Skip to content

Things to do at Portstewart Strand

Two young visitors running out of the water holding bodyboards at Portstewart Strand, with the surf visible in the background
Bodyboarding at Portstewart Strand | © National Trust/John Millar

Spend the day on one of Northern Ireland’s finest beaches. Stride out for a walk along the strand, wander through the 6,000-year-old dunes and spot seasonal wildlife. Dip you toes in the water or brave the waves with your bodyboard. There's plenty of things to do at the beach and the wildlife haven in the dunes.

Blue-Green Algae

As algal blooms are often associated with warmer conditions coupled with longer day light hours, the likelihood of blooms developing is expected to increase. As we move into the summer months, the public are advised to remain vigilant and to follow signage erected along our rivers, lakes and shorelines.

Members of the public can report suspected blue-green algal blooms in several ways:

For more information, please visit the Blue-Green Algae page at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) website.

Walking at Portstewart Strand

Pull on your walking boots and stride out for a coastal walk at Portstewart Strand. With scenic sand dunes, dramatic cliffs and golden strands, these shores make for a memorable walk.

Beach walks

Stroll along miles of golden sand and soak up views of Inishowen headland and Mussenden Temple perched on the cliffs above.

Dune walks

Step into a different world and wander through the 6,000-year-old dunes where you can find dunes up to 98 feet (30m) high.

Causeway Coast Way

Portstewart Strand is the starting point for the 33-mile-long Causeway Coast Way to Ballycastle. You can experience stunning views and iconic sites during your trip as the trail leads you past the White Rocks outside Portrush, Dunluce Castle, the Giant's Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge to name only a few.

Inclusive Beach

Portstewart Strand is proud to be an Inclusive Beach. Working in partnership with the Mae Murray Foundation, Inclusive Beaches provide access, parking, disabled toilets and a beach equipment loan scheme. Toilets offer hoisting and adult sized changing bench facilities – to full Changing Places standard whenever possible. To find out more and book the beach equipment, please visit the Mae Murray Foundation website .

Sauna Experience

New for summer 2023, enjoy a Sauna and Sea experience on Portstewart Strand. This authentic wood-fired Finnish style sauna lets visitors enjoy golden sunsets, chilly mornings, blue skies, and storms all whilst basking in the rejuvenating heat of the sauna. To find out more and book, please visit the Sauna and Sea website

Surf School

SUB6 are based at the beautiful Portstewart Strand , are the only Accredited ASI (Academy of Surfing Instructors) Surf & Stand-Up Paddle School in Northern Ireland with an Instructor training centre. Sub 6 provide SURF and SUP lessons for all levels, whether you are a complete beginner surfer, or more experienced and searching for extra surf coaching, SUB6 can tailor the lesson to your requirements.

Kids camps through to corporate groups we custom to your needs. Surf & Sup hire is available for people not wanting lessons .

Surf equipment is available from our online surf store that can be picked up at our location on Portstewart Strand.

To find out more and book, please visit SUB6 website

Sanderling on the shoreline at Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry
Sanderling on the shoreline at Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry | © National Trust Images/Wilbert McIlmoyle

Spot seasonal wildlife

Designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest, Portstewart Strand and the Bann Estuary are a haven for wildlife. With the river cutting through the ancient dune system, it offers a mosaic of habitats for wildlife.

A haven for wildflowers

Cattle graze the dunes over winter, allowing wild flowers like bird's-foot trefoil, wild thyme, pyramidal orchid and the northern marsh orchid to flourish in the summer months. Look to the waves to spot visiting seals popping their heads up. Basking sharks, dolphins, whales and porpoises visit from time to time as well.

A variety of birds

Nearby, the Bann Estuary is a sanctuary for waterfowl and wading birds like curlew, sanderlings and redshank. A colony of herons can be found here as well as mute swans in the wintertime. Keen birdwatchers can head to the bird hide across the River Bann, which offers shelter to watch the birds that feed and live in the Bann Estuary.

Children bodyboarding at Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry
Children bodyboarding at Portstewart Strand | © National Trust/John Millar

Take to the water

Swimming and surfing are the most popular activities in the water but there is also a designated area for jet skiing. There's a 110-yard (100m) car-free zone in operation with lifeguard service from July to August.

Tick off more of your ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’

Head outdoors and get your little ones closer to nature this winter. Are you ready to try out 50 of the wildest, most fun-packed and exciting things to do in the great outdoors? Do your favourite activities over and over again, or try all 50 – the choice is yours.

Aerial view of Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry

Discover more at Portstewart Strand

Find out when Portstewart Strand is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

You might also be interested in

A small dog on the lead standing at the beach

Visiting Portstewart Strand with your dog 

Dogs are welcome on Portstewart Strand and with two miles of golden sand to enjoy, there are plenty of opportunities for walking and splashing along the beach. Portstewart Strand is a one pawprint rated place. 

Visitors exploring the sand dunes at Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry

Our work at Portstewart Strand 

Discover how we look after the 6,000-year-old sand dunes at Portstewart Strand which provides a diverse habitat for rare plants and native wildlife.

Bug hunting in the sand dunes at Portstewart Strand, County Londonderry

Volunteering on the North Coast 

Discover a variety of volunteer opportunities on the North Coast, with something to suit everyone.