Scarborough is renowned for its sun, sea, sand, and gorgeous rock pools. Here’s all you need to know about Scarborough beaches.
Scarborough is known for its many seaside attractions and popularity as a vacation destination. The North Yorkshire town boasts a nearly two-mile-long stretch of sand split almost evenly in two by a tall, castle-topped headland; Scarborough’s waterfront has transformed since beachgoers first enjoyed it in Victorian times. To help you make the most of your time on this lovely stretch of coastline, we’ve compiled this list of beaches in Scarborough.
Scarborough Beach is the sandy seafront that stretches north from Scarborough Spa, the town’s Victorian-era entertainment and conference centre, to the historic Grand Hotel Scarborough. Although mostly covered at high tide, it’s here that many families will grab a spot when the waters of the North Sea recede. With buckets and spades ready, the kids will be entertained for hours, building sandcastles and playing in the sand. Older kids and adults can try water sports such as paddle boarding or surfing.
This is a perfect spot for a good beach day, with plenty of amenities, cafes, restaurants, and shops nearby. The hilltop Clock Café serves excellent coffee, snacks, and afternoon teas. Nearby is the St. Nicholas Cliff Lift, which connects the seafront with the bridge and town.
South Bay Beach
South Bay Beach is framed on one side by Scarborough Harbour and stretches southward past St. Nicholas Gardens to the blue roundabout where Foreshore Road turns into Cleveland Way. Thanks to its location close to top Scarborough attractions and its proximity to numerous entertainment and dining options, it’s the busiest of the town’s beaches.
Families love it for its wide, soft sandy beach with its shallow shoreline that’s perfect for kids to splash about in. South Bay is sheltered by the Castle Headland and is also south-facing. Adventurers and outdoors enthusiasts love South Bay Beach, too. Popular water sports include sea swimming, surfing, kayaking, and paddle boarding.
North Bay Beach
Located on the north side of the Castle Headland, North Bay Beach is a Blue Flag-awarded beach less affected by traffic noise than South Bay, making it a popular spot for those who enjoy a more relaxing beach experience. Backed by a long, wide esplanade and cliffs, the beach here is a mix of soft and hard sands, with the firmer, more packed section revealed when the tide is out. In addition to playing in the sand and splashing in the clear waters here, kids can also enjoy exploring the exposed rock pools for marine life at low tide.
Beach huts are available for rent by the day or week, and lifeguards are on duty in peak season. North Bay Beach is also famous among water sports enthusiasts and has earned a reputation for its excellent surfing conditions. You can also get in some great views of the North Sea and coastline, including some wildlife spotting, by taking the 30-minute sightseeing walk along Marine Parade back toward South Bay Beach. In addition to nesting seabirds, you might get lucky and even see dolphins and seals swimming by.
Cayton Bay is a large bay away from the busy main beaches in Scarborough that we have previously mentioned. Here families can relax and enjoy a beach day. Cayton Bay feels very rural, with its lush woodland spilling onto the beach. If you fancy walking to this beach, it’s possible to walk there from Scarborough following the Cleveland Way; each way will take roughly 90 minutes. However, please be aware there is a steep climb down to access this beach, which is unsuitable for wheelchair users or anyone with mobility issues.
The remoteness of Cayton Bay makes it extremely popular with surfers and windsurfers. The Scarborough Surf School is located on this beach and offers lessons and equipment rentals if you fancy trying it. Cayton Bay Beach is also a popular place for birdwatching in Scarborough, where you can spot many species of birds that nest in the cliffs overlooking the beach. Lucy’s Shack at the north end serves hot drinks in real mugs, bacon butties and homemade cakes at a reasonable price.
Cornelian Bay is another beach that is not easy to access and is one of Scarborough’s most remote beaches. You can find it between Scarborough’s South Bay and Cayton Bay. There is only one access point, via a steep and sandy path just south of a rocky promontory known as White Nab. With no parking and no facilities, this spot is for beachgoers who want a bit of adventure. There are lots of rockpools to discover here.
Are dogs allowed on the beaches in Scarborough?
Yes, with restrictions during the summer months, from the 1st of May to the 30th of September, there are seasonal dog bans on the North Bay and South Bay Beaches. On these beaches, there are dog-friendly areas (even during summer), but they are in tidal areas, so it’s only possible to use them when the tide is out. There are no restrictions during winter.
There are signs along the coastline marking these areas and noting the restrictions, so please read these, be mindful and respectful to other beach users, and always check tide times before heading out with your dog.
We hope this article has helped you plan your visit to Scarborough and that you have learned more about its beautiful beaches. Please let us know your favourite Scarborough Beach in the comments; we love to hear from our readers.