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13 Best Beaches In Mayo Worth Rambling Along This Summer

13 Best Beaches In Mayo Worth Rambling Along This Summer

The topic of the best beaches in Mayo tends to stir up a fair bit of debate online, as there are so many contenders for the top spot.

From a fame perspective, Achill’s Keem Bay tends to be miles above the rest, thanks to it being included in many ‘Best Beaches on Earth’ articles online.

However, the majestic Mayo coastline is home to so glorious stretches of sand, many of which (I’m looking at you, North Mayo!) tend to be overlooked by visitors.

Below, I’m going to present you with what think are the finest beaches Mayo has to offer, from Silver Strand to Elly Bay!

The best beaches in Mayo

Claggan Beach

Photo courtesy Christian McLeod via Fáilte Ireland

Understanding water safety is absolutely crucial when visiting beaches in Ireland. Please take a minute to read these water safety tips. Cheers!

Below, you’ll find everywhere from Bertra and Keem to Inishkea, Keel and more!


1. Bertra Beach

Bertra Beach

Photos courtesy Michael Mc Laughlin via Falte Ireland

If you every find yourself in Westport and you want to escape the hustle and bustle for a bit, take the 20-minute drive to Bertra Beach.

It’s located in Murrisk where it stretches for 2.6km at the foot of Croagh Patrick.

This is a long and mostly sandy beach/spit that connects Betra Island with the Mayo mainland.

Boasting a Blue Flag for 2024, Bertra tends to be one of the busier beaches in Mayo come summer due to its proximity to busy Westport.


2. Silver Strand

Silver Strand Louisburgh

Photo left and top right: Kelvin Gillmor. Other: Google Maps

The beautiful Silver Strand Beach is hidden away a short drive Louisburgh, where it makes a fine stop-off point after you do the Leenane to Louisburgh Drive.

There’s a nice little parking area right next to the beach, and it’s a short walk from the tarmac to the sand.

Widely regarded as one of the best beaches in Ireland, it measures just 450 meters at its widest point (neighbouring White Strand is considerably larger!).

As you ramble along the sand, you’ll see a handful of islands off in the distance, including Inishbofin and Inishturk (Clare Island is off to the right at the entrance to Clew Bay).


3. Old Head Beach

old head beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Louisburgh’s Old Head is another of the Blue Flag beaches in Mayo and you’ll find it overlooked by woodland to the west and ‘The Reek’ to the south.

It’s around 2.25km in length if you include the neighbouring Kilsallagh Bay Beach (a nice long stretch for a stroll!).

Part of Mayo’s Blueway – a collection of water trails suitable for kayaking and snorkelling – it has a lifeguard service during summer.

There’s also a sauna where you can warm up after a dip in the chilly Atlantic.


4. Keel Beach

Keel Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Keel Beach sits at the foot of Achill Head on Achill Island and, at 3.5km, it’s one of the longest beaches in Mayo.

Boasting a Blue Flag for 2024, Keel faces out towards the Minaun Cliffs (you’ll get a great aerial view of Keel from Minaun Heights!).

A popular spot for surfing, kitesurfing and kayaking, the beach attracts large visitor numbers during summer, both from Keel Village and further afield.

If you’re visiting Keel, it’s worth following the Atlantic Driving Route as it takes in the beach along with the best things to do on Achill.


5. The beach on the Inishkea Islands

Inishkea Island Beach

Photo licensed via Shutterstock

The two Inishkea Islands can be found a stone’s throw (you’d want a fairly good throw…) from the Mullet Peninsula

At one time the islands were noted for pagan traditions focusing on a terracotta statue known as Naomhog in Irish. 

The water around the island is as clear as any you’ll find in Ireland and the sand is white and often powdery underfoot.

In summer, you can take boat trips to Inishkea South from Blacksod Harbour. 


6. Keem Bay

Keem Bay

Photos via Shutterstock

There are few Mayo beaches that can go toe-to-toe with the scenery that the mighty Keem Bay treats you to, both on the road as you approach and as you sit on the sand.

Voted the best beach in Mayo and Ireland on many occasions, Keem is hit by its success come summer, when it is mobbed with people on fine days.

