If you’re looking for a beach that has it all, Banna Strand is the place for you.
A famous Irish surfing spot, it boasts long stretches of gorgeous sands, towering dunes to wander among, and calm water for swimming in.
A Blue Flag beach, it boasts high-quality amenities and there are plenty of places to stay nearby.
Some quick need-to-knows about Banna Strand
Before donning a wetsuit and grabbing the nearest surfboard, let’s take a look at the basics (they’ll save you time and hassle in the long run!):
Banna Strand is located on the west coast of Ireland’s County Kerry. At a 20-minute drive away, it’s one of the more popular beaches near Tralee, which means it gets busy on fine days.
There’s extensive parking available at Banna Beach, with space for around 100 vehicles (here on Google Maps). There are also disabled parking spots, with handy ramps that take you directly onto the sandy beach.
Swimming is an extremely popular pastime at Banna Beach. A full-time, daily lifeguard service operates between June and August, with safe-to-swim areas clearly marked. Besides swimming, surfing is another popular water sport to indulge in (Kingdom Waves offer lessons).
About Banna Beach
Also known as Banna Strand, Banna Beach faces out to Ballyheigue Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Looking south reveals the distant mountains of the Dingle Peninsula looming up over the horizon.
It’s one of the more popular beaches in Kerry for surfing, swimming, strolling, sandcastles, and sunbathing, as well as plenty of things that don’t begin with S!
Length, dunes and facilities
The beach runs for about 10 km along some of the sandiest stretches of the Kerry coastline. Sand dunes back the beach for pretty much its entire length providing some excellent walking routes.
Some of the dunes tower as high as a whopping 12 metres tall, so you can be sure of some great fun!
Banna Strand boasts some fantastic facilities, including outdoor showers, clean toilets, and an excellent car park. There’s also a brilliant cafe for refreshments.
The Casement connection
Banna Strand is also famous for its connection to Roger Casement and his two co-conspirators, who landed here from a German U-Boat in 1916.
They planned to bring arms intended for the Irish Republicans to the mainland but were captured and sentenced to death by the British government.
The daring deed inspired a rebel song, and a monument now stands near the beach.
Things to do at Banna Beach
You can easily spend a day at Banna Strand and there are plenty of things to keep you entertained. Here are some suggestions:
1. Grab something tasty from Salty Souls Cafe
You’ll find Salty Souls Cafe parked up in the car park. This caravan cafe offers a superb cup of coffee, as well as various sweet treats, pastries, and cakes.
They offer vegan options as well, so there’s something for everyone. You can also order savoury food, with vegan tacos, chilli bowls, and more!
2. Then head for a ramble on the sand
Banna Beach is a top choice for a good ramble. Stretching for around 10 kilometres in total, you can certainly stretch your legs.
It’s a great place to loop around as well, enjoying the sandy beach first of all, then returning over the incredible sand dunes. You’ll have plenty to look at along the way, with fantastic views out over the bay and across to the Dingle Peninsula.
3. Or hit the waves with Kingdomwaves Surf School
Banna Beach is one of the best beaches for learning how to surf. Calm and consistent, it’s a perfect choice for beginners, but also a lot of fun for more experienced surfers.
If you’ve never tried it, you can take surfing lessons with Kingdomwaves Surf School. They have more than 15 years of experience and their friendly instructors will have you riding the waves in no time.
Things to do see near Banna Beach
One of the beauties of Banna is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Kerry.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Banna (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. Food in Tralee (20-minute drive)
Tralee is Kerry’s main town, a bustling little market town, crisscrossed with fantastic alleys and lanes. Amid these, you’ll find a wealth of superb restaurants and cafes serving up an array of gorgeous dishes. See our Tralee restaurants guide for suggestions.
2. The Dingle Peninsula (25-minute drive)
3. Ballybunion (30-minute drive)
The seaside town of Ballybunion is another top spot to visit if you’re in the area. There’s glorious beaches in Ballybunion and there’s also Ballybunion Castle and the Ballybunion Cliff Walk.
FAQs about Banna Beach in Kerry
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Can you swim here?’ to ‘Where do you park?’.
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 long is Banna Strand?
Banna Strand stretches for an impressive 10 km, which makes it a great place for a sunrise or sunset stroll.
Can you swim at Banna Beach?
Yes, once you’re a capable swimmer. Please do note that lifeguards are only on duty at certain times during the summer.