Several of the Achill Beaches could go toe-to-toe with the finest in Europe.
And, while Keem and Keel tend to be known by many, there’s heaps of beaches in Achill worth rambling along.
Below, you’ll find a mix of places to swim, stroll and soak up scenery. Dive on in!
Our favourite beaches on Achill Island
A quick warning – it’s safe to swim on some of the Achill beaches below if you’re a capable swimmer (see comments below each beach).
1. Keem Bay
I said it was tough to choose a favourite, but for me, Keem Bay is the finest of the many Achill Island beaches. It’s located on the northwestern corner of the island, surrounded by the majestic Cliffs of Croaghaun, the tallest sea cliffs in Ireland.
The gorgeous horseshoe-shaped bay boasts soft golden sands and crystal clear, azure waters. It’s bordered on each side by steep, green slopes, providing a nice, sheltered bay that’s great for swimming in.
A Blue Flag Beach, it’s one of several Achill beaches that’s lifeguarded throughout the bathing season, and wetsuits can normally be hired for those wanting to brave the chilly waters.
There’s a spacious car park, decent public toilets, and normally a few trucks selling coffee, tea, and snacks. Best of all for me though, is the incredible road that leads to the beach.
Hewn into the slopes of Croaghaun Mountain, it offers fantastic elevated views over the bay as you approach down the winding country lanes.
2. Keel Beach/Trawmore Strand
Keel Beach is arguably the best-know of the many Achill Island beaches. And for good reason. This Blue Flag Beach stretches on for what seems like miles (4 km in reality), with soft golden sands sinking into the turquoise sea and stunning views across the bay.
It’s bordered by the beautiful Minaun Heights, while the vibrant village of Keel, with its many cafes, restaurants, and craft shops, sits on the other edge.
Keel Beach also enjoys incredible amenities, including a large car park, excellent, well-maintained toilets, and a superb crepe and coffee van.
If you’re looking for beaches in Achill to surf on, look no further – Keel is a surfing hotspot and you can rent a wetsuit and board or take lessons most of the year.
There’s a lifeguard service throughout the bathing season, with clearly marked areas that are safe for swimming in. Other watersports can also be enjoyed at the beach, such as kayaking and kitesurfing.
3. Dugort Beach
Sitting at the foot of the mighty Slievemore Mountain, Dugort Beach is the smaller of the two beaches around Dugort village.
The small, sandy bay offers superb views of the mountain and is nicely sheltered, making it a good place for swimming, with lifeguards on duty throughout the bathing season.
It’s also the place to be for the New Year’s Day Dip, where hardy locals and visitors brave the frigid waters for their first swim of the year!
Another of the Achill beaches boasting a Blue Flag, Dugort has good facilities, including a spacious car park, coffee stand, picnic areas, and toilets.
Backed by sand dunes, Dugort Beach is a great spot for a walk, with lots to explore in every direction.
Related read: Check out our guide to 14 of the best beaches in Mayo.
4. Golden Strand
Next up in our Achill Island beaches guide is the stunning Golden Strand. This is the larger of the two beaches at Dugort and is perhaps the second-most-well-known of the various Achill Island beaches.
The gorgeous sandy crescent-shaped bay is a mix of pebbles at the upper end, and soft white sands further down. Sand dunes lay behind the beach, making it another great place for a nice long walk.
It’s a lot more exposed than its smaller twin, Dugort Beach, yet remains a fantastic place for sandcastles and relaxing. Blue Flag certified, it enjoys excellent water quality, good facilities, and stands selling refreshments.
The beach is also popular with kayakers and there’s a splendid kayak trail that hugs the coast and leads to Dugort Beach. There are no lifeguards on duty at the time of writing, so swimming isn’t recommended.
5. Dooega Beach
While still a Blue Flag certified beach, Dooega Beach is something of a hidden gem in Achill. The small bay sits on the edge of the former fishing village of Dooega, along the fantastic Atlantic Drive.
It’s a top spot for sunbathing and relaxing, but with no lifeguard service, we can’t recommend swimming.
The views from the beach are spectacular, taking in the majestic White Cliffs of Ashleam on one side, the mighty Minaun Cliffs on the other and Clare island across the bay.
Much quieter than the other Blue Flag beaches on Achill, it’s ideal for a peaceful escape and a great place to catch both the sunrise and sunset.
What Achill beaches have we missed?
Although we’ve included the main Achill Island beaches in this guide, I’m sure we’ve left some of the lesser-known beaches out.
If you have one you’d like to shout about, let us know in the comments section below.
FAQs about the various Achill Island beaches
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Which are the most picturesque?’ to ‘Which are good for swimming?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
How many beaches are in Achill Island?
So, there are five Blue Flag Beaches on Achill Island but there are many other beaches and coves dotted along it coast (many of which you likely won’t stumble upon).
Can you swim on Achill Island?
Yes. You can swim at certain Achill beaches where the water is safe to enter. The island has several Blue Flag beaches, but note that lifeguards are only on duty during the summer.