Paisley may be inland and close to Glasgow, but it’s not all that far from the beach. Whether you’re looking for a day trip from visiting the city, or you’re a local hoping to enjoy a weekend away close to home, there’s a beach near Paisley for you. But what to do when you get there? Of course, you can chill out, soak up the sun, and catch up on your latest holiday read. However, if you want to feel exhilarated, check out what water sports are on offer instead!
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the coolest beach activities you can do off the West Coast of Scotland. The water can get pretty cold, so don’t forget your wetsuit!
Stand up paddleboarding
The west coast of Scotland has several places where you can enjoy BOTE inflatable paddle board. One of the easiest board sports to learn as a beginner, it’s a wonderful way to take in beautiful locations like those near Paisley. Travel two hours north to SUP in the Sound of Kerrera off Oban, or head inland and learn your craft on the still and tranquil waters of Loch Lomond. From there, you’re sure to be bowled over by the stunning surroundings of the Trossachs!
You can also head to some nearer beaches which we’ll talk about a little more below. While SUP rental shops are popping up in many coastal towns and cities, if you’re going to do this as a long term hobby, it may be a good idea to invest in your own equipment. Inflatable paddleboards are good if you’re new to the sport! Most dog loves to SUP too – but don’t forget the proper safety gear!
The West Coast of Scotland is one of the best places not only in Europe for sea kayaking, but the entire world! The Argyll Sea Kayak Trail runs along the coast for 150km, starting just north of Paisley in Helensburgh. The sea kayak trail can be split into smaller sections which can be done in a weekend. During your trip, you’ll be able to stop off at white sand beaches and historic castles. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife too – there are seabirds aplenty!
While you might associate surfing with warmer climes, it’s a great activity to do in Scotland. You’ll have to bring a wetsuit though (and possibly even a drysuit), as the best months to surf in Scotland are during autumn and winter! That’s when the coast is battered by more consistent waves and bigger swells.
Many of the best surfing beaches on Scotland’s West Coast are further north than Paisley, with Oban and the Kintyre Peninsula particularly popular. The waves are not quite so big on the beaches near Paisley, but work has begun on Scotland’s first artificial surf park in nearby Helensburgh.
Other beach activities on Scotland’s West Coast
Who says that you have to get wet on a beach adventure? Water sports are a lot of fun, but if you’re not a confident swimmer, or you just like to stay warm, then you might not be in the mood. If you enjoy long walks by the sea, head to Craig Tara Beach in Ayrshire. It’s around 30 miles away from Paisley and the long and sandy beach is perfect for taking the family for a spot of wildlife watching. Turnberry beach is a little further south, and at just over an hour away, it’s one of the best dog friendly beaches in South Scotland.
Looking to go cycling on your trip to Scotland? One of the prettiest routes near to Paisley where you can make the most of the coastal views is the Ayrshire Coast Cycle Way. It covers 19 miles from Irvine to Ayr, and if you don’t stop it can be done in as little as two hours. However, if you’ve got a whole day it’s well worth taking breaks for views out to the Isle of Arran, or checking out the wildlife in two Scottish reserves – Shewalton Wood and Gailes Marsh.
3 of the best beaches near Paisley
Distance: 23.5 miles
Time: 37 minutes
Helensburgh is accessible by both car and train from Paisley (though driving is a lot quicker). This sand and shingle beach is open year round and a great place to visit as a family or with a loved one. As well as several walking trails and a pretty seafront, you can relax with your fish and chips or an ice cream with a view out to the Rosneath Peninsula.
Visitors looking for more strenuous activity should try stand up paddleboarding or windsurfing, while an artificial surf park is under construction.
Distance: 23.9 miles
Time: 37 minutes
Less developed than Helensburgh, Wemyss Bay Beach is a rugged beach made from rock and shingle. It’s in the village of the same name, which is a popular with day-trippers from Glasgow, and the departure point for ferries to the Isle of Bute. It can be fun to watch the big boats coming in and out of the Rothesay ferry terminal. If you have a longer trip planned, you may even want to take one of the ferries!
If you don’t have your own transport, Wemyss Bay is one of the easiest beach destinations to get to from Paisley. There’s a train connecting Paisley Gilmour Street and Wemyss Bay, with journeys taking less than 45 minutes. The station is thought to be one of the finest railway buildings in all of Scotland.
Distance: 24.3 miles
Time: 38 minutes
The quickest route to Largs will see you drive or take the train through the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park. With tracks and trails for hiking and biking, you can integrate exploring waterfalls and ancient buildings into your beach trip should you wish to. Largs is a seaside resort town and the beach has lots to do for families. There’s even a Viking festival in September!