Abersoch, Llŷn Peninsula
There's always a lively, family atmosphere at Abersoch. Though fairly sheltered, it's breezy enough to keep dinghy sailors on their toes. And in the August Regatta, things really hot up. Raft racing, crab catching and sandcastle-building contests bring out everyone's competitive side and there's a prize for the best-dressed beach hut, too.
Barmouth, Snowdonia Coast
Huge and picturesque, Barmouth beach is the pride of Snowdonia. It’s very popular, but its sweeping sands are never overcrowded. Barmouth itself has been attracting holidaymakers since Victorian times. It’s a proper British seaside resort, complete with trampolines, ice creams, arcade games, donkey rides and a vintage steam railway just a short ferry ride across the estuary.
Broad Haven, Pembrokeshire
True to its name, Broad Haven North's sandy beach has acres of space for cartwheels and hopscotch. There’s also safe, shallow water for swimming, and quite a few rock pools to investigate. Here, on St Bride’s Bay, you’re right in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, with several inspiring nature walks to choose from.
Benllech, Isle of Anglesey
The small holiday town of Benllech is set on a crescent-shaped bay, with fine sand that stretches for miles. The Blue Flag Programme has given this lovely spot their seal of approval every year since 2004, describing it as 'exceptionally safe for bathing and paddling'. It’s easy to get to, even for prams, pushchairs and wheelchairs.
We’re cheating a bit here, since there’s not one fantastic beach in Tenby, but three. The Rough Guide to Wales describes this pretty little town of brightly painted houses as 'everything a seaside resort should be' and it was recently voted one of the UK’s top five beach destinations in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.
Caswell, Gower Peninsula
Like all the Gower beaches, Caswell Bay beach is blessed with good looks. The sand is fine and pale, and low, grassy-topped cliffs add a touch of drama. Just 10 minutes’ drive from the village of Mumbles, this is a great place for little ones to learn about marine life, with plenty of rock pools to explore, while bigger kids test out the surf.
West Dale, Pembrokeshire
West Dale Bay is mainly a pebble beach with some sand, and is a water sports paradise. This safe, attractive, east-facing bay is a brilliant place to learn to sail, windsurf or kayak, with experienced RYA instructors on hand to show open water novices the ropes. Kids aged 12 or over can even have a go at powerboating.
There’s nothing flashy about the village of Llangrannog - it’s just a cluster of houses wedged between two headlands, with waves lapping at their toes. Boats perch on the shingle at the top of the beach, but the rest is sand. The coastal footpath leads you through clouds of wild flowers that are alive with butterflies in summer.
Cefn Sidan, Carmarthenshire
Cefn Sidan is eight miles long, with safe water and easy access. Young nature detectives can climb the dunes to track down grasshoppers, beetles and other mini beasts in the Marram grass. The beach is part of Pembrey Country Park, which has play areas and an equestrian centre, dry ski slope and toboggan run.
Port Eynon, Gower Peninsula
Hugely popular with those staying at the campsites nearby, this is a generous sweep of south-facing sand, dunes, pebbles and rock pools framed by attractive headlands. The pleasant village of Port Eynon offers ice cream, fish and chips and other treats, and the coastal path to Rhossili is one of Gower’s loveliest.