It's a bank holiday weekend so what could be nicer than a stroll along the beach. Good weather is never guaranteed in Scotland but some spectacular scenery is...

1. Sango Bay, Durness

Distinctive for the large volcanic rocks that pepper its shoreline, Sango Bay is a photographer’s paradise with stunning shots at every turn. Although it has a campsite directly above it, its reasonably remote location in Scotland’s far north means it never gets too populated by pesky tourists. It’s exceptionally clean, and dog friendly too.

2. St Cyrus Beach, near Montrose

Part of the St Cyrus National Reserve, this beach runs for three miles from the village of St Cyrus to the mouth of the North Esk River. It can be accessed from the cliff path or the visitor centre, where there is adjoining nature reserve to explore and do some birdwatching. On the beach itself, there are cliffs and sand dunes to admire as you stroll along the sand.

3. Portobello Beach, Edinburgh

Despite being just a few miles from the bustle of the capital, visiting Portobello is like stepping back in time to a seaside resort of old. Along with as relaxing on the sand, you can visit the amusement arcade and outdoor cafes dotted along the promenade – as well as the market in Brighton Park on the first Saturday of every month.

4. West Beach, Berneray, North Uist

With turquoise water lapping on to crisp white sand, you could be forgiven for thinking that this Hebridean beach is straight out of a tropical holiday brochure. And that is exactly what the Thai tourist board did: mistakenly using a photo of West beach as part of an advertisement for their paradisiacal Kai Bae Beach.

5. Findhorn Beach, Moray

Children will love Findhorn: from running up and down the extensive sand dunes to sifting through the variety of coloured pebbles on the shore. There are also traditional coloured beach huts to admire, and, if you are lucky, seals (or even dolphins) can be spotted fishing in the distance.

6. Elie Earlsferry Beach, Elie, Fife

Situated in the East Neuk of Fife, Elie’s pretty beach curves round in a bay which backs on to quaint cottages. You can catch a cricket game on the sand during some weekends in summer, or take part in seasonal water sports activities. If that all proves too tiring, the beach-facing Ship Inn has a popular beer garden to unwind in.

7. Oldshoremore Beach, Kinlochbervie, Sutherland

Squeaky-clean and unspoilt, Oldshoremore and its sister beach Phollain are separated by a rocky isle known as Eilean na h-Aiteig. The ocean can be glorious to swim in if the weather is good, as the peaceful bays are south-facing and quiet (on a good day Oldshoremore feels like your own private beach). Over 200 varieties of flowering plants can be found on the grass above the beach, so if you can’t manage the steps down to the sand you can relax among the flowers and watch the waves crashing in.

Weekend days out: 15 National Trust for Scotland gems

8. Troon Beach, Ayrshire

Easily accessible by train from Glasgow, Troon was a traditional destination for city-dwellers to escape ‘doon the water’ when the sun came out. It remains a great destination for families: with rock pools to explore, a playground beside the beach and plenty of ice cream trucks along the promenade. Being the west of Scotland it can get windy, so if you bring along a kite you are sure to send it soaring.

9. Vatersay Bay, Barra

Connected to the mainland of Barra via a causeway, this tiny island is about as peaceful as they come. The beach opens up from behind a gate, giving a great ‘reveal’ moment as you approach the footpath and the pristine white sand expands along the horizon. Sheltered by a hill on one side, you won’t have to worry too much about wind, and it’s ideal for swimming as there are minimal currents. The water is so clear that you can even see basking sharks cruising along in the distance (but don’t worry – they don’t bite).

10. Mossyard Beach, Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries and Galloway

This small beach has sand, plenty of shells and rockpools to explore, so youngsters should be easily kept occupied. It is a great spot to have a picnic – there are no cafes nearby – giving the beach a sense of seclusion and tranquillity. When the tide is in, it forms a little cove guarded by rocks which proves a great sun trap – even in unpredictable weather.

11. Castle Sands, St Andrews

With its neighbour beach West Sands famous as the setting of the final scene in Chariots of Fire, Castle Sands can sometimes be overlooked. But if you venture down the steep steps to find it, you will be rewarded by a smaller but equally picturesque spot. With the ruins of the St Andrews Castle towering above it, this beach has plenty of atmosphere and history of its own. Need proof? If you head down at dusk, you will often find groups of in-the-know students perched on the beach to enjoy the tranquil sunset.

12. East Beach, Lossiemouth

Fans of sandy and pebbly beaches will both be satisfied – with East Beach offering two terrains across its six-mile stretch. There is enough space that the beach doesn’t feel too busy, but it is close enough to the town that you can pop back and get fish and chips if the mood strikes you. And for a real treat, you can spot bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales if the weather is clear (and luck is on your side).

13. Muasdale, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute

Narrow but long, this beach has an authentic feel about it, as driftwood, pebbles and rockpools line the shore. But there is also plenty of sand to amuse little ones with buckets and spades, and the water is warm enough to swim in on a sunny day. The panoramic views of Islay and Jura are also a great bonus.

14. St Ninian’s Isle, Shetland

This beach is actually a tombolo: a natural sand causeway with sea on either side that links St Ninian’s Isle to the mainland of Shetland. It is quite a stunning sight to see, with the sparkling waters a pleasure to look at (if a bit too cold to swim in). The isle itself also has an ancient chapel you can visit, where a Pictish treasure hoard was found buried under the altar.

15. Balmedie Beach, Aberdeenshire

The huge sand dunes on approach to the beach are an impressive start to Balmedie, with miles of clean golden sand a further perk. Popular with joggers, walkers and families alike, this beach has something to offer almost everyone. There are picnic tables for barbecues if you fancy one, and a playpark.

Weekend days out: 15 National Trust for Scotland gems

16. Balfour’s Bay, Mull

Located on the south side of Erraid, this bay is considered to be one of the driest, sunniest spots on the west coast of Scotland. The beach forms a cove backed by low cliffs, and with turquoise waters and white sand to boot, it can look almost Mediterranean when the sun shines. The picturesque spot gets its name from Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Kidnapped’: where the hero David Balfour is shipwrecked and comes ashore on the beach itself.

17. Loch Morlich Beach, Aviemore

You might not expect to see snow-covered mountains while sitting on a sandy beach, but that is exactly what’s on offer at Loch Morlich. It gives a rather unique twist on a traditional beach, as the shore is surrounded by pine trees and calm water rather than a sea breeze. But traditionalists need fear not- you can still get a fix of ice cream while you sunbathe.

18. Silver Sands of Morar

A trail of beaches rather than just one, the Silver Sands of Morar are a series of white sandy beaches that run from Arisaig to Morar. Offering spectacular views of Rum, Eigg, and Canna, they can be enjoyed individually or by walking and camping along the route. Secluded but easily accessible from the road, the tranquil beaches will be loved by all ages.

19. Belhaven Beach, Dunbar

The expansive sands of Belhaven are ideal for giving children (or even dogs) space to run around and let off some steam. Overlooking the Forth Estuary, Belhaven sees strong waves that makes it popular with those learning to surf and paddleboard. If you don’t fancy having a go yourself, just relax and watch others do the hard work instead.

20. Huisinish, Harris

It's at the end of a 14-mile single track road but this quiet, sandy beach makes the sometimes hair-raising journey worth it. Better still, there's a good chance you'll have the beach to yourself. There's no shops or bars but there is public toilets with showers and chemical disposal point.

Weekend days out: 15 National Trust for Scotland gems