Carbis Bay Beach
- Walk along the soft sandy beach and enjoy the coastal views across the blue water.
- Keep an eye out for local wildlife, which includes bottlenose dolphins and a colony of grey seals!
- Try your hand at stand up paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking or surfing.
- Take a canoe tour around the local coast, perfect for families with kids to check out the bay's hidden gems.
Located just one mile south east of the seaside town of St Ives, Carbis Bay Beach is truly a haven away from the touristy town centre. Awarded as a Blue Flag beach in 2019, Carbis Bay Beach is the perfect place to come for a day swimming, walking, or having a go at some water activities with the family.
The almost tropical sandy dunes at Carbis Bay Beach, as well as the contrast with the beautiful blue waves, make it a popular destination for families and those wanting to get away. Whether you're looking for that perfect coastal view, or are looking for somewhere to relax and let the kids play in the sand during the warmer months, Carbis Bay Beach has something to offer for every family.
Due to the southerly point of the beach, as well as the continued effort to make sure the surrounding areas are sustainably maintained which earned the beach Blue Flag status, Carbis Bay is a great place to spot local wildlife. Some of the wild species that can be spotted around Carbis Bay Beach and St Ives include sea birds such as gannets, razorbills and guillemots, as well as the usual seagulls. If you're visiting between the months of April and September, bring the binoculars as you might also be able to catch sight of some rarer birds such as petrels and shearwaters that are attracted to the fish that come to the bay. The warmer temperatures in this part of the UK mean that there are slightly more tropical plants around too, and the palm trees that line the beach might even fool you into thinking you're somewhere a little more exotic. For some more impressive and spectacular wildlife that is sure to impress the kids, look out to sea. If you're lucky, you might even see some bottlenose dolphins or grey seals splashing in the waves.
One of the most popular spots to look for sea life, as well as other abundant wildlife, is at Godrevy Point, on the other side of Carbis Bay to the beach. While you can find many walks that stop at Godrevy Point with views over Carbis Bay Beach and even follow on to St Ives, you can equally enjoy the beautiful coastal views on the 20 minute drive between the beach and Godrevy Point. Once you've arrived, walk around and keep your eyes peeled for the colony of seals that love to hang around this area. All year round you can see them bobbing in the ocean, or coming into the bay to bask. Kids can also keep an eye out for the many species of butterfly, caterpillar, birds and wildflowers that fill this area of the bay.
Heading back to the golden sands of Carbis Bay Beach, you'll find many more top family activities to enjoy by the water, with plenty of sports facilities and events to take part in. Walk to the Ocean Sports Centre in the centre of the beach to check out how you can hire a kayak, take a stand up paddleboarding class (also known as SUP), or even head out on a surf 'safari'! There's also lots of great options for kids as well as the water sports, including the Sea Life Explorer guided canoe tour that is geared towards families with younger kids, and takes you around Carbis Bay, with bathyscopes for kids to look under water and see what treasures they can spot. There is also a longer version, called the Coastal Explorer tour, in which you can spend two hours heading out towards St Ives and exploring a number of local beaches. This is probably one of the best ways to see seals, and perhaps even get up close to the pods of dolphins that like to frequent these waters.
A brilliant place to come swimming, use the sports facilities, or just enjoy a wander taking in a view of the coast, Carbis Bay Beach is a sandy haven for families with kids of all ages. The beach is also dog friendly, however there are particular times during the summer months where dogs are not allowed on the beach.
For something to eat on your trip to Carbis Bay Beach, the best place to grab a bite is the Carbis Bay Beach Club restaurant, which is located just off the beach, and has food on offer all day long. Here you'll find local produce such as fresh seafood, as well as hand made pizzas and a relaxed tapas style menu at the Cloudy Beach Hut. Plus, there is a takeaway option available, which is ideal if you'd like to enjoy your food on the beach. The restaurant is part of the Carbis Bay Hotel, which is also home to a spa and other great facilities, so is a great option if you want to stay in the other. St Ives is also just a short drive away, where you'll find more eateries including Cornish pasty shops, restaurants, pubs and cafes. There are also some great St Ives hotels on offer, with something to suit every budget. Alternatively, another popular option is to bring your own food and enjoy a picnic on the beach.
If you had a blast at Carbis Bay Beach and are looking for more great local days out to enjoy with the kids, Porthminster Beach is located just up the coast, and is just a short half hour walk away. Or, if you'd like to check out some art in the town centre, head to the beautiful and inspiring Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St Ives to learn a little more about Modernist art and the artist's process.
What to know before you go
- Carbis Bay Beach is open 24 hours a day.
- There is a ramp from the car park to the beach for accessibility, however from this point on the beach is very sandy, so may not be suitable for some wheelchairs or buggies.
- Please note that some areas are steep, including the ramp down to the beach and the route down to the beach from Carbis Bay Station.
- You can find public toilets by the beach, and there are accessible toilets and baby changing facilities available at the the Carbis Bay Beach restaurant and hotel.
- There are lifeguards on duty at the beach from July until September.
- There is a dog ban in place at the beach, which is in operation between 10am-6pm from 15th May until the end of September. At Carbis Bay Beach dogs can be walked outside these hours and are welcome at other times of year.
- If you are travelling by car, head along St Ives Road, and take the Porthrepta Road exit until you get to Beach Road. The Satnav postcode is TR26 2NW.
- Carbis Bay Beach parking is available at the small pay and display car park near the beach.
- You can get to Carbis Bay Beach on public transport via the St Ives Bay Line, which will take you to Carbis Bay Station, which is a short walk down the hill.
- You can also travel by foot to the beach, which is just a 25 minute walk from St Ives along the South West Coast Path.