Camping & Outdoors Blog

6 Beaches to Visit in the New Forest

Although it boasts nearly 200,00 acres of woodland, the New Forest is also home to eight beaches. Starting near the city of Southampton and stretching west across more than 64 km of coastline, you can discover an array of coastal walks, unique points of natural history and staggering cliff top views. 

Its stunning landscape makes it perfect for exploring, whether you want to stay on dry land and explore its cliff top walks, or dive into water activities such as kayaking or canoeing. 

So let’s take a look at the New Forest’s best beaches…

Barton-on-Sea

Crofters Woods

Barton-on-Sea in Christchurch, is home to a quaint beach which runs beneath staggering clay cliffs, housing a rich natural history dating back to the prehistoric period. These cliffs feature a range of coastal walks and trails while the beach and its shores below provide the perfect conditions for kayaking and canoeing. 

Another bonus to this beach is that during the winter months, this is amongst the dog-friendly New Forest beaches, making it easier to enjoy the outside with your four legged friends.

Milford-on-Sea

The coastline surrounding Milford-on-Sea is one of the region’s most interesting spots, both historically and for the abundance of activities on offer. A winding shingle beach gives way to sandy shores and some of the New Forest’s best watersporting opportunities, from kayaking to paddle boarding and even kitesurfing. 

As well as watersports, this part of the New Forest is also great for coastal walks, peppered with both natural and human history, including Hurst Castle.

Lepe Beach

Lepe Beach is one of the best in the region, with something for every kind of outdoor activity seeker.  Whether you’re visiting the New Forest for coastal walks, winding woodland or watersports, this beach is a must. 

Protected woodland trails stretch out from the cliffside walks, while the shores along Lepe Beach makes an excellent place for launching kayaks, paddle boards, canoes or simply going for a swim. 

Steeped in history, this beach also played an important role in the D-Day landings. So, if you’re looking to explore some of the area’s rich history and learn more about the historical significance of the New Forest coastline, don’t miss Lepe Beach. 

With woodland, wildlife and coastline all wrapped into one, why not make Lepe Beach your basecamp with our top 5 New Forest campsites helping make the most of this breathtaking location.

Calshot Beach

Another of the New Forest’s shingle beaches is Calshot Beach, a verified watersports haven, this is the ultimate destination for those looking to enjoy some time on the water. 

Boasting the UK’s biggest outdoor watersports centre, Calshot is not only the hub for surfing, kayaking and other well loved watersports in the New Forest, it’s also popular for its climbing. 

This beach is one of New Forest’s best. Not only is it one of the region’s biggest, it’s also great for exploring with younger kids thanks to its flatter ground and proximity to hotels, campsites and restaurants. So, if you’re thinking of introducing your kids to the great outdoors, this is an easy place to get them started. 

Popular with surfers and paddle boarders year-round, Calshot joins Barton-on-Sea on the list of dog-friendly beaches in the New Forest, making it perfect for year-round getaways and camping. 

Hengistbury Head

One of the New Forest’s few sandy beaches is Hengistbury Head, offering miles of coastal pathways and ample opportunity for watersports. Set amongst many of the region’s shingle beaches, Hengistbury Head is perfect for those that want a more ‘idyllic’ backdrop to their activities. 

Its sandy shores make it best suited to swimming and windsurfing, however the area is also great for those wanting to stretch their legs on a hike or take in some natural beauty.  The beach is home to a lovely circular route, perfect for bird watching and exploring coastal nature and wildlife.  An easy 3.6 mile loop, this walk is perfect for beginners or those wanting to squeeze more out of their trip.

Avon Beach

One of the region’s  most popular beaches is Avon Beach, filling out during the summer months with holiday goers and visitors. However, despite its popularity, there is an area reserved for watersports, meaning good news for those looking to enjoy a spot of kayaking or paddle boarding at the New Forest beaches. 

A popular alternative to many of the shingle beaches along this coastline, Avon Beach is one of the busiest during the summer months, but quieter periods during autumn and winter. Teamed with dog-friendly rules during, these months make it the perfect off-season stop. 

Thanks to its popularity, Avon Beach has become one of the most well equipped in the region with plenty of opportunities to eat, drink and explore too. So, if you’re planning  a watersports getaway Avon Beach could be the perfect hub for convenience, beauty and activities.

Preparing for a Watersports Trip

Whether you’re kayaking, paddleboarding or surfing, watersports can be one of the trickiest activities to prepare for, especially when you’re planning a trip. Ensuring you’ve got the right equipment can make all the difference, from dry packs to waterproofs and watersport accessories, packing light and watertight are two musts.

Our range of camping equipment and travel accessories make it easy to hit the road with all you need and if you’re planning a watersports adventure, our specially designed equipment is made to make travel easier. 

If you’re looking for more watersports inspiration or extending your adventure to make the most of the region, why not consider camping?  We’ve rounded up the best campsites in the New Forest in this blog, helping you plan the perfect retreat. 

Don’t forget to share your Fort William adventure with us on social media by tagging #seatosummituk in your photos!