Best Beaches for Family Walks & Dog Walking in & around Kirkcudbright & Ross Bay Retreat

Dumfries & Galloway is well known for its outstanding beauty, incredible scenery, dark night skies & its wonderful coastline, however we are so lucky to have some great beaches too right here on our doorstep. Many are ideal to enjoy coastal walks as well being able to take our four legged friends to as well as relaxing, having a picnic and watching the wildlife.

Ross Bay Retreat Beach

Ross Bay Beach

Here are some of the best family and dog friendly beaches in the area. They include locations where you can go for lovely walks all year round and enjoy the stunning coastline, scenery, wildlife and birdlife. Enjoy rock pooling, swimming & bathing, boating & watersports as well as some brilliant walks while exploring the shores on foot. All of these beaches are not far from Kirkcudbright and within an hour of our cottages at Ross Bay Retreat:

  1. Ross Bay, right on your doorstep and very dog friendly
  2. Brighouse Bay – 9 mins, 2.5 miles – shorter to walk!
  3. Dhoon Beach (Goat Well Bay) – 3.3 miles, 10 mins
  4. Carrick Bay – 8.3 miles, 24 mins (dog friendly all year round)
  5. Mossyard Beach, 14 miles, 27 mins
  6. Red Haven Beach – 19 miles, 40 mins
  7. Balcary Bay, 19.4 miles, 40 mins
  8. Rockliffe Beach, 29 miles, 50 mins (dog friendly all year round)
  9. Sandyhills Beach, 29 miles, 50 mins
  10. Southerness Beach (Dog Friendly All Year Round) – 33miles, 1 hour
  11. Monreith Beach, 43 miles, 1 hour

For more useful information, links and postcodes for each of these great beaches please see below.

Ross Bay, On the Doorstep Offering Fabulous Walks & Great for the Dogs too

  • Pet friendly beach & bay in front of our cottages
  • Superb walks across countryside, farmland & out to the headland
  • Walk out from the bay to view the lovey Little Ross Island & lighthouse (see our map)
  • Great for beachcombing & rockpools
  • Take a canoe out & explore the coastline
  • Look out to Isle of Man & Lake district across the Solway

Brighouse Bay, Just across the fields or Borgue, DG6 4TS

  • Brighouse Bay and Borgue Beach is a lovely wide sandy bay & beach that is great for families
  • Sheltered & perfect for making sandcastles & playing on the beach
  • Great for local walks along the rugged coastline or back to the cottages at Ross Bay Retreat
  • Car park, shop & toilet facilities

Dhoon Beach (Goat Well Bay), Kirkcudbright, DG6 4TQ

Dhoon Bay Beach

Dhoon Bay Beach

  • Dhoon Beach, also known as Goat Well Bay, is a small sandy beach just west of Kirkcudbright
  • It is located in a lovely wooded area & looks out over Nun Mill Bay at the mouth of the River Dee
  • Plenty of rock pools to explore & good walks along the Senwick Shore
  • At low tide it is possible to see the wreck of the “Monreith”, a two mast wooden schooner which was wrecked here in 1900.
  • Good size grassy area for picnics with public toilets & parking nearby

Carrick Bay, Gatehouse of Fleet, DG7 2DT

  • Small unspoilt bay with sandy beach close to the larger Fleet Bay just around the rocky headland
  • Accessible by small track & dogs are allowed on the beach year round
  • Carrick Bay is good for bathing, canoeing, coastal walks & picnics
  • Galloway Forest National Park nearby
  • Roadside parking but no local facilities available

Mossyard Beach, Kirkcudbright, DG7 2ET

  • Small, sandy beach located next to the Mossyard Holiday Park
  • Located at northern end of the mouth of Fleet Bay.
  • Popular for boating, canoeing as small craft can be launched from the shore.
  • There are many rock pools which can be fun to explore.
  • This whole area is popular for walking & close to the Galloway Forest National Park
  • Facilities a few miles drive north east of the beach at Gatehouse of Fleet
  • A small car park can be found next to the beach

Red Haven Beach, nr. Auchencairn, DG7 1QY

  • Lovely secluded beach that requires a short walk to get to but well worth it
  • Not to be missed wildlife walk (bring binoculars)
  • Wonderful panoramic views towards Hestan Island & Auchencairn Bay from the rocks
  • Parking approx. ½ mile away by Old Torr Cottage or walk from Auchencairn (see guide map for walks & directions)

Balcary Bay, Auchencairn, DG7 1QZ

  • Beautiful wide bay overlooking the Solway towards Hestan Island & across Lake District
  • Easy park & walk options – good for launching kayaks & paddleboards at high tide
  • Great for families, children & dog walking with various short & long circular walk options
  • Balcary Bay offers some of the best coastal walks in the area
  • Lunch or dine out at Balcary Bay Hotel after enjoying a walk

Rockliffe Beach, Dalbeattie, DG5 4QQ

Dog Friendly Beaches Ross Bay

Dog Friendly Beaches

  • Rockliffe Beach is a small & picturesque sandy beach surrounded by rocks
  • Close to the village of Rockliffe with easy parking, local toilets & café’s located at the southern end of the Dumfries & Galloway coastline
  • Part of a National Scenic Area with several National Trust areas nearby
  • Great favourite with walkers, particularly as dogs are allowed on the beach year round.
  • Marked routes for visitors to enjoy clifftop walks between Rockliffe & Sandyhills Beach
  • Take the tidal causeway to Rough Island nature reserve but be very aware of the tides (closed during May & June due to nesting birds)

Sandyhills Beach, Dalbeattie, DG5 7PT

  • Sandyhills is large sandy beach that shelves gently in beautiful setting
  • Popular beach for walking, paddling & exploring the numerous rock pools
  • Great walks to Rockliffe or head to the East to see the old Southerness Lighthouse
  • Close to village of Colvend a few miles away
  • Good car parking with small shop, café & public toilets

Southerness Beach, Dumfries, DG2 8AZ

  • Southerness Beach is a lovely wide, sandy beach, with a few rocky areas.
  • Within the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • Perfect beach for walking & dogs allowed all year round
  • Low tide exposes the mud flats offering interesting rockpools.
  • Visit Southerness Lighthouse (open in summer for visitors)
  • Seals, porpoise & dolphins can be spotted in the Solway Firth

Monreith Beach, Whithorn, DG5 9LL

  • Monreith Beach is a long, wide, sandy beach reached by steps down the cliffs
  • The beach is popular for swimming in the summer & sea fishing throughout the year.
  • Rock pools & caves to explore including the locally famous red streaked “Butcher’s Cave”.
  • The historic Barsalloch Fort can be found at the north end of the beach.
  • Excellent to spot a variety of birdlife & wildlife whilst out walking the beach or headland
  • Close to small village of Monreith
  • Parking is available above the beach & toilets can be found at the bottom of the steps

Check out our Google interactive map we have created to locate each of these beaches and get directions from wherever you are – Google Maps

Have a lovely time exploring our stunning coastline. Please let us know which is your favourite beach and walk. Send us your pictures.

Ross Bay Dog Friendly Fun

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