Hayle Beaches: The Ultimate Guide

Hayle only has one long beach, really. Of course, you could argue that it has a load of different beaches (like Mexico Towans, for instance) that all run into each other from the mouth of the Hayle Estuary, creating miles of beautiful golden sands right up the coast, but we maintain it’s really just one big mass of sand split into two distinct beaches, both detailed below. (There’s also a Porthkidney Beach just on the other side of the estuary but we’re skipping this one as the far more majestic Carbis Bay Beach is just a few extra paces up the coast). So, welcome to our ultimate guide to the two Hayle beaches with a few more that are within a 15-minute drive away thrown in as these too deserve your attention. Enjoy…

Hayle’s two big beautiful beaches…

Gwithian Towans Beach

Suitable for: Families and people who want lots of space
Location: Off the B3301, a few miles up the coast from Hayle town centre

Yeah, so we say that Gwithian Towans Beach is in Hayle but is it really? Depends where it starts and where it ends but either way, walk along the town’s seafront to this giant stretch of sand or park up in the Gwithian Towans long-stay car park just off the B3301, a few minutes from the centre by car. It’s worth it. There’s golden sandy space everywhere, fine vistas, decent surf, the odd seal and plenty for kids to do.

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Hayle Towans Beach

Suitable for: Surfers, sunbathers and anyone who wants to stick close to Hayle
Location: At the end of Hayle’s North Quay, about as close to the town centre as you can get

Of course, Hayle is at the head of the Hayle Estuary, so there aren’t any beaches next to the train station or ASDA. But just a few minutes along a road called North Quay takes you out to Hayle Towans Beach and this is where that huge stretch of sand leading up the coast to Gwithian Towans begins. The surf is good, there’s loads of space to sunbathe and you’re damn close to the chip shops in the town centre.

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And a few more beaches near Hayle…

Carbis Bay Beach

Suitable for: Families and watersports enthusiasts
Location: Carbis Bay, three miles to the west of Hayle and a mile or so east from St Ives

Fun fact: you can walk from Hayle along the South West Coast Path to Carbis Bay Beach. Another fun fact: you can also drive. Whatever method, it’s worth getting out of either town and enjoying a beautiful sandy beach with clean waters that’s surrounded by subtropical plants. Perfect for families due to the safe swimming and also great for surfing, sailing, kayaking and paddleboarding due to its watersports centre.

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Mutton Cove

Suitable for: Seal watchers
Location: Off the B3301 near Godrevy and just past Gwithian Towans Beach, about 15 minutes by car from Hayle

It’s so close to Hayle it may as well belong to the town. But, actually, Mutton Cove belongs to grey seals. Loads of them. You can’t go on this beach, which is just north of Gwithian Towans Beach, but you can watch the resident seal colony at play or rest from the clifftop. Just keep the noise down as you don’t want to disturb these marvellous animals. An altogether different beach experience just minutes from Hayle!

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Porthgwidden Beach

Suitable for: Families and sunbathers
Location: Off Burrow Road on the most northerly tip of St Ives, 15 minutes by car away from Hayle

Porthgwidden Beach is St Ives’ smallest stretch of golden sands and worth the short trip over from Hayle. It’s really well sheltered and is popular with families because it’s such a great sun trap on a hot day. It’s not the town’s most convenient beach but it’s hardly a long walk from the art galleries, sitting on a peninsula that juts out on St Ives‘ most northerly point. Soft sands to play or sunbathe on. Perfect.

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Porthmeor Beach

Suitable for: Beach lovers who want bars, shops, restaurants and art galleries nearby
Location: Off Porthmeor Hill at the top of the town centre in St Ives, 15 minutes by car away from Hayle

If you’re in Hayle, you love art and you’ve got the time, then drive up to St Ives and visit the famous Tate St Ives. And when you’re done, take a few steps in the direction of the sea and find your spot on Porthmeor Beach, right on the doorstep of the gallery. There are loads of places to eat, drink and shop next to this safe and serene sandy paradise with good swimming and surf out there. Art and beach. Can’t beat it.

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Porthminster Beach

Suitable for: Beach lovers who like convenience, space, fine sand and fine views
Location: Off the A3074 and Skidden Hill on St Ives‘ more southerly coastline, 15 minutes by car away from Hayle

If Porthmeor is the king of the St Ives north then Porthminster is certainly the queen of the town’s south. This white stretch of fine white sands boasts an almost tropical feel with its palm trees and green-blue waters. Green hills and white cottages surround the bay and there’s a real holiday atmosphere here, whatever time of year it may be. It’s a quick walk from the town centre too. Worth heading up to from Hayle.

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St Ives Harbour Beach

Suitable for: Kids who love building sandcastles, families and fishing boat watchers
Location: Off Wharf Road, practically in the centre of the St Ives seafront, 15 minutes by car away from Hayle

When you hear ‘harbour beach’, you’re generally put off due to the perception that dirty sand and water awaits. Not so at St Ives Harbour Beach. Here, it’s clean and spacious and great for kids and families or those of you who love watching local fishermen bringing in their fresh catches. It’s all really central too with a quaint backdrop. Enjoy this fine family-friendly sun trap just a quarter of an hour away from Hayle.

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