The Island spoils you for choice, from quaint town beaches like Ventnor and Shanklin, foodie beaches such as Steephill Cove and Totland, wild beaches such as all those along the Back of the Wight, secluded beaches such as Atherfield, wide Sandy beaches such as Ryde or Yaverland, or surfing beaches like Compton Bay. And don’t forget the many cliff backed beaches where you can hunt for dinosaur fossils. A good guide to the beaches can be found here.
The Channel has great differences between low and high tide. If you arrive to find there is no beach it is because the tide is in; just wait a few hours and the beach will re-appear. Times of tides can be found in the local paper, the County Press.
Steephill Cove is lovely for families but be prepared to walk to get there. It has sand, rocks, rock pools and a good licensed cafe. Park at Botanic Ventnor Gardens (Pay and Display) and walk down the steep path to the cove. Ventnor is safe and sandy with lots of cafes, Bonchurch is lovely, traffic-free and much quieter, with wonderful rock pools at low tide, no shops or cafe on the beach so take your own refreshments. Compton Bay is a 40-minute drive and disappears at high tide (and sometimes in the spring when whole cliffs fall into the sea). It has surfing and great waves at high tide, sand banks, shipwrecks, and dinosaur footprints at low tide. No café or shops so take a picnic. Brook is popular for surfing and kite-surfing, Shanklin has an old-fashioned feel and a pub right on the beach (Fisherman’s Cottage), Sandown is a little busier but has wide sandy beaches and lots of amusements; Lake is the best place for organised watersports. Chat to us if in need of specific recommendations, or look at the Guest books for other visitors’ recommendations.