A guide to beaches in Moray
Updated: 21st of October 2022
The county of Moray is located in northeast Scotland and is home to some truly outstanding beaches along the rugged Moray Coast. In this article, I will outline a comprehensive guide on the best beaches in Moray, starting in Findhorn to the west and ending at Cullen in the east.
As I've mentioned in other articles, Moray is often forgotten in tourism campaigns for Scotland but has so much to offer. The beaches have some of the best surfing available in Scotland but without the crowds of tourists.
A lovely spot for a walk, the pebbled beach and grassy dunes of Findhorn beach is a great start to our guide on beaches in Moray. A row of colourful beach huts makes the shorefront even more attractive and adds character. The size of this beach depends greatly on the tide time; when the tide is out, there is a large flat plain of sand, but when in, there is just a pebbled area, so plan your visit when the tide is out to have the most beach to explore.
The dunes here have existed for 10,000 years and have gone untouched since the last ice age; therefore, it is designated a Site of Outstanding Landscape Value and managed by The Findhorn Dunes Trust.
A colony of grey seals live here too and can often be seen across the bay; bring some binoculars!
Findhorn Bay, fed by the River Findhorn near the beach, is a very lovely area teeming with wildlife, popular for boating and water sports.
Parking here is ample, and overnight camping is available, as well as berths for motor homes (£15 per night).
Roseisle Country Park is a lovely stretch of coastline on the Moray Firth. A mixture of forest, dunes and beach makes it unique in our list of best Moray beaches.
Love it or loath it, this area has a great deal of human interference from World War 2; most of the beach is covered in large square tank traps. Further along, many abandoned WW2 era buildings such as pill boxes can be explored. Maybe considered an eyesore by some, but interesting history all the same and worthy of a little visit on your trip to the Moray Coast.
There are three walking trails here with the chance to see red squirrels and many woodland birds:
Ice House Trail - 1 1/4 miles.
Millie Bothy - 1 1/2 miles.
Wildlife Walk Trail - 2 1/2 miles.
There is a large parking area (£2 all day), a play park and a toilet block (closed in winter), and a cold shower to get the sand off your feet!
Located west of Burghead, this is a long sandy beach, again greatly affected by tide levels; it is wide and flat when the tide is out. Boating is popular here as well as walking in the pinewood forest right next to the beach.
There is a lovely caravan park on the beach, and the units on the beach front must get a stunning view. Seals and dolphins are a common sight here. Many tank traps exist here too if you are on a WW2 pilgrimage along the coast.
Burghead itself is a lovely wee town, built on the site of an ancient Pictish fort which can be visited at the very north tip of the peninsula.
Limited parking is available.
Not so much a beach but a very rugged stretch of rocks between Burghead and Hopeman. There is some fascinating geology to be seen here and the usual wildlife of dolphins and seals. Caves and rock arches are common foregrounds for sunset photography amongst Moray's budding photographers.
Scottish climbing centres sometimes use the cliffs here for tuition.
Hopeman has two beaches, separated by the village and harbour, known as east and west beaches. Hopeman East Beach is the largest of the two beaches and is mainly sandy but with rocky outcrops. It is a very popular beach with surfers who make good use of the multicoloured beach huts available for hire.
Parking is plentiful, and there are public toilets available.
Known as the "Jewel of the Moray Firth", Lossiemouth has two exceptional beaches to the west and east of the town itself. Lossiemouth is a stunning village with a great marina and food options on the main esplanade.
Lossiemouth West Beach
The spectacular west beach is a truly lovely place for a walk. Also called Silversands Beach, there is a large expanse of flat sand that curves round to Covesea Lighthouse, a major landmark on the Moray Coast. WW2 pillboxes exist here too.
Silversands is again popular with surfers and golfers, with Moray Golf Club and Covesea Links Golf Course bordering the entire length of the beach.
RAF Lossiemouth is near the beach giving great opportunities to photograph Typhoon and Poseidon MRA1 aircraft... it does get a little noisy, though!
Parking is available just past the Moray Golf Club building.
Some distance past the beach (3 miles from Lossiemouth), you will find Sir Robert Stables Cave and a huge and impressive natural sea stack.
