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Travel + Fun

18th Jun 2024

6 destinations for family beach days in Mayo, Sligo and Donegal

Sarah McKenna Barry

Brought to you by Discover Ireland

Pack your togs, grab your bucket and spade and hit up some of our favourite beaches in the north west Wild Atlantic Way.

Whether you’re a family of sea-swimmers, sand-castle builders or you just enjoy spending the day by the sea, adding a beach day to your getaway is a sure-fire way to make your trip unforgettable.

Many of us have cherished memories from our own childhoods of sprawling summers spent on the Irish coast, and today these beaches are waiting for us to revisit with our own children. Book a family getaway to the Wild Atlantic Way, pack your togs, your bucket and spade, because this summer calls for a beach getaway.

To help plan your break, we’ve put together some of our favourite beaches in Mayo, Sligo and Donegal. Here, you’ll find refreshing waters and lots to do in the surrounding area, from nearby attractions to places to grab lunch.

Kinnagoe Bay, Co. Donegal

Make family memories this summer with a day spent at the idyllic Kinnagoe Bay, a secluded sandy beach in the Inishowen Peninsula in Co. Donegal. Thanks to its enviable location on a steeply sloping hillside, beach days here feel like you’ve found a real hidden gem. Between sea swims, book an unforgettable family experience at Inish Adventures, where a range of family-friendly activities await, including kayaking, orienteering and surfing. There’s even a floating waterpark your little ones will love! And, for a tasty family meal nearby, pop into The Cosy Cottage.

Rosses Point, Co. Sligo

Rock pools, refreshing waters and fabulous views await visitors to this beloved Sligo beach. Enjoy a dip, a paddle or a stroll at Rosses Point while taking in the dramatic surroundings of Knocknarea, Benbulben, the Dartry mountain range and Sligo Bay. To add even more adventure to your Sligo sojourn, book a surfing lesson with the Strandhill Surf School or enjoy a family walk along the Queen Maeve Trail. All that exploring will have worked up an appetite, so grab a family lunch at Austies in Rosses Point. Your little ones are sure to find something tasty off their Junior Crew Menu.

Old Head Beach, Co. Mayo

A huge range of sea sports await visitors to Old Head Beach, so you’ll find plenty of activities to keep your little ones entertained during your getaway – from swimming to surfing to scuba diving to snorkelling. In addition to these sports, Old Head Beach is incredibly picturesque. As you relax on its sandy shore, take in views of the rocky cliffs and the immense Croagh Patrick. Between beach days, get your dose of history and culture at the Granuaile Centre in Louisburgh. For a bite to eat, check out The Tavern Bar and Restaurant.

Streedagh Beach, Co. Sligo

Streedagh Beach is renowned as a surfer’s paradise, and if you’ve got a budding surfer at home it’s a must-visit during your Sligo getaway. Book a lesson with Epic Adventures or simply enjoy a swim, paddle or walk at this long, sandy beach. To level up your Sligo getaway check out a sheepdog demonstration with Atlantic Sheepdogs, book a pony-trekking experience with Island View Riding Stables and enjoy a family meal at Henry’s Bar and Restaurant.

Pollan Bay, Co. Donegal

Situated on the northwestern tip of the Inishowen Peninsula, Pollan Bay makes an excellent addition to your next Donegal getaway. Enjoy a dip in the refreshing waters and take in the impressive views of Malin Head, Glashedy Island and the Isle of Doagh. As well as a beautiful beach, Pollan Bay boasts an eco-friendly play area that your little ones will love. During your break, book a super unique experience with the Wild Alpaca Way, and refuel at The Butterbean Restaurant.

Keem Bay, Co. Mayo

Last year, Keem Bay in Co. Mayo was named one of the best beaches in the world, and as a result no visit to Achill Island is complete without spending a day at this pristine beach. Take in the breathtaking surroundings of the cliffs of Benmore and Croaghaun Mountain from the golden sand or while swimming in the ocean. After your beach day, explore the area on a deeper level by renting a bike courtesy of Achill Bikes. When hunger hits, head to Achill Cliff House Restaurant for a hearty family dinner.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next short break along the north west Wild Atlantic Way today.

Brought to you by Discover Ireland.

The Leave No Trace principles help us make as little an impact as possible on the incredible Irish landscape as we explore the outdoors this summer and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help us protect the natural environment. Love this place, leave no trace. 

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