One of my favourite things to do in Portrush involves grabbing a coffee from the town and sauntering along the stunning Portrush Beach.
With three Blue Flag beaches on offer in Portrush (yes, three!), superb surf and miles of sand to stroll along, there’s few places like it for a stroll.
In the guide below, you’ll find info on everything from where to park if you’re visiting Potrush Beach to what to see and do nearby.
Things to know before Visiting Portrush Beach (AKA Whiterocks Beach)
A visit to Whiterocks Beach in Portrush is reasonably straightforward, but there’s a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Water safety warning: Understanding water safety is absolutely crucial when visiting beaches in Ireland. Please take a minute to read these water safety tips. Cheers!
1. Three beaches
Portrush has three beautiful beaches bordering the Ramore Head peninsula. The most famous is Whiterocks Beach with its limestone cliffs and sea caves. West Strand Beach, aka West Bay or Mill Strand runs from the south side of the harbour towards Portstewart while East Strand Beach is on the east side of the peninsula.
West Strand Beach has a car park right next to it (here on maps). East Strand Beach also has a handy car park right beside it (here on maps). There’s also a nice big car park here that you can use for Whiterocks Beach. Note: on a warm day parking in Portrush is a nightmare!
All three beaches in Portrush are popular among swimmers and Whiterocks Beach also has a lifeguard service in summer. As always, make sure to check locally in advance of swimming at any beach in Ireland. Look out for safety notices (e.g. sometimes a beach will be marked unsuitable for swimming do to Ecoli), warning signs and, if in doubt, keep your feet on dry land.
About Whiterocks, West Strand and East Strand Beach
The clean Blue Flag waters and endless sand makes the beaches in Portrush popular amongst locals and tourists alike.
Whiterocks Beach is right next to East Strand and the two beaches together create a 3-mile stretch of firm white sand for walking, swimming and surfing.
Backed by dunes and white cliffs, the beaches offer panoramic views along the Causeway Coastal Route. The best views are from the purpose-built platform at Magheracross which offers views of Dunluce Castle in one direction and Portrush and Whiterocks Beach in the other.
A promenade runs along West and East Strand Beach while Whiterocks Beach has white cliffs and dunes as a scenic natural backdrop.
Whiterocks Beach in particular is a magnet for surfers and watersports activities. Sea kayaking, swimming and body-boarding are popular sports on this lifeguarded beach.
How to see the various Portrush Beaches in one long ramble
Grab a coffee from Panky Doos and walk along the West Strand promenade, passing Barry’s Amusements with its roller coaster rides.
Continue past the small port and around Ramore Head on the coastal footpath. Returning on the east side of the peninsula, you’ll pass the Waterside Museum, discovery pools and Blue Pool diving attraction.
After that, hit the promenade at East Strand before dropping down onto the sandy Whiterocks Beach for the beautiful walk between the Royal Portrush Golf Course and the sea.
Views of Dunluce Castle ruins on the headland are one of the breathtaking highlights along this part of the 33-mile Causeway Coastal Way. When you finish, there’s plenty of restaurants in Portrush to nip into!
Things to do near Portrush Beach
One of the beauties of the beaches in Portrush is that they’re a stone’s throw from many of the best things to do in Antrim.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the beach (see our guide on what to do in Portrush for more).
1. Dunluce Castle
You may recognise Dunluce Castle ruins east of Portrush on the clifftop – it was one of several Game of Thrones filming locations in Ireland (it was the stronghold of Pyke). Built by the MacQuilan family around 1500, it was the seat of the Earls of Antrim until 1690.
2. Portstewart Strand
Portstewart is an upmarket resort west of Portrush. It boasts a spectacular National Trust beach, golf courses, harbour, promenade and outdoor swimming pool. The coastal town has plenty of shops, cafés, pubs and the award-winning Morelli’s ice cream parlour on the promenade.
3. Giant’s Causeway
As the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland, the Giant’s Causeway has to be seen to be believed. Thousands of extraordinary hexagonal basalt columns create a natural playground for scrambling and climbing. While legend attributes them to the mythical giant, Finn McCool, science says it was caused by volcanic fissures about 50 million years ago.
FAQs about Portrush Beach
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from where to park near Portrush Beach to what to see nearby.
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.
Where do you park for Portrush Beach?
West Strand Beach has a car park right next to it. East Strand Beach also has a handy car park right beside it. There’s also a nice big car park beside Whiterocks Beach.
Can you swim in Portrush?
Yes, each of the three beaches are popular swimming spots, but it’s important to always exercise caution and to check locally for safety notices.
Which of the 3 beaches in Portrush is best for a walk?
It’s really hard to beat Whiterocks Beach, however, if you follow the walk we mention in the guide above you can see all three in one big swoop.
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.