Welcome to a little slice of heaven – the place we are lucky to call home and where thousands of people venture each year for family-friendly holidays. In 2021, staycations are likely to be even more popular than ever. So this guide to family holidays in Devon brings together everything you need to know about visiting one of the UK’s top holiday destinations.

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Whether you’re looking for a beach holiday in the UK, activity holidays, family hotels, self-catering cottages or glamping, there’s a Devon vacation suited to you. There’s even a generous selection of holidays in Devon with dogs, so you can bring the whole family. Hurrah!

If you’d like to know something not mentioned in this post then leave me a comment and I’ll share what I know.

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Where to stay in Devon

Devon boasts many excellent places for a family holiday: from the quintessential seaside resorts of Torquay, Paignton, Dawlish, Exmouth and Woolacombe to the pretty harbour towns of Brixham, Salcombe, Clovelly and Dartmouth.

View of Dartmouth from the River Dart

Then there’s the Jurassic Coast destinations of Beer, Seaton and Sidmouth.

But Devon isn’t all about the sea. There are characterful country towns and villages like HartlandBarnstaple, Bovey Tracey and Tavistock.

Devon also has two historic cities – Exeter and Plymouth – and two National Parks – Dartmoor and Exmoor – where families can stay and enjoy outdoor adventures.

Family on a Dartmoor walk

Here are some of the best places to stay in Devon with accommodation ranging from campsites to family hotels:

Family-friendly holiday parks and campsites in Devon

Devon has hundreds of holiday parks and caravan & camping sites to choose from with all levels of facilities.

If you’re looking for a Devon camping site with a theme park close by then we can recommend Crealy Meadows near Exeter. It has camping pitches as well as lodges and glamping accommodation. There’s also a club house, entertainment and an activity programme during the school holidays.

Crealy Meadows campsite Club House and Reception building
Crealy Meadows Club House

If you prefer something with sea views then take a look at Manor Farm Caravan Site in Seaton or Ladram Bay Holiday Park also in East Devon.

Ross Park Caravan Park near Newton Abbot is a great dog-friendly caravan site in Devon. While Andrewshayes Holiday Park is a dog-friendly campsite with swimming pool and clubhouse – perfect for family holidays.

Children in swimming pool at Andrewshayes Holiday Park
Swimming pool at Andrewshayes Holiday Park

If you prefer something a little more low key then you can try eco camping at Wilton Farm campsite near Kingsbridge in South Devon. There are three large fields for pitching your tent or parking your camper van and compost loos.

Sunset over Wilton Farm camping field
Wilton Farm camping field

If you want to explore Dartmoor then we can recommend Woodovis Park campsite near Tavistock for great facilities and a swimming pool with hot tub.

Also inland is Roadford Lake Campsite which is part of a South West Lakes activity centre where you can hire water sports equipment and try high ropes. It’s also an excellent sport for walking a cycling.

Camper van pitched on campsite at Roadford Lake
Roadford Lake campsite

If North Devon is your destination then Welcombe X is easily accessible for caravans, right by the Atlantic Highway. What it lacks in peacefulness is made up for with its location near Hartland, which has plenty of merits as a North Devon holiday spot.

If you’re looking for more holiday park options then there’s Butlins in Minehead across the border in Somerset.

Read my full guide to camping and holiday parks in Devon.

Glamping in Devon

If you enjoy camping and caravan holidays then you might also be interested in glamping. There’s no shortage of glamping holidays in Devon where you can enjoy the great outdoors in camping accommodation more luxurious than a standard tent.

Glamping pod at Woodovis Park in Devon, England
Glamping pod at Woodovis Park

Here are some locations to for a glamping family holiday in Devon:

Read about all our recommended places for glamping in Devon.

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Family holidays in Devon near the beach

If you are looking for Devon holiday destinations that will put you near the beach then take a look at accommodation in Dawlish, Torquay, Paignton, Teignmouth, Ilfracombe, and Woolacombe. This is where you’ll find sandy beaches perfect for a traditional seaside holiday.

