Freshwater East is a popular sandy bay flanked by cliffs of mudstones, siltstones and sandstones. It is generally a safe beach for swimming, windsurfing and kayaking, but there are no lifeguards here. Parking is at a P&D car park, and access to the beach is a level walk of about 200 yards. Facilities include toilets, a slipway onto the beach and usually an ice-cream van in the car park. Dogs are allowed at all times. Offshore winds often occur so inflatables should be used with caution. This beach does get good surf, mostly in the winter, and works best before the high tide with a westerly wind. The eastern end of the beach is usually best, but beware of a cross-current and rip at this end.
Freshwater East village has a pub (the Freshwater Inn) and is about half a mile away up a steep hill. To the south is the headland of Trewent Point, whilst behind the beach is an area of sand dunes known as The Burrows. Much of this is now a nature reserve, with a variety of wildlife including pyramidal orchids, burnet rose and glow worms.