An icy Christmas Day swim in South Devon has been a tradition for some time now, but in the...
With its magical stretch of sandy beach, fringed by calm, clear azure waters and plush green hillside, North Sands Beach is undoubtedly the jewel in Salcombe’s crown, and has long since been a summertime haven for visitors and residents in South Devon.
Nestled along the steep west side of the Salcombe Estuary and protected from the elements, North Sands is perfect for a family day out, enjoying the sun and sea. The soft golden, fairly level sand is ideal for sunbathing and building sandcastles, while its shallow, tranquil waters are safe for swimming and perfect for watersports. Take in the panoramic views across the estuary and over to Sunny Cove, located across the water at East Portlemouth, and further out to sea, past Wolf Rock.
Situated by the ruins of Fort Charles, North Sands is just a short, level walk from the picturesque town centre of Salcombe. There are a number of convenient amenities, including ample parking and The Winking Prawn café – all the facilities you need for a fantastic day at the coast.
Looking for specific information about North Sands? Click on the links below or read on for our comprehensive guide to this fantastic beach.
Is North Sands dog-friendly?
Facilities at North Sands
Places to eat in and around North Sands
Things to do at North Sands
Walks near North Sands
Similar beaches to North Sands
How to get to North Sands
Parking at North Sands
Holiday cottages near North Sands
Yes, North Sands is dog-friendly all year round. In fact, the beach is known as one of the most dog-friendly beaches in Devon! Situated along the South West Coast Path, and a firm favourite amongst dog owners, this beach is best enjoyed by pets at low tide, when four-legged friends can enjoy zooming along the full length of sandy beach and splashing about in the shallow waters.
Why not take a look at our dog-friendly properties in Salcombe to find the perfect property for you and your canine companion and be sure to read our blog about all the great dog-friendly beaches in South Devon too.
North Sands has everything you need to have a great day out at the beach. With clean toilets, plenty of parking, easy access to the beach, a popular café located just a stone’s throw from the shore and multiple eateries nearby, it’s no wonder why North Sands welcomes many returning visitors all year round.
Please note, there is no lifeguard service at this beach, so due care and attention is advised. Visit the RNLI website to learn about beach safety.
Overlooking the beach at North Sands, you’ll find The Winking Prawn. With its enticing outside seating area and renowned food, The Winking Prawn is one of South Devon’s most popular eateries. Enjoy a hearty breakfast buffet, delicious seaside lunch or scrummy dinner beside the sea in a stunning, tranquil setting. A firm favourite amongst holidaymakers and locals alike, The Winking Prawn host multiple al fresco BBQs during the summer months, which you can tuck into whilst listening to the waves lapping against the sand – bliss. This family orientated restaurant epitomises the summertime and beachside lifestyle. Dine at this fantastic restaurant/café and you can easily spend many an hour enjoying the relaxed atmosphere, great food and incredible views.
Bo’s Beach Café is located just a short walk from North Sands, however please note, the route is quite hilly so it could be a bit challenging. The café can be found right next door to Sea Kayak Salcombe in a unique old lifeboat house, situated right by the beach! This lively, quirky family run café has wonderful sweeping views of South Sands and Salcombe Estuary. Grab a coffee and freshly made snack to take away or choose a spot in their outdoor seating area. If you’re heading there for a beach evening, we highly recommend ordering one of their legendary pizza’s (pre-order is a must!)
There are few better things than tucking into a delicious picnic on a day out at the beach. Salcombe Deli take the hassle out of al fresco dining and prepare the most incredible dishes to pre-order and take with you. They offer an incredible selection of freshly prepared sandwiches, baguettes and salads, not to mention their savoury pastries, including the traditionally made, hand crimped pasty!
North Sands offers a treasure trove of things to do. Spend endless hours paddling in the clear water, or while away the time building sandcastles, playing beach cricket or just soaking up the sun.
When the tide is low, explore the hidden world of the sea and find fascinating sea creatures living amongst the rocks. A traditional summertime seaside activity, rockpooling is a great way to learn about the nature of South Devon’s beautiful shoreline. Leaning over the small pools of sea water, you are likely to find creatures you might otherwise never know were there. The best thing about rockpooling is that it does not require expensive equipment, just a keen eye and a bit of patience. It’s also worth visiting the Devon Wildlife Trust website, where they offer a guide on learning the Seashore Code, so you know how to rockpool safely and take care of the wildlife and surrounding environment.
