A guide to the coast

Bring your bucket and spade and prepare to discover hidden gems, isolated spots and captivating landscapes all encased within the Highland’s beautiful beaches.

A guide to the coast

Hayley on Aug 19, 2015

The beaches in the highlands offer some of the most beautiful coastline found in Scotland. Home to some of Scotland’s finest beaches they are the perfect locations for soaking up Scotland’s stunning scenery, read on to discover some our favourite beaches to visit during your holiday in the Highlands.

Big Sand Beach

This sheltered sand and shingle beach is in a secluded and remote location which is protected from the prevailing Hebrides winds by Longa Island. The beach is accessed via an extensive network of sand dunes, and with it being a dog-friendly beach provides a wealth of stunning walks, with panoramic views over to the mountains of Skye and Torrindon, allowing you to capture the most spectacular sunsets. The beach was awarded a Rural Seaside Award in 2004 and offers various facilities to its visitors including toilets, showers and a small shop.

Sandwood Bay

Claimed by some as the most beautiful beach in Britain, this wild and spectacular bay, situated in Kinlochbervie is a rugged and picturesque wide strip of nearly 1.5 miles of pink sand stretching along the coast line, which is backed by dunes and a fresh water loch (which is full of brown trout) and framed by rocky cliffs and a giant sea stack. Sandwood Bay is in a remote location with no road access, but it can be reached by a four mile, well-trodden path leading from the car park in Blairmore. This is a dog friendly beach and provides some stunning sea-side walks.

Achmelvich Bay

Achmelvich Bay is a stunning white sandy beach with granite outcrops that divide the beach into sections. Lying three miles North West of Lochinver it is a sheltered spot nestled amongst the rock bays and headlands and is Scotland’s own little corner of paradise. Achmelvich Bay is dog friendly during the off peak tourist season and is a popular spot with water skiers, windsurfers, kayakers and fishers with cod, haddock, whiting, pollock, saithe and mackerel being common catches; making it a bustling beach during the summer months. You will be spoilt for choice with the striking views surrounding the area including the profile of the west end of the famous Suilven.

Gairloch Beach

This sheltered spectacular sandy beach is situated on the southern outskirts of the village of Gairloch with free parking available. There is easy access to the beach with it being just a short distance along a wooden boardwalk. Gairloch Beach is popular with families as it is very safe and secluded whilst also being dog friendly, take in the stunning views of Minch surrounded by mountains and moorland or the sun setting over the nearby islands. Home to sand dunes, a nine hole golf course and a rugged back drop of wild heather and jagged rocks makes for a stunning diverse landscape.

Embo Beach

Embo Beach is a stunning stretch of golden sands edged by a belt of sand dunes running from the village of Embo to the mouth of the River Fleet. The clear water has earned Embo beach a blue flag for the second year running and this factor coupled with the fact it is dog friendly makes it a popular choice for families. Behind the beach there is a network of paths through the high sand dunes which makes it a perfect spot to see the spectacular burnet rose or the local wildlife. This beautiful sandy beach offers free parking and facilities that include toilets and a shop.

Nairn Beach

Nairn Beach is a spectacular sandy beach in the middle of Nairn and is a fantastic attraction which is particularly popular with families in the summer months. The beach has beautiful views across the Moray Firth to the Black Isles and is home to a resident school of dolphins. Nairn Beach is backed by low sand dunes and a promenade with an open grassy area making it a lovely dog walking spot – who are also welcome on the beach. There are many facilities available including a paddling pool, toilets tea rooms and a summer activity programme.

Top tips

  • Due to the remote location of many of the beaches in Scotland, it can be a good idea to pack a picnic so you don’t have to walk miles when you’re feeling peckish
  • Don’t forget to pack your swimming things and a body board/surf board to make the most of the clear waters
  • Always keep some change in your car to ensure easy parking
  • Pack a camera to capture that unmissable shot
  • Pack a wind break and blankets for when the wind picks up
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