If you’re in search of beaches in Waterford, you’ve landed in the right place.
The Waterford coastline stretches for 147km and boasts a whopping 49 beaches along the way.
From hidden gems, like Tra na mBó, to well known Waterford beaches, like Tramore and Ardmore, there’s an almost endless number of sandy stretches to saunter along here.
In the guide below, you’ll find what we think are the best beaches in Waterford, with a mix of spots that lay on the tourist track to ones that lay well off-the-beaten-path .
Our favourite beaches in Waterford
The first section of our guide to the best beaches in Waterford is filled with our favourite sandy stretches in the county.
1. Bunmahon Beach
Bunmahon Beach is part of the Copper Coast trail and is a Blue Flag beach. Although the beach is a favourite with experienced swimmers and surfers, there’s a strong rip tide, and it’s considered one of the more dangerous beaches on the southeast.
So, if you’re an inexperienced swimmer, don’t enter the water here! Out of the water, the bay is protected by sand dunes and high cliffs and is well protected from the wind, allowing you to enjoy a walk or simply relax on the beach.
An amusement park and a playground are adjacent to the beach for the children (or yourself). The clifftop walk is full of interest and spectacular views and not too strenuous.
2. Tramore Beach
Is there anything to beat coming into a seaside town from above? The route from Annestown to Tramore provides a spectacular approach to this beautiful beach, and it’s worth taking a detour from Waterford just to experience it.
The strand sits on a peninsula that dissects Tramore Bay, and the panoramic views around it are simply outstanding. Swimmers and surfers love the waves, and families flock to the beach.
Tramore Beach also attracts sea anglers for the flounder and sea bass in the estuary and others such as dogfish, pollock and whiting in the coastal waters.
3. Tra na mBó
West of Bunmahon Beach, you’ll find Tra na mBó, a pretty cove with an improbable name. Tra na mBó means ‘Strand of the Cows’, and the cows must have been fairly agile to get onto it as the only access is down a steep path.
A single Stack sits on the beach with cliffs framing it on both sides – a perfect photographic opportunity. In fact, this beach has lots of options for photos and videos.
The beach is quite steep, and the elevated aspect allows for long shots of the waves rolling in and out along the dark surface. You reach the beach by parking the right of Bunmahon Beach and walk along the clifftop to reach the cove.
4. Councillor’s Strand (Dunmore East)
Councillor’s Strand and Lawlor’s are two beaches that merge at high tide, located in Dunmore East, County Waterford. Councillor’s Strand is a Blue Flag, south-facing beach and extremely popular during the summer months.
The cove is pretty as a picture with a backdrop of traditional stone cottages against the blue of the sea. Lifeguards are on duty during high summer (July/August) and on weekends in June/September.
The water is crystal clear, so snorkelling is also popular, but the downside of the water’s clarity is that it can sometimes be difficult to judge the depth. Car parking is available at the entrance to the cove.
Often overlooked Waterford Beaches
Many beaches in Waterford tend to get overlooked by the popular spots that tend to get recommended in many tourist handbooks and online.
Which is a shame, as there are plenty of slightly off-the-beaten-path Waterford beaches that are well worth a visit.
1. Benvoy Beach
You’re spoilt for a choice of beaches along The Copper Coast, but Benvoy Beach is worth a visit because it really is a secret place.
It’s 1.2km past Annestown, and it’s easy to miss the sharp turn off. The laneway is narrow but quiet, so you may not meet anyone else. The laneway opens out at the bottom to provide a small amount of parking.
The beach itself is beautiful against a canvas of cliffs and rocks, and it’s a good spot for a paddle. Its seclusion is probably why nuns from Tramore were ferried out here to swim in days gone by.
2. Woodstown Beach
The tidal, sandy Woodstown Beach is situated on the banks of the estuary created by the Rivers Nore, Suir and Barrow. You can reach it along the R685 on the way to Passage East.
his beautiful spot is surrounded by forest, and when the tide goes out (up to 1.5 miles), it’s a huge beach. This sheltered beach is extremely popular with families for picnics and walking, either on the beach or in the countryside.
If you’re feeling peckish (or thirsty!), you can drop into Saratoga Bar and Restaurant and enjoy a bite-to-eat with a view of the beach.
