THE summer may not have brought the hot weather expected for this time of year but that’s no reason to stay cooped up in doors and not enjoy some of the many award winning beaches that are available all around Northern Ireland.
Spending time on the beach, soaking up the stunning views and fresh sea air is a great way to unwind, as you wiggle your toes in the sand or take a romantic stroll with a loved one. So grab your best friends, other half or family members and pack a picnic, fill a cooler bag with your favourite beverages and spend the day at the beach.
Tourism Northern Ireland’s Destination PR Officer, Pauline Gormley explains why spending time at one of Northern Ireland’s many beautiful beaches is the perfect way to spend a day:
“We would encourage everyone to enjoy a day trip or short break in Northern Ireland and what better excuse do you need than a visit to one of our wonderful beaches for a day of fun paddling with the kids or enjoying a leisurely stroll on the sand. If you prefer something more energetic then try windsurfing, paddle boarding or water skiing.
“Northern Ireland boasts a range of beautiful Blue Flag Beaches, some of which are located along the North Coast, which is the ideal starting point for a short break, but you will find stunning coastline, top rated hotels and exciting activities to try out no matter which beach you plan to visit,” added Pauline.
So if you want a beach with top rate amenities, including picnic and barbeque facilities for a family day out, activities including water sports or just fancy a brisk walk, NI beaches offer a truly unforgettable experience.
Tourism Northern Ireland has highlighted some of the best places to enjoy some summertime beach life:
Whitepark Bay, Co Antrim
Whitepark Bay near to Ballycastle is a spectacular sandy beach on the North Antrim Coast and is the perfect place to enjoy a road trip with friends. The beach is backed by ancient dunes which provide a range of rich habitats for bird and animal life.
Portstewart Strand, Co Antrim
Maintained by the National Trust, Portstewart Strand is an area of natural beauty and of scientific interest. It holds the prestigious Blue Flag award and is perfect for picnics as well as fun outdoor activities such as surfing, swimming and horse riding.
Ballygally Beach, Co Antrim
Ballygally Beach offers stunning views along the Antrim coastline so groups of friends should be sure to bring their camera to capture selfies with the dramatic scenery. Enjoy long walks along the beautiful promenade with loved ones.
Whiterocks Beach, Portrush, Co Antrim
Awarded the prestigious Blue Flag Award this year, Whiterocks beach is a firm favourite with visitors. This beach offers something a little different with stunning limestone cliffs that stretch from Curran Strand to Dunluce Castle.
Tyrella Beach, Co Down
Tyrella Beach is a small enclosed beach and dune complex within Dundrum Bay and is situated alongside the Mourne coastal pathway. The stunning waters invite water sport enthusiasts all year round and it’s the perfect place to spend the day with a friend.
Crawfordsburn Beach, Co Down
Crawfordsburn Beach is one of two beaches located within the grounds of Crawfordsburn Country Park and offers spectacular scenery, views across Belfast Lough, tranquil walks through peaceful meadows and a stunning waterfall. This is the ideal location for an afternoon of relaxation.
Helen’s Bay Beach, Co Down
Helen’s Bay Beach is one of two excellent beaches found in Crawfordsburn Country Park. These beautiful sandy beaches are by far the best within the Belfast area and as such are exceptionally popular and well used. Helen’s Bay Beach is gently shelving and has excellent water quality making it ideal for bathing. The country park provides an excellent back drop to the beach, with wooded headlands, meadows, quality walks and good facilities.
Ballyholme Beach, Co Down
This is a suburb beach in the seaside town of Bangor. Visitors can enjoy long walks on the sand before sampling a delicious ice cream available in one of the many local cafes or restaurants.
Cranfield Beach, Co Down
Popular for water sport enthusiasts, Cranfield beach can be found in an idyllic location at the mouth of Carlingford Lough and with the majestic Mourne Mountains offering a dramatic backdrop, it is a picture perfect beach.
Murlough National Nature Reserve, Co Down
Murlough National Nature Reserve is a fragile 6000 year old sand dune system owned by the National Trust and is perfect for walkers or anyone interested in bird watching due to its spectacular location at the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains.
Warrenpoint Beach, Co Down
Warrenpoint Beach is located alongside the Mourne Mountains on the shores of Carlingford Lough, in County Down. A gently sloping beach with a range of amenities that include shopping and a promenade popular with everyone.
Benone Beach, Co Derry ~ Londonderry
Benone Beach is an absolute must – see with seven miles of glorious golden sand and a magnificent back drop of stunning scenery. The views are renowned and visitors can choose from a range of picnic areas, watersports or even enjoy a spot of fishing.
Downhill Beach, Castlerock, Co Derry ~ Londonderry
Downhill beach offers one of the most breathtaking scenes in Ireland with miles of sandy beaches set against cascading waterfalls, towering sand dunes and the prominent Mussenden Temple.
Ballyronan Marina, Co Derry ~ Londonderry
This award winning marina is situated on the picturesque western shores of Lough Neagh and is the perfect destination for water sports enthusiasts. It has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag beach award for excellent levels of cleanliness and the surrounding walks and picnic areas make it ideal for families.
For more information go to www.discovernorthernireland.com.