Growing up by the sea means that I have an affinity with beaches and they are somewhere I gravitate too. We lived in Landlocked Berkshire for 14 years and I craved the sea, so when we came back to North Yorkshire I made it my mission to explore all the local beaches and now I am going to share them with you my best North Yorkshire Beaches.
Personally, I think a lot of the beaches here in North Yorkshire and East Cleveland are the best in the country. Less populated than Devon and Cornwall and just, if not more beautiful. There certainly is a beach for everyone here. I am going to cover North Yorkshire beaches from Redcar to Scarborough as these are the ones we visit and the extent of our day-tripping! Also, did you know this area is also known for its sea glass.
The Best North Yorkshire Beaches
Coatham, Redcar and Marske Beaches, North Yorkshire
Growing up I lived 3 streets away from the beach at Redcar, well more specifically Coatham, which is a wide sandy beach backed by sand dunes, the links golf course and the remains of the steelworks. You now look out to the Coatham windfarm. It has become is a popular spot for watersports such as windsurfing, kite surfing and surfing.
Not only is the beach beautifully and sandy, there is a Victorian Boating Lake which was revamped in 2017. Parking is widely available adjacent to the beach at Majuba car park.
From Coatham Beach you can walk along to Redcar Beach, which is much more commercial with its amusements, fishing boats and Redcar Beacon with its 360-degree view. It is free to enter and the top floor gives you stunning views of the seafront.
The esplanade runs alongside the beach and is home to the Redcar Lifeboat Station, arcades and ice cream parlours (Pacittos lemon top is a family favourite). You can also take a visit to the oldest surviving lifeboat in the world at the Zetland Lifeboat Museum.
Keep walking and the esplanade turns into grass and dunes again. The sands become wider and more windswept and interspersed with groynes. It is a beautiful spot, uncommercialised and natural with rock pools and parking on the side of the road. There is also a small cafe and park.
Saltburn by the Sea
Saltburn is a quintessential Victorian Seaside resort and exceptionally popular. It has become THE place to surf in the North of England and the beach is well kept with beach huts to hire.
Saltburn has a pier and also the UK’s oldest water balanced funicular lift which takes you from the beach to the town at the top of the cliff.
Saltburn also has formal Italian Gardens which are served by a miniature railway and has a number of play areas for children including a back that runs into the sea.
The beach is pebbles turning to sand and very popular with families.
Staithes, North Yorkshire
Staithes has become very popular in recent years due to it being where CBBC series Old Jack’s Boat, which starred Bernard Cribbins as Old Jack and his trusty shipmate, Salty the dog was filmed.
Often referred to as The Dinosaur coast due to the number of fossils found, Staithes is where the North York Moors National Park meets the sea and the towering, rugged cliffs are in keeping with this landscape.
However, please take care around the cliff face as falling rocks can be a very real danger.
Runswick is my favorite Beach. It lies between Staithes and Whitby in North Yorkshire and is one of the most picturesque beaches in the UK. Nestled in the cliff there is about 90 houses and the car park only holds 80 cars at the most, so Runswick never seems overly crowded and it has become a haven for me during the lockdown. Runswick Bay really is the best day out in North Yorkshire, a true hidden gem often forgotten for its larger neighbours.
The golden sands curve around from the cliff and jetty and there is something for everyone from rock pooling, fossil hunting, sandcastle building, kayaking and walking. Bring your surfboard or watch the boats with icecream from the cafe as the boats sail around the bay. You can also hire gear from Barefoot Kayak too.
Sandsend is a really popular beach for Families with its clean, sandy beach and small rivers running into the sea on either side. In summer a section of the beach is zoned off for swimming. The freshwater inlet means younger children can play in the shallow (slightly warmer) water. The sand is great for castle building and you can find fossils!
At low tide, a large area of the beach is exposed and there are plenty of rockpools for children to explore. Tide times can be found on the side of the shop next door to the Sandsend Café.
There are numerous car parks and pay and display parking along the side of the road. The wide beach is perfect for beach games, sandcastles and ball games.
It can get windy, so a windbreak is a must!
Whitby is a a charming seaside town and the setting of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” Whitby is a place of paradox where families and vampire hunters rub shoulders at the beach and among the Gothic ruins of Whitby Abbey. Go crabbing on Whitby harbour or enjoy a boat ride.
Whitby has beaches on both sides of the River Esk. On the east side is the smaller Tate Hill, a sheltered sandy beach that allows dogs all year round.
On the other side of West Pier is West Cliff, a larger sandy beach with colourful beach huts, deckchair and windbreak hire, crazy golf, a children’s paddling pool and donkey rides.
Some of the best fish and chips can be found in Whitby. We prefer Whitby on an evening when everyone is leaving and it is quieter!
Robin Hoods Bay
Robin Hoods Bay is one of the most photographed beaches along the coast – definitely one of the most beautiful bays in the UK.
There are no car parks near the beach so you have to park at the top and take the steep walk down a cobbled street, through a quaint little village containing gift shops and cafes to the beautiful beach.
The beach is perfect for fossil hunting and rock pooling. It is also very dog friendly. At high tide, the beach is largely submerged by water, and the shoreline is rocky so this generally an unsuitable area for swimming.
Boggle Hole was one of my families favourite days out when I was growing up. We used to go rock pooling there. The tiny sign off the A171 does little justice to do what is waiting. It’s a steep road down, winding, lovely countryside. You park at the top and have to walk down….onto a jetty with a fantastic view of the coast. The youth hostel peeps out through the trees as you walk down.
If you want unspoilt views with no distractions, this is the place for you. When the tide’s out you can walk to Robin Hood’s Bay. Expect to see lots of kids/adults looking for fossils. You can spend the whole day in the sea – the water is beautiful. Just check the tide times, so you aren’t disappointed when you turn up. The food at the youth hostel is great – 2 courses for £9.95. They do an afternoon tea which is a bargain and the cakes are all homemade. They stop serving food at 4, so bear this in mind.
Scarborough North Bay
Scarborough’s North bay is much wilder and less commercialised than South bay and has always been a family favourite since when I was small. There is masses of sand and bright coloured beach huts to hire.
Immediately adjacent to the beach, a miniature railway, built in 1931 links Peasholm Park with Scalby Mills, where the very bust Sea Life Centre can be found. Peasholm Park is an oriental-themed parkland with a boating lake where they reenact miniature sea battles.
Alpermere is a water slide park (4 slides) and pool based on the North Bay. It has an outdoor infinity pool, jacuzzi and indoor wave pool. Four hours are including in the price. I wouldn’t eat there as the food isn’t that great and can be pricey.
Have I missed your favourite beach in North Yorkshire? Do let me know. Also perhaps it is North West Beaches you are looking for, if so check out this from Going on an Adventure or this post about the Best South Pembrokeshire beaches.