Surfing is more than just a sport; it's a way of life!  

If you're an avid surfer or a curious beginner, South Devon is a hidden gem that offers some of the most stunning and exhilarating surfing experiences in the country. With its picturesque coastline, diverse wave breaks, and vibrant surfing community, South Devon is a haven for wave riders of all skill levels. Let's dive into the best beaches to catch waves and soak up the surfing culture in this charming region. 

Bantham Beach 

Bantham Beach is often hailed as the jewel in South Devon's surfing crown. Nestled in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this sandy haven is known for its consistent waves, making it a popular spot for both beginners and experienced surfers. The gently rolling waves that break over a sandy bottom provide a safe and inviting environment for newcomers to learn the basics, while more seasoned riders can test their skills on the larger sets further out. The stunning surroundings add an extra layer of magic to the experience, making Bantham a must-visit destination for any surf enthusiast. 

Once you’ve had enough of the waves there’s a pub nearby serving great beer and home-cooked meals. If you want to stay near the beach there are plenty of great B&Bs in the local village. The beach is well served with its own facilities, including a beach shop where you can buy all those little essentials.   

Bigbury-On-Sea Beach 

A short distance from Bantham Beach lies Bigbury-on-Sea, another idyllic surfing spot in South Devon. Known for its beauty as well as its waves, this beach offers a more relaxed atmosphere and is perfect for those seeking a quieter, less crowded experience. With its diverse range of waves, Bigbury-on-Sea caters to all levels of surfers. Beginners can ride the mellower waves closer to shore, while more advanced surfers can challenge themselves on the larger sets. 

To give you some peace of mind, there are lifeguards present at Bigbury on Sea beach during May to September and the beach also has a first-aid room. The beach has excellent water quality so you can be sure the whole family is safe to enjoy the sea.  

Bigbury on Sea Beach is also home to good facilities including Venus Café, a foodie spot that specialises in selling organic and local food. 

Challaborough Bay Beach 

For those seeking a quieter, more intimate surfing experience, Challaborough Bay is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This charming cove is sheltered by cliffs, creating a more secluded atmosphere compared to the more well-known beaches.  

The waves here are manageable for beginners, but experienced surfers can still find opportunities to have fun and challenge themselves. The picturesque surroundings and smaller crowds add to the allure of Challaborough Bay. 

Challaborough Bay Beach is flanked by the fantastic Challaborough Bay Holiday Park, where throughout the holiday season refreshments and a beach shop can be found. During the summer months the beach has RNLI lifeguards and operates a summer dog ban. 

Thurlestone Bay Beach 

Thurlestone Bay is a well-kept secret among local surfers. Its pristine shores and peaceful ambiance create a serene backdrop for a day of catching waves. The bay's crescent shape provides protection from the wind, resulting in relatively consistent wave conditions. This makes Thurlestone Bay an excellent spot for beginners looking to build confidence on the board. The beach's gentle waves and forgiving breaks ensure that newcomers have a positive introduction to the world of surfing. 

If visiting, don’t forget to check out the glorious Thurlestone Hotel - just five minutes from the beach! The hotel offers first class accommodation, with the Voyage Luxury Spa and leisure facilities on site, and a beautiful coastal golf course.    

Beesands Beach 

Beesands Beach is characterised by its uncrowded nature and relatively consistent waves, making it an ideal destination for both novice and intermediate surfers. The beach's gently rolling waves provide an excellent learning environment for beginners, while those with more experience can still find joy in riding the waves further out. Its sheltered position also means that Beesands enjoys relatively favourable conditions, making it a reliable spot to catch some waves. 

Beesands has a free car park close to the beach and there’s a beach shop and café where you can grab a drink and a light bite and pick up those forgotten beach essentials. To get a real flavour of the West Country, there are several guest houses and B&Bs within walking distance of the sands. 

Start Bay 

If you're an experienced surfer looking for a challenge, Start Bay might be your ultimate playground. Known for its powerful waves and exposed location, this spot demands respect and skill. The rugged beauty of Start Bay adds to the thrill of riding its waves, making it a destination that serious surfers won't want to miss. 

Whether you're a beginner eager to ride your first wave or an experienced surfer seeking new challenges, South Devon offers a range of beaches and breaks to suit your preferences. With its stunning landscapes, welcoming communities, and vibrant surfing culture, this region is a true haven for wave enthusiasts. So, pack your bag, wax up your surfboard, and get ready for an unforgettable surfing adventure along the captivating shores of South Devon – the waves are calling! 

Find out more about water sports and suppliers across South Devon here

Have we picked your favourite surfing spot? Or is there a place that we’ve missed? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (X) by tagging @VisitSouthDevon, we’d love to see snaps of you catching the waves too!




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