The 10 best beaches in Essex

If you're looking to escape to a scenic beach destination, then one of the top things you can do is look for a holiday in Essex. This beautiful county in the East of England is renowned for its stunning coastline, and you'll find some of the best beaches in Essex on your trip.


From tranquil sandy coves to vibrant seaside towns, the wide variety of Essex beaches provides a little something for everyone – whether it's romantic seclusion or endless family fun.

There's so much to explore with these best beaches in Essex, from the picturesque surroundings of Brightlingsea Beach to the secluded wonders of private beaches like Mersea Island Beach.

To give you as much inspiration as you need for your getaway, we'll show you the top 10 best beaches in Essex, highlighting their unique charms and amenities. Grab your sandals and sunglasses, and let's get right to it!

Mersea Island Beach image

Mersea Island Beach

When it comes to the best beaches in Essex, Mersea Island Beach is a great place to start. The beach is also private and accessible only to guests staying at the Mersea Island holiday park, so it's the perfect opportunity to combine a great stay with peaceful seclusion on your Essex holiday. With its golden sands, stunning views, and excellent facilities.

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Frinton-On-Sea Beach image

Frinton-On-Sea Beach

Frinton-On-Sea Beach is a quintessential British seaside experience. The sandy beach stretches for miles and is often referred to as one of the best beaches in Essex due to its well-maintained facilities, which include a variety of beach huts, cafes, and ample parking. Visitors can enjoy a variety of water sports, such as sailing and windsurfing, or relax and soak up the sun.

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Brightlingsea Beach image

Brightlingsea Beach

Another one of the best Essex beaches is Brightlingsea Beach, a hidden treasure on the Essex coast. This flat sandy beach offers a tranquil escape. Enjoy stunning views of the Colne Estuary and the historic Bateman's Tower, a unique and picturesque setting for all your family photos. Visitors can explore the charming town, sample fresh seafood at local eateries, or unwind on the beach.

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Clacton-on-Sea beach image

Clacton-on-Sea beach

Clacton-on-Sea Beach is one of Essex's most popular and best beaches, attracting visitors from far and wide to its sandy shores. This expansive beach stretches over three miles, ideal for strolls or active beach sports. It boasts a lively atmosphere and a variety of amenities, including amusement parks, arcades, and seaside cafes—so there's something for everyone to enjoy.

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Jaywick Beach image

Jaywick Beach

Another hidden gem is Jaywick Beach. This location offers a quieter, more secluded beach experience than popular choices. Relax on the sandy beach and enjoy long walks, beachcombing, or simply relaxing and taking in the stunning views of the North Sea. Jaywick Beach is also a great spot for birdwatching. The area is home to a variety of seabirds and coastal wildlife.

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West Mersea Beach image

West Mersea Beach

West Mersea Beach is another addition to the best beaches in Essex. This picturesque beach boasts a long stretch of golden sand, making it an ideal spot for sunbathing, beach games, and picnics. The gentle waves and shallow waters create a safe environment for families with young children, so you can all enjoy a day out. West Mersea Beach is also known for its colourful beach huts.

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Canvey Island Beach image

Canvey Island Beach

Canvey Island Beach, located on the Thames Estuary, is a great spot for a beach experience that mixes relaxation and adventure. This sandy beach is a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts, with kitesurfing, windsurfing, and sailing opportunities. Why not try your hand at a new activity? Enjoy stunning views of the Thames Estuary and the iconic Canvey Island wind turbines.

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Dovercourt Bay Beach image

Dovercourt Bay Beach

One of the most charming Essex beaches is Dovercourt Bay Beach in Harwich. This sandy beach is perfect for families, with its gentle slopes and shallow waters for visitors of all ages to paddle in. You can also enjoy various amenities, including beach huts, cafes, and a lively promenade, whilst you soak in the stunning views of the Stour Estuary and the nearby historic town of Harwich.

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Thorpe Bay – Southend-on-Sea image

Thorpe Bay – Southend-on-Sea

Nestled in Southend-On-Sea, Thorpe Bay is one of the best beaches in Essex. This sandy beach is a popular destination for families, where you can indulge in various beach games. You'll find a variety of amenities, including beach huts, cafes, and playgrounds, and you can enjoy a range of water sports, such as paddleboarding and kayaking.

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Holland-on-Sea Beach image

Holland-on-Sea Beach

A tranquil and unspoiled beach in East Mersea you need to visit is Holland-on-Sea Beach. This sandy beach is perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat from the crowds, where you can spend a lovely day out with your family. Visitors can enjoy long walks along the soft, golden beach, or relax and take in the stunning views of the North Sea.

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The best Essex beaches FAQs

Now that you know the best beaches in Essex for your getaway, you're all set for an unforgettable holiday experience.

That being said, you may still have some questions surrounding these Essex beaches, so here are the answers to our most frequently asked ones:

What is the cleanest beach in Essex?

West Mersea Beach and Frinton-On-Sea Beach are often regarded as some of the cleanest beaches in Essex, thanks to their well-maintained facilities and regular cleaning efforts.

These spots are ideal for a lovely day out with your family, where you can all enjoy the pristine sands and clear waters.

Which is better Clacton-on-Sea or Southend?

Both Clacton-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea are trendy seaside destinations with excellent beaches. Clacton-on-Sea is known for its long sandy beach and lively atmosphere, while Southend-on-Sea is known for its iconic Southend Pier and vibrant town centre. Choosing between the two often comes down to personal preference.

Is Canvey Island a sandy beach?

Yes, Canvey Island Beach is a sandy beach located on the Thames Estuary. On the beach, you can enjoy a variety of games.

It's also a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts, offering stunning views of the estuary and nearby wind turbines.

What beaches in Essex have a Blue Flag?

Several beaches in Essex have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag Award for 2024, recognising their high environmental and quality standards.

The list includes West Mersea Beach, Frinton-On-Sea, and Brightlingsea Beach, among many others for you to visit on your trip.

Explore the Essex coast like never before!

Essex's coastline is a true gem in the UK, offering diverse beach experiences for visitors and locals alike. From the tranquil sandy shores of West Mersea and Brightlingsea Beach to the vibrant seaside towns of Clacton-on-Sea and Southend-on-Sea, the best beaches in Essex cater to every beach-goer's preference.

Whether seeking a peaceful retreat, family-friendly amenities, or water sports adventures, the Essex coast has something to offer everyone. Now, we'll leave you to book your holiday, pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towel, and get ready to explore the stunning best beaches in Essex like never before!

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