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Dornoch Beach In Scotland – A Complete Guide

Dornoch Beach is a beautiful, award winning expanse of golden sands, located in the scenic Highlands of Scotland. Here is a complete guide.

How To Get To Dornoch Beach

This beautiful beach is located 45 miles from Inverness and just a mile from the centre of the town of Dornoch in Scotland.

On Foot

It’s a 10 minute walk from the town of Dornoch, via Golf Road to the beach.


If travelling from Inverness, it’s approximately 45 miles (just over an hour) heading north on the A9.

From Dornoch town it is a short, 3 minute drive via Golf Road.

There are two, quite large, car parks at the beach – a top area overlooking the beach and also an overflow carpark.

It was free to park when we visited but we have heard that there is now a charge to use these car parks.


For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.

Dornoch Beach Entrance Fee

It is free to visit Dornoch Beach.

Dornoch Beach In Durness Scotland
Pulled up in style to Dornoch Beach.

Dornoch Beach Opening Times

Dornoch Beach is open all day, every day.

Dornoch Beach In Durness Scotland
Overlooking the grassland that leads to the beach.

Best Time To Visit Dornoch Beach

A visit during the warmer summer months would be best if you are hoping to enjoy the usual beach activities of swimming, picnicking, paddling, playing in the sand etc.

However, this beach is beautiful at all times of the year and you will find dog walkers and walkers here all year round.

Sunrise and sunset at Dornoch Beach, on a clear day, are said to be stunning.

There are toilets and a food stand near the beach.

Parking is free in Dornoch town centre and it’s a short walk to the beach from there.

What To Pack

Photography Camera


Day Bag

Power Bank

Reusable Water Bottle


Lightweight Rain Jacket

Quick Dry Towel


Lifeproof Phone Case

Dry Bag

Dornoch Beach In Durness Scotland
Heading down the trail to the sea.
Dornoch Beach In Durness Scotland
We made it to Dornoch Beach.

What To Expect At Dornoch Beach In Scotland

Dornoch’s award winning, Blue Flag beach has miles of clean, golden sands, backed by low soft dunes and a large area of grassland.

It’s actually voted one of the best things to do on the North Coast 500 trail.

With such a large expanse of sand, which gets even larger at low tide, there is plenty of room for everyone and it did not feel overly busy, even with lots of people about.

With its gentle shallows it is very popular with families who visit here to paddle, picnic, swim and relax on the golden sands.

This is a dog friendly area, so also a very popular place for dog walkers to enjoy walking along the long stretch of beach.

Furthermore, if you are a keen bird watcher, the area adjacent to the beach apparently has some interesting plant and bird life and has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

As well as birds, you might even spot some seals and occasionally dolphins, playing out in the Dornoch Firth.

This really is a stunning beach and definitely worth a visit if you love a beach day.

It was the perfect place to head in the morning after camping out at Tarbat Ness Lighthouse before heading on to Big Burn Falls on our NC500 itinerary.

Dornoch Beach In Durness Scotland
Our first steps onto the sand.
Dornoch Beach In Durness Scotland
Lauren exploring the sand.
Dornoch Beach In Durness Scotland
A couple of paddle boarders about to head out.
Dornoch Beach In Durness Scotland
Having a wander.
Dornoch Beach In Durness Scotland
We had to leave our mark.
Dornoch Beach In Durness Scotland
The play area at the back of the beach.

Where To Stay In Scotland


exploreNESS Apartment

Offering free WiFi and free private parking, exploreNESS Apartment is located in Inverness, just 0.8 miles from Inverness Castle.

The property is less than 0.6 miles from Inverness Museum and Art Gallery and 1.6 miles from Caledonian Thistle.

The apartment features 1 bedroom, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, an equipped kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave, a washing machine, and 1 bathroom with a shower. Towels and bed linen are provided.

A buffet breakfast is available daily at the apartment.


Loch Earn

Located 1.7 miles from Inverness Castle, Loch Earn provides accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking.

There is also a kitchen in some of the units with a dishwasher, a fridge, and an oven.

A continental breakfast is available daily at the bed and breakfast.

Guests can relax in the garden at the property.


Inverness Youth Hostel

Just 10 minutes’ walk from Inverness Rail Station, Inverness Youth Hostel offers free private parking and bicycle storage.

Eastgate shopping centre is a 10-minute walk from this hostel. Hootananny, a popular music venue, is just 15 minutes’ walk away.

Culloden Battlefield and its visitor centre is just a 10-minute drive away. The banks of Loch Ness and the country village of Dores are both a 20-minute drive away.

All rooms have a shared bathroom. Packed lunch and luggage storage is available on request.

For more places to stay in Scotland, you can check the latest prices on

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile.

Book Your Rental Car

Use to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.

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Dornoch Beach In Durness Scotland