Most kids love being at the beach – but a family day out at the seaside means ensuring beforehand that there are good facilities available, like plentiful parking, toilets and places to eat. If all that research sounds like hard work, don’t worry – we’ve done it for you, and chosen five of the best family-friendly beaches of Snowdonia…
You could argue that any beach is family-friendly, really: as long as there’s a bit of sand, some rock pools and plenty of space to run around, most children will be happy to just be there.
But from a practical point of view, what makes the perfect family-friendly beach?
In our book, as well as the usual suspects – sand, sea, rock pools and the like – the perfect family-friendly beach has plenty of handy facilities, too. Like somewhere to eat, public loos, easy access for pushchairs and wheelchairs, and perhaps a shop or two. Oh, and hot, sunny weather with only the gentlest of breezes and a warm sea to swim in – but that sort of thing is unfortunately beyond our control!
Luckily, many of Snowdonia’s beaches tick several of these boxes, so they’re absolutely perfect for family visits. We can provide the beaches, but as for the weather… we’ll leave you to choose your visiting dates carefully!
There’s not one, but three excellent sandy beaches at Abersoch – Main Beach, Quarry Beach and Town Beach. Abersoch itself is a lively, trendy village with a strong surf scene and great places to shop – not to mention great places to eat and drink. Head for the beaches and you’ll find plenty in the way of facilities: parking, toilets, a cafe/shop, and watersports galore. Being one of Snowdonia’s most popular beaches, in the peak summer season the beaches at Abersoch can become quite busy – but if your little ones enjoy making new friends, they’ll see this as a benefit, not a disadvantage!
The beach at Dinas Dinlle is popular with locals from the Caernarfon area as well as with visitors. Once you’ve parked your car you can walk along the long promenade, which has an Iron Age hill fort at one end and an air museum and small airport at the other. Step down from the promenade onto a pebbly shelf, then everything below that, at low tide, is sand with the occasional rock pool (don’t worry if you’ve forgotten your shrimping net – there are several gift shops back at street level which sell these, as well as all the usual beach paraphernalia). Dinas Dinlle is a great beach for swimming and watersports; at the end of the summer the sea has some nice warm ‘pockets’ that are very pleasant to swim in. There are several places to eat and drink, and an excellent ice cream parlour. There are also public toilets and a small playground to keep the children entertained when they’ve finished making sandcastles.
Barmouth is the quintessential seaside experience, with everything you could ask for in a family day at the beach. Soft golden sand? Check. Sand dunes to roll and tumble down? Check. Funfair, toilets, cafes, shops and amusements? Check! It’s Southern Snowdonia‘s most popular seaside resort, but don’t worry about overcrowding; the beach at Barmouth is vast, so there’s plenty of room for all. Barmouth also has a fantastic harbour, where you can take boat trips or simply take a stroll and enjoy the beautiful scenery. And on those days when the beach seems less appealing (like we said, we can’t guarantee the weather) there are plenty of indoor attractions which together form “On The Quay at Barmouth” – so there’s plenty to do even on those days when the weather’s misbehaving.
Another popular seaside resort, Llanfairfechan has been a hit with families since the Victorian era. Like many a Victorian resort, Llanfairfechan has all the traditional ingredients for the perfect British seaside holiday: a vast, sandy beach, promenade, pavilion, beach shops and plenty of entertainment. There’s a children’s playground with paddling pool, plenty of free parking, a skateboard park, a boating lake for model boat enthusiasts, two beachside cafes and public toilets. Phew! And all backed by the stunning sight of Penmaenmawr Mountain. What more could you ask for in a family-friendly beach?
Porth Oer (Whistling Sands)
Although the access isn’t amazing at Porth Oer – it’s a fairly steep walk down from the car park, which isn’t too bad, but it’s pretty tiring on the way back up – we couldn’t write about family-friendly Snowdonia beaches without including this perennial family favourite. It’s nicknamed Whistling Sands thanks to the peculiar quality of the sand, which squeaks when you stamp on it – so kids absolutely love it. There’s plenty of parking thanks to the large National Trust car park, and on the beachfront there’s a cafe, shop and toilet facilities which are all open during the main summer season. Porth Oer is definitely one of the more picturesque beaches in the region, and despite the shop and other facilities is very unspoilt. It’s fairly off the beaten track so it tends not to get overly crowded, which means it’s pretty peaceful as well as very beautiful.