Fife’s beaches come in many shapes and sizes with hundreds of miles of coastline to explore. Whether you are looking for an isolated stretch of sand, family-friendly shores, or travelling with restless teens that crave adventure, we have rounded up some of the best beaches to visit during your summer vacation in the Kingdom of Fife.
Have a picnic
For Kingsbarns Beach you will need transport as it’s a bit further out of town but worth the journey. The beaches stretch for almost 2 miles and are backed by sand dunes which are great for the kids to discover. Low tide exposes rock pools for the kids to explore as well as fossils, including the fascinating 335 million year old roots and trunks of the Lepidodendron tree. There is plenty of room on the beach for all the family but a top tip for a picnic is to walk east from the car park steps 400 yards or more where you can enjoy more space as most visitors tend to stay close to the car park. If you are staying at Rufflets, remember we can organise a picnic hamper, or if you would prefer to eat locally the Cheese Toastie Shack is highly recommended. They have some of the very best toasted sarnies around!
Recreate a movie scene
The harbour at St Andrews is flanked by two beaches. To the north of the harbour, West Sands beach is probably the largest and best-known beach in St Andrews. The south end of the two-mile-long sandy beach featured in the opening sequence of the Oscar-winning film, Chariots of Fire. When the sun is out, it’s the place to head. The long, wide beach is popular but it’s size never makes it feel crowded. There is lots of parking with a short walk to the beach and the dunes are a great playground for the kids. While the south end of the beach is favoured by families, the north end is popular with kite surfers and overlooks the Eden Estuary Nature Reserve, home to birds and seals.
If you fancy a seaside day with the sands all to yourself, we can also recommend a few less than crowded spots to park yourself with a good book for the day. Tentsmuir is a much wilder beach than most in the area, just seven miles north of St Andrews. Its deserted golden sands are backed by sand dunes and a pine forest that is a National Nature Reserve. The Fife Coastal Path offers those looking for something a little more deserted an opportunity to discover rugged cliffs, unoccupied coves and tranquil beaches that are only accessible from the path.
At West Sands beach in St Andrews you will find Blown Away, a mobile outdoor experience company offering a range of land and sea-based activities, each one more exciting than the next and spot-on if you have teenagers that seek an adrenaline rush. Land yachting combines the gracefulness of sailing with the thrill of motor racing and the wide beach at West Sands is the ideal location. The company’s twin land yachts make it possible for children to join in the fun too if riding with an adult. If it’s water based activities you are seeking, Blown Away also hire out stand up paddle-boards (SUPS). You use a one-bladed paddle to manoeuvre a specially designed longer and wider surfboard through the waves. For groups the huge super tanker paddle boards can take up to eight. There are also two-man kayaks to hire and an opportunity to learn how to surf. During the summer Blown Away run a kids activity programme. You can find lots more information on the activities available here and in our round up on Adrenaline and Activity Sports.
In Elie, further around the coast, the award-winning beach isn’t the only attraction. Elie Watersports, located at the harbour offers a wide range of activities including sailing, windsurfing, kayaking/canoeing, stand up paddle (SUP) boards, water-skiing, pedaloes, inflatable rides and boat trips. Wetsuits and buoyancy aids are supplied when required. There are a number of really good cafés and bars in the area serving food throughout the day including the really popular Ship Inn. Dog restrictions are in place during the summer.
Relax with youngsters
Toddlers love a good beach where there’s lots to explore and wide open spaces to run around and build sandcastles. The beach at St Andrews East Sands is a popular choice for families with younger children. The beach’s nearby car- park make it much more accessible when there are push-chairs to carry. Handy toilet facilities, first aid facilities on site, a children’s play area, on-duty lifeguards during peak season and its own cafe make it even more attractive.
Aberdour Silver Sands is a great beach for a family day out, with a kids’ putting green and a bouncy castle to keep the kids entertained when they get bored with the beach. Lifeguards patrol the beach during the peak summer season and facilities include a beachfront café, toilets, first aid, a dog restricted area and a dog exercise area.
Discover one of Scotland’s best kept secrets
At Elie you can discover one of Scotland’s best-kept coastal secrets. The Elie Chain Walk is a unique mini day out which teenagers will love, but not so well suited to wee ones. To call it a walk wouldn’t be strictly true, it is more of a challenging scramble around the coastal volcanic rocks where solidly planted steel chains and perfectly placed footholds provide the means to navigate a particularly tricky section of the Fife Coastal Path which hugs the cliffs towards Kincraig Point and Shell Bay. If you have a head for heights and adventure, its perfect! Access from the east is from the village of Elie or from the west via Shell Bay Caravan Park. There are no hard and fast rules about which way to do the chain walk.
There are so many beaches that can be discovered by foot using the Fife Coastal Path, in fact 117 miles. One of our favourites is the walk from St Monans to Elie. Park next to the old Kirk on the eastern edge of the town and join the coastal path heading east. Elie is around 45/60 mins walk – all along the trail with some fabulous little sandy beaches en-route to stop for a breather. At Elie you can enjoy a pint and spot of lunch at the Ship Inn- it has a fab beer garden overlooking the beach.
If you haven’t booked a break over the summer, take advantage of late deals for accommodation at Rufflets.