The often-missed Cushendun Beach is one of our favourite beaches on the Causeway Coastal Route.
Below, you’ll find everything from where to park near Cushendun Beach (and where to find toilets!) to what to see nearby.
Some quick need-to-knows about visiting the Cushendun Beach
Although a visit to Cushendun Beach is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Cushendun Beach stretches along the bay in front of Cushendun Village on the northern coast of County Antrim. It’s one of the more popular beaches near Belfast as it’s a 1-hour drive from the city.
There’s a big parking lot just back from the beach with ample room, plus another parking area to the southern end of the beach near the river. However, on warm days you can expect quite a few people here.
3. Toilets (and seals!)
There are public toilets in the main carpark area. If you’re lucky, you might even get to spot some seals basking on the coast here.
About Cushendun Beach
Cushendun Beach stretches along a curving bay around the northern coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. It’s backed by the pretty town of Cushendun, which is partly managed by the National Trust.
Towards the southern end of the beach, the Glendun River enters the sea. The sandy beach is perfect for a wander, with plenty of space and never too much of a crowd (unless you visit when the weather’s fine!).
If you visit on a clear day, you will be able to look across to Scotland which is just 15 miles across the sea. Towards the southern end of the beach beyond the river, the cliffs along the coast have been eroded over millions of years to form caves.
These caves are quite famous for being a set for the Game of Thrones series, and now draws plenty of people who stop here along the Causeway Coastal Route.
Things to do at and around Cushendun Beach
If you fancy taking a mini day trip from Belfast to Cushendun Beach, here’s a solid way to whittle away a day in style.
You’ll find a mix of great food, coastal walks and historic sites below that you can squeeze into an afternoon in Cushendun Village.
1. Grab something tasty from The Corner House
Just back from the beach and across from the river, this superb Corner House restaurant is the best spot in town to grab some tasty food.
Well-known for their delicious cakes, coffee, scones, and cooked breakfasts, it’s a great brunch stop.
They also offer a quaint courtyard, if you want to enjoy the sun in their outdoor area before heading down to the beach.
2. And then head for a saunter along the sand
Once you leave the Corner House with a full stomach, you can head down to the sand for a nice stroll along the water. The beach offers a long sweeping coastline to follow, with incredible views across to Scotland’s coast, on a clear day.
Cushendun Beach is not quite as popular as many of the other beaches in Northern Ireland, so it’s a refreshingly relaxing endeavor even in summer.
3. Or tackle the short loop walk
If you’re up for a scenic 2km loop around the beach and Cushendun town, then there are some nice way-marked trails to follow. A good loop option begins from the carpark just back from the beach in Cushendun and heads south along the beach to the river.
You then follow the river inland a bit until you meet up with Riverview Crescent. At the end of this road, you can follow the waymarked footpath behind the village to Glendun Road.
From there, you have to turn right and walk around the caravan park and head back towards the beach and your car.
Things to do near Cushendun Beach
There’s a couple of things to see a short walk from Cushendun Beach, like the now-famous Cushendun Caves, and there are endless places to visit a short drive away.
Below, you’ll find everything from walks and scenic drives to what’s arguably one of the best places to visit in Northern Ireland.
1. Cushendun Caves
At the southern end of the beach, you’ll find the Cushendun Caves. These beautiful natural rock cavities have formed over 400 million years and are a fun little place to explore. They shot to fame when they became one of several GoT filming locations in Ireland.
Just a 10-minute drive away from Cushendun is another nice coastal town and beach. Cushendall is a popular stop on the Causeway Coastal Route, and you’ll find a few good places to eat and rest up here. There’s also a small beach just out of town, which is nice for a wander.
3. Torr Head
The spectacular Torr Head scenic drive is one of the most unique things to do in Antrim. It overlooks the northern coast of County Antrim is a worthwhile detour off the Causeway Coastal Route between Cushendun and Ballycastle. You’ll also find the remains of the ancient fortress, Altagore, on this rugged coastal peninsula dating back to the 6th century.
4. Glenariff Forest Park
If you’re looking for a nice place to head for a walk, the 1000-hectare Glenariff Forest Park area is home to woodland, lakes and picnic areas. It’s located just 18km south of Cushendun village and has plenty of walking trails to explore for all fitness levels. From less than a kilometre up to 9km, you’ll find your perfect distance to tackle.
FAQs about visiting the beach in Cushendun
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from is there parking at Cushendun Beach to where are the closest public toilets.
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 there parking near Cushendun Beach?
Yes. There’s parking right across from the beach. Just keep in mind that it gets busy on fine days, especially at the weekend.
Where are the closest toilets to Cushendun Beach?
You’ll find public toilets in the car park right across from the beach.
Can you go swimming on Cushendun Beach?
This is a popular spot for swimming, but please always use caution when entering the water. Check locally about conditions and, if in doubt, keep your feet on dry land.
Elisha is a freelance writer, content creator and blogger and her work can be read in Lonely Planet, Remote Lands and Matador Network. You’ll usually find her travelling in offbeat places or hiking wherever there are mountains; always with a camera in hand.