Donegal Beaches


Donegal's Best Beaches

(All the beaches mentioned have lifeguards posted for the summer months.)


  • Bundoranlocated close to the main street. Popular with surfers. Ample parking, picnic tables and children's playground nearby.
  • Rossnowlagh – 'The Heavenly Cove' is regarded by many as the most scenic and dramatic beach in the whole of the Northwest., just 8km northwest of Ballyshannon and 16km south of Donegal Town, the beach has fantastic views of the Donegal Bay coastline.Set in a 4km crescent of golden sand, it is popular for all kinds of watersports and frequented by walkers all year round. Cars are permitted on the strand making it an extremely popular with families.
  • Narin/Portnoo is a sheltered cove beach approximately 2km long.  Approximately 2km from Portnoo, 8km from Ardara or 10km from Glenties Inishkeel Island is only 250metres from the beach and can be reached by foot at low tide, by crossing a tidal sand bank! There are toilet facilities near the beach with ample parking also available. Local shops, bars and restaurants are within walking distance.
  • Marble Hill – peaceful seaside location, popular for watersports and boat enthusiasts. The waves are great for beginner surfers.
  • Portsalon – on the shores of Lough Swilly. It is located in a Natural Heritage Area.
  • Rathmullanwhether you looking for a day of watersports, a lovely day out with the kids or a romantic walk with your other half, it's got it all.
  • Culdaffon the Inishowen Pennisula, ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Plenty of rock pools for paddling, or wildlife watching…with a Special Area of Conservation nearby.
  • Portarthur (Derrybeg) – 5km north of Derrybeg, this 1km stretch of sandy beach, with high dunes in the middle has fabulous views of Inishmeane and Inishsierre Islands
  • Ballyheeran (Fanad) – another beauty beach. Gently sloping beach making it safe for swimming and with 3km long it is ideal for walking.
  • CarrickfinnClose to Annagry, this is an extensive sandy beach with a good dune system. Situated in in the stunning Gweedore Bay which is a Natural Heritage Area with many varied coastal habitats. Keep an eye out for the dolphin, often sighted offshore!!
  • Downingsseaside town that comes alive in summertime. A family favourite.with 5km of strand, it can cater for the large crowds it gets.
  • Drumatinny (Fallcarragh) –
  • Fintra is located about 1.5kms from Killybegs on the way to Kilcar/GlenColmCille. It is a long sandy beach that stretches about 1kms along the bay. It is a sheltered sandy beach that receives large numbers of day trippers during the summer months and is also enjoyed by the local community.The beach is flanked by sand dunes on its landward side. These dunes lead in to the old Killybegs GAA pitch. Parking facilities are excellent with one very large car park
  • Kilahoey (Dunfanaghy) Killahoey is more commonly known as Dunfanaghy beach, it is situated down past Dunfanaghy Golf Course on the outskirts of the town. Killahoey is used mainly by locals and can be very windy as it is not a sheltered beach. A walk on this beach will reward you breathtaking views of Horn Head,  Muckish Mountain towering in the background and the Rossguill Peninsula reaching out across the bay. A panoramic vista not to be missed.
  • Lady's Bay (Buncrana)
  • Lisfannonthis is a sandy beach on the shores of Lough Swilly. The area is a Natural Heritage Area and a key wetlands site for birds. Fahan Wood within 1km of the beach is classfied as being of Regional Importance. Lisfannon is a major recreational beach for locals and particularly for day-trippers from Derry City.
  • Murvagh is located about 10kms from Donegal Town on the way to Ballyshannon. It is a long sandy beach that stretches about 2kms along the bay. The water is generally warm and pleasant to swim in and is only a meter deep as lies on a long flat plateau of sand banks. This makes it ideal for children to paddle and swim. An extensive sandy beach, it is calm and sheltered. The extensive dune system in this area is a designated Special Area of Conservation. The beach is flanked by sand dunes on its lee ward side. These dunes lead in to Murvagh forest which has many little clearings and picnic tables. There are many open spaces in the forest and the dunes, making it suitable for ball games etc. Parking facilities are excellent with one very large car park and many smaller areas along the beach front.
  • Portnablagh
  • Shroove is located on the east coast of the Inishowen peninsula a few miles north of the village of Greencastle. It is a relatively small beach.


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This website was created by Jill Holtz and Michelle Davitt, both of whom are mothers of young children. Jill and Michelle decided to create this resource themselves, and launched in 2007.