View of Ladram Bay sea stack and beach
Ladram Bay

Ladram Bay Holiday Park in East Devon even has its own private beach.

Family-friendly hotels in Devon

We’re a family of four with a dog and have stayed at dozens of hotels with our kids in the past seven years. We know that some ‘family-friendly hotels’ are definitely better than others.

Here’s my round up of the hotels in Devon that know what makes a great family holiday.

Check availability and prices of Devon hotels and on Booking.com*.

Dog-friendly hotels in Devon

Entrance to Langstone Cliff Hotel in Dawlish

The Grand Hotel in Torquay is a family and dog-friendly Devon hotel by the sea, as is Langstone Cliff Hotel in Dawlish Warren.

Take a look at more family-friendly hotels in Devon.

Holiday accommodation in Devon

If you want a self-catering holiday in Devon but don’t fancy a campsite, there are thousands of cottages, lodges and apartments to choose from.

Check out this review of a holiday apartment in Brixham, South Devon, which is right next to the South West Coast Path and within walking distance of Berry Head Nature Reserve.

If you fancy staying in a cottage on a working farm then take a look at this review of North Bradbury Farm near Umberleigh in North Devon. There’s farm activities for kids to get involved in, like collecting eggs and feeding animals, as well as lots of things to do in North Devon close by.

Also in North Devon are holiday cottages at Combe Martin Beach Holiday Park. They offer a touch of luxury alongside all the family-friendly facilities and entertainment available at this John Fowler holiday park.

Find a holiday cottage or apartment in Devon on Booking.com*.

Activity holidays in Devon for families

You’ll find plenty of opportunities for cycling in the Tamar Valley and walking on Dartmoor during a holiday in Devon. Walk 300 miles along the South West Coast Path both in South Devon and North Devon.

Child on zip wire Go Ape Exeter
Go Ape at Haldon Forest

We can also recommend adding a visit to Haldon Forest Park to your holiday. Here you can tackle the mountain bike trails, swing through the trees on the Go Ape and Go Ape Junior courses and have a go on segways.

Climbing net at River Dart Country Park
Adventure playground at River Dart Country Park

If you’d like plenty of activities at the place you are staying then take a look at River Dart Country Park near Ashburton. Here you’ll find canoeing, high ropes, zorbing and adventure play grounds. The country park has a campsite where you can pitch your own tent or bring a caravan or motorhome.

Facilities include a toilet block, shop and restaurant/bar, plus unlimited access to the free activities in the country park. Activities involving climbing or hiring equipment have an additional cost. There’s also a B&B in the manor house during school holidays.

For more inspiration for holidays in Devon take a look at #DevonwithKids or #TinBoxDevon on Instagram where you’ll find dozens of snippets from our adventures.

Things to do in Devon with kids

Since moving to Devon in 2015 we have notched up dozens of days out on the coast, at Devon theme parks and attractions, at historic houses and in the countryside.

We’ve been to plenty of toddler friendly attractions and have had loads of recommendations from others on places to visit that are accessible, as well as days out even teens will love.

For the full picture read my big guide to things to do in Devon with kids.

Devon attractions and days out

Find Devon attractions and family activities near where you are staying in this list:

I also have guides to things to do in Devon towns:

What’s on during the school holidays in Devon

And if you’re visiting when the kids are off take a look at these school holiday guides:

When is the best time to visit Devon?

The best time to visit Devon will very much depend on the kind of experience you’d like and your availability. If you have school-aged kids then you are obviously going to be restricted to the school holidays.

Devon is a very popular summer holiday destination with its peak time for visitors in July and August as this is when the weather is at its best.

However, don’t discount the Easter, May and October holidays as the weather is still mild enough for lovely walks on the beach and in the countryside. You’ll also find Devon attractions open throughout the week in school holidays.

