family and beach huts on mersea island

With over 350 miles of coastline and blue-flag status beaches, Essex has everything sun seekers could want. With sandy beaches and gently sloping shingle shorelines, Essex’s beaches are perfect for a day by the seaside for you and your little ones.

From sunbathing and swimming to fossil hunting and beachcombing it’s easy to get off the beaten track, stay away from the crowds and discover some hidden gems in Essex. So, what are you waiting for? Take a trip and uncover miles of unspoilt beaches and coastline and create your own great adventures. 

1. Shoeburyness Beach

The sand and shingle beach of Shoeburyness is backed by a promenade and a large grassy area which is home to a number of beach huts. Despite being close to Southend, this beach is a tucked away hidden gem and has a children’s paddling pool for when the tide is out. While dog restrictions apply there is also dog exercise area. Tasty treats and buckets and spades can be purchased from Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

2. Canvey Island Beach

Located in the Thames Estuary, Canvey Island is just off the coast of Essex, from which it is separated by a network of small channels. Walk along the beach and enjoy  a view view of the Kent coast while at the rear of the beach is a large flat grassy area with a play park. There are no dog restrictions so you and your four legged friend can enjoy the beach to your hearts content.

3. Jaywick Beach

The sandy beach of Jaywick is almost mid-way between Clacton-on-Sea and Colne Point. This sandy stretch of beach has a number of Martello Towers along its coastline which were constructed in the 19th century to defend the country against the threat of invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte and his armies. Why not visit and enjoy some history as well as the beach?

4. Southend - Westcliff Bay

Southend's Westcliff Beach is one of Essex’s best beaches. With its sand and shingle shoreline, the beach is extremely popular for a family day out by the seaside. Between Westcliff Bay and Chalkwell Beach is a large granite obelisk – The Crowstone – which marks the area where London’s jurisdiction over the River Thames ends. With amusement arcades, Rossi’s famous ice-cream and close to Southend high street there’s plenty to keep you and your young ones entertained.

5. Thorpe Bay

Walk approximately a mile eastward from Southend and you’ll find the beautiful sandy beach of Thorpe Bay. This Blue Flag and Quality Coast awards winner, this beach has clean water and offers a great day out. A popular destination for kayaking, sailing and windsurfing, there are also plenty of opportunities for refreshments with many cafés and restaurants situated near or have an area overlooking the beach.

6. Southend - Chalkwell Beach

This sandy beach is a popular favourite due to its location and attractions as its closet to Southend Pier – the longest pleasure pier in the world at a mile long – amusement parks and theme parks as well as a number of cafes and restaurants. With a promenade and car park on Chalkwell Esplanade it’s easy to get to before unpacking the car and the kids and venturing out for a paddle and sandcastle fun.

7. The Naze Beach

A world away from the hustle and bustle of Essex’s more preferred beach destinations, the Walton-on-the-Naze beach is a peaceful sandy place and is ideal for getting away from it all. With the Naze Tower – an eight-storey tower built in the 18th century – on the crumbling cliffs, this beach is ideal for the fossil hunters due to its clay and geological formation. Take a visit and see what you can find.

8. Martello Beach

Travel back in time and enjoy the historical aspect as you soak up the sun’s rays. This sandy  beach - named after the 19th century Martello Tower forts which dot the landscape – has a popular clifftop garden overlooking the beach. With a number of facilities offering refreshments you can make a day of it and enjoy Essex’s heritage and coastline in equal measure.

9. Clacton-on-Sea Beach

One of the more famous beaches in Essex, Clacton is a destination for families from far and wide. Meander along the Victorian pier or sit and enjoy the golden sandy beach before finding refreshments in any one of the numerous cafes and restaurants that operate along the coastline. With amusement arcades and a cliff top garden there’s plenty to keep you and your family entertained, no matter what the weather. The Beach is also popular among kayakers, canoeists, jet-skiers, sailors and windsurfers.

10. Frinton-on-Sea Beach

Known as a quiet family resort, Frinton-on-Sea beach is a world away from the more popular Essex beach destinations such as Southend and Clacton. This Blue Flag winning beach, is divided by wooden groynes and remains a firm family favourite due to its sloping shoreline and uncommercialised nature. Behind the beach is a large promenade with lots of brightly coloured beach huts. If you’re looking to spend some quiet quality time on a family day out then Frinton-on-Sea is the perfect beach for your needs.

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