In the crook of Towan Head, Towan Beach is the most central of the seven miles of firm sandy beaches that line the coast around Newquay. Town beaches such as this and Porth Beach, with its grassy headland, can get very busy with families in high season, and are popular with surfers all year, though the latter are more partial to Watergate Bay to the north, and Fistral Bay, west of Towan Head.

On the other side of East Pentire Head from Fistral, Crantock Beach – reachable over the Gannel River by ferry or upstream footbridge – is usually less crowded, and has a lovely backdrop of dunes and undulating grassland. South of Crantock, Holywell Bay and the three-mile expanse of Perran Beach, enhanced by caves and natural rock arches, are also very popular with surfers.