While there’s no ‘Sneem Beach’, there’s plenty of sandy spots to discover nearby.
Sneem is one of the more charming towns on the Ring of Kerry and it’s a scenic base to explore from.
If you’d like to dip the toes during your visit, you’ll find the finest beaches near Sneem below.
The closest beaches to Sneem (under a 45-minute drive)
The first section of our guide looks at the beaches near Sneem that are well under an hour away.
Now, please keep in mind that you may not be able to swim at all of these, so make sure to check locally.
1. Castlecove Beach (20-minute drive)
Castlecove Beach is a beautiful, white sandy beach just off the Ring of Kerry. It’s a sheltered cove which is good for swimming, although there are no lifeguards on duty.
The beach doesn’t have facilities, but Castlecove village is less than 10 minutes away on foot, and there’s a popular traditional Irish pub “The Black Shop”, and a newsagent.
There’s no official car park and the roads are quite narrow, so it may be best to park in the village and walk. For visitors without a car, there’s a bus stop in the village.
If you’re looking for beaches near Sneem that don’t take much driving to reach, Castlecove is well worth considering.
2. Cross Strand Bay Beach (20-minute drive)
So, a quick reminder that this guide is in order of the beaches closest to Sneem, rather than the most picturesque.
Cross Strand Bay Beach definitely the most picturesque beach – it’s stoney, rather than sandy and it’s right next to the parking area.
However, the mountainous views here are stunning, even if the photo above from Google Maps doesn’t do much to inspire.
3. Derrynane Beach (30-minute drive)
Derrynane Beach is an expansive sandy beach in Derrynane Bay. The beach is backed by grassy dunes, providing shelter from the wind. It overlooks Abbey Island and the St Finian’s Abbey ruins.
The beach is a Blue Flag beach with lifeguards in the summer, but be aware that the largest stretch of sand is also nicknamed “Danger Beach” due to the strong and dangerous currents.
There is a free parking area, which can fill up pretty fast in the summer, so arrive in the morning if possible to secure a spot. The car park also has a 1.9 metre height restriction barrier.
There’s no on-site cafe but there is a toilet. This is one of the most popular beaches near Sneem for good reason.
4. Waterville Beach (40-minute drive)
Waterville Beach is a crescent-shaped sandy and stony beach in Ballinskelligs Bay. It is directly on the seafront of Waterville, which is on the Ring of Kerry. There is parking and places to eat in the village.
You can walk the length of the beach on the beachfront promenade, which offers lovely views of the bay. But, during the evenings, the tide goes out to reveal a west-facing beach that has spectacular sunset views.
During high tide, the beach is predominantly rocky, so it may be worth timing your visits if you want to enjoy some sand!
More popular beaches close to Sneem (under a 1.5-hour drive)
If the Sneem beaches above don’t tickle your fancy, there’s plenty more to choose from, but they’re a little further away.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from Inch Strand and Dooks Bay to some of the more overlooked beaches near Sneem.
1. Ballinskelligs Beach (55-minute drive)
Ballinskelligs Beach is on the western side of Ballinskelligs Harbour. The Blue Flag beach has golden sand, and clear blue waters, and is overlooked by the McCarthy’s Castle ruins.
The beach is backed by sand dunes, providing shelter from the prevailing winds. The car park has enough space for 50 cars, so parking won’t be an issue, aside from during the busy summer period.
It has public toilet facilities and there’s a small cafe (Cafe Cois Tra) adjacent to the beach serving sandwiches, drinks, cakes, and more.
If you enjoy history, aside from McCarthy’s Castle, you can also walk along the beach to Ballinskelligs Abbey which takes 20 minutes.
2. Dooks Bay Beach (1-hour drive)
Dooks Beach is a sheltered, sandy beach just under five kilometres from Glenbeigh village. The waters are shallow, making it a great beach for some paddling, plus it has lovely views of rolling hills.
The beach doesn’t have any facilities and is often overlooked by tourists for other more popular beaches close by.
There is very limited roadside parking, so be prepared for a walk if you can’t find somewhere to park nearby.
For this reason, this beach isn’t the best for those with limited mobility.
3. Rossbeigh (70-minute drive)
Rossbeigh is one of the most beautiful beaches near Sneem. This is a 6km long beach on the Ring of Kerry that offers great views of Dingle Bay.
The southern end of the beach has plenty of parking, and it’s not far from the water, providing good access for people with limited mobility.
The southern end of the beach is also where all the facilities are located. This includes a children’s play area, public toilets, and a cafe.
It is a Blue Flag beach that is great for swimming, surfing, walking, and horse riding.
4. Kells Bay Beach (75-minute drive)
Kells Bay Beach is a small Blue Flag beach on the north coast of the Iveragh Peninsula. The beach is sheltered, with fine sand and incredible views of the surrounding countryside.
On clear days, you’ll be able to see across Dingle Bay and even as far as the Blasket Islands to the northwest.
There is plenty of parking next to the beach as well as public toilets. Pauline’s Takeaway & Restaurant is less than a minute’s walk, and the Kells Bay House and Gardens are 10 minutes away on foot.
5. Inch Beach (80-minute drive)
Inch Beach is the perfect beach for a full-day out. It’s a Blue Flag beach with all the facilities you would need, like public toilets, a restaurant/cafe, and water sports.
The beach has golden sand, is backed by sand dunes, and has beautiful mountain and bay views. It extends 5.5km out into Dingle Bay and is safe for swimmers and popular with surfers.
There is plenty of parking, but its popularity in the summer means parking spots can fill up quickly. Try to arrive early if you can to nab a spot!
Sneem beaches FAQs
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Which are best for surfing?’ to ‘Where’s good for a stroll?’.
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 closest beaches to Sneem?
Castlecove Beach (20-minute drive), Cross Strand Bay Beach (20-minute drive) and Derrynane Beach (30-minute drive) are the three closest.
What are the best beaches near Sneem?
The best, in our opinion, are Derrynane Beach (30-minute drive) and Ballinskelligs Beach (55-minute drive).
Alexandra is a marine biologist turned travel writer. She loves exploring new places and faraway lands but also has an appreciation for destinations closer to home. You’ll either find her walking along a beach or in a cafe kicking back with a coffee.