13 of the best Family Friendly Beaches in Donegal

With the longest coastline of all Ireland’s counties, it’s no surprise that the family-friendly beaches of Donegal have the highest number of blue flag awards. Not only is the rugged landscape and breathtaking views of the Wild Atlantic Way a huge wow factor for staycationers, the beaches in Donegal have a vast offering of watersports and activities meaning there is lots to do and explore for young families. Check out our top 13 of the best family-friendly beaches in Donegal on our bucket list this summer. 

 

  1. Downings Beach
Downings Beach, Co. Donegal

Located in the village of Downings at Sheephaven Bay, Downings Beach is a treasure trove for family adventures. Explore the inlet’s cliffs, sand dunes, salt marshes, and sandy beach. The sheltered bay makes conditions ideal for swimming and water activities.

Good To Know:

  • Blue Flag Status
  • Lifeguard Service
  • Sandy 
  • Beach wheelchairs available, for info see here

 

2. Rossnowlagh Beach

Rossnowlagh Beach, Co. Donegal

Renowned as one of the top beaches in Donegal for surfing, Rossnowlagh Beach is located just outside Donegal town. Stretching for over 4km, it is ideal for long walks with spectacular views out towards the Atlantic Ocean.

Good To Know:

  • Drive on to Beach 
  • Blue Flag Status
  • Lifeguard Service
  • Sandy  
  • Beach wheelchairs available, for info see here

 

3. Greencastle Marina & Stroove Beach

Stroove Beach, Co. Donegal

Greencastle Marina is situated in the seaside fishing village of Greencastle. Nearby Stroove Beach’s small and sandy strand makes it the perfect choice for a family day trip with younger children. The lifeguard service during summer months and sheltered bay is ideal for safe swimming and allows for easy viewing of the kids as they build sand castles and play ball along the shore. Lighthouse lovers will appreciate exploring Stroove Lighthouse which sits just above the beach and dates to 1837, while avid walkers can wander the many meandering and sandy paths in the area. 

Good To Know:

  • Blue Flag Status
  • Drive on to Stroove Beach
  • Lifeguard Service During Summer Months
  • Sheltered 
  • Sandy 

 

4. Rathmullan

Rathmullan.ie

The seaside village of Rathmullan’s beach is an off the beaten track gem. Located along the shore of Lough Swilly, its unspoiled 3km of sandy shores is perfect for a family day out. The calm waters are ideal for small kids to splash, play and paddle. Conditions are prime for water activities like sailing, canoeing and swimming. 

Good To Know:

  • Calm waters 
  • Perfect sailing conditions
  • Sandy

 

5. Bundoran Beach

Bundoran.ie

One of Donegal’s most well-known seaside towns, Bundoran has two beaches. Main beach is a surfer’s paradise and a well known hot spot for water activities. With an array of cafes, a funfair and Waterworld nearby, Bundoran is the perfect spot for a family staycation in Donegal. 

Good To Know:

  • Blue Flag Status
  • Lifeguard Service During Summer Months
  • Sandy

 

6. Carrickfin Beach

Carrickfinn, ,Co. Donegal

Located along Gweedore Bay and in the Gaeltacht region, Carrickfin feels like another world with its long stretch of white sand, grasslands and wildflowers. Located near the Gaeltacht region, it is filled with culture and Irish heritage. The perfect choice for an authentic back to basics Irish staycation. 

Good To Know:

  • Blue Flag Status
  • Lifeguard Service During Summer Months
  • Sandy
  • Beach wheelchairs available, for info see here

 

7. Culdaff Beach

Culdaff Beach, Donegal

Culdaff Beach is located on the Inishowen Peninsula. The ‘small beach’ and the ‘big beach’ are separated into zones by headlands the Black Rock, Bucker’s Rock and Lady’s Rock. This beach is popular for water activities and surfing. It is a busy hotspot for daytrippers during peak summer months.  

Good To Know:

  • Blue Flag Status
  • Lifeguard Service During Summer Months
  • Sandy

8. Fintra Beach

Fintra Beach, Donegal

Near the rural fishing village of Killybegs, Fintra Bay is a summer favourite for family day trippers during peak months. The road leading to the beach boasts views of Donegal Bay and on days blessed with blue skies, views stretch as far as Benbulben, Co Sligo. P.S set the alarm to arrive early as the car park fills up quickly!

Good To Know:

  • Blue Flag Status
  • Lifeguard Service During Summer Months
  • Sandy  
  • Busy Car Park During Peak Summer Months

 

9. Killahoey Beach

Killahoey Beach, Donegal

Killahoey Beach is located on the north coast of the county close to the village of Dunfanaghy. The vast sandy flat beach is unsheltered and can be quite windy making it the perfect conditions for family water sports like surfing and kite surfing.

Good To Know:

  • Blue Flag Status
  • Lifeguard Service During Summer Months
  • Sandy  

10. Portsalon Beach

Portsalon, Donegal

Portsalon Beach was once voted the second most beautiful beach in the world by readers of The Observer magazine – and it’s easy to see why! It’s inviting golden sands stretch for over one mile towards the harbour village of Portsalon. Located on Fanad Peninsula, the elevated car park makes for an excellent viewing point out to sea with breathtaking views of the Inishowen Peninsula. 

Good To Know:

  • Blue Flag Status
  • Viewing Point 
  • Lifeguard Service During Summer Months
  • Sandy  

 

11. Marble Hill Strand

Marble Hill, Donegal

Marble Hill Strand is located on Sheephaven Bay near the villages of Dunfanaghy and Portnablagh. Boasting extensive golden sands and panoramic views, the waters are calm and sheltered making them ideal for safe swimming. The many sand dunes surrounding the shores have an abundance of wildlife making them ideal for exploring, bird watching and discovering various flora and fauna. Don’t forget to take a snap for the family album at the Marble Hill Wild Atlantic Way sign! 

Good To Know:

  • Blue Flag Status
  • Lifeguard Service During Summer Months
  • Sandy  
  • Sheltered 
  • Beach wheelchairs available, for info see here

 

12. Murvagh Beach

Murvagh Beach, Donegal

Pack a picnic and get ready for a day-trip filled with family adventure. Murvagh Beach is a designated Special Area of Conservation. The sand dunes are rich with wildlife and lead directly from the beach to Murvagh Forest, making it a prime location to explore the best of what Donegal beaches have to offer. 

Good To Know:

  • Blue Flag Status
  • Lifeguard Service During Summer Months
  • Sheltered 
  • Sandy  

 

13. Nairn Beach

Nairn Beach, Donegal

An area of natural beauty, Nairn Beach is infamous for its golden white shores and glittering waters. In the distance, enjoy views of Inishkeel Island. When the tide is out, you can trek directly to the island where you will discover the ruins of two churches dating back to the 6th century. 

Good To Know:

  • Blue Flag Status
  • Lifeguard Service During Summer Months
  • Sandy  

 

Have a recommendation? We’d love to hear your tips for family-friendly staycations in Donegal. Submit your tips and reviews in the comment section below or share with us on Instagram @thefamilyedit

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