Exeter is a beautiful, classical British city in the heart of Devon. When you need a break from the culture and history, a drive of 10 miles or so will take you to some beautiful beach spots for relaxing with the whole family.
Lyme Regis, Devon
This lifeguard patrolled beach lies next to Lyme Regis harbour, known locally as The Cobb. A great place to go for a swim, safe for children, and dogs are allowed in certain areas of the beach. This small beach leans against the harbour for beautiful views, while a café stands just next to the beach offering refreshments and ice creams.
Dawlish Warren Beach, Devon
Just a little over nine miles from Exeter is the popular Dawlish Warren Beach, which can get very busy in the summer. The main point of interest here is the 15 metre high red sandstone rock. The seas can be a tad risky, so swimming is only advised in view of lifeguards, who patrol the beach between May and September.
Exmouth Beach, Devon
One of the biggest beaches in the area, Exmouth is around a half-hour drive from Exeter, and is arguably the favourite beach spot for residents of the city. This large beach doesn’t feel crowded even during busy periods, and the vast expanse of sand lends itself well to beach games. There’s no shortage of cafes in the area either, including one that floats on the sea.
Budleigh Salterton Beach, East Devon
If you want a quiet, unspoilt beach, travelling a little further is advised, and Budleigh Salterton is an excellent choice. A long pebble beach that is never crowded, there’s rock pools and wildlife galore here, and a town close by for refreshments.
Bigbury on Sea Beach, Modbury
This blue flag awarded beach is a little under 30 miles out of Exeter, and is a must for lovers of watersports. Canoeing, kite buggy runs on the sand, and windsurfing is a popular activity here, while the sea tractor to Burgh Island is quite the experience. Lifeguards patrol the beach between May and September, so save the riskier sports for there. Dogs are welcome, but there is restricted access during the time the lifeguards are present.
Blackpool Sands, Dartmouth
If aesthetics are your thing, you’ll struggle to beat Blackpool Sands near the town of Blackpool. The golden sands are clear, the cliffs are coated in grass and flowers, and the beach makes a crescent moon shape that is incredibly photogenic. If you’re looking for somewhere to just kick back and relax, this is a great option. The more energetic visitors won’t be disappointed either, with watersports galore and good spots for swimming, as well as gardens to explore. The summer season sees lifeguards on patrol, no dogs allowed, and daily cleaning to keep the beach looking so pristine.
Seatown Beach, Bridport
Somehow, this beach is still one of Devon’s best-kept secrets. Set in a beautiful countryside backdrop, the views in every direction are amazing from this beach. No sand here, but the pebbled beach looks fantastic and is a great place to search for fossils. It’s not the biggest beach, and there are no lifeguards on hand, even in summer, but it’s serene, beautiful, and a good place for a paddle.
St Audrey’s Bay, Somerset
Although you don’t need to leave Devon to find beaches, a little hop over to Taunton in Somerset takes you to the stunning sand and pebble beach of St Audrey’s Bay. This is a quiet and remote beach in a rural setting that is a must for those who like views. Complete with gorgeous waterfalls, and multiple options for walks, with dogs, welcome all year round, this is a perfect spot for a quiet day out.
Blue Anchor Bay, Minehead
Staying in Somerset for this next spot, Blue Anchor Bay is one of the best places in the area for fossil hunting and has a long sand and shingle beach to explore. Dogs are welcome all year round and views go for miles on a sunny day. This is a highly advised stop for the whole family, and the local town is full of cafes and restaurants for when you need to refuel.
Bovisand Beach, Plymouth
This one takes a bit more travelling, but if you’re up for the drive, this sheltered cove is one of the jewels of Britain’s Ocean City. Fishing boats and luxury liners can be spotted passing here, while the huge, sandy beach is home to numerous cafes and restaurants. The city of Plymouth has a lot to offer too, so plan at least one full day if you’re making this journey.
Beach days can be some of the best of the year and we at SIXT want to help you along the way. Opt for a rugged 4×4 or a minibus to get all the friends and family down. We even have long-term car hire plans if you want something for a whole season.