Benone tops best beach list this summer


Travel insurance experts at have researched the top ten beaches  in Northern Ireland.

The index ranks ten popular beaches based on factors such as cleanliness, facilities, cost, safety and 5-star reviews.

Benone beach topped the list, having received a blue flag award multiple times, it offers free parking, toilet facilities, safety equipment, an active lifeguard during the summer months and excellent water quality. 

With a stunning backdrop of mountains and cliff scenery and one of the largest dune systems in the UK & Ireland, the beach also offers great views along the North Coast to Inishowen in Donegal and even over to Scotland.

Whiterocks beach is second on the list, with excellent water quality, free parking, and the highest volume of 5-star reviews with a score of 85% – offering stunning views over to Dunluce Castle and an easy distance into the tourist mecca that is Portrush. 

Downhill Beach comes third on the list, as one of the longest beaches in Northern Ireland it offers excellent water quality, beautiful scenery, good facilities and free on the beach parking. 

Ballygally beach also received a high rating, located 10 km from Larne, it is easy to travel to by car or public transport, it offers excellent water quality and free car parking. Although it is the only beach on the list not to have an active lifeguard, it does offer additional safety equipment measures such as public rescue equipment and a defibrillator.

Murlough and Tyrella beach were also featured in the top ten list. Both beaches have received a blue flag award, however unlike other beaches on the list they do not offer free parking. Murlough charges £7.00 per car during the summer months while Tyrella has a charge of £4.00 per car.  Tyrella scored the lowest volume of 5-star reviews at just 35%.

Cranfield Bay also scored second to last in terms of 5-star reviews with just 56%, despite offering beautiful views of Carnlough and the Mourne Mountains.  The beach does however have excellent water quality and an active lifeguard during the summer months to help keep swimmers safe.

The East and West strand beaches in Portrush also offer excellent water quality, safety measures and facilities, however there is also a small fee of 50p and 30p an hour to park at each beach, respectively. 

With stunning views, excellent water quality and a blue flag award, Castlerock beach is also incredibly popular among those in Northern Ireland looking for a staycation – note it’s the only beach in the top 10 not to have bins provided so beachgoers need to remember to take their litter with them.

Managing Director of Ian Wilson commented on the list: “It’s not often that we get the weather in Northern Ireland to visit the beach, but when we do, we have some stunning places to choose from.

“Our team looked at ten popular beaches across Northern Ireland, ranking them on factors such as water quality, cleanliness, facilities and safety.  

“Our research revealed that Benone beach tops the list for cleanliness, water quality, facilities, parking and cost. Closely followed by Whiterocks Beach in Portrush and Downhill, although all of the beaches in our list are worth a visit.

“Unlike many popular spots abroad, all the beaches on our list have ample parking and are easily accessible via bus, making them ideal for daytrips and staycations.

“For those planning a staycation, travel insurance can help provide protection in case of cancellations or unexpected events. It’s also useful in case you’re planning to bring valuable possessions, adding gadget insurance protects belongings that are damaged, lost or stolen.

“We encourage those in Northern Ireland who fancy a trip to the beach to consider these hidden gems across the region and check our list for a quick summary on safety features and payments required to help with planning.” can help travellers compare and find savings on motorhome, caravan, travel or motorbike insurance.

 NI Beach Index 2024

This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.