With the weather getting better - people will start flocking to the beaches across County Durham.

We have pieced together the five best beaches in the region, or within a 20-mile drive of County Durham.

The five best beaches to visit in and around County Durham:

Seaham Beach

Seaham Beach is a mix of rocky and sandy. The dog-friendly beach stretches for around one mile along the town’s coastline, which is better than some beaches along this stretch of coastline.

Alongside the beach, there are stunning views of the water and amazing picturesque views from the coastal walk. 

There are loads