Seaside days out

Discover the shores of Wales

We look after many special places around the coastline of Wales, from National Nature Reserves with huge sand dunes to forests near beaches.

Each place has walking trails and information panels to help you make the most of your visit.

Wales has the best bathing water quality in the UK and many of our beaches have awards such as Blue Flags, Green Coast Awards and Seaside Awards. 

Read on to find out more about our best places to visit for a seaside day out or set off on your own adventure along the Wales Coast Path.

Newborough National Nature Reserve and Forest, Anglesey

Newborough Warren and the island of Ynys Llanddwyn are part of Wales’ first coastal National Nature Reserve and the sand dunes, coastal marshes and rocky shores are home to an array of plants and animals.

Alongside the reserve is a large conifer forest, home to one of the UK’s most important red squirrel conservation sites.

Enjoy a stroll along the beach or follow one of our waymarked walking or cycling trails.

Look out for the colourful flowers that carpet the dunes in summer and migrating waders, ducks and geese in the estuaries during the autumn and winter.

There’s also a running trail, a trim trail, and a family-friendly animal puzzle trail.

Find out more about visiting Newborough National Nature Reserve and Forest

Morfa Dyffryn and Morfa Harlech, near Barmouth

The huge sand dunes of Morfa Dyffryn and Morfa Harlech are home to some very specialised plants and animals including spectacular orchids in spring and summer and impressive fungi in autumn.

The short wooden boardwalk from the car park to the beach at Morfa Dyffryn is flat and wide and suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs; there is a viewpoint with picnic bench at the end.

Morfa Harlech is about six miles north of Morfa Dyffryn along the A496.

Here a public footpath leads from the car park to the beach with its impressive views to Snowdonia and the Llŷn peninsula.

Find out more about visiting Morfa Dyffryn National Nature Reserve

Find out more about visiting Morfa Harlech National Nature Reserve

Dyfi National Nature Reserve and Ynyslas Visitor Centre, near Aberystwyth

The superb dunes of Ynyslas are at the southern side of the Dyfi Estuary and are the largest in Ceredigion.

The estuary has vast areas of internationally important mudflats, sandbanks and saltmarsh that provide feeding and roosting areas for wetland birds.

Explore the dunes, beach and seashore on the walking trails from the car park or simply follow your nose and take in the wide open spaces and spectacular views over the estuary.

Ynyslas Visitor Centre has an exhibition about what to see at the reserve, and a shop selling hot and cold drinks, snacks, books and local produce.

Please note the beach has a red flag for bathing due to the dangerous strong tidal currents and swimming and inflatables are not allowed.

Find out more about visiting Dyfi National Nature Reserve

Oxwich National Nature Reserve, Gower

The long sandy beach at Oxwich is one of the best in Wales and you can enjoy a great family day out here - jumping in the surf, exploring the rock pools, and taking in the views across the bay.

Hard as it may be to drag yourself away from the beautiful beach, if you walk a little way inland you’ll be rewarded with a wildlife oasis in the dunes, home to rare creatures and colourful wildflowers.

This varied reserve also includes saltmarsh, freshwater lakes, woodland and limestone cliffs, together with all the diverse wildlife that such a range of habitats supports.

The Penrice Estate provides visitor facilities at Oxwich beach.

Find out more about visiting Oxwich National Nature Reserve

Pembrey Forest, near Llanelli

Pembrey Forest is a huge pine forest which was created on sand dunes as part of a programme to replace woods cut down to supply timber for the two World Wars.

Today Pembrey Forest is home to plants, butterflies, migrant songbirds and birds of prey.

Our waymarked walking trail follows old train tracks through the trees to the ruins of a First World War ammunition factory.

The forest is next to Pembrey Country Park (run by Carmarthenshire County Council) which is run by Carmarthenshire County Council and has a range of leisure activities.

Find out more about visiting Pembrey Forest

Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve, South Wales

This wildlife haven of reedbeds, saltmarsh and saline lagoons is one of the best places in Wales to see wild birds.

They flock here because the reserve provides plentiful food, shelter, and clean water and, whatever time of year you visit, you will be sure to spot and hear many different species.

Enjoy the network of paths around the reedbeds and scan the pools from one of the viewing platforms or head for the coast and the East Usk Lighthouse from where there are views over the Severn Estuary.

Many of the paths around the reedbeds are accessible for wheelchairs.

The visitor centre, café and shop are run by the RSPB.

Find out more about visiting Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve

Wales Coast Path

At 870 miles long, the Wales Coast Path goes around the coastline from Chester to Chepstow.

It is is signposted with distinctive blue and yellow dragon shell signs.

The northern section offers craggy and dramatic coastal views with the stunning backdrop of Snowdonia National Park.

The path through mid and west Wales boasts many beautiful beaches from sheltered coves to huge sandy stretches, and Cardigan Bay is home to the UK’s biggest pod of dolphins.

The route through South Wales is full of variety, taking in city landscapes, village life and magnificent estuary views.

Go to the Wales Coast Path website

Plan your trip

Follow the links below to find out about public transport, read what the Countryside Code says about water-based activities or to check bathing water quality.

For information on public transport go to the Traveline Cymru website

Go to the Countryside Code webpages

Search our online map to check the quality of bathing water

Looking for more?

We are one of the biggest providers of outdoor recreation facilities in Wales.

Our hundreds of walking trails, world-class mountain biking trails, visitor centres and picnic areas are set in woodlands and National Nature Reserves in some of the most stunning parts of the country.

Find out about visiting our woodlands and National Nature Reserves

Find out about things to do in our woodlands and National Nature Reserves

Last updated