Located some 3 miles south of Cardiff, Penarth has a beach of pebbles and some low-tide sand, backed by a promenade. The high cliffs to the north have veins of pink alabaster, and are one of the best sites in Wales for fossil collecting - common finds being gryphaea and ammonites. Being close to river estuaries, the sea water is usually a muddy colour and there are strong currents. The beach looks out across the Bristol Channel to Clevedon in Somerset. The lighthouse of Monkstone Rock can be seen about 3 miles offshore, whilst to the south are the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm.
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 facilities include restaurants, ice-cream vendors, take-aways, toilets and a pier. The town and rail station are a 15 minute walk away through the park of Alexandra Gardens.
A dog ban operates on the beach from May to September inclusive.