshire

There are four magnificent beaches to choose from at this perfect harbour town. Harbour Beach is the safest for very small children, while Castle Beach has easy access via the slipway. North Beach has its own beachfront snack-bar and Goscar Rock to clamber on, while South Beach has the most space to run around (and part of it is open to dogs all year round). Tenby town itself is a delight for families, too.

Looking down to sandy beach

North Beach, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

Caswell Bay, Gower

The first two beaches you hit on the drive out of Swansea – Langland and Caswell – are also the two most family-friendly on Gower, with all the facilities you need. For older children, the short clifftop path between these pretty bays is a good introduction to coastal walks, and Caswell’s gentle swell makes it ideal for first attempts at surfing.

Sandcastles on the beach with the sea and sky in the distance.
young boy surfing.

Caswell Bay, Gower, West Wales

South Wales

Dunraven Bay, Southerndown

The Glamorgan Heritage Coast’s best beach has its own car park and snack shop, together with everything a small person could want: huge pebbles, wide sands, and lots of rock pools. Dunraven Bay is popular with surfers, and it’s just a short walk up to the clifftop ruins of Dunraven Castle, whose walled gardens have been restored. 

Southerndown Beach.
Southerndown Beach.
Tide out at Southerndown beach at sunset.

Dunraven Bay, on the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, South Wales

Whitmore Bay, Barry Island

Barry Island is a rollicking good-time resort in the great British tradition, complete with funfair and amusements. But if you stripped all that away (not that you’d want to) you’re still left with a beautiful Seaside Award winning beach, flanked by green headlands. You can also hire beach wheelchairs, and the long flat prom is great for pushchairs and little legs. It’s just as good in winter, especially if you take the family dog to make new friends.

A wide sandy beach with a fairground in the background.

Whitmore Bay, Barry Island, South Wales

Be safe!

The Welsh coast can be fantastic fun and provides great opportunities for adventurous activities, but please read up on the risks and make sure you are prepared.

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