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Snowdonia’s coastline is incredibly varied, from vast beaches of golden sand, grassy sand dunes to rugged cliffs, there’s so much to explore.

Black Rock Sands (30min drive)

A summer sunset on Black Rock Sands

Black Rock Sands is a wide, open beach with fine sands. The name comes from the area to the west of the beach where you will find a large, multi-coloured headland rock, low-tide caves and rock pools, an area rich in marine life. Natural history is also a feature of the local sand dunes, which have been declared a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’. Unusually, you can drive onto the beach here making it a popular spot not just for picnickers and sandcastle builders, but also for motor boats and jet skis which have a special zone designated for their use. The beach is accessed through Morfa Bychan and there is a parking fee to drive onto the beach.

Harlech (35min drive)

Harlech Beach provides a four-mile stretch of pristine golden sand, with stunning views of the Llyn Peninsula and Snowdonia mountain range. The beach is backed by grassy dunes. During the summer months leatherback turtles migrate from warmer climes to feed off jellyfish in the waters off this part of the coast. Swimming in the clear waters here is generally safe although there is no lifeguard presence and, as mentioned, at times jellyfish can be found. To access the beach, take the Ffordd Glan Mor road from the village of Harlech past the Min-y-don Holiday Park, beyond which is a pay-for car park. From here a 400 metre sandy path through the golf course and dunes leads down to the beach.

Dyffryn Ardudwy (35min drive)

Dyffryn Ardudy beach is located between Barmouth and Harlech near the pretty village of Talybont. The beach itself is enormous and mostly sandy but backed by large pebbles in parts and includes a mile stretch used by naturists. Behind the beach are hundreds of acres of peaceful dunes and scrub land with great views towards the Rhinogydd, Snowdonia mountain range and the Llyn Peninsular depending which direction you look.

Criccieth (30min drive)

The clean, clear and sheltered water at Criccieth makes for an excellent swimming spot on a nice day

The town of Criccieth is blessed with two lovely beaches, separated by its prominent medieval castle, perched on a small headland. The eastern beach is pebbly and shallow where you will find the Lifeboat Station and a convenient car park. Alternatively, the western beach is a mix of sand and pebbles which extends along Marine Crescent to Marine Terrace. You will find both beaches to be well sheltered from the prevailing westerly weather and they are excellent options for a coastal stroll.

Barmouth (30min drive)

Golden sands and the perfect position to watch the sunset

The seaside town of Barmouth became popular with tourists during the Victorian era and continues to attract a huge number of visitors in the summer months – not without reason. An expansive sandy beach backed by sand dunes with clear, gentle water are part of the attraction. This coupled with easy access to the town of Barmouth and all it’s attractions – shops, eateries, amusements, arcades and donkey rides – make it the perfect spot for some traditional seaside fun.

Nefyn (50min drive)

Looking down to the bay below

Despite being slightly further afield on the northern edge of the Llyn Peninsular, this beach is well worth the journey. Nestled in a crescent bay, the area is usually well sheltered by the cliffs behind with a well appointed, natural harbour. The beach requires a walk either through the golf course or down steps from the cliffs which add to the drama of the scenery here. Take a picnic or stroll down to the ever popular Ty Coch Inn for a drink and something to eat.