Top beaches for a summer day in South Devon

Whether setting up camp for a day at the seaside, or looking to peep into a cove along a coastal walk, the beaches nestled among the rugged Devon landscape are ideal for whiling away the hours.

Sunset over Thurlestone Rock and South Milton Sands

South Milton Sands

This popular beach - a long sweep of golden sand and rockpools - edges a sheltered bay of crystal clear waters and looks out over the iconic Thurlestone Rock archway. With a series of events throughout summer, and a popular route for dog walkers, this beach offers all from busy fun-filled days or quiet sunset strolls, with watersports and refreshments on hand, too.

Kayakers at Wembury, Devon

Wembury beach

One of the top wildlife spots in the UK, the rockpools are thriving with an array of marine life. Whether you want to ride the waves, search for wildlife along the coast path, or simply enjoy sweet treats in the cafe, Wembury beach is a seaside haven just a short drive from Plymouth's city life.

The view out to sea from Hope Cove

Hope Cove

From Bolt Tail, wander down the coast path until you pass through the narrow woods. With just a couple of steps down, you'll find yourself standing on the sandy Hope Cove, a blissful sun trap to rival many.

The sandy beach at Soar Mill Cove

Soar Mill Cove

A small sandy cove that can only be reached on foot or by boat, Soar Mill Cove is best visited at low tide, when there is plenty of beach, and rocks to climb and explore. If you're lucky, you might spot seals fishing.

A view towards Sunny Cove from the coast path

Mill Bay 

A sheltered sandy beach on the Salcombe estuary, Mill Bay is an excellent starting point for coastal walks and beach days appreciating this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With a number of little coves along the estuary, you're sure to find a great spot to sink your toes into the sand.

Take the steps down to Compass Cove and discover the ruins of an old cable house

Compass Cove

Little Dartmouth's coast path loops around Compass Valley, then descends seawards, bearing right at the bottom and over a stile; a detour, right, takes you down to the cove, where you can find historical links to the Channel Islands.