News & Advice

Beach Activities in Argyll: Top Essentials to Bring

While you may have had your heart set on one of the Spanish coasts, the white sands and blue waters of Thailand, or surf in Hawaii, 2020 probably isn’t the year for that. However, for anyone planning a staycation in the UK that needn’t mean missing out on paradise beaches. Just head to Scotland! The West Coast has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world - and you don’t even need to take a flight to get here.

29 Jul 2020

  • things to do

In this blog, we’ll take a look at 8 essential items for your beach holiday in Argyll. Preparing for your holiday will give you a better idea of what you can expect from beaches in the west coast of Scotland, while making sure you don’t miss out on an activity that will enhance your trip!


It may not always be the first thing you think of when going to the beach, however a camera is an essential when you visit the west coast of Scotland. Whether you want to capture the shimmering waters of Loch Fyne from Ostel Bay, immortalise the car free island of Iona, or shoot the views out to Mull, Morven, and Lismore from Ganavan Sands, you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t have at least your phone to take pictures! And it’s not only dramatic landscapes you’ll want to remember. Calgary Bay in Mull is an excellent place to spot wildlife and to really hone your photography skills on catching animals in motion!


If you’re visiting in the summer, sunscreen is an absolute essential. Even if there’s a cool wind or you're spending the day in the water, don’t be fooled. Bring a high factor sunscreen and make sure to re-apply regularly throughout the day. No-one wants to have to spend the remainder of their holiday in the shade or indoors! 


Aren’t the waters off Scotland cold? Well… yes. But if you’re just taking a quick dip, then having your swimming shorts or bikini is never a bad idea. Ostel Bay which looks out to the isle of Arran is great for families, as the water is shallow and small lagoons form on the beach at low tide. It’s one of the safest beaches there is! Calgary Bay on Mull and Crossapool Beach on Tiree are also nice swimming beaches. 

Stand up paddle board

One of the nicest ways to enjoy Argyll’s coastline is from a stand up paddle board. Just imagine the tranquility of paddling along on the still waters of a loch and taking in the scenery!

If you’re a beginner and are wondering how to stand up paddle board, it’s really not that hard! Just make sure to pick somewhere with calm water to begin with, such as Ganavan Sands near Oban. There’ll be places in town where you can enquire about beginner’s lessons or renting a board too.


Think you can’t surf in Scotland? Think again. Atlantic Breakers pound the west coast of Scotland and there are surf schools too. There are a couple of beaches you should check out in Argyll If you want to surf. First is Westport Beach on the Kintyre Peninsula. There’s a surfcam to check the waves before you arrive - but if they’re really big it’s only recommended for experienced surfers! Another option is Crossapool Beach on the island of Tiree, which is also known by the catchier moniker of the Hawaii of the West. You could even give SUP surfing a go here!  


With so many lochs and a long coastline, kayaking is another popular thing to do in Argyll. If you have your own kayak, great, but if not there are plenty of places you can rent one. Those looking for a tranquil experience should head to Loch Lomond. However, if you’re looking to really push yourself perhaps tackle the 150km of the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail.

Golf clubs

Westport Beach isn’t just great for surfing - you might want to bring along your golf clubs too. It backs onto the famous Machrihanish Golf Course! Treat yourself to a day of teeing off before heading to the clubhouse in the evening for a well earned dram of whisky. 


While Scotland’s west coast has a number of incredible seafood restaurants and fish and chip shops, some beaches are just that little bit off the beaten track. If you’re heading to one of those, you’ll need to take some food with you as there won’t be anywhere to get food when you’re there. However, several of Scotland’s beaches have tearooms and cafes in the area - so do your research beforehand!

Walking boots

While you might usually pack flip flops for heading to the beach, some of Argyll’s offer excellent walking. So, you’ll need the appropriate footwear! Take a hike by an Iron Age Fort between Machir and Kilchiaran Bays, or take cover under the trees of Argyll Forest Park after a sunny walk along Ardentinny Beach.

Winter clothing

Last but not least, Argyll’s beaches are not only a summer destination. These huge expanses of sand may be bitingly cold in the winter, but layer up and you have a beautiful place to take long walks and get some stunning photos. Also, since the crowds aren’t here you might even get a whole beach to yourself. And what could be more magical than that? 

Final Thoughts on what to bring to the beach in Argyll

Now that you know what to bring to the beach, you’ll want to find the best ones to visit and where to stay. Check out Argyll Holidays to find the perfect holiday park close to your dream beach in 2020.


This is a guest blog from -  the one-stop guide for travel enthusiasts around the world.

Photos courtesy of West Coast Waters.

Recommended Articles

Holiday parks mentioned in this article

Other news and advice