The beaches on the Isle of Skye offer a great variety of pristine white sand, black sand and rocky inlets to explore, swim and paddleboard. Here are some of our favourites:
Aird of Sleat (Camas Daraich)
Almost the most south-westerly point of the Isle of Skye this pristine white sand beach and turquoise waters is a firm favourite. Its rocky perimeter is perfect for scrambling and rock pooling, and clear waters are perfect for swimming, snorkelling and paddle boarding. All in all a great day out for the whole family, approached by a beautiful 4 km walk (round trip).
From the car park at the road end, Aird of Sleat go through the wooden gate next to the farm gate and follow the track uphill. Continue on the track as it winds through the moorland, then descends to a stream, cross the wooden bridge and turn left to take the steep, rocky path signed to the Point of Sleat. Follow the fence to reach a path between two hills and take the clear path left to the beach at Camas Daraich. Great views of the Knoydart peninsula and mountains of Rum and Eigg throughout.
Claigan Coral Beach
The most well-known of all the family beaches but still possible to have it almost to yourself if you time things right! On the north-west of the island, north of Dunvegan, this beach is made up of tiny fragments of sun-bleached coral-like seaweed (Red Coralline seaweed known as Maërl) which makes the water look tropical in the sunshine. The beach is great for a swim or beach-combing for the huge variety of pretty shells. The small hill near the beach, known as the ‘Ghrobain’, is a short climb with great views. There is also a small tidal island, called Lampay, that can be accessed from the beach on lower Spring tides.
Claigan is a 10 minute drive from Dunvegan Castle, and the car park is about a 2 km walk from the beach along a track. The car park can get very busy, and is approached by a single-track road.
A beach surrounded by spectacular and rugged scenery on the northeast coast of Skye. This sandy beach is ideal for families, is nice and sheltered with a gentle slope into the water, and has a boat slipway and boat trips nearby. It has achieved recent fame after the discovery of fossilised dinosaur footprints of a three-toed Hadrosaur in a flat mudstone to the right of the large boulders on the beach.
The beach is easy to access from the main road and is within walking distance of Staffin. The best car park (and grub) is at the Columbia 1400 Community Centre. Kilt Rock and the Mealt Falls viewpoints are closeby.
On the west coast this is a beach of grey sand and rock and possibly the only place to surf on the island. Surrounded by spectacular cliffs, a waterfall and sea stack this is an inspiring place to spend time, with golden eagles often spotted soaring overhead. At low tide it is possible to scramble over the rocky shoreline to the left of the beach to reach the base of the sea stack. The vibrant village of Carbost is nearby with the Talisker Whisky distillery, great coffee at Caora Dhubh and the Oyster Shed.
Park responsibly at the end of the single track road from Carbost village and walk 1.5 km along the easy farm track.
At low tide this is one of the best beaches on Skye. Lying in the shadow of the Black Cuillin it will never fail to impress – whatever the weather, and is a great place to catch a rainbow. The black/grey sands stretch endlessly, with views out to the Isle of Rum.
The drive to Glenbrittle Beach is equally impressive with the Black Cuillin on one side, pine forest and river meadows on the other. You’ll also pass the Fairy Pools. To get there take the A850 from Kyle of Lochalsh to Sligachan, then turn left onto the A863 to Dunvegan. Turn left at Drynoch and take the B8009 to Carbost. Just before you reach Carbost, turn left at the signpost for Glenbrittle. Park above the beach on the largish carpark.
In season the Glenbrittle campsite has a shop and cafe that are open to the public.