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9 Best Beaches in Scotland for Camping, Walking and Dolphins
Finding the best beaches in Scotland can be challenging, but not for the normal reason. In fact, it’s quite the opposite because Scotland has so many amazing beaches that it can be difficult to pick just a selection.
Even so, we’ve come up with a list of the best beaches in Scotland. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re looking for a dog-friendly beach, bottle-nose dolphins, or just a quiet, relaxing day by the sea.
To call this a beach is a bit of a cheat because this 11-mile stretch of coast includes 2 bays and 2 beaches. It also has Roseisle Forest as a backdrop, which isn’t something you find on every beach. Burghead Beach is a dog friendly beach all year round, so it’s a great place to take your pooch for a run. Of course, they’ll enjoy the forest, too, giving you plenty of places to trek. Just watch out for the seals in the bay, as they’re not the biggest fans of dogs! If Burghead Bay sounds like the right place for you, consider looking at our Burghead Holiday Park. It’s ideal for touring caravans, camping, and holiday homes.
Rockcliffe Beach is on the west coast of Scotland, near the town of Dalbeattie. It has plenty of different walks along the coast and the beach itself, and it’s worth visiting at different points in the year because it offers something new depending on the seasons. When the tide is out, you can reach Rough Island. It’s a nature reserve accessed by a causeway that’s home to rare birds. Of course, make sure you leave enough time to walk back so you don’t get stuck there!
If water activities are more your thing, Nairn Beach might be the one for you. It’s popular with surfers and paddleboarders, but it’s great for swimming too. That said, if sunbathing on the sand is your idea of a great day, you can’t go too wrong with Nairn Beach either.
The beach itself is pretty incredible. It’s long and flat and covered in sand. Better yet, there’s every chance you could spot bottle-nose dolphins while you’re there! You’ll often have a better chance of seeing them in the open water, but there are local dolphin tours that run from Nairn.
Not everyone enjoys pebbly beaches, but if you don’t mind them, you might find East Beach is quieter. It’s not too far away from Nairn Beach, so you have just as much chance of seeing bottle-nose dolphins.
And don’t worry, it still does have some sand, you just have to scoot down the pebbles first.
East Beach is best accessed from our Lossiemouth Holiday Park, which offers self-catering caravan holidays and holiday home ownership.
Just off the Scottish mainland is the Isle of Mull, where you’ll find Calgary Bay. Aside from being fairly remote (even by Scottish standards), it’s an amazingly beautiful beach that’s perfect for walking and exploring.
It’s dog friendly, and nothing is stopping you from camping nearby, too. Of course, if you don’t fancy going over to the island, you can get a good view of it from a local boat tour.
Unsurprisingly, West Beach is fairly close to East Beach on the Lossiemouth Coast. There’s a lighthouse nearby (and a golf course), giving you plenty to see and do while you’re in the area. Of course, nothing really beats walking along the beach, particularly when the sun is setting.
There are plenty of attractions nearby, including boat tours for bottle-nose dolphins (it’s quite a popular industry in the area). Our Silver Sands Holiday Park is another one that’s well situated for this part of the coastline. But as the name of the park might suggest, it actually has its own stretch of beach in almost immediate proximity!
Over the other side of Scotland is Girvan Beach in Ayrshire. While it’s a bit more understated than some other entries on this list of best beaches in Scotland, it’s got everything you need for a great walk.
It’s dog friendly and has a good mix of pebbles and sand. Girvan Beach is one of the more popular beaches in the area and generally serves as the town’s beach. There’s a harbour on the north end and plenty of parks towards the south. In short, it’s a good choice if you want to visit a beautiful beach that’s supported by other activities.
Sanna Bay is in Ardnamurchan and takes the award for the most westerly beach in the UK. It’s a mix of sand dunes and rock formations, giving you plenty to explore. There are also cairns on the headland, which are great to look at.
But one thing that sets it apart from other beaches in Scotland is that you have to access it by driving through an extinct volcano. So, while other beaches are about the destination, this one is very much about the journey too!
Back in Girvan is Maidens Beach, another great exploration point. While the beach itself is beautiful, its views are even more spectacular. On a clear day, you can see the Mull of Kintyre and Aisla Craig.
Nearby is Culzean Country Park, which in itself is a great day out. Maidens Beach is another good pick for watersports or just for enjoying a picnic.
If you need a basecamp for exploring the Ayrshire coast, take a look at our Turnberry Holiday Park. It’s a small but very accessible park with great accommodation facilities. You can choose from a caravan to rent, self-catering, or camping holidays.
Final Thoughts on the Best Beaches in Scotland
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the beautiful beaches in Scotland because that just wouldn’t be possible! Hopefully, though, there’ll be several that suit what you want from a Scottish beach.
And if you’re looking for a camping holiday or a self-catering caravan to rent, see what Park Holidays has to offer. Browse our websites for the latest deals across all our 43-holiday parks in the UK.
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