Lossiemouth East Beach
The East Beach is an absolutely stunning unspoilt sandy stretch of coastline on the east of Lossiemouth. Large grassy sand dunes give shelter from the wind and split the beach from the River Lossie to the west. This is a real surfers' paradise here; if you are looking to surf in Moray, this is the spot. New Wave Surf School is available nearby for instruction and gear hire. East Beach is now accessible via the fantastic new Lossiemouth bridge completed in 2022.
Across the bay, many of the coastal settlements can be seen, including Portgordon and Buckie and the round dome of the Bin Hill (Bin of Cullen).
The east beach has been inaccessible from Lossiemouth after the bridge was deemed too dangerous and closed by Moray Council in 2019. At the end of May 2022, a brand new bridge was constructed by the Scottish Government at a cost of £1.8 million.
Once again, families can purchase ice cream and walk across the new bridge to east beach, a massive boon to tourism (estimated at £1.5 million per year) for Lossiemouth.
Parking is available at Lossiemouth East Beach Car Park, near where the old bridge exists.
Not much golden sand here, just a great deal of pebbles, but a great place to stop on your Moray firth coast tour. Spey Bay is the area where the Spey River meets the sea; it is an area of exceptional beauty and wildlife. This is one of the best places to see Dolphins in Moray, and the WDC Scottish Dolphin Centre exists a short distance from the beach.
There is great parking here and options for motorhomes.
A fantastic walking trailing exists if you follow the Spey south. You will come upon Spey Viaduct, and very picturesque viaduct built in Victorian times. There is so much wildlife to be seen in this area - an excellent detour from the beach.
Whilst not the most picturesque beach on this list, Portgordon Beach is known for its large colony of seals that love to bask on the rocks and silty sands at low tide. This is the perfect spot to view wild seals and get great photographs from the coastal path at all times of the year. Please read more on my dedicated guide to Moray Firth Seals here.
Strathlene Beach is a lovely place to stop on the outskirts of Buckie. Another popular location for seals, dolphins and, on the odd occasion, killer whales - there is a great picnic area and grass park ideal for families. Please read more on Strathlene Beach in my dedicated article.
Perhaps one of the finest beaches in Moray, Cullen Bay is known for its expansive golden sandy beach between Portknockie and Cullen itself. The beach view from the cliffs at Portknockie or from within Cullen gives a perfect picture of an idyllic stretch of coastline.
Cullen itself is a big attraction to tourists; its picturesque sea town and railway viaduct add so much character to the village. There are many lovely places to eat in Cullen and great walks in the surrounding areas. Cullen Ice Cream is a must try; I've yet to find better anywhere in the world!
The iconic Bow Fiddle Rock sea arch rock formation can be seen on the far west side of Cullen Beach, a must visit on your coastal trail.
There is a large car park at Cullen Beach next to Cullen Links Golf Club. A mobile Coffee van is available here, "Coffee at the Kings" and Blue Coast Surf School, making it a good beach for surfing and paddle boarding.
Not in Moray, but to the east of Cullen is Sunnyside Beach, another beautiful north coast beach. There are many interesting rock formations here, as well as the golden sandy beach. Findlater Castle is a short distance past the beach, a great walk from Cullen.
Just to the west of Moray, and classed as being in the Highlands area, Nairn Beach is another beautiful beach on the Moray Firth Coast.
Where are the best surfing spots in Moray?
Lossiemouth East Beach and Cullen Beach offer the best surfing opportunities in Moray.
Where are the best beaches to see coastal wildlife in Moray?
Portgordon Beach is the best place to see seals and get the closest view. Dolphins can be seen intermittently all along the coast. See my guide to Moray Firth Dolphins here.
What is the best beach in Moray?
That's a tricky question, but I would have to say Cullen beach just wins it for me over Lossie East Beach.
The five best Moray beaches
Lossiemouth East & West Beaches
I hope this guide to beaches on the Moray coastline has been helpful to you. Moray has some genuinely exceptional beaches worthy of your time whilst visiting Scotland.
A massive thanks to Alan Butterfield, John Luckwell and Margaret Reuss Newlands for the use of some of their images.
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