Very occasionally we have children come to visit us here in St Ives who don't want to go to the beach. Shock horror, really??!!
Fortunately there are lots of other things you can do here which doesn't involve much sand.
1. Arts and Crafts
If your child is of the artsy and crafty type, there are often lots of workshops and art sessions they can take part in.
2. The Cinema
The St Ives cinema is often our saviour on a rainy day. It is small but it shows the latest releases, and they also do a "Mini Merlin" session which is super cheap!
3. The Theatre
Kidz R Us put on shows during the holidays which are brilliant, if your child is into drama.
4. Horse riding
There are lots of horse riding schools around St Ives. Many of them offer own your own pony days which our children have really enjoyed.
We have used the Old Mill Stables in Lelant at lot - nothing against any of the other stables, we just haven't tried them personally. I've heard good things about them all.
5. The Arcade
The Arcade is a proper good old fashioned type of arcade, with 2p machines, a shooting gallery and loads of arcade game. It is a firm favourite with our children. Drop them in there for an hour or so with a load of 2ps and sit with a coffee on one of the benches outside. A great way to spend the afternoon.
6. Paradise Park
Paradise Park is actually in Hayle, but it is worth the 15 minute drive. It has a great wildlife park full of some really fascinating birds, red pandas, otters and farm animals. There are outdoor play parks, a little train, and a very good indoor soft play with a cafe.
If the sea is too rough or too cold it isn't always that appealing to swim in for young children. There are quite a few swimming pools to go to instead, including 3 outdoor ones. There is also a big leisure centre at the top of town where there is a big pool and a shallow childrens pool.
8. Open Top Bus
The Open Top Bus is always a big draw for my children in the holidays. They love sitting on the top deck, charging along the coast road towards Land's End. It is really cheap this year too - £5 per person and I think you can get a family ticket for £10! It goes between St Ives and Land's End and runs every day.
There are 3 play parks in St Ives. The best of them is by the Penbeagle Estate - turn off The Stennack by the fire station and it is up on the right hand side. The park has some good equipment including a long zip wire and a big football field.
Behind the Penbeagle Park there is a brilliant and fairly newly built skatepark.
Both Penzance and Hayle also have good skate parks, and Penzance prom is good for skateboarding, scooting, cycling and roller skating.
Cycling in St Ives can see a little offputting due to the steep hills. Fortunately, St Ives E-bikes have started up, hiring out their electric bikes. They are located on Chapel Street in St Ives (recently moved from the top of Porthmeor Hill) and they do really reasonable rates for hiring their bikes out.
12. The Train
The train from St Erth to St Ives is one of the most lovely train trips you can do. It is unbelievably picturesque and is a real treat to do as part of the Summer activities.
There are lots of places near St Ives where you can visit animals. The closest ones to town are Castle Brea Farm (check them out on facebook), Paradise Park and Trevaskis Farm. Further afield in Portreath (not that far) is the Gwel an Mor Feadon Farm.
14 Go Karting
There is a super Go Karting track right by the A30 flyover near Hayle and St Erth. You will have probably seen it driving to St Ives.
15. Pitch n putt
Penwith Pitch and Putt is a great place to visit with the children. They have pitch and putt, crazy golf and football golf, plus a great play park and tea room.
16. Skittles and Games
County Skittles near Hayle is a really fun place to visit, especially for a good evening out with the family. You can eat there and play 9 pin skittles, giant draughts, air hockey, lots of arcarde games, board games and they have a pool table.
17. Indoor Play
When the weather is blowing a hoolie it is good to get the kids burning off their energy in an indoor soft play. There are lots to choose from, but they are all a short drive out of St Ives. Our favourites are The Jungle Barn in Paradise Park (Hayle) and Base Camp and Gwel an Mor in Portreath.
For those children who don't want to simply play on the beach, rockpooling is a brilliant (and free!) way to pass the time - while you still get to be on the beach.
The best places in St Ives to go rockpooling are on Porthmeor West Beach at low tide.
Other good spots are on the causeway going over to St Michael's Mount at Marazion.
You can easily while away a few happy hours sitting on the pier dangling a line into the water to catch crabs. In St Ives it is best to do this on New Pier (the bit behind Smeaton's Pier) as you don't want to get in the way of the fishing boats.
Another good place to go crabbing is on Dynamite Quay in Lelant.
20. St Ives Mermaid
If you are lucky enough to be visiting at the right time, you might get to see the St Ives Mermaid. She lands on a beach when the tide and moon are right, and cleverly lets us parents all know in advance on Facebook.
21. Pool and Snooker
There are several places to play pool and snooker in St Ives.
The Harbour Pool & Billiards club is on Wharf Road and has a good selection of full sized snooker and pool tables to play on. They also have darts and other games, plus sky sports. You can buy temporary membership for £5 a week, or yearly membership for £25 a year. I don't think under 18's are allowed in on the temporary membership, but I think they are for the yearly one - you would have to check!
The Queens Hotel on the High St, The Golden Lion and The Three Ferrets all have pool tables, and allow younger ones in to play during the day.
Museums aren't all boring, honestly they aren't. My children love the St Ives Museum as it is packed full of curios and cats. They also love love love the Maritime Museum in Falmouth, where you can ride a jet ski, see fish underwater and often do crafts and other activities.
23. Boat Trips
All the boat trips which go out of St Ives are very child friendly. It is a chance to see St Ives and the coastline from the sea (which always looks incredible) and you might be lucky enough to see seals, dolphins and even the occasional passing whale! Wildlife spotting isn't guaranteed though, so don't build up your kids hopes!
24. Chocolate Workshop
For those children who are chocoholics (like mine) I Should Coco run chocolate workshops where you make your own chocolates. You also get to eat them which is obviously a big bonus!
25. Escape Rooms
There is an Escape Room in St Ives! It isn't recommend for under 8 years old, but your older kids will love it.
25. Explore Woods
A stomp through the woods is always a good way to spend an afternoon. There are lots of woods around, our favourites are Trevalyor near Penzance and Tehidy near Portreath. In Tehidy there is a lake, a rope swing and lots of dens to play in. And a twisty tree and a secret garden. It is also a brilliant place to see the bluebells when they come out.
26. Ghost Walk
The legendary Shanty Baba runs ghost walks for all the family around the town. They can be a little spooky, so only take those who are brave enough!
Although it might sound a bit tame to some children, there are some really lovely gardens to visit in the area. Mine especially love Trengwainton (National Trust) and Tanglewood near Penzance.
28. Sporty Stuff
There are all manner of sporty things you can do in and around St Ives.
As well as the amazing Kidz R Us theatre, there are lots of other places that put on shows, events, music and more.
30. Big Days Out
If you are wanting a big day out, I've listed all the ones we like here >>
I hope this gives you some good ideas of things to do.