If you’re looking for things to do in Waterville, a ramble along Waterville Beach is hard to beat.
Waterville is a popular summer destination on the Iveragh Peninsula in south Kerry and with its close proximity to the beach, it’s not hard to see why.
Below, you’ll find info on everything from where to grab a coffee to what to look out for while you’re there.
Some quick need-to-knows about Waterville Beach
Although a visit to Waterville Beach is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Waterville is situated along the shore of Ballinskelligs Bay so Waterville Beach is just a short walk from most spots in the village. The beach curves along the length of the village with shops, restaurants and pubs just a few minutes walk from the beach.
There is parking available along the seafront just above the beach and along the streets in the village. If you are visiting on a sunny day, be aware that Waterville is an incredibly popular destination which can make parking hard to come during the summer.
While the water off Waterville Beach often looks calm and inviting, we are not sure if it is safe to swim here. We know there are no life guards and while we have tried to find information about swimming, we can’t find any official information online that says this is a safe beach to swim at, so make sure to check locally.
4. Charlie Chaplin
A statue of Charlie Chaplin dressed as the Tramp stands along Waterville Beach just south of Sea Synergy. The famous silent movie star and his family first visited Waterville in 1959 and returned every year after for over 10 years. This statue was unveiled in 1998 to commemorate Charlie Chaplin’s visits to Waterville and his friendship with the locals.
5. Part of the Ring of Skellig
The Ring of Skellig is an extension of the Ring of Kerry starting in Cahersiveen and ending in Waterville. This 18km loop takes you through Ballinskelligs and Portmagee, taking you by scenic attractions such as the Kerry Cliffs and Coomanaspig Pass with its incredible views of St. Finian’s Bay.
About Waterville Beach
Waterville Beach is located on the seafront of Waterville and is impossible to miss when visiting the village. The beach is nestled into Ballinskelligs Bay and has beautiful views of Bolus Head to the north and Hogs Head to the south.
Its location inside Ballinskelligs Bay keeps the waters relatively calm but as we mentioned earlier, we are not 100% certain whether or not you should swim here so make sure to check locally before entering the water.
This beach has all the amenities you need to enjoy a day by the sea including public toilets, bins, shops and restaurants just a few minutes walk away.
The beach is dog friendly so feel free to bring along your four legged friend as long as you clean up after them. Ballinskelligs Bay and coastline are home to a diverse population of marine life so be on the lookout for seals, dolphins and other sea creatures.
Make sure to visit the beach in the evening as the south-west facing strand offers beautiful views of the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean. If the evening is clear, stay till it gets dark and enjoy all the stars you can see in this internationally recognized Dark-Sky Reserve.
Things to do at Waterville Beach
There’s a handful of things to do in and around Waterville Beach for those of you looking to make a few hours out of your visit.
1. Grab a coffee (or something tasty) from nearby Beachcove Café
The Beachcove Café is located right across from the beach on the Ring of Kerry (N70). Grab a takeaway coffee or sit down and enjoy some local fish and chips.
The café serves breakfast, brunch and lunch and has a special dog menu so your four legged friend does not feel left out.
2. Then soak up the views while sauntering along the prom
The ‘prom’ is how locals refer to the pathway above Waterville Beach that stretches from the lower part of the village all the way up to Inny Strand.
Take a walk along the prom, enjoying beautiful views of Ballinskelligs Bay as well as checking out the shops and restaurants Waterville has to offer.
Along the prom you will find a statue of famous local footballer Mick O’Dwyer as well as a statue of Waterville’s most famous visitors, Charlie Chaplin.
3. Or head off on one of the tours
Sea Synergy Marine Awareness and Activity Centre offers just about every type of outdoor water activity we can think of.
Take a 2 hour guided snorkelling tour through kelp forests or go stand up paddleboarding on the nearby Lough Currane.
Sea Synergy offers kayaking trips on the lough as well as boat tours that will take you farther out into the bay where you will have the chance to see seals, dolphins, basking sharks and whales.
Things to do near Waterville Beach
One of the beauties of Waterville is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Kerry.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Waterville!
1. Derrynane Beach (20-minute drive)
Derrynane Beach is a popular swimming spot just a 20 minute drive from Waterville. Walk along this lovely sandy beach and enjoy views of Abbey Island or explore the trails above the beach that take you to Derrynane House and gardens.
2. The Kerry Cliffs (25-mintue drive)
If you want to see the Skelligs but are not up for the tumultuous boat trip, the Kerry Cliffs are the closet you can get to the Skelligs and Puffin Island from land. These 300m cliffs are higher than the Cliffs of Moher and are just a 25 minute drive from Waterville.
3. Valentia Island (25-mintue drive)
Head over to Valentia Island where you can tour the Valentia Island Lighthouse or visit fossilised tetrapod tracks from 365 million years ago. Take the bridge from Portmagee or the Valentia Ferry from Reenard West and spend the day exploring Knight’s Town or the Slate Quarry where the slate for London’s Houses of Parliament was quarried from.
FAQs about Waterville Beach
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Can you swim?’ to ‘Where’s good for parking?’.
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.
Can you swim at Waterville Beach?
We’ve tried our best to find official info about swimming here, but there’s none available online. We’d recommend checking locally.
Is there much parking around Waterville Beach?
There is parking available along the seafront just above the beach and along the streets in the village. Note: Waterville gets busy on fine summer days.