Penarth Beach is mostly pebbles with some sand at low tide, and backed by a promenade. Located some 3 miles south of Cardiff, it's the first beach on the Wales Coastal path and looks out towards Clevedon on the opposite side of the channel. The islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm can be seen to the south, whilst directly out in the channel is the lighthouse of Monkstone rock. Being so close to river estuaries, the sea water is usually a muddy brown colour and there are fast currents. Roadside parking is available on the Esplanade (which is one-way) and on the hill to the south. Access to the shore is down steps or a slipway, and a dog ban operates from May to September inclusive. Facilities include restaurants, ice-cream vendors, take-aways, toilets and a pier. Penarth town and the rail station are a 15 minute walk away through the park of Alexandra Gardens.
The cliffs to the north have veins of pink alabaster and are one of the best sites in Wales for fossil collecting, with gryphaea and ammonites being commonly found. Further north is Penarth Head and the Cardiff Bay barrage. The Wales Coastal path runs along this, and Cardiff Bay can be reached in a few minutes on foot.