3. Annestown Beach
Annestown Beach is approximately 10km from Tramore and translates to River’s Ends. It’s where the Anne River meets the sea. The cove has very shallow water, which makes it a popular destination for swimmers.
When the tide goes out, the beach becomes animated with wildlife and the reappearance of its islands and sea arches.
There’s a car park beside the beach and an old Lime Kiln to investigate. The cliffs are dangerous so don’t walk alone, you need an experienced guide with you.
4. Kilfarrasy Beach
Remarkable cliffs shelter this beach that is approximately 460 million years old, and seeing them lit up at sunset is a magnificent sight.
Still, it’s the unusual rocks and islands on the sides of the beach that garner the most attention. The beach is ideal for kayaking, snorkelling and swimming, but do stay on the main beach.
If you go further, you can suddenly become cut off by the tide, even at low heights, so please do take care.
Other great Waterford Beaches
There are plenty of other Waterford beaches that are well worth a saunter along, depending on where you’re staying.
Below, you’ll find a mix of lesser-known beaches in Waterford, like Stradbally Cove, Clonea Beach and more.
1. Kilmurrin Cove
Kilmurrin Cove is another Copper Coast beach that is approx. 30 minutes from Waterford City and is a real gem. There’s only a tiny strip of sand when the tide is in, but the waters are clear, and the cove is horseshoe-shaped.
Looking out to sea on the right, you can see a hole in the rocks. When the tide is low, the shore is sandy with rock pools at either end. It’s rarely too busy, but in the summer months it’s popular, and if there’s no parking when you arrive, it’s probably too packed for comfort.
An ice-cream van regularly visits during the summer months, but that’s it – if you want to have a picnic, you’ll have to bring it with you. Kilmurrin Cove is one of those places that doesn’t need good weather to make it beautiful so enjoy your time here.
2. Stradbally Cove
Sheltered in a cove, shielded by two hills, Stradbally Cove is a beach treasure. It’s a reasonably deep beach, with a decent walk to the shoreline when the tide is out.
The River Tay runs alongside the beach and flows into the sea. This is not a beach built for visitors but rather one of the Copper Coast’s marvelous natural attractions.
Parking can be difficult, but if you park in Stradbally Village and walk down, you’ll also see some lovely gardens.
3. Clonea Beach
It’s a big beach with loads of space, even on a busy day. Shallow waters make it safe for swimming and the many water sports that are popular here.
The small shop selling fast food and ice cream is an added plus – there’s nothing quite like having fish and chips on the beach. Whether you’re here for sports or simply to stretch your legs, you’ll love this spacious beach.
4. Ardmore Beach
Ardmore is a small tourist town between Dungarvan in Waterford and Youghal in Cork. Small it may be, but it packs a punch when it comes to its beach.
Ardmore Beach is a mile long, the gorgeous sandy beach has a backdrop of fields and is overlooked by the 12th Century ruined Cathedral and Round Tower.
Families love the wide beach for swimming and sunbathing while watersport enthusiasts enjoy canoeing, kayaking and Sea-paddling.
It’s believed that Ardmore is the oldest Christian settlement in the country. Seemingly St. Declan converted the area to Christianity before St. Patrick set foot in the place. There’s a cliff walk that passes by the Cathedral and Round Tower to finish off your visit.
What Waterford beaches have we missed?
I’ve no doubt that we’ve unintentionally left out some brilliant beaches in Waterford from the guide above.
If you have a place that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!
FAQs about the best beaches in Waterford
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from the best beaches in Waterford for swimming to which ones are best for surfing.
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 most beautiful beaches in Waterford?
I’d argue that the best Waterford beaches are Bunmahon Beach, Tramore Beach, Tra na mBó and Benvoy Beach.
What Waterford beaches are best for swimming on?
Clonea Beach, Annestown Beach, Benvoy Beach and Tramore are all great Waterford beaches for a swim (always use caution when entering the water).
Are there any good beaches near Waterford City?
Yes! There are several great beaches near Waterford City: Woodstown Beach is 25 minutes away, as is Tramore Beach.
Norah is a writer and self-publisher of fiction and non-fiction. She adores the excitement of unknown places and together with several locations in Ireland, has, over 21 years, made her home in London, The Hague and New Zealand, returning to Ireland with her Kiwi rescue dog Barney, in tow.