Hope Cove Beaches

South Devon is renowned for its beautiful coastline and sandy beaches. Hope Cove is no exception. The drive down through sunken lanes can get busy during the peak summer months but it’s well worth a spot of reversing here and there! This South Hams holiday hotspot has two pretty beaches between Bolt Tail and the stretch of coastline along to South Milton.

Hope Cove is a village of two halves. Inner Hope with its old lifeboat station, slipway and Harbour Beach and Outer Hope with Mouthwell Sands. Both Hope Cove beaches are sandy so perfect for children to play on.

Harbour Beach

Harbour beach is buzzing during the summer months and is an especially popular spot with paddle boarders, kayakers and dinghy sailors. It’s also an excellent spot for wild swimming and the more adventurous water lovers can cling to the coast and swim to Pilchard Cove. Alternatively, head out on the paddleboard or kayak in search of a little peace and quiet. Look out for jellyfish as the sea temperature rises as they head in carried by the warmer waters. 

With the water quality designated as excellent by the Environment Agency, Hope Cove beaches remain a firm favourite for a dip amongst the Finest Stays team.


  • Harbour Beach is dog friendly all year round but dogs should be kept on leads, please.
  • There is ample parking nearby, making Harbour Beach really accessible. 


It’s just a short walk between Inner and Outer Hope so you can spend time on both.

We love – the gin-clear waters are awash with sea life and the eagle-eyed amongst you may spot seals in the cove or dolphins in the distance.

Mouthwell Sands

Mouthwell Sands in Outer Hope Cove is a beautiful sandy bay. The soft sandy beach provides the ideal picnic spot so just kick off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes while the children build sandcastles and paddle on the shore.

This west-facing beach can get some reasonable surf when the weather’s right so get a couple of bodyboards and catch the waves. Kids will love the small stream which runs down the beach into the sea, a great spot for dam building! It’s also great for rock pooling! 

Facilities – 

  • RNLI lifeguards are present every day from 9th July until the 4 September between the hours of 10am and 6pm. 
  • There’s a public pay and display car park just opposite the beach so it’s perfect if you have young children and lots of beach paraphernalia! 


Mouthwell Sands is close to pubs and a car park and there is a useful slipway down to the beach for easy access.

Please note: There is a seasonal dog ban at Mouthwell Beach between May and September.
We love – how family-friendly this little village beach is!

Nearby Beaches

There are plenty of beaches near Hope Cove that are worth visiting during your stay in the sleepy South Hams village. Our personal favourites include South Milton Sands and Soar Mill Cove, but feel free to also explore sandy bays further afield, like those in Salcombe.

Rock Pooling in Hope Cove

The rocky coastline and sandy beaches of Bigbury Bay are ideal for rock pooling. Hope Cove’s beaches have many rock pools providing many creatures with a home. The Mouthwell Beach area of Outer Hope in particular is a rock pooler’s heaven. Beaches a little further afield like Bantham and Thurlestone also have great opportunities for rock pooling. 

Creatures like the hermit crab, shrimp, periwinkles and small fish live in these pools. Rock pooling is not just for your children; it is a seaside pastime for all ages. Every rock pool is different so take your time investigating and make a day of it. After all, you are in the right place – our love of crabbing in South Devon runs so deep that there is even a dedicated Crab Festival!
Make sure little hands and feet are kept away from crabs’ pincers, they may nip in self-defence! For more crabbing advice check out our Top 5 Mistakes When Crabbing.