If you’re in search of the best beaches in Wicklow, you’ve landed in the right place.
While Ireland’s ‘Garden County’ might be better known for Wicklow Mountains National Park, the county’s coastline offers some incredible beaches worth exploring.
With many a short drive south of Dublin, Wicklow’s beaches are a great place to head to when the sun is shining (but get there early… as they can get insanely busy!).
In the guide below, you’ll discover the best Wicklow beaches, from family favourites, like Greystones Beach, to hidden gems, like Silver Strand.
Our favourite beaches in Wicklow
The first section of our guide to the best beaches in Wicklow is filled with our favourite sandy stretches in the county.
Below, you’ll find everywhere from the magnificent Magheramore Beach and Silver Strand to Brittas Bay and more.
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. Silver Strand
Silver Strand in Wicklow (not to be confused with beaches of the same name in Donegal and Mayo) may not be the biggest of the many Wicklow Beaches, but it’s certainly one of the most beautiful.
The small beach is just 4.5km south of Wicklow town and has perfect golden, smooth sand and is surrounded by rocky cliffs on either side.
The cliffs provide a unique protection making the calm waters perfect for swimming when the weather is warm. It’s not as widely known as some of the other beaches in Wicklow which is why it’s one of our favourites.
The biggest drawback of this beach is access – parking nearby can be tricky (as you’ll discover in this guide) and access to the beach is only via private campsites.
This is one of the more unique Wicklow beaches and it’s widely regarded (and rightly so!) as one of the best beaches in Ireland.
2. Brittas Bay Beach
Arguably the most popular of the many beaches Wicklow has to offer, Brittas Bay Beach features a long 5km stretch of sand dunes and clear water just 12km south of Wicklow town.
It’s both a Special Area of Conservation and a Blue Flag beach, making it a beautiful place to spend a summer day.
The beach’s sand dunes are considered ecologically important with grassland and coastal ferns growing back from the beach. It can get extremely busy in peak season and during holidays with plenty of day trippers from Dublin.
However, you’ll find a couple of car park areas to cater for the crowds and the beach has a lifeguard service in summer.
3. Magheramore Beach
The next of our favourite Wicklow beaches is the mighty Magheramore Beach. Just a 10-minute drive south of Wicklow town, this small beach is the perfect haven on a sunny day.
It has pristine sand and hidden rock pools for the whole family to explore and is much more laidback than Brittas Bay.
There is limited parking on the street or a car park in a field nearby for €5 all day. Then you can access the beach via a pathway that is just 750m down to the sand.
There are no additional facilities like toilets at the beach, so be prepared if you plan on spending all day there.
Other brilliant Wicklow beaches worth a ramble along
Right, now that we have our favourite beaches in Wicklow out of the way, it’s time to see what else this county has to offer.
Below, you’ll find everything from the brilliant Greystones beach to the often overlooked Kilcoole Beach and much more.
1. Greystones Beach
Almost as popular as Brittas Bay Beach, Greystones Beach is a busy family summer destination due to its Blue Flag status. It’s also easily accessible by public transport with the DART train travelling to Greystones from Dublin throughout the day.
The south beach in Greystones is the most picturesque part of the coastline here, with about half a mile of sand and pebbles.
You can find lifeguard services during the bathing season, as well as facilities throughout the year including parking, toilets and a kid’s playground.
A visit here is the perfect way to round off the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk. There are also plenty of things to do in Greystones while you’re there.
2. Bray Beach
Another handy beach to head to in Wicklow is Bray Beach stretching along the coast in the town of Bray.
At less than 20km south of Dublin and easily reached by public transport this long promenade and sandy beach is a very popular destination when the weather begins to get balmy.
The long beach stretches from Bray Head to Bray Harbour, with a designated Blue Flag area in the southern half. You’ll find parking, public toilets and a playground right at the beachside.
If you’re can peel yourself away from the sand, there’s plenty of things to do in Bray while you’re there, too!
3. Ennereilly Beach
Located in Ballinaskea just north of Arklow, this local beach is perfect for a range of activities. While the stony sand might not have it competing with Brittas Bay or Silver Strand for sunbakers, it’s a popular place for anglers searching for codling, pin whiting and flounder.
It’s also a nice place for a walk or quick dip as it’s much quieter than many of the other beaches on the coast. There is a small parking area off the road, but with very little other facilities available.
4. Kilcoole Beach
If Greystones Beach is a little too busy for your liking, then you can always head just further south to Kilcoole Beach. This stone and shingle beach is accessible by foot from the railway station with a car park available nearby as well.
It’s a quiet beach for a nice stroll or swim, with many people bringing their four-legged friends down for a play in the water too. It’s also a bird watchers paradise, with birds nesting on the beach at certain times of the year.
If you’re really keen, you can also follow the walking path from Kilcoole Beach to Greystones which is rambles along the coast for 5km.
FAQs about the best beaches Wicklow has to offer
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from the best beaches in Wicklow 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 Wicklow?
In my opinion, the most beautiful of the many Wicklow beaches are Magheramore Beach, Silver Strand and Brittas Bay.
What Wicklow beaches are best for swimming?
According to Wicklow Tourism, there are six ‘bathing beaches’ in the county: Bray South Promenade, Greystones South Beach, Silver Strand, Brittas Bay North Beach, Brittas South Beach and Clogga Beach.
What is the most impressive beach in Wicklow?
Silver Strand is incredibly impressive and you could argue that it’s up there with the most beautiful beaches in Ireland.
Thursday 14th of July 2022
Neither of the Silver Strands was open to day visitors in 2021. Is it possible to pay for parking and visit either Silver Strand in Summer 2022? I’m now in my 70’s but have visited these beautiful strands since I was a child. My father’s family were Wicklow people, born and bred there for generations. I was very saddened to find that I couldn’t visit last year, as it has been a part of my family’s life for so long. What about Magheramore Strand. The property overlooking the stand was purchased for development last Summer. Is it still open to the public?
Saturday 16th of July 2022
Hey Clare - I've spent the last while looking into this and I can't for the life of me figure out whether the car parks are open for non-residents of the campsites (they used to offer paid parking previously). If I find out more I'll let you know!