Carne Beach is one of several beaches in Wexford that comes alive during the summer months.
This is a fantastic sandy beach that’s easy to reach by car, bus, boat or on foot and that boasts good amenities, including parking, food, toilets, pier and a playground.
A holder of the illustrious Blue Flag status, this is a lovely spot for a stroll or a paddle.
In the guide below, you’ll find info on parking, things to do while you’re there and where to grab a coffee nearby.
Some quick need-to-knows about Carne Beach
Although a visit to Carne Beach is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Once you reach Carne Beach there is ample car parking near the pier (here on Google Maps). From the car park there is a flat concrete ramp leading down to the sandy beach. More roadside parking is available with paths through the dunes to the beach.
Carne Beach is a popular spot for a paddle, however, we can’t (despite much searching) find any information about whether lifeguards are on duty during summer, so check locally when you’re there.
Carne Beach has good facilities including male and female toilets. There is also a disabled toilet available year-round. A Universal Key is required to gain access to the disabled facilities.
5. Water safety (please read)
About Carne Beach
Carne Beach is a sweeping sandy bay that curves around the glorious Wexford coastline. It is a popular area for summer holidays as Wexford enjoys more sunshine hours than other counties.
Home to one of the more popular places to go camping in Wexford, the well-known Carne Beach Caravan and Camping Park, this sandy destination is perfect for a ramble, regardless of the time of year.
Carne Beach offers clean Blue Flag waters and, based on past experience, is beautifully kept (bring anything you bring with you home!).
At the south end of Carne Beach there is a fishing pier with excellent coastal views. It provides a small sheltered harbour for local fishing boats.
Things to do at Carne Beach
There’s a handful of things to do in and around the beach if you fancy making a day of it. Below, you’ll find food and walk recommendations for when you visit.
1. Flick off your shoes and head for a saunter
Carne Beach has fairly firm sand making it ideal for walking along the water’s edge. There’s some scattered rocks and rock pools revealed at low tide. The main beach stretches for about 1.5km and offers stunning coastal views.
A ramble along the sand provides the chance to watch fishing boats and ferries from nearby Rosslare Harbour navigating the Irish Sea. It’s a beautiful place for a handy stroll on a sunny day!
2. Or tackle the St Helen’s Trail
If you fancy a longer scenic hike, the St Helen’s Trail takes I hour 50 minutes and includes superb coastal views including Tuskar Rock Lighthouse. It is graded as easy and is 4km long (8km if you do the out-and-back return).
Park at St Helen’s Pier and follow the path south along the sand dunes. This is also the start of the Ballytrent Trail and it splits from the St Helen’s Trail after 2km and heads inland.
St Helen’s Trail has yellow waymarkers and stretches from St Helen’s along Old Mill Beach passing Ballytrent and St Margaret’s to reach Carne Beach, finishing at the pier.
3. Polish off a visit with a bag of chips by the sea
Did someone say refreshments? The Lighthouse Chippie is right on Carne Beach and is the perfect mid-walk break for some sustenance. It offers a full range of fish, battered sausages and freshly cooked chips along with cold drinks and ice cream.
Find a spot to sit on the harbour wall and tuck in while soaking up some seaside views.
Places to visit near Carne Beach
One of the beauties of Carne is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Wexford.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Carne.
1. Johnstown Castle (25-minute drive)
Johnstown Castle and Gardens is a lovely place for a stroll around the gardens which are open to the public. The original castle was built in 1169 by the Esmonde family and is open for guided tours. The extensive estate and Irish Agricultural Museum onsite are open daily all year round. The ornamental grounds include several follies, two lakes with waterfowl and woodland gardens.
2. Rosslare Beach (20-minute drive)
Head north to Rosslare Strand, a lovely beach at the southern edge of Wexford Harbour. It’s a mix of sand and stone with wooden breakwaters and is ideal for swimming and scenic walks with fabulous harbour/lighthouse views. There is a car park and various access points. Lifeguards are on duty in the summer.
3. Forth Mountain (30-minute drive)
Just south of Wexford Town, Forth Mountain (235m elevation) is a rocky outcrop with a grotto. The red way-marked loop trail is 10km long, with a moderate grade and takes about 2 hours to complete. The trailhead is at the car park on R733 near Watt Breen’s Pub.
FAQs about visiting Carne Beach
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘How long is it?’ to ‘Are dogs allowed?’.
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.
Is Carne Beach worth visiting?
If you’re in the area, this is a lovely spot for a stroll. However, there are more scenic beaches nearby, like St Helen’s Bay.
Can you swim at Carne Beach?
We can’t, despite much searching, find any reliable info about swimming here. However, it’s a Blue Flag beach, so check locally when you arrive.
Gillian Birch is a travel writer and published author. She has travelled the world and uses her personal journals and memories to write about her many travel experiences, particularly those that involved adventures in Ireland.