12 Blue Flag Beaches in Cork to Visit this Summer

Whether you’re eagerly awaiting your summer staycation or you’re planning the ultimate summer of beach day trips, the rebel county has it all when it comes to family activities. There is an abundance of blue flag beaches in Cork with activities nearby. Get ready to pack the picnic hampers, buckets & spades, and deck chairs and make the most of summer 2021. And if the weather gods don’t deliver, let’s enjoy outings with loved ones anyway and learn to dance in the rain. Check out our guide to top beaches in Cork below.

  1. Redbarn Beach & Youghal Claycastle Beach

Redbarn and Youghal Claycastle beaches will be full of nostalgic memories of childhood in Ireland for many Cork families. Only 40 minutes from Cork City, it’s the perfect spot for an impromptu day trip with the kids. With over 5km of shoreline from Redbarn to Youghal town, it is ideal for walkers and sand castle building alike. P.S don’t forget to pack the windbreaker – it can get quite blustery with a breeze from the east! 

Good To Know:

  • Blue flag status
  • Lifeguard service during peak summer months
  • New boardwalk from Youghal beach to Redbarn, suitable for wheelchairs and prams
  • Outdoor dining at Walter Raleigh Hotel
  • Visit Shanagarry Design Centre nearby
  • Visit Perks Amusements nearby
  • Visit Ballycotton Lighthouse & cliffside walk nearby

2. Barleycove

Located along the Mizen Peninsula, Barley Cove is the perfect spot to kick back, relax and just soak in the view. The glistening waters and sand dunes are unlike any other beach in the rebel county, making it truly unique. The fun little footbridge access to the main beach will be a novelty in itself for smaller kids. 

Good To Know:

  • Blue flag status
  • Lifeguard service during summer months
  • Busy during summer months – arrive early! 
  • Outdoor dining nearby in Barleycove Beach Hotel

3. Garretstown & Garrylucas Beaches


Garretstown boasts two large beaches, each with distinct benefits for young families to enjoy the best of both worlds. Garretstown main beach is a surfer and body boarder’s paradise with epic waves for those seeking a thrill. Garrylucas White Strand features a long golden shoreline. Ideal for a summer staycation, there are a number of mobile home parks and campsites nearby. 

Good To Know:

  • Blue flag status
  • Lifeguard service during summer months
  • Garrylucas White Strand more suitable to those with mobility issues
  • Bus service from Cork City to Garretstown 
  • Book a surf lesson at Garretstown Surf School
  • Busy during summer months – arrive early!
  • Pitstop at Diva Bakery in Ballinspittle for delicious baked treats
  • Visit the seaside town of Kinsale nearby

4. Inchydoney West Beach & East Beach 

Often named Ireland’s favourite beach on Tripadvisor, Inchydoney West and East Beaches are reminiscent of Cape Cod with miles of white sand, grass-filled sand dunes and sparkling waters. 

Good To Know:

  • Blue flag status
  • Lifeguard service during summer months
  • Book a surf lesson at Inchydoney Surf School
  • Busy during summer months – arrive early! Narrow roads leading to beach car park. Parking layout.
  • Stopover at Inchydoney Island Lodge Hotel
  • Visit Clonakilty Railway Village nearby
  • Nearby Clonakilty Park Hotel perfect for young families
  • Outdoor dining at The Fig & Olive in Clonakilty

5. Owenahincha Little Island Strand

Owenahincha Beach

Owenahincha Beach in west Cork has seen a much welcome revival due to the rise in summer staycations during 2020 and 2021. The vast sandy beach is ideal for surfing and watersports thanks to rough waters and waves aplenty. Numerous camping and caravan sites are located nearby. 

Good To Know:

  • Blue flag status
  • Lifeguard service during summer months
  • Visit The Lagoon Activity Centre Roscarbery
  • Visit Smuggler’s Cove Rosscarbery
  • Outdoor dining at Craft West Cork and The Celtic Ross

6. Tragumna Beach

Only 5km from the fishing town of Skibbereen in west Cork, Tragumna Beach is the perfect spot for families with younger children. A small and sheltered beach, the waters are calm for paddling and splashing on the water’s edge. 

Good To Know:

  • Blue flag status
  • Lifeguard service during summer months
  • Take a day trip by ferry to the Gaeltacht in Cape Clear 
  • Visit Liss Ard Estate’s iconic Sky Garden
  • Enjoy local farmers markets in Skibbereen 

7. The Warren 

The Warren Beach is sheltered amongst the sand dunes on a winding inlet at Roscarbery, west Cork. Enjoy fantastic cliffside walks, pier fishing and pitch and putt nearby. There is ample space available in the large car park, however it is best to arrive early during summer months to navigate the winding roads. 

Good To Know:

  • Blue flag status
  • Lifeguard service during summer months
  • Beach wheelchair available on request
  • Visit The Lagoon Activity Centre Roscarbery
  • Visit Smuggler’s Cove Rosscarbery
  • Experience the local cuisine with top rated restaurants in the village of Roscarbery

8. Kinsale Yacht Club & The Dock Beach

The Dock Beach is a little hidden gem for families with small children in the seaside town of Kinsale, Co Cork. With stunning views across to nearby Charles Fort and Summercove, the Dock is a safe haven with calm waters and golden sand. Pack up the car with picnic and beach essentials and make it a day trip to remember. 

Good To Know:

  • Sheltered Beach, fills up early during summer months
  • Parking spaces are limited 
  • Visit nearby Charles Fort 
  • Outdoor dining at the stunning Actons Hotel

 

9. Royal Cork Yacht Club

A short distance from Cork City, a day trip to Crosshaven is a must during summer. Enjoy the many waterfront walks and admire the yachts at the world’s oldest yacht club, founded in 1720. You will be spoiled for choice with small and sheltered beaches nearby that are perfect for young families. Choose from Myrtleville Beach, Rocky Bay, Robert’s Cove and Fountainstown Beach. 

Good To Know:

  • Bus service from Cork City to Fountainstown Beach
  • Crosshaven Amusements during summer months 
  • Enjoy outdoor dining at Bunnyconnellan’s at Myrtleville
  • Visit Camden Fort 
  • Visit Curraghbinny Woods nearby 

 

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

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