There’s a handful of beaches near Letterkenny that are well worth seeing.
In fact, you’ll find some of the best beaches in Donegal under a 1-hour drive from the lively Letterkenny Town.
Below, you’ll find a mix of well known and often missed beaches near Letterkenny – dive on in!
The best beaches near Letterkenny
The below beaches near Letterkenny are in order of distance. We’ve avoided including any that are too far of a spin away from the town!
Water safety warning: Understanding water safety is absolutely crucial when visiting beaches in Ireland. Please take a minute to read these water safety tips. Cheers!
1. Buncrana’s Beaches (30-minute drive)
There are a number of beaches in Buncrana, each of which is well worth a saunter along. They include: Buncrana Beach, Lady’s Bay, Porthaw Beach and Stragill Bay Beach.
The ‘main’ Buncrana Beach is the most popular and, if you visit, grab a coffee from Tank and Skinny’s and tip-on for a troll along the sand while soaking up the views out across Lough Swilly.
The beach here makes a good starting point for the Inishowen 100 Drive. These are, in our opinion, some of the finest beaches near Letterkenny!
2. Portsalon Beach (35-minute drive)
Also known as ‘Portsalon Beach’, the magnificent Ballymastocker Bay is a breath-taking 2km stretch of golden sand.
Once awarded the title of the “Second most beautiful beach in the world” by Observer magazine, Portsalon Beach will imprint itself upon your memory.
Now, a word of warning – this beach gets busy during the peak summer months, so it’s worth arriving early to avoid parking pains.
This is one of the best beaches near Letterkenny if you’re visiting with someone who has restricted mobility – you’ll get a great view from the parking area here.
3. Downings Beach (35-minute drive)
Located near Downings village, this beach is popular with windsurfers and walkers alike.
With clean Blue Flag waters and lifeguard service during the summer, it has good facilities including a car park and toilets. On a windy day, enjoy the view from the Harbour Bar nearby.
4. Marble Hill (35-minute drive)
You’ll find another of the more popular beaches near Letterkenny next to the lively village of Dunfanaghy.
The mighty Marble Hill is a sandy bay with two rocky landmarks at the east end. It’s home to many wildflowers and nesting birds including the corncrake.
You’ll find lifeguards on duty during the summer months. An added bonus is that it’s close to some of the best places to visit in Donegal, like Horn Head and Ards Forest.
5. Killahoey Beach (35-minute drive)
You’ll find it finely plonked on the western side of Sheephaven Bay. It’s an impressive 1.5 kms in length, which makes it a fine spot for a stroll.
Thers’s lifeguards on duty during the summer and you can soak up views of Horn Head, Muckish Mountain and the Rossguill Peninsula as you walk.
6. Falcarragh Beach (40-minute drive)
Like many beaches near Letterkenny, Falcarragh Beach goes by several different names (Back Strand or Drumnatinny Beach).
It’s part of a special area of conservation and it’s a joy to saunter along throughout the year.
It was awarded Green Coast status in recognition of its ‘high environmental quality’.
Interestingly, the coastline takes on something of a turquoise colour and makes for a pretty spectacular scene.
7. Trá na Rossan (40-minute drive)
Irish folk will know that “Tra” means “beach” and this one is well off the beaten track on the glorious and often-missed Rosguill Peninsula.
Surrounded by wild coastal scenery, Tra na Rossan Beach is a great spot for a stroll. You might even spot seals bobbing just offshore.
If you fancy a walk with a view, aim for the hill at the far end of Tra Na Rossan (the hill just behind the hostel). The views from up near here are out of this world (just be careful).
When you’ve finished up, head back to the town and grab a bite in one of the many restaurants in Letterkenny!
FAQs about beaches near Letterkenny Town
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Which are closest?’ to ‘Where’s best for a dip?’.
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.
What are the best beaches near Letterkenny?
Buncrana’s Beaches (30-minute drive), Portsalon Beach (35-minute drive) and Downings Beach (35-minute drive) are arguably the best beaches near Letterkenny.
What beaches near Letterkenny are good for swimming?
If you’re a capable swimmer and the conditions are safe, Downings, Marble Hill and Killahoey all have lifeguards on duty during the summer months.
Keith O’Hara has lived in Ireland for 34 years and has spent most of the last 10 years creating what is now The Irish Road Trip guide. Over the years, the website has published thousands of meticulously researched Ireland travel guides, welcoming 30 million+ visitors along the way. In 2022, the Irish Road Trip team published the world’s largest collection of Irish Road Trip itineraries. Keith lives in Dublin with his dog Toby and finds writing in the 3rd person minus craic altogether.