North Sands is the perfect spot for all types of water sports. The pristine, tranquil waters are ideal to test your balance and have a go at stand up paddleboarding. Kayaking is another favourite pastime, allowing you the chance to explore the beautiful scenery, surrounding coves and wildlife close up and from a unique perspective.
North Sands Watersports are on hand to hire stand up paddleboards, kayaks and even body boards if you fancy a go.
If it’s an adrenaline rush you’re after, Adventure South offer outdoor adventure activities and watersports experiences, hosted at North Sands. Choose from a range of exciting activities, from watersports to team challenges, including coasteering and high-speed rib riding.
Fancy something a little more sedate? Why not take the opportunity for quality quiet time to help your body and mind switch off from modern life? Yoga on the beach is the ideal way to soak up the serene surroundings, while allowing the stresses of life to melt away, leaving you refreshed and focused. Enjoy the sand between your toes and feel the soft sea breeze in an early morning or evening yoga session.
A trip on the South Sands Ferry offers a rare opportunity to travel by boat and experience the famous ‘Sea Tractor’, which travels out into the water to greet the ferry as it arrives at South Sands Beach. What better way to end a day at North Sands than a stroll to South Sands, and from there, a ferry back to your Salcombe holiday home. The ferry runs between South Sands to Whitestrand, located in the centre of Salcombe – an exciting way to see North Sands from the water.
If you need a bit of respite from the sand and the heat, take a short stroll from North Sands to the National Trust house and gardens at Overbeck’s. Spend a few hours roaming through the hidden paradise of shaded, sub-tropical gardens and explore fascinating artefacts collected and created by inventor Otto Overbeck in the museum.
Salcombe is located along the amazing South West Coast Path, which passes straight through North Sands. Whether it’s your starting point or end destination, there are so many incredible walks in and around North Sands. These are a few of our favourite nearby walking route that will take you along some of the most scenic areas of the coastal path, showcasing South Devon’s most breathtaking scenery:
Half a mile south of North Sands and equally idyllic is South Sands, which benefits from a luxury waterside restaurant, beachside café, watersport hire facilities and public toilets. This sandy cove is perfect for families, and people love to hop aboard the iconic South Sands Ferry from here to Salcombe.
East Portlemouth Beach is positioned opposite Salcombe at the mouth of the estuary. You can reach this sandy, secluded bolthole by catching a ferry from the ferry steps, next to the Ferry Boat Inn. If you’d prefer to drive there, the journey is approximately 40 minutes from Salcombe and 45 minutes from Dartmouth. Even in the height of summer this beautiful beach has a calm and relaxed feel.
Harbour Beach and Mouthwell Sands are the two sandy bays which make up Hope Cove’s selection of beaches. Both enjoy the natural beauty of the golden shores and countryside vistas – Harbour Beach overlooking Bolt Tail and Mouthwell Sands boasting views out to Thurlestone, Bigbury-on-Sea and the iconic Burgh Island.
Want to know more? Our South Devon Beach Bible has comprehensive information about all the best coves and sandy shores in our beautiful region.
Use the map below to navigate to North Sands car park using the postcode TQ8 8LD, located directly opposite the beach.
The nearest bus stop is Shadycombe Road in Salcombe, just over a mile from the beach. The Tally Ho 606 service runs from Kingsbridge to Salcombe from Monday to Saturday.
At just over a mile south of Salcombe town centre, North Sands is easily walkable and well signposted. From Fore Street, walk south. Stay on this road, which will become Cliff Road and keep going until you arrive at the beach. North Sands will be on your left.
The car park at North Sands is owned by South Hams District Council and operated by RingGo parking. You can either pay at the meter or by using the RingGo app. The location code is 3489 and the charging period is everyday between 08:00 to 18:00. South Hams Car Park Permits are valid at North Sands Car Park. If you are coming from outside of Salcombe and need to park, arriving early is best during peak times as despite having around 80 spaces, the car park can fill up very quickly.
Seasonal South Hams Parking Permits are provided with several of our holiday homes, which entitle visitors to park at North Sands Car Park free of charge (please check permit details for more information). For non-permit holders, see this page for further details on parking charges at North Sands.
We understand that a holiday in Salcombe is the perfect opportunity to discover South Devon’s wealth of secluded coves and sandy beaches. Whether you choose to spend your day swimming in the sea, building sandcastles or just relaxing on the beach, we have the perfect property for you. Choose from an abundance of self-catering holiday properties, including coastal cottages, those with sea views and even luxury dog-friendly properties. Whether it’s a beach break, romantic getaway or family holiday, Coast & Country Cottages offers holiday homes for all party sizes, tastes and requirements.