The South Coast is the mecca for British seaside holidays, and it’s not difficult to see why. Both East and West Sussex offer their fair share of beautiful beaches, from long swathes of sand backed by dunes, to pretty coastal towns with pebble ridges and colourful beach huts. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to know which are the best beaches in Sussex for family day trips, to avoid the crowds or enjoy peaceful dog walks. We’ve done our research to help you decide which is the best beach in Sussex for your days out.
West Sussex beaches
Our first stop for a traditional bucket and spade day out, West Wittering is a large sandy West Sussex beach, set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with beautiful views of Chichester Harbour. During the summer months, it becomes particularly busy, so we highly recommend arriving early to grab the best spot on the sand. A good choice for families, there are plenty of facilities including the Beach Café, lots of car parking and toilets.
Highlight: Wrap up warm and dodge the crowds by starting your winter walk from West Wittering beach.
Dog friendly: Dog free zones are in place May to September.
Stay nearby: Seaview Cottage - Selsley - sleeps 8
Like a typical Sussex beach with shingle, pebbles and wooden groynes, Climping is set in a rural location, backed by low sand dunes and pretty fields. If you’re searching for a quieter afternoon by the sea, then this is a fantastic choice. This dog-friendly beach in Sussex is also complete with a café, making it a great choice for family day trips away from the crowds. There are plenty of beautiful coastal walks from here so that more energetic families can stretch their legs too!
Highlight: Climping beach is a peaceful escape from the busier resorts of Littlehampton and Bognor Regis which it sits halfway between.
Dog friendly: Dogs allowed all year round.
Stay nearby: Chenies, Middleton-on-Sea - sleeps 10
This wild and wonderful beach is part of a maze of waterways from Chichester Harbour and is technically not an island but a peninsula, separated from the mainland by a channel known as ‘The Great Deep’. A haven for wildlife, keen birdwatchers will be on the lookout for skylarks, egret, osprey and so many more exciting species. You will find long stretches of sand and shingle to the southern tip of the island, with the mudflats of the harbour beyond. While there are no facilities on the island itself, you’ll find restaurants and toilets in Emsworth and the surrounding area.
Highlight: Given the lack of commercial development on the island, Thorney remains wild and untamed – perfect for wildlife watchers and those looking for a dog-friendly beach.
Dog friendly: Dogs welcome all year round.
Stay nearby: Goodwood House, Chichester - sleeps 8
Broken up into three sections, Bognor Regis Pier, West and East, this West Sussex beach spans the length of this traditional seaside resort. Separated by the pier, West beach tends to be the quieter of the three, especially the further you go. The 2.7-mile promenade stretches from Felpham to Aldwick, offering an array of amenities. The bustling town centre is also within easy walking distance of the beach, with all kinds of shops, attractions and places to eat, which lends itself perfectly to a family day out at the seaside.
Highlight: With a busy promenade and easy access to the town centre, everything you could possibly need for a family beach day is within easy reach.
Dog friendly: Dogs are banned from 1st April – 30th September.
Stay nearby: Little Bridges, Chichester - sleeps 2
This long stretch of groyne-strewn pebble is a classic West Sussex beach, lined with traditional wooden beach huts. Although much quieter than some of its popular neighbours, it’s a great location for water sport activities such as stand-up paddleboarding. Walkers will find it interesting to know that the beach is backed by a paved path that runs from Sea Lane Café to Worthing, so you could tick two Sussex beaches off your list in one day.
Highlight: It’s a refreshing escape from the busier resorts, swapping amusement arcades for atmospheric fishing boats pulled up on the beach.
Dog friendly: Dogs are allowed all year round but there are restricted areas from May – September.
Where to stay: 3 Church Street, Steyning - sleeps 4
East Sussex beaches
Possibly one of the most popular resorts in Sussex, Camber Sands stretches for 3 miles from Rye Bay to just beyond the Kent border. While most of Sussex’s beaches are pebble, Camber Sands is a little unique in its appearance, and home to the only sand dunes in East Sussex. This sandy beach in Sussex is a popular destination but, due to its size, it is still possible to find an empty spot in the height of summer. Want to know more? Check out our guide to Camber Sands.
Highlight: It features one of the purest and longest dune systems on the South Coast, and the only one to be found in East Sussex.
Dog friendly: Dogs are allowed all year round but are restricted between May and September and between Zones F and H.
Stay nearby: 4 Marine Cottage, Camber - sleeps 5
Lesser known than Camber Sands, with not as many facilities apart from maybe an ice cream van in the middle of summer, Broomhill tends to be a much quieter beach. Whether you’re seeking solitude on the sand, you’re a keen water sports enthusiast, or you’d just like to watch the sand buggies and kite surfers, Broomhill Sands should definitely be on your hit list.
Highlight: That said, there is a kitesurfing centre which makes it one of the most popular destinations for water sports enthusiast.
Dog friendly: May to September – dogs on a lead are allowed in marked zones. October to April – dogs are allowed onto all areas of the beach under close control.
Stay nearby: Westwick, Camber - sleeps 6
This established seaside resort, like many of the beaches on the South Coast is predominately shingle, running all the way along the seafront with the dramatic cliffs towering overhead. There are lots of sides to Hastings, from the fishing quarter and Old Town to the renovated Pier and amusement arcades at Pelham Palace, making it an all-round favourite with holidaymakers. With all the facilities of a town centre, Hastings is a good choice for families with young children who require easy access to refreshments and amenities.
Highlight: This traditional Victorian seaside resort offers all the family fun you would expect from equipment hire to crazy golf and arcade games.
Dog friendly: Yes but there are some dog-free zones.
Where to stay: Hastings House, Hastings - sleeps 10
The largest seaside town in East Sussex, Eastbourne, is home to one of our favourite East Sussex beaches. We love it because it has so much to see and do on family days out. Typical of a Victorian seaside town, its seafront is flanked with old buildings, split in half by Eastbourne Pier, which today are home to several eateries. Sovereign Harbour, to the east of the town, is home to a marina and many luxury houses and apartments – some you can book to stay in through us!
Highlight: The vibrant seaside town also plays host to a number of annual events including the world’s biggest seafront air show, Airbourne.
Dog-friendly: Yes but restrictions apply during the summer.
Where to stay: Pier Lookout, Eastbourne - sleeps 2
This remote East Sussex beach is much quieter than many of the bigger resorts along the coast, but that's half its appeal. It is made up mostly of shingle, with shallow sand flats revealed when the tide pulls back. It’s the perfect beach to choose if you want to avoid the crowds, enjoy long peaceful walks and watch flocks of birds gather on the sand flats. Rich in wildlife, this is one of very few relatively undeveloped areas of the South Coast, and we can recommend a trip here during your Sussex holiday.
Highlight: There is a pleasant 4-mile walk that heads along the sea wall eastwards taking in a bird reserve, the River Rother and returning via Camber Castle.
Dog-friendly: Yes but restrictions apply.
Where to stay: Angel Cottage, Winchelsea - sleeps 6
Book a cottage in Sussex
Pack up your buckets and spades or pull on your walking boots and head out to some of the most beautiful Sussex beaches. We hope this guide has helped you pick out which to visit during your holiday. For a little more inspiration, why not take a look at our guide to Sussex? For inspiration on where to stay, we’ve picked out some of our favourite cottages on the Sussex coast. If you’d like to hop over the border into Kent, we’ve also put together our favourite Kent beaches to help inspire you.
Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.