Ainsdale-on-Sea is Southport's main bathing beach with Lifeguards on duty during the summer season. It is one of the most popular beaches on Sefton’s Natural Coast and it has also been awarded a Quality Coast Award. It is the only beach in the North West to be awarded the international Blue Flag (in 2004 and 2006). It is also recognised as one of the premier beaches in the UK for extreme kite activities (permit required).

In addition to its quality beaches, it is home to Ainsdale and Birkdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve and Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve making it an ideal starting point for exploring Sefton's Natural Coast, the Sefton Coastal Path and the Ribble Coast and Wetlands Regional Park. The Trans Pennine Trail passes nearby Ainsdale village which is also well served by the Mersey rail network. A number of way-marked trails from the village allow access to the Ainsdale sand dunes.

The whole of this Gateway is managed by Sefton Coast and Countryside Service based at Ainsdale Discovery Centre. This centre provides local information, a classroom facility and free cycle hire. There is good access by public transport, toilets at the beach entrance and ample parking for cars.

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