The magnificent cliffs and arches of Whiterocks Beach.
Come rain or shine there is always something to get you and your family going on Northern Ireland’s fabulous beaches.
Here are 10 great suggestions for a peachy good time on the beach.
1. Turn your hand to the sand
With your hands, bucket or spade as the time-honoured tools, make memories with the kids and dive in to some sandcastle building, sand angel making and message writing – there’ll be lots of laughs and photo opportunities. Sculpt a masterpiece, build a moat, or let the children bury you in the sand.
Where to do it: Brown’s Bay, County Antrim
Afterwards: treat everyone at the famous Rhinka Ice Cream parlour
2. Go on a barefoot walk
Relax, de-stress and reconnect to nature’s beauty with a barefoot morning walk along a cushion of golden sand. Besides being a treat for the senses, this simple pleasure burns off more calories than ‘normal’ walking. That means you can have a guilt-free slap up meal.
Where to do it: Magilligan Point, County Londonderry
Afterwards: The Point Bar and Restaurant for a tasty lunch
3. Play a Game of Thrones®
Several Northern Ireland beaches and coastal locations have appeared in the mega TV hit Game of Thrones®. So why not relive a scene from the medieval drama, or write your own wildlings and white walkers script? When it’s a wrap, head out for a drink and review the footage.
Where to do it: Downhill Strand
Afterwards: Frank Owens Bar in Limavady to see one of the Doors of Thrones
4. Rock the pools
At low tide, every rock pool on the Northern Irish coast holds a hoard of wild treasure for your family to discover. Set up a detective challenge to see who can spot the most unusual creatures. All you need is a bucket and a net.
Where to do it: Ballywalter Beach, County Down
Afterwards: drive over to the Exploris Aquarium and see another amazing array of marine life
5. Dine in a beach hut
Make a meal out of the full-on beach experience at Harry’s Shack in Portstewart. The sand from your shoes will sprinkle beneath the table as you eat. With breath-taking sea views, this cool and laidback beach side eatery majors on locally caught fresh fish and produce from the owner’s farm.
Where to do it: Portstewart Strand (Parking available, National Trust charges apply)
Afterwards: explore the Barmouth nature reserve, where the River Bann enters the Atlantic.
6. Get wet and wild
If it’s already wet you might as well jump in and get soaked from head to toe – pull on a wetsuit and learn how to surf, body board or stand up paddle at one of Northern Ireland’s great surf schools. After a day of adrenaline-fuelled fun you won’t even notice it’s stopped raining.
Where to do it: Portrush West Strand
Afterwards: a spa treatment at Aura Portrush or pile into Barry's Amusement Park
7. Seal the deal
Explore the mosaic of habitats around Northern Ireland’s sandy beaches and dunes. They’re fantastic for getting up close to nature, wildlife spotting and at some places there’s even a good chance of spotting seals bobbing around.
Where to do it: Murlough Nature Reserve, County Down
Afterwards: take a RIB ride on Strangford Sea Safari and up close to the seals
8. Take a dip and a fish n chip
With loads of sheltered bays, busy rock pools and empty shores to choose from, a dip in Northern Ireland’s clean open sea water is nothing short of exhilarating. Take the plunge and come back with a natural glow.
Where to do it: Ballygally Beach in County Antrim or the Rock Pool, Newcastle
Afterwards: buy take-away fish and chips and find a secluded spot to devour your seaside special.
9. Fly your kite
A breezy day on the beach is perfect for kite-flying fun. Chuck the computer games and let the kids get a breath of fresh air, while you nurture your inner child. Create some pretty sky ballet and spice up the excitement by seeing who stays longest in the air.
Where to do it: Helen’s Bay, Bangor
Afterwards: grab a burger or some fish fingers at Woodland Café in Crawfordsburn County Park
10. Laze on a lakeside
A beach on a lake? Oh yes, Northern Ireland has a few secluded gems, and the shimmering shores of Lough Erne are high on the list. Laze in the sun, dwell in the peace of the lapping waters. Or stay on to watch the magnificent red sunsets.
Where to do it: Muckross Bay, Kesh
Afterwards: wander around the village, Kesh, or head over for a peek at Belleek Pottery.
Don't want the fun to stop there? Then check out our rooms with a view to spend the night overlooking the beautiful beaches Northern Ireland has to offer.