Fintra Beach Swimming and Camping

Hi, before I even start this latest blog post, I have to apologise. My last post here was way back in April, just after we finished our van conversion, and somewhere along the way, we got so busy campervanning I couldn’t find the time to sit down and get my thoughts together. So over the weekend, after a severe talking to myself, I have decided to rectify this and will work on catch-up posts over the next few weeks.

Lots of campervan adventures are incoming.

Tina walking to the beach
Swiming in Donegal bay

My first stop is Fintra beach in Co Donegal. There are oodles of magnificent beaches along the Donegal coastline, so we broke our journey up into sections when it came to visit them. But the main reason I wanted to start with Fintra is the inspired way the local council have facilitated parking at the beach. I live in County Galway, where there are amazing sandy beaches. Still, at this time of year, we choose not to go to most of them, even though we are year-round swimmers because parking is a nightmare for beachgoers, locals and the emergency services. I will qualify that statement with a caveat. I am focusing on some of the beaches in the county that are very popular but have very little parking space compared to the beach sizes. I have attached an article about a popular beach in Co Galway – Click here.

Fintra beach is approximately 3km outside Killybegs on Co Donegal’s southwest coast and has a small car park accessed under a 2-metre barrier. A popular blue flag beach with white sands backing onto dunes and grassy hills. From June to September, the beach has lifeguards between 12 and 6.30 in the evening, safe swimming, and plenty of space to relax. Still, the ratio of parking spaces to the size of the beach means many people would not be able to enjoy it or find themselves having to park badly or illegally.

Inspiration incoming. We only stumbled across it using the ‘Park for the Night’ app. The local council have rented the field behind the dunes, with access to the beach from June to September, as an overflow car park. For added inspirational thinking, they also allow campers, caravans and tents to stay overnight for free. I have added the link to the beach from the app. the details are in the comments.

Camping with our van

Parking in June

Since stumbling across this beach, we have parked there over three nights, two in June and one in August. In June, it was quiet, and in August, over a very sunny weekend, it was busy but very organised for a self-assigned park-up.

It worked; it was free, and everyone had access to the beach. Dogs were kept under control; overall, it was a pleasant camping experience. We swam, had lunch, and sat outside our van chatting, everyone enjoying themselves in their groups.

And that is where I will leave this part of the post.

Camping drone shot

Drone image by David Souto

Parking in August

Fintra beach is stunning regardless of the parking situation. Lovely for a swim with views of Donegal bay towards the horizon and lush green trees sitting behind the dunes. It is one of my favourite go-to places in Ireland. Other areas of note to visit close by are Slieve League, Silverstrand Beach and Glengesh Viewing Point.

For the next few posts, I will work my way through the places we have visited, and we will finally be shooting the video for our van tour this weekend, weather permitting.


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