Crantock Beach and the surrounding area

What a lovely beach to experience whether you’re with your loved ones, family, friends, or want some alone time. This one has it all, amazing soft sandy beach, gentle meandering river (The Gannel), tall steep sand dunes, rock pools, rocky cliffs, amazing wildlife and some half decent waves.

View from the top of the sand dunes overlooking the bay

We had a great day out here with our two kids. It was very windy but we managed to have lunch by the river, all huddled in our small pop up tent. We like to take this tent to the beach as it provides good shelter against the sun, rain and wind. We explored the beach at low tide and saw some massive crabs scuttling around in the rock pools. They didn’t seem to bothered by our presence.

We also enjoyed watching some people sliding down the sand dunes on their body boards. It looked great fun and we will be returning to this beach soon with our sledge to have a go ourselves.

Parking

There is a carpark owned by the National Trust. It’s located close to the beach, just behind one of the sand dunes and is open all year round between dusk and dawn. It’s free if you’re a National Trust member or £8 per day between 1st March – 31st October.

There are about 175 parking spaces available in the car park which can fill up quickly in the summer holidays so it’s good to get there before 10:00am or have a backup plan should it be full.

There is a height restriction barrier of 2.1m tall so campers may not be able to enter. There is no overnight parking or camping allowed.

Crantock Beach Carpark

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Facilities

There are toilets located in the car park which is only a 2 minute walk to/from the beach. These are free to use. Baby changing facilities also available.

You’ll also find a small coffee shop operating out of a converted truck on the beach. Cargo Coffee serve organic coffee, freshly made sandwiches, homemade cakes and luxury ice creams. Visit their Facebook page here for more information.

Life guards are on duty throughout most of the summer and autumn moths so a big thumbs up to the RNLI for providing this life saving service. Please donate to their charity so they can continue the great work they do. https://rnli.org/

You can read more about Crantock beach safety here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/crantock-beach/features/keeping-safe-at-crantock-beach

Location

Not the easiest beach to get to with its narrow lanes and small village so drive carefully on your approach to the car park. It’s just 2 minutes drive from Crantock village and 15 minutes from Newquay Central.

Sand quality

When it comes to sand I can be a little fussy. I love a soft sand with very fine grains. It doesn’t feel sharp under a bare foot and is perfect for making the best sandcastles. Crantock beach has super fine sand so it’s great to stroll around, sit on and build a castle.

Just be careful of sinking sand on this beach. Little ones can quickly get stuck in the wet sand close to the river and the tides can be a little unforgiving here.

Footpaths for explorers

If like us you can’t sit still for too long then you may want to explore the area. You can easily cross the Gannel Estuary at low tide via the footbridge but at high tide you will need to take the small ferry (only operating on summer). You can find more information on walks in the area here: https://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/print-walk/501/

Access the interactive footpath map here.

You can explore the sand dunes and surrounding area to find some of the most amazing wildlife. We spotted loads of Burnet moths on our walk which have lovely red spots on their wings and sound a little like humming birds as they fly around.

Burnet moth

I managed to climb up the rock face onto the Pentire Peninsula with some of the most amazing views across the beach.

That water is so inviting! Snorkeling is also on the to-do list when we return. We saw a number of people snorkeling in the bay and I can only imagine what amazing things they encountered.

A couple of these are on the shopping list before we return:

SMSOM FinaTider Snorkel Mask Anti-Fog Snorkel Set

Here’s a view from the East Pentire side of the beach. A quick climb up the rocks at low tide gives you access to this great peninsula with views over Fistral Beach and the surrounding bay. It’s such a beautiful place.

Cross-leaved pink heather

Here’s a spectacular spot to sit and take it all in. It’s the highest point on the sand dunes on the west side of the beach.

Nearby Beaches

To the south west, along the coast the next beach you will encounter is Porth Joke (Poly Joke) and after that Holywell. Both are within easy walking distance of Crantock Beach and are equally beautiful.

To the North you will come across the world famous Fistral Beach which is well known for is surfing competitions. It can be a very busy beach but offers loads of food and drink options as part of the Newquay vibe.

Paddle boarding

There were a few paddle boarders out for the day enjoying the estuary but not in the sea due to the high winds. We didn’t take our out also due to the high winds but on a calmer day this would be an amazing place to explore on an SUP (Stand up paddle board). Here are a few recommendations if you don’t already have one. Each is available with an attachable seat so the board doubles up as a kayak.

Thanks for reading this article. Keep your eye pealed for more great beach reviews as we travel around Cornwall.

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