The Gower Peninsula is treasured for its succession of golden, sandy beaches and rocky coves. Within Gower's coastline lies no less than twenty five beaches, ranging from stunning vistas of sand such as Oxwich Bay, Rhossili Bay and Whiteford Sands, which stretch for almost as far as the eye can see, to secluded coves, 'secreted' away amongst Gower's fascinating limestone cliffs.
Whilst Gower's most crowded beaches tend to be located close to Swansea, this popularity has just as much to do with their ease of access from Gower's nearest city as much as any extra aesthetic quality they might possess over Gower's more remote bays. Swansea itself has the wide, wide sweep of Swansea Bay, culminating with the landmark of Mumbles.
With a few notable exceptions, the deeper one heads along the Gower coast, the more spectacular Gower's bays tend to become.
Historically, the seclusion of some of Gower's smaller beaches, such as Brandy Cove and Pwlldu, led them to being used as landing points for smugglers who offloaded their illicit cargoes here ready for them to be disseminated around Gower's then equally remote villages. Today, these coves provide sheltered and often quiet sunbathing spots for those willing to walk that little extra distance to reach them.
From Mumbles onwards you can follow the coast around to visit numerous bay, all with their own unique features. Both Bracelet Bay and Limeslade Bay are relatively small, featuring intriguing rock pools. The popular Langland Bay joins Rotherslade to form a bigger sandy beach at low tide and features a modern style cafe and good surf conditions. Another popular beach for surfers is nearby Caswell Bay.
More secluded and less accessible beaches follow, with the small coves of Brandy Cove, Pwll Du and Bantam Bay which sit at the base of deeply wooded valley of Bishopston. The name Brandy Cove hints of the time when these inlets were infamous for afterdark smuggling operations.
Turning Pwlldu Point, past the rocky Hunt's Bay, a small cove by the name of Foxhole, rests at the base of the cliffs at Southgate. The small amount of sand at this rocky inlet is only visible at low tide.
Further along the coast, the dramatic geology of Three Cliffs Bay (a favourite of climbers) is at once recognisable, sandwiched between its smaller neighbours of Pobbles Bay and Tor Bay. Tor Bay is so named for the imposing rock formation in the cliffs here, called the Great Tor.
Returning to a more accessible, family beach along the next stretch of coast. Featuring an expansive dune system and notable wildlife, Oxwich Bay is favoured by families for its parking facilities, shops and hotel. Around Oxwich Point, there nestles the secretive Slade, remote and difficult to access, this sheltered beach is a haven for those wish to avoid the crowds on the more popular beaches. Horton is a slighly busier bay, but neighbouring Port Eynon is again a very popular family beach with the excellent facilities provided here by local shops, camp sites and the summer-resident lifeguards.
Beyond Port Eynon the bays are once again much less accessible and mostly small rocky coves, barely uncovered by the tides such as Overton Mere, Mewslade and Fall Bay. However, the cliff walk along here can be spectacular and exhilarating, culminating at Gower's 'piece d'resistance', Worm's Head and Rhossili Bay. The three mile long stretch of perfect sands between Rhossili Bay and the point at Burry Holmes includes a generalised part of the bay called Llangennith Sands. Rhossili, with the dizzying heights of the Downs, is popular with hang gliders, whereas Llangennith's Atlantic 'rollers' are favoured by surfers.
The final beaches to the north of Gower are influenced by the Burry Estuary 'freshes' and are generally less accessible than the South Gower beaches, however, the landscape to be found along this stretch of sand (including Blue Pool, Broughton Bay and Whiteford Sands) are just as spectacular, wild and altogether less populated than the other beaches found around Gower.
Swansea Council prohibits dogs on the beaches listed below during the summer months. These byelaws have been made by the City and County of Swansea under the Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1907 and the Local Government Act 1972. Any offenders can be fined up to £100.