If something is worth discovering then you’ve got to work for it. That’s certainly true of the best hidden beaches in Devon. Walking shoes, back packs and sweat are required to uncover these secret coves. But when you reach them, the rewards are plenty.
We’ve discovered a few gems around the Devon coastline, with and without children. Here’s a few of our favourite off the beaten track and virtually secret beaches in Devon.
If beaches aren’t your thing I’ve got plenty of other ideas for family days out in Devon.
Our favourite hidden beaches in Devon
Scabbacombe Sands, Brixham
This is our most recent discovery in South Devon. Scabbacombe Sands can be reached by walking the South West Coast Path or parking in the small National Trust carpark one mile away.
While that might not sound far, it’s an uneven route first down a muddy lane and then through fields. We took our four and two-year-old and managed with a child carrier. A pushchair certainly wouldn’t be up to task.
The views from the cliffs and crystal clear water made the trek worthwhile on the day we visited. Scabbacombe Sands is dog friendly all year. Don’t be surprised if you spot nudists in the distance!
Berry Beach and Blackpool Mill, Hartland
This little gem in North Devon is a firm favourite of Mr Tin Box. He has been making trips to the area to see family since he was a kid.
This pebble strewn beach near Hartland can accessed from the coast path or on a track from Hartland Abbey.
There are rock pools, all sorts of fish and crustaceans to be found at low tide, and unspoilt views out to Lundy Island. Walk around the headland and you can reach Hartland Quay with its amazing cliffs of contorted rock layers.
It’s less secluded but definitely worth seeing. You can also pack here and walk to Berry Beach but beware of the tides.
Here’s my guide to more things to do near Hartland in North Devon.
Man Sands, Brixham
Man Sands will always be a special place for us as it was the first of Devon’s hidden beaches that we visited with our girls.
Tin Box Tot was two and a half and Baby was about six-weeks-old. We hiked three quarters of a mile down a narrow track to reach this shingle and sand beach with a treasure trove of caves, rock pools and fresh water streams.
Man Sands in South Devon is also a great place for bird spotting as there’s a wetland area at the back of the beach. There’s a small National Trust carpark back up the track but no other facilities. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round.
Mill Bay, East Portlemouth
We found this off the beaten track cove at the end of a winding road along the Salcombe Estuary in South Devon. You don’t need to worry too much about walking any distance to reach this sandy retreat but there are coast path walks to take from here if you fancy stretching your legs.
Mill Bay is the ideal location for a quieter beach day away from the larger, popular Devon seaside destinations. However, you do have the benefits of a small National Trust car park and public toilets just a short walk away. Please note that this car park has been closed for much of 2020 due to a landslip. Check before you travel here.
Our girls loved chasing the waves down the shallow slope into the estuary and playing in the fresh water stream. Mill Bay is also dog friendly all year round.
Here’s more things to do in Salcombe with kids.
More of Devon’s best beaches
If you would like to find more of Devon’s best beaches then I have plenty of tips for you. Read my post on the best beaches in South Devon for families and the best North Devon beaches to visit with kids.
Outdoor swimming pools and water parks in Devon
Fancy something a little different? Here’w where to find Devon’s outdoor swimming pools and water parks.
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