If you can venture to Devon outside of the main holiday periods, then June and September are good times to enjoy warm weather with fewer crowds. Many Devon attractions are also open throughout the week in these ‘shoulder months’ around the summer season.

Here’s more information about things to do in Devon in the different seasons:

Things to do in Devon in Spring

View of flowers at Hartland Point in Spring

Spring comes early to the South West of England so expect bright days with plenty of wildlife coming out of winter hibernation. However, there’s still the chance for snow on Dartmoor.

Devon attractions are open over the February half term, Easter school holidays and May half term, and will be less busy than in the summer holidays.

Our favourite things to do in Devon in Spring are to visit National Trust gardens like Coleton Fishacre as they start to come into bloom, walk the South West Coast Path and visit some of Devon’s farms where you can meet new arrivals.

Read my full guide to things to do in Devon in Spring.

Things to do in Devon in Autumn

Girls in fancy dress at a pumpkin patch

Grab your woolies, wellies and rain coats because there’s still plenty to do in Devon each autumn. 

Many Devon attractions remain open during the week and at the weekends until the end of October. Of course there’s always lots of Halloween fun going on too.

Some of our favourite things to do in Devon in the Autumn are going for walks on Dartmoor, enjoying a dip in the sea while it still holds some of its summer heat and visiting Devon theme parks while they are quieter.

Read my full guide to things to do in Devon in the Autumn.

Things to do in Devon in winter

Children walking with blocks of snow on Dartmoor, Devon in Winter

When we first moved to Devon I found the winter really tough. Devon is mainly a summer holiday destination and a lot of the obvious things to do don’t seem to be available between autumn and spring.

But after five years, we’ve pinned down how to have fun in Devon in the chillier months. Some of our favourite things to do are enjoying the many Christmas events in Devon that usually kick off in November, visiting Devon beaches for a crisp walk and enjoying some of the county’s indoor attractions like The Box in Plymouth.

Here’s some more ideas for things to do in Devon in winter, including events, indoor fun and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors too.

Events in Devon

If you’d like to know about the top family festivals, regattas, country shows and other family-friendly events happening locally then hop over to my round up of what’s on in Devon this year.

The best Devon beaches 

Devon is blessed with countless characterful beaches.

Beaches in North Devon

Woolacombe beach - one of many things to do in North Devon
Woolacombe beach

The north coastline faces the Atlantic and has a combination of rocky shores that are great for exploring and long sandy stretches with rollers that make for a surfing paradise.

Read more about the best beaches in North Devon.

Beaches in South Devon

Family on sandy beach at Mill Bay near Kingsbridge in South Devon
Mill Bay

On Devon’s south coast there are plenty of small coves sporting red and golden sand, shingle, and traditional seafront towns.

Find out more beaches in South Devon.

If you’re looking for some hidden gems then here are some of the lesser known Devon beaches.

Where to eat in Devon

We are big fans of seafront cafes and restaurants in Devon, visiting them during our many dog walks.

Family-friendly cafes in Devon

Here are some of our favourite Devon cafes:

Family-friendly restaurants in Devon

If you are looking for places to dine while exploring Devon’s pretty towns, here are a few we rate highly:

Have you spent family holidays in Devon? Do you have any recommendations for me or anything else I can write about on the blog? Leave me a comment or get in touch.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links marked with *. If you click on one of these and make a purchase I may earn some commission. This does not affect the price you pay. We were invited to stay at or review some of the places listed in this guide for my other blog Tin Box Traveller. I’ve included them alongside experiences we have paid for ourselves because we genuinely rate them.

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Grab yourself some inspiration for family holidays in Devon including where to stay and eat, the top things to do and the best Devon beaches #Devon #family #holiday #vacation #break #trip #kids #Devonwithkids #travel #summer #winter #autun #spring #inspiration #guide #ideas #weekend #staycation