However, if you arrive here late in the evening (winter in particular) you’ll often have the whole place all to yourself. 

The beach here is small, but it packs a mighty punch. If you fancy a hike, you can climb to see the highest sea cliffs in Ireland from Keem.


7. Claggan Island

Claggan Beach

Photo courtesy Christian McLeod via Fáilte Ireland

If you’re looking for quieter beaches in Mayo that are just as impressive as those mentioned previously, head for Claggan Island near Belmullet.

Although the many beaches that surround the island boast golden sand and mighty views, they tend to be quiet, even during the summer months.

The island is reached via a sandy causeway that travels across Shraigh Beach.

If you’re visiting with someone with limited mobility, the parking area here (look out for the Wild Atlantic Way discover point!) is right by the sea.


9. Golden Strand

golden strand achill

Photos via Shutterstock

Golden Strand is one of the more popular beaches on Achill, and you’ll find it outside the small village of Dugort.

Boasting a Blue Flag for 2024, it measures around 3km and it was one of the first parts of Achill to attract tourists, after the Slievemore Hotel opened in 1839.

As you stroll along the sand, the peak of Slievemore towers above you while on a fine day you’ll have views out to Blacksod Bay.

During the summer months, Golden Strand is abuzz with locals and tourists alike. For the rest of the year, it tends to be relatively quiet.


8. Elly Bay  


You’ll find Elly Bay on the Mullet Peninsula where it offers views across to the Inishkea Islands.

A popular beach among the surfing community, the west side of Elly is where you’ll find the surfers, while the east side has more sheltered waters.

Awarded a Blue Flag for 2024, the water quality here is excellent and it’s arguably the peninsula’s finest beach.

10. Cross Beach

Cross Beach

Photo courtesy Christian McLeod via Fáilte Ireland

Cross Beach near Louisburgh doesn’t have a Blue Flag or a lifeguard service, but it’s a very popular spot for surfing.

As you stroll (or surf!) you’ll be treated to views of Inishturk Island off in the distance.

It measures around 1km and it neighbours Carrowniskey Beach.

If you fancy hitting the waves, Big Style Surf School offer lessons for beginners.


11. Lacken Strand

Rinroe Beach

Photo courtesy Anne-Marie Flynn via Fáilte Ireland

If you’re after a long aul walk, then a trip to Lacken is a must.

This Mayo beach boasts miles after mile of glorious golden strand which make it perfect for walking… or for lashing around a frisbee.

You can pair a visit to Lacken Strand with the Ceide Fields or Downpatrick Head, as both are located a handy drive from the sand.

WARNING: Lacken floods twice daily when the tide returns so it isn’t suitable for swimming (there’s also quicksand in places)


12. Portacloy

best beaches in mayo

Photo by Johannes Rigg (Shutterstock)

Portacloy is an often missed chunk of Mayo. Which is surprising when you consider how close it is to Benwee Head, the Ceide Fields and Downpatrick Head.

You’ll find it on the North Mayo coast, where it’s a popular spot for swimming and snorkeling.

The beach here is surrounded by rugged cliffs on each side that form a horse-shoe shape.

From the car park, you can follow a rough trail that takes you up to an old Eire sign along with cliff and coastal views.


13. Rinroe Beach

Rinroe Beach

Photo courtesy Anne-Marie Flynn via Fáilte Ireland

And finally, another beach near Belmullet – Rinroe! Boasting clear water, white sand, cliffs and a cave, there’s a lot to like about this one!

On a clear day, you’ll be able to see out towards the Mullet Peninsula and on to Achill Island.

Although the water here looks inviting, I’ve seen a few warnings online about it not being suitable for swimming, so beware!


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Tuesday 14th of May 2019

Hello, just to let you know that the video of Ballycastle Beach is from Ballycastle in Northern Ireland not Mayo.


Tuesday 14th of May 2019

You're a star - thanks for taking the time to point it out. I'll update now!




Tuesday 14th of May 2019

Cross Beach near Carrowmore beach...a fab long walk along here too and Portacloy Beach in North Mayo :-)

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