Enjoy Our Epic Coastline

Do enjoy our epic coastline – watch out for tides, currents and cliff edges.

Dorset’s coast is dramatic and beautiful – it’s why so many people choose to visit for the day or spend a holiday here.

But there are some things you need to know to make sure you have the best day out.

Lookout for the lifeguards

Many of our beaches are safe to swim at, but not all of them have lifeguards on patrol.

If you are planning on swimming in the sea, choose beaches which have lifeguards on duty (usually between May and September each year). Beaches with lifeguard patrols include most of the beaches between Highcliffe and Sandbanks as well as Swanage, Weymouth, West Bay and Lyme Regis – check out our beach guide for more information.

If you decide to visit a beach without a lifeguard patrol, the RNLI have some safety advice for you.

Keep clear of the cliffs

The Jurassic Coast’s famous cliffs have featured in many films and TV programmes – you might recognise the cliffs at West Bay from the award-winning drama Broadchurch.

Lots of people choose to view the cliffs from the top along the South West Coast Path, but remember to stay well back from the cliff edge – it’s not worth risking your life to get a better view. Always put yourself-ie before a selfie.

If you’re at the bottom of the cliffs, perhaps spending a day at the beach, sit close to the shoreline as rocks can fall from the cliffs at any time. Or maybe you're going on a fossil hunt? Follow our fossil hunting guide for the best day out with the chance of finding your very own piece of pre-history. You don't need to buy geologist hammers (and many beaches don't allow their use anyway), all you need is patience!

Go for low, don't aim for high

If you’re taking a walk along the beach or coast, be sure to not get caught out by the tide.

We’ve got some great rockpooling sites for exploring at low tide, but predictably, after low tide comes high tide. So make sure you plan your day out carefully and don’t get cut off by the incoming water.

We want you to find your own piece of Dorset without you having to be found by the rescue services.

You can check tide times for various places in the south west on the BBC weather website.

Do enjoy our wonderful county – promise to love Dorset

Scroll down the page for days out exploring our stunning coastline. From boat trips to beach days, there is fun for everyone.