Before I begin I must admit that I am truly biased to Scottish beaches. Scotland is my home, I’ve grown up surrounded by beautiful countryside and love exploring my country, particularly the coastal areas. I do love being beside the sea, it’s my happy place and I have spent many happy hours on Scottish beaches, they are every bit as beautiful as those I’ve visited abroad, even if the temperature isn’t quite the same.
Over the years I’ve found many little gems, perfect Scottish beaches that may not be known by the masses, so if you are looking for a great beach to visit without the hordes arriving too, check out these Scottish beaches below.
10 Magical Scottish Beaches
Camusdarach Beach, Arisaig
The area of Arisaig can get very busy during the summer, but the beaches are still fairly quiet along Camusdarach bay and the smaller beaches close by. The views are absolutely stunning, glistening sea and looming islands of Rum and Eigg in the distance, it’s the perfect place to spend a day!
Children and adults alike will love paddling in the shallow water and climbing on the rocky outcrops to spot wildlife in the sea. It’s a really easy to find, just head past Arisaig, turning off onto the B8008 and find somewhere to park along the roadside. Or even better stay right by the beach at one of the many campsites along this stretch.
Leim Beach, Gigha
Gigha is a small Scottish island that doesn’t have the same level of tourism as other islands. Even those tourists who do visit tend to stay around the village area rather than exploring further around the small island.
At the South of Gigha, along some rough tracks, is Leim beach. A beautiful stretch of white sand beach with rocky outcrops to explore, including a great quartz outcrop. The water is clear and perfect for a paddle! And of course you are unlikely to see many other people in the area too.
Twin Beaches, Vatersay
We had a fantastic time exploring the Uist’s and Barra, but the beach on Vatersay at the very South of the chain is a brilliant one for wild waves and a beautiful stretch of beach. It may be quite remote, but you are likely to share the beach with at least one or two other families!
Bring body boards to have fun on the great waves and shallow water! But brace yourself for the cold water!
Langamull Beach, Mull
Mull is well known for it’s beautiful beaches, such as Calgary in the West, however you’ll find them full of other people in the summer season! Instead, head to Langamull beach, a 20-30 minute walk from a little car park just off the B8073 between Dervaig and Calgary. Follow the well worn track from the car park toward the beach and you’ll be rewarded with a quiet, serene little beach.
There are rocky outcrops and space to spread out with the kids, playing on the white sands, catching fish in the shallows and swimming in the sea! Just bring everything with you to the beach as it’s a bit too far to walk back to the car for the picnic!!
Balranald Bay, North Uist
North Uist is a remote but stunning island in the Outer Hebrides island chain. The beach at Balranald is sheltered in a large crescent shape of white sand with dunes behind. The shallow, crystal clear water is stunning and so easy to search for tiny fish or other creatures in.
If you walk a little further on you get to the RSPB reserve, which is awash with birdlife during the spring and summer. We visited in May and it was an awesome sight! We even managed to spot the elusive Corncrake nearby, a bird I had been stalking for our Uist’s trip, easy to hear, but very hard to spot!!
Eastside Beach, South Ronaldsay
The Orkney islands are a windswept and intriguing place to visit. We loved our trip to the islands and especially enjoyed a little beach on the East of South Ronaldsay by St Peter’s Church.
You can park beside the church and enjoy the sandy stretch of beach with few if any other visitors. Of course you can’t guarantee the heat and I would recommend a woolly hat at any time of year!
Traigh Ban Nam Monach, Iona
Head to Fionnphort on Mull and take the (very) short ferry journey across to Iona. Walk along the road past the abbey to the North East of the island. Monks beach (the English translation) is through the gate, across the grazing land looking over to the islands of Mull, Ulva and Staffa.
Perfect views from the stunning little island and surprisingly good weather during the spring and summer too!
Saint Cyrus, Aberdeenshire
The Sands of St Cyrus is part of St Cyrus National Nature Reserve, a huge sweep of sand with the North Sea crashing against the sand. You can find shelter in the little wooden structures that locals have made, but I would definitely recommend a wind break if you can bring it down over the dunes, for nothing else except to keep the sand out of your picnic!
It’s a stunning stretch of beach and a good stopping place on the route to or from Aberdeen.
Ballantrae Beach, Ayrshire
I spent quite a bit of time wandering up and down Ballantrae beach in my pre-kids days. I was working in the area for a few nights every month or so and during the day I loved to sit on the beach and listen to the shingle getting dragged back and forward by the waves. It’s such a lovely calming sound and not one you find on most Scottish beaches! We generally have beautiful stretches of white sands rather than shingle.
This is also a great beach to search for sea glass, the stones help round off the edges, so you can find some beautiful pieces just ready for crafting or decoration at home.
To find Ballantrae, follow the A77 South of Girvan or North from Stranraer.
Carrick Bay, Dumfries and Galloway
Although we’ve never visited Carrick Bay, I’ve heard good things about this beach. It’s located West of Kircudbright (pronounced kir-coo-brae) and is a 100m wide stretch of sand in a sheltered bay that’s perfect for swimming and kayaking or paddle boarding.
There is a small parking area and as it’s quite far from any big towns or villages it’s generally quiet and a great spot for a picnic in the spring and summer.