The Best Scottish Beaches to Visit this Summer

Whether you’re into water-based adventure, fancy a stroll in the sand or a dip in the sea – there’s no better place to visit this summer.

With golden sands, rugged backdrops and crystal-clear waters – some of Scotland’s most incredible beaches can be found along the coastline of Argyll & the Isles.

Ostel Bay, Tighnabruaich

Considered by many as the finest beach in Cowal, Ostel Bay is a hidden gem with golden sands and stunning views across Loch Fyne to the Isle of Arran.

It’s a 15 minute from the road, but well worth the effort as you head through the dunes and onto the pristine sand. On a sunny day, it’s advisable to head along early as there’s no dedicated carpark and the roads get very busy.

Nearest Park – Hunters Quay Holiday Village – 27 miles (55 minutes)

Ostel Bay

Ardentinny Beach, nr Dunoon

Ardentinny hosts Cowal’s longest sandy beach, which is just a short drive from the popular town of Dunoon, yet well known for its tranquillity and beauty. It is situated on the top of Loch Long, looking across to Coulport, once familiar with Viking fleets and Gaelic raiders

It’s the ideal destination for a family day out or picnic, and there a varied network of woodland trails just off the beach to explore.

Nearest Park – Hunters Quay Holiday Village – 30 minutes (12.5 miles)

Baile Mòr, Iona

Just a short ferry journey from Fionnphort on the South of Mull, sits the Isle of Iona. Iona is a car-free island for visitors, so you’ll have to rely on public transport and walking, but Baile Mòr is located at the small ferry port, so you won’t have to travel far for this beautiful beach.

It’s perfect for artists, photographers, and wildlife spotters. Enjoy sunbathing on a nice day or take a stroll along the sands and up to the famous Iona Abbey, just 5 minutes away.

Iona Beach

Machir Bay, Islay

With over 2 miles of perfect sand, Machir Bay on the southern Hebridean island of Islay is widely regarded as one of the finest beaches in the country.  It’s pristine, clean and ideal for walkers (with a hillside trail offering dramatic views).

It’s easily accessible with a car as there is ample parking, just a short walk from the golden sands.

Machir Bay

Ganavan Sands, Oban

The picturesque Ganavan Sands is located just outside Oban, with spectacular views out across Mull, Morven & Lismore – it makes for an essential visit during a daytrip to the coastal town and is walking distance from Oban’s main attractions.

If you’d rather drive there is ample parking and a popular coastal walk – widely used for walking, running and cycling.

Nearest Park – Loch Awe Holiday Park – 25 min (16 miles)

Ganavan Sands

Calgary Bay, Mull

Situated at the North-West of Mull, just 12-miles from Tobermory, Calgary Bay is a broad and sandy beach facing across to Coll & Tiree.

On a nice day, the sea is an idyllic blue and worth a dip, whilst the beach provides arguably the finest sunsets on the west coast. There are toilet facilities and informal camping opportunities nearby, enabling visitors to make a night of it.

Nearest Park – Loch Awe Holiday Park (Ferry required from Oban) – 2h 30m (50 miles)

Calgary Bay

Westport Beach, Kintyre

With over six miles of striking golden sand, Westport Beach is one of the longest and most beautiful beaches in the west coast. It boasts a backdrop of the biggest sand dune area in the whole of Argyll and is popular with locals and day-trippers looking to walk, relax or enjoy a picnic.

It’s a golfer’s paradise as well – the beach is nestled against the famous Machrihanish Golf Course.

Mull of kintyre beach

Ettrick Bay, Bute

Once used as practice for D-Day landings, Ettrick Bay sits on the west side of the stunning Isle of Bute, facing the Kyles of Bute and – on a clear day – across to Arran.

The beach is popular throughout the summer months for bathing, watersports and family days out – The facilities include car parking, children’s play area, toilets and a small café, so there’s no excuse not to stick around.

Nearest Park – Hunters Quay Holiday Village (Ferry required from Colintraive) – 1 hour (25 miles)

Ettrick Bay

Carradale Bay, Kintyre

Situated on the east coast of Kintyre with incredible views across to Arran, the vast sandy beach of Carradale Bay is a must-visit on a trip to the west coast of Scotland.

If you fancy a refreshment, Carradale village is less than half a mile from the beach, with hotels, small shops and a village hall.

Nearest Park – Drimsynie Estate Holiday Village – 2h 15m (80 miles)

Carradale Bay

Crossapol Beach, Tiree

Dubbed the ‘Hawaii of the West’, the beautiful island of Tiree is a haven for surfers due to its challenging waves, with thrill seekers from across the world flocking to the Hebridean isle during the summer months.

There are acres of white sand (mostly free of seaweed), it’s safe to swim and the views are simply breath-taking.

Tiree Beach

Photos © Scottish Viewpoint