One of only nine Cornish beaches to be awarded Blue Flag status, Porthmeor is tiptop for water quality, safety and environmental management. It does attract crowds in the summer, but it also offers sheltered waters, gentle waves and golden sands. Nestled below the iconic Tate St Ives and just a stone’s throw from the centre of town, it’s easy to explore the town from here…visit old pubs or quirky cafes for a spot of lunch, or wander into the Porthmeor Beach Cafe for lunchtime tapas or afternoon cocktails. You’ll also find St Ives Surf School here; they offer surf, paddleboard and kayak lessons and hire, as well as coasteering sessions.
With gorgeous views across to Godrevy Lighthouse, the inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, this award-winning Blue Flag beach has an almost tropical feel, with waving palm trees and clear, calm waters — it’s a firm favourite for swimmers, bucket-and-spade families and deckchair dozers. It’s also next to the train station, so an easy choice for those that have caught the train from St Erth. The brilliant, award-winning Porthminster Beach Cafe, just off the sand, serves up great local food.
This beach is slightly smaller and a little hidden from view. Unless you head onto the small section of the coastal footpath that goes around The Island (the St Ives headland), Porthgwidden is tricky to see. But, discover it and you’ll be rewarded with a beach just as sandy and a sea just as turquoise as the other St Ives beaches. Facing east, it’s perfect for those who wish to get to the beach early and bask in the sun all day. It also has a lovely café right on the beach, a row of beach huts, a handy snack kiosk, as well as toilets and parking nearby. Dogs are welcome here from the 30th September through until the Sunday before Easter.
This beach sits inside the town’s working harbour from which you can often watch local fishermen catching fresh seafood. A natural sun-trap, this soft sandy beach is ideal for swimming and sandcastle building, whilst being in the hustle and bustle of town, with its independent shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. From here you can join boat trips to spot seals or sail across the bay to the famous Godrevy Lighthouse and Hell’s Mouth.