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Best outdoor activities in South Devon this summer

Daymark navigation tower at Kingswear in a field

If fresh air is top of your summer wish list you’ve come to the right place. There’s plenty of outdoor activities in South Devon from family attractions and adventurous activities, to country walks and beaches aplenty.

Here’s where to enjoy the great outdoors this summer:

Head to the beach

North Sands beach at Salcombe in the South Hams district of Devon South Devon England UK Europe

The most delightful way to enjoy the outdoors in Devon has to be with a visit to the beach. 

Here in South Devon we have an abundance of them to delight all ages. From hidden coves around the mouth of the River Dart, to curving bars of nature reserve backed shingle and sandy bays where you can catch a wave, there’s South Devon beach for everyone.

If you want to take a dip, then take look at our guide to the best swimming spots.

Want to try kayaking, paddle boarding or surfing? You need our guide to water sports in Devon.

Book a boat trip

If you are staying with us in the South Hams there’s lots of choice for boat trips. 

From Dartmouth you can catch the Christie Belle to visit Agatha Christie’s holiday home, Greenway, or go on a boat tour with Dartmouth Steam Railway.

If you are after something a bit special, book a private charter. The Fizz Boat in Dartmouth offers breakfast, lunch and tea cruises with the option of bottomless bubbles. And the Greenway & Dittisham River Boat Company offer their little boat Hercule for private parties including drinks and nibbles.

There are even more boat and fishing trips available from nearby Brixham including dolphin watching tours.

Stretch your legs 

Take a walk along South Devon’s share of the South West Coast Path to find hidden coves and spot plenty of wildlife. Here are some of our favourite coast walks in the South Hams.

Family walking towards the Georgian house at Greenway

South Devon also has some outstanding National Trust properties where you will find walks through colourful gardens, with river and sea views, as well as play areas for kids.

Of course, Dartmoor is also not far way. The National Park has hikes and strolls suitable for all abilities.

Go crabbing 

Crabbing is a firm favourite outdoor activity in South Devon.

Pick up an environmentally-friendly crabbing line in a local shop and head to the Embankment in Dartmouth, the pontoon in Dittisham, the mill pond at Stoke Gabriel or Brixham Harbour.

Visit these outdoor attractions in South Devon

Ape at Paignton Zoo
Paignton Zoo

If you are visiting South Devon with children, you might want to plan a few fun days out that don’t involve hauling all your stuff to the beach.

Here’s our recommendations for the best outdoor family attractions in South Devon:

Paignton Zoo

This is one of Devon’s biggest days out with 2,500 animals across an 80 acre sub-tropical woodland. Visit Paignton Zoo to meet apes, giraffes, tigers, rhinos and lemurs.

Pennywell Farm

This South Devon attraction has animals and farm-themed rides aplenty. Pennywell Farm is best suited to under 12s but teens also love cuddling the farm’s famous micro pigs.

Woodlands Theme Park 

The majority of Woodlands Theme Park‘s attractions and rides are outdoors. Dare you ride the water slides, toboggan run or swinging pirate ship? There are also adventure playgrounds for all ages as well as a farm.

River Dart Country Park

If your family enjoys adventurous activities you will find plenty to do at River Dart Country Park near Ashburton. There’s adventure playgrounds, high ropes, water zorbing, kayaking and a swimming lake with pirate ship. Don’t forget your towels!

Totnes Rare Breeds Farm

This is a lovely little farm suitable for young kids with lots of opportunity to pet and meet rare breeds of sheep, goats, ducks and rabbits. Totnes Rare Breeds Farm can be combined with a ride on South Devon Railway and a visit to Dartmoor Otters and Butterfly Sanctuary at the other end of the train line.

Haldon Forest Park

As well as miles of walks and cycle paths around Haldon Forest Park, there’s a pump track, segway tours and Go Ape. 

If you’re after more ideas for places to visit, check out our family-friendly guides to things to do in Dartmouth, Dittisham, Kingswear and Stoke Fleming.

Where to stay in South Devon

Planning a future visit to South Devon? Get in touch with us to check availability in our accommodation in Dartmouth and the surrounding areas. We offer a variety of places to stay from romanic cottages and dog-friendly holiday lets to large family houses.

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