Donegal beaches are amongst the best in the world, and perfect for a walk, swim, paddle or just to blow the cobwebs away. Pack the bucket and spades, slap on the suncream and get ready to discover some truly fantastic sand spots with these stunning Donegal beaches!
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Get set to make some lifelong family memories with a truly unique beach day. Fanad, Inishowen and all that Donegal has to offer can be seen from the shoreline on beaches that have received worldwide attention.
With more Blue Flag beaches than any other county and voted best in the world on many occasions, these Donegal beaches have to be seen to be believed!
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Splash Around at These Donegal Beaches
Marble Hill Beach, Dunfanaghy
Marble Hill beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Donegal. At high tide it is split into two different sections, with several small yachts and boats moored in the bay during the summer season.
This beach is popular with swimmers, surfers, bathers, as well as those looking for beach walks and kids set on building sand castles.
Rossnowlagh Beach, or ‘The Heavenly Cove’, is regarded by many as the most scenic and dramatic beach in the whole of the Northwest. Located 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 water sports and frequented by walkers all year round. Cars are permitted on the strand making it an extremely popular with families.
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Pollan Beach, Ballyliffin
Located on the northwestern tip of the Inishowen Peninsula, picturesque Pollan Bay is a long stretch of sandy beach looking out towards Glashedy Island.
Water sports fans will find plenty to entertain them, particularly windsurfing, while kids will be enthralled with the fantastic eco-friendly playground beside the beach.
Located approx 2km from Portnoo, 8km from Ardara or 10km from Glenties, the Narin/Portnoo beach is a sheltered cove approximately 2km long.
Inishkeel Island is only 250m from the beach and can be reached by foot at low tide, by crossing a tidal sand bank – a real adventure the kids will love!
There are toilet facilities near the beach with ample parking also available. Local shops, bars and restaurants are within walking distance.
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Fintra is located about 1.5km from Killybegs on the way to Kilcar/Glencolmcille. It is a long sandy beach that stretches about 1km along the bay.
The sheltered sandy beach 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.
Five Fingers Strand
One of the most scenic areas of Donegal, Five Fingers Strand on the Inishowen peninsula features some of the highest sand dunes in Europe, reaching up to 30m in height!
There is plenty to see and discover here, and the kids will be fascinated with all the tidepools, dunes and shoreline to explore.
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Murvagh is located about 10km from Donegal Town on the way to Ballyshannon. It is a long sandy and sheltered beach that stretches about 2kms along the bay.
The water is generally warm and pleasant to swim in. As it is only a metre deep, thanks to lying on a long flat plateau of sand banks, it is ideal for children to paddle and swim.
The beach is flanked by sand dunes on its leeward side and the extensive dune system in this area is a designated Special Area of Conservation. These dunes lead in to Murvagh forest which has plenty of little clearings and picnic tables. There are also 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.
Ballymastocker Bay, Portsalon
Ballymastocker Bay, also known as Portsalon Beach, lies on the shores of Lough Swilly between Rathmullan and Fanad. Located in a Natural Heritage Area, the best view
Voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the perfect golden sand at Ballymastocker stretches for over a mile towards the little harbour town of Portsalon.
This stunning sandy beach is perfect for swimming, splashing, sailing or surfing. Stretching for approximately 3km, Rathmullan Beach is a real paradise and a hidden gem along Lough Swilly.
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Culdaff Blue Flag Beach on the Inishowen Peninsula is ideal for swimming and sunbathing. It has plenty of rock pools for paddling, or wildlife watching, and there’s a Special Area of Conservation nearby.
Lisfannon 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 classified as being of Regional Importance. Lisfannon is a major recreational beach for locals and particularly for day-trippers from Derry City.
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Downings is a seaside town that comes alive in summertime! The beach at Downings is a family favourite with 5km of strand, it can cater for the large crowds it gets.
Close to Annagry, Carrickfinn is an extensive sandy beach with a good dune system. Situated 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!
Killahoey, more commonly known as Dunfanaghy beach, 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.
Situated on the east coast of the Inishowen peninsula, an 4km from the small fishing village of Greencastle, Kinnagoe Bay is secluded and photo-worthy small stretch of beach at the base of a steep, sloping hillside.
The sandy Bundoran Beach is very popular, particularly with surfers, and located close to the town’s main street, with plenty of cafes, restaurants and amenities to avail of.
There’s ample parking, picnic tables and children’s playground nearby.
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What are your favourite Donegal beaches? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!