Cardiff is a great city with something happening on every corner, but if you’re after a seaside break with a relaxing beach and beautiful water, it isn’t always the place you want to be. So here are the best beaches near Cardiff so that you can choose your favourite sandy spot to hang out.

1. Penarth Beach 

How far from Cardiff? 5.7 miles

Penarth Beach near cardiff
Source: UK Beach Guide

Penarth is the closest seaside to Cardiff. It is a small town with a quaint pier and shingle beach, and it is perfect for long seafront walks, picnics, or exploring the town itself. It isn’t a hotspot for swimmers, but there is nothing stopping you from taking a dip in the cool sea whilst you’re there!

2. Barry Beach/Whitmore Bay Beach

How far from Cardiff? 10.1 miles

Barry beach near Cardiff
Source: Visit Wales

Barry Beach, a.k.a Whitmore Bay Beach, is based on the famed Barry Island (which, weirdly enough, isn’t actually an island!). Barry Island has attracted visitors from across the country for over 150 years, and Barry Beach is one reason why. It has golden beaches, cafes, Instagrammable promenades, and amusements just waiting for you to enjoy!

3. Jackson’s Bay 

Jackson Bay near Cardiff
Source: Wales Online

How far from Cardiff? 10.5 miles

Jackson’s Bay is also on Barry Island, but it is a less commercialised beach for those looking for comfort and peace and quiet. It is a pleasant cove that backs onto gorgeous cliffs and lush greenery. It’s popular with the locals, so don’t head there thinking you’ll have the beach to yourself, but there’ll definitely be fewer screaming children and excitable families.

4. Dunraven Bay/Southerndown Beach 

How far from Cardiff? 27.5 miles

Dunraven Bay near Cardiff
Source: Visit Wales

Dunraven Bay, sometimes called Southerndown Beach after the nearest village, is a much loved small-ish sandy beach. It is just a stone’s throw away from Dunraven Gardens, a beautiful set of gardens that are great to visit before or after you’ve had your fill on the seafront. The beach also has a sandy beach, a large car park, and is a great place to fossil hunt for those interested.

5. Coney Beach/Sandy Bay 

How far from Cardiff? 32.6 miles

Sandy Bay near Cardiff
Source: Top 100 Attractions

This wide and sandy sloping beach is nearby to lots of incredible amusements, including a holiday park! It is a beloved surfing and swimming spot, and there are rockpools toward the eastern end of the beach. There is a harbour and a lighthouse at the other end of the beach, as well as shops, a museum, and plenty to do just behind the harbour.

6. Sker Beach 

How far from Cardiff? 31.4 miles

Sker Beach near cardiff
Source: Visit Wales

Sker Beach is just up from Sandy Bay in Porthcawl, and is a long sandy beach. It is so long, in fact, that it is very rarely crowded, despite being busy quite often. It is a popular spot for surfers, but it has also been known to be a popular spot for naturists – so watch out! For history fans or those interested in all things spooky, at low tide, a shipwreck becomes visible.

7. Cwm Nash Beach/Monknash Beach

How far from Cardiff? 24.2 miles

monknash beach near cardiff
Source: Hide at St Donats

Cwm Nash or Monknash Beach backs onto some truly incredible dramatic cliff faces and is a beautiful stretch of sandy beach with little rockpools dotted along the coast. The beach is beautiful and has great views, especially at sunrise and sunset. It is also a coastal site of specific scientific interest!

Looking for more things to do in Cardiff? Check out our picks of the best hidden gems in Cardiff.