A guide to the best beaches in Dorset

As a Dorset girl born and bred I am always asked by holiday makers or those planning a trip, where are the best beaches in Dorset?

Well, take your pick. Dorset is home to miles and miles of some of the most gorgeous coast line in the United Kingdom. Whether you’re looking for sandy beaches in Dorset or child friendly there are so many to choose from.
Over the years we have been lucky enough to have made our way round a lot of beaches in Dorset so here is my guide to the best beaches Dorset has to offer.

A guide to the best beaches in Dorset

The best beach will really depend on what you’re looking for so this post is broken down into different sections to make it easier to find which beach is going to be perfect for you whether your looking for a sandy beach day with the kids or a spot of fossil hunting I have you covered. I have even added in some of the best beaches in Dorset with free parking available too!

A guide to the best beaches in Dorset - Flaghead chine

Best Sandy Beaches in Dorset

Flag head chine

A gorgeous sandy beach one chine on from sandbanks, you still get that gorgeous golden sand but it’s just a tad less busy.


Situated at the mouth of Christchurch harbour this sandy spit of beach forms a barrier between the sea and this large natural harbour. There are great views both of the harbour itself and to the Isle of Wight and Needles across the Solent. There are fantastic walks and bike trails from Hengistbury head down to Mudeford beach.


Not many beaches will top Sandbanks, this stretch of gorgeous sand has won the prestigious Blue Flag award for a consecutive 31 years!

Shell bay

A beautiful sandy beach on the Studland Peninsula overlooking the stunning Brownsea Island.

A guide to the best beaches in Dorset - brownsea island

Best beaches for children in Dorset

Alum chine

Alum Chine is a great family friendly area with a pirate-themed children’s playground! A gorgeous sandy beach the kids will love with facilities and refreshments conveniently available.

West Bay

A child friendly beach buzzing with character and a fantastic play ground near by suitable for all ages.

Lulworth cove

A beautiful white pebble cove with calm and shallow water – perfect for little feet to paddle in. At low tide there’s also loads of rock pools that the kids will love to explore.

Kimmeridge Bay

A rocky beach teeming with wildlife. Fantastic for rock pooling and snorkelling.

A guide to the best beaches in Dorset - lulworth cove

Best beach for watersports in Dorset

Rockley beach

A small stretch of beach based at Haven Rockley Park Holiday park but with Rockley Watersports based at the beach there are a wide selection of various watersports including sailing and power-boating.

Boscombe beach

A popular beach with the surfing community. Plenty of places to hire paddle boards/surf boards and kayaks.

Weymouth Beach

The home of sailing, Weymouth beach have you covered for watersports activities the slopping seabed making it perfect for swimming.

Studland Bay

The sheltered waters of Studland Bay are ideal for watersports. Bring your own equipment or hire it from companies on site.

A guide to the best beaches in Dorset - sandbanks beach

Best beaches for Fossil hunting in Dorset


Britain’s premier fossil beach. The coast and the cliffs here are famous for their fossils.

Lyme Regis

One of the most popular fossils finding beaches in Dorset, ammonites are most commonly found here.

Ringstead bay

A shingle beach perfect for fossil hunting and family days out.

A guide to the best beaches in Dorset - lyme regis

Best Beaches for FREE parking in Dorset

Branksome Beach

There is lots of free on-road parking around Branksome beach, with just a short walk then down to the chine.

Canford Cliffs

Again lots of free parking around the cliff tops of Canford cliffs beach and paths that will take you down to the beach.

Southbourne Beach

The great thing about Southbourne Beach is that on-road cliff-top parking is free all day (Southbourne Coast Road & Southbourne Overcliff Drive all-day free parking).

Cogden Beach

A quieter stretch along Chesil Beach, which is owned by the National Trust so free to members!

A guide to the best beaches in Dorset - lake pier

The list really could go on and on so I have just included my top picks of the best beaches in Dorset. Let me know if you have been to any or which are your favourites!

If you enjoyed this post check out 10 Things To Do This Half Term In Dorset.


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  1. October 18, 2021 / 10:54 am

    Very useful post I really appreciate thanks for sharing such a nice post.

  2. November 11, 2021 / 10:09 am

    Nice list. Those are some amazing places to spend your summer weekends

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