We took a family vacation to Mediterranean Spain in the summer of 2015. We dedicated part of our trip to inland wine and cultural travel and part of it to time on the Mediterranean Sea. Our beach days were spent in Javea/Xabia. We had a great time, and we learned a lot about Spanish travel and tourism! Here are 5 things to know about Arenal Beach, Spain, if you plan to visit.
1. Parking is Free!
There’s lots of free parking within a short walk of the beach, so don’t stress! Load up the car, drive to the beachfront area, and look for a spot. We parked our car for several hours at a time with absolutely no problem in free on-street parking or in small local parking lots. What a nice perk!
2. There are Plenty of Restaurants & Shopping Opportunities
The pedestrian boardwalk has lots of shops, restaurants, and bars along it, so you can easily find lunch, beach supplies, and souvenirs within a few minutes of your beach blanket and umbrella.
The shops and restaurants continue off the boardwalk, on the main vehicle traffic way, just parallel to the beach. We saw lots of stores that sold beach chairs, towels, blankets, and water toys, and there was absolutely no shortage of places to find local souvenirs.
What surprised me was that the prices in those shops were reasonable by U.S. standards. We bought an umbrella stroller for Small Shaw’s travel stroller for just €7, for example.
Another pleasant surprise along Arenal beach was that there was a really wide variety of food options. There were standard European places like cafes and ice cream shops, but there we also saw and/or ate Mexican, Chinese, and Indian, and I saw several other Asian-inspired restaurants. There’s also a grocery store right on the beach!
3. In These Waters Jellyfish Be
You’ve been warned: there are jellyfish in the waters along Arenal Beach.
I was wading in waist-deep water with Small Shaw when Nick (who I thought was taking a break for a bit) surprised me. I’m glad he did, because he was the one to spot a jellyfish that was just a couple of feet away from my legs. It might have been a little bit scary to be stung while holding a toddler, so I’m really glad Nick saw it in time for me to move to shallower water.
While we were on the beach, we witnessed other jellyfish, and we saw at least one kiddo being taken by lifeguards to a first aid station after being stung. The water was beautiful, but if you decide to dip your toes in, keep an eye out.
4. There is Handicap/Stroller Access
One of the things I loved about Arenal beach is that it has a dedicated handicapped/stroller-access wooden plankway leading from the main boardwalk all the way to the water’s edge.
It was a great setup, because just a few steps onto the plankway, you could trade your wheelchair for a beach wheelchair, and there were even lifeguards right there to help you get from one chair to the other. As a toddler mom, the plankway allowed me to easily wheel Small Shaw and all of our stuff from the main boardwalk down to the water. I loved it!
If you visit Arenal Beach and want to find the handicap/stroller access point, it’s not hard. The handicap access point is almost as far south on the beach as you can go. If you’re directionally challenged, think of it this way: when you’re facing the water, South is to your right. Face the water, turn right, and walk almost to the end of the boardwalk. If you get to the Acqua Bar & Steakhouse, you’ve gone too far.
5. The Water is Shallow
When you’re traveling with kids, it’s nice to know how deep the water will be on the beaches you visit. Arenal Beach remained really shallow pretty far out into the water. I had to go 60 feet or so from the water’s edge to reach chest-deep water, so there was plenty of shallow water for us to play in with Small Shaw.
For families with older kids who are strong swimmers, the water did get plenty deep further out. There was a floating dock that kids could jump or dive from, and you could rent water tricycles and other water toys from beach vendors.
Finding Arenal Beach
Arenal Beach (or “Platja de l’Arenal” in Spanish) is located in Javea, also called Xabia, Spain. The beach is just south of Parc Natural del Montgó along the White Coast (or “Costa Blanca” in Spanish) of Mediterranean Spain.