The Isle of Wight has more clean beaches than any other area in the country and Isle of Wight beaches currently include several award-winning beaches, with four of them being Blue Flag winners. The Blue Flag is only awarded to coastal locations that have achieved the highest quality in water, facilities, safety, environmental education and management. It is a prestigious, international award scheme, which acts as a guarantee to tourists that a beach or marina they are visiting is one of the best in the world.
Many Isle of Wight beaches are close to superb cafés, pubs and restaurants as well as the wonderful visitor attractions. During the summer months, most of the beaches are cleared of litter on a daily basis and large amounts of seaweed is removed and used as compost by local farmers. Also, do not forget that safety is always a priority when entering the sea and never go into the water, or swim when there are red flags flying.
With fantastic views of The Needles, this pebble beach next to the famous sand cliffs is one of the best places on the Island for watching the spectacular sunsets. There are strong currents at Alum Bay, so caution is required if you want to get more than your feet wet. There are steps and a chairlift to the beach from the Needles Park, which is a superb family amusement park at the top of the cliffs.
With several pebble and sand beaches, Bembridge is a good spot for swimming, but be careful around the harbour area, as this can get busy with boats. At low tide, hundreds of rockpools appear where children or the young at heart can search for crabs. There are beach huts available for hire.
You will find a sand and shingle beach dotted with rocks and rockpools at Bonchurch. There are several small cafes looking out to sea and a short stroll along the seafront past tiny fishermen’s cottages takes you to Ventnor.
The pleasant sandy beach at Brook is renowned for the fossilised remains of a prehistoric pine forest that becomes visible at low tide. Fossils can also be spotted by bathers in the surrounding cliffs.
Colwell Bay (Blue Flag & Seaside Award winner)
There is a long sandy beach at Colwell Bay with stunning views out to the western Solent. With its gentle seaward slope and calm waters, this is the perfect location to swim safely. Waterfront cafes, beach huts, watersports and beach shops all add to the fun.
Compton Bay is well worth a visit with its huge deep-red sandy beach and magnificent sunset views. The bay also offers good surfing as well as fossilised dinosaur bones and footprints, but be prepared for a steep climb back up the cliffs.
Cowes (Seaside Award winner)
The mainly shingle beach at Cowes is popular with families and is the perfect spot to enjoy the many sailing regattas on the Solent including the world-famous Cowes Week. There are plenty of pubs, restaurants and cafes nearby, as well as a fine selection of shops.
East Cowes (Seaside Award winner)
The sea-front facilities on offer at East Cowes include a promenade and children’s play area.
One of the most tranquil areas of the Isle of Wight, Freshwater Bay’s beach consists of pebbles, shingle and sand. Surrounded by magnificent chalk cliffs, this is one of the safest swimming areas on the Island, although the beach slopes fairly steeply into the sea.
Gurnard (Seaside Award winner)
A pleasant sand and shingle beach with pretty beach huts along the sea-front. Windsurfing is a very popular activity at Gurnard, as well as dinghy sailing.
The sandy sheltered beach at Puckpool is popular with families. Although the water is shallow for some way out at high tide, beware of being caught out on one of the offshore sand bars when the tide comes in.
Situated east of St Catherine’s Point, Reeth Bay is a charming hidden gem with a 300 metre-wide beach flanked by cliffs.
Ryde (Seaside Award for Ryde East)
A glorious six mile sandy beach is found at Ryde. This is one of the most popular resorts on the Isle of Wight, with loads to see and do nearby.
Sandown (Blue Flag & Seaside Award winner)
This is probably the most popular beach for families on the Island and rightly so, with the superb golden sand, pretty beach huts and fun-filled pier. It is also a popular destination for water sports and children just love it.
Seagrove (Seaside Award winner)
A more relaxed feel is experienced here on this sand and shingle bay between Seaview and St Helens. It is ideal for a peaceful day out for the all the family with its calm waters and gently sloping beach.
The beach at this popular seaside village is a great place for crabbing and shrimping as it is full of rockpools. The local Seaview Sailing Club hosts yacht races most weekends and evenings in the summer.
Shanklin (Seaside Award winner)
Another excellent safe sandy beach can be found at Shanklin, with lots of nearby attractions, such as Shanklin Chine. There is also the picturesque Old Village situated at the top of the cliff.
Springvale (Seaside Award winner)
Springvale is a long stretch of coastline featuring a sand and pebble beach. It is in a quiet location and perfect for safe swimming.
This idyllic spot just outside Ventnor is only accessible by foot, but is well worth the effort. Steephill Cove is peaceful and the perfect place to relax and enjoy the wonderful views out to sea.
St Helens (Seaside Award winner)
A superb beach for swimming set in a tranquil location. There is a great variety of birds and wildlife to watch, as well as fantastic views of the harbour at Bembridge. Look out for the pretty, painted beach huts, which are old converted railway carriages.
Totland Bay (Seaside Award winner)
This wonderful sandy beach is situated on the west side of the Isle of Wight. The sea front is perfect for a quiet relaxing day out and you can take an enjoyable walk along the promenade to Colwell Bay.
Ventnor (Blue Flag & Seaside Award winner)
The mainly sandy beach at Ventnor is sheltered by high cliffs, which provide a wonderful sheltered seaside location. Due to hidden rocks and a strong tide, water sports are not recommended. The pretty seafront with its great selection of pubs, cafés and restaurants offers plenty to enjoy away from the beach.
This picturesque sandy beach is sheltered by the Culver Cliffs and is accessed via steps. The beach is an excellent location for swimming and watersports.
Yaverland (Blue Flag & Seaside Award winner)
This sandy beach, adjacent to Sandown, is a well-frequented spot for windsurfing, sailing and other water sports, as well as fossil hunters looking for dinosaur remains that are prevalent in the area.