Whitesands Beach (Porthmawr)

As the name suggest, Whitesands Beach is a long strip of white sand which stretches northwards towards direction of St. David’s Head. It is also sometimes known as Porthmawr which is the Welsh for Big Harbour.

Whitesands Bay is popular for good reason and is regarded as one of the finest beaches in Pembrokeshire. It is also one of the best spots for surfing on the Welsh coast.

Sweeping down from the rambling hills behind the beach are open fields and meadows. The main hill in the area is called Carn Llidi and is one of the best spots to go walking in Pembrokeshire.

The scenery here stunning and there are a wide range of flora and fauna on show. The cliffs that surround the beach are covered in bluebells, sea campion, thrift, and golden gorse and you will find seagulls and gannets that fly over from the colony on Grassholm Island.

As a Blue Flag beach you can expect a good range of facilities at Whitesands beach. Along with a cafe and toilets there are lifeguards on patrol during the summer months.

In terms of activities there is more than just surfing; swimming, canoeing, kayaking and kite surfing are all possible in the waters around Whitesands Beach. 

Just off the coast here are a set of craggy islands and reefs known as the Bishops and Clerks. These were once notorious as a spot for shipwrecks claiming many victims over the centuries.

If you explore the northern end of Whitesands you will find the ruins of a chapel for sailors that is dedicated to St. Patrick and dates from the 6th century. Sailors would come here to worship before going to sea and also return and give thanks when they had completed a safe voyage.

Also known as:


Type of beach


Lifeguard service


Dogs friendly beach?

Dogs are banned from May 1st through to September 30th.

Pembrokeshire dog friendly beaches »


  • Kayaking/canoeing
  • Swimming/bathing
  • Surfing
  • Wind surfing


  • Slipway

Nearest town



SA62 6PS

OS grid ref.

SM 7329 2699


Parking is available for 100 cars. including disabled spaces. and there is a charge.

Water quality

Water quality star rating


Blue Flag AwardMarine Conservation Society Recommended

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Whitesands Beach Reviews

Kids and teens favourite beach

Jul 24th 2021

Parking for the day is reasonably priced at only £5 and cafe food good. The ice creams are delicious! Lots of surf board hire. Pretty beach and good life guard hut. It is popular in the summer holidays so need to be parking by 10/11 am at latest. Fantastic coastal walks off beach. Beach always clean.


Apr 15th 2021

There are plenty more beaches in Pembrokeshire that don’t rip people off it is after all it’s just another beach.

No trees

Apr 03rd 2021

Sand is nice, expensive beach when told it is free. Very bare countryside, no trees and too open. No, not for me…

Traeth Mawr

Jon Frjals
Jan 11th 2021

Clue is in the name ‘Great beach’ whatever the weather.  Tis’ true that the cafe and loos are underwhelming but that is not why you go there.  Car park is expensive but basic laws of supply and demand in the summer. Best time to go there for me is 5 p.m to 7 p.m. - sun going down and glistening over the water.  Crowds generally disappeared.  Easy access to coastal path.  Love it!

Aug 23rd 2020

The facilities at the beach are a rip off, £5 for parking and you have to pay to go to the toilet. Totally wrong in this day and age.

What did we get wrong?