Sandy Bay (also known as Coney Beach and Porthcawl Sands) is a mostly sandy beach with many of activities available to suit the whole family. Situated between Porthcawl harbour and Rhych Point there are glorious views out into the Bristol channel.
The beach is wide, but there can be several hundred meters of sand separating the surf and the promenade behind the beach at low tide. It is a popular spot for surfing and swimming and there is an entertainment complex there that includes bowling, a food outlet and amusements, with many more fast food outlets backing onto the beach.
On the beach there are donkey rides, trampolines and bouncy castles with deck chairs available to rest on while the kids enjoy the facilities. There is also an open market which operates during peak season. The beach is very close to Porthcawl harbour where the pleasure steamers Waverley and Balmoral leave for cruises along the Bristol Channel and to the Devon coastline.
At the eastern end of the beach there is a small headland, with many rock pools that can be explored at low tide for signs of marine wildlife and to the west of the beach is the Eastern Promenade, leading down to the harbour and lighthouse where you can take in the spectacular views out over the bay.
During Atlantic storms at high water due to the shape and orientation of the pier huge waves provide a natural display of power as the engulf the lighthouse on the point. The pier is obviously very dangerous and closed on these days but crowds of photographers are often found near the coast guard station. In 2017 the lighthouse in the storm taken by local photography Steve Garrington in 2015 was second-most popular.picture of the year on the photo sharing website Flickr.
The centre of Porthcawl is only short walk beyond the harbour with many shops, places to stay, places to eat, and an interesting museum about the history of the town.
Surfing is best at mid to high tide and on the eastern side of the beach. The harbour wall provides some shelter, making it a good choice when beaches to the west are blown out. It’s a good beginners’ beach, but rip currents occur near the harbour and Rhych Point in surf conditions.
Parking can also be found alongside the promenade, either at the roadside, or in a car park on the grassy area behind it. The beach can be accessed down a ramp next to the amusement park.
Lifeguards patrol from the end of April until end of September (10.30 am – 6.00 pm) and a dog ban operates from 1st May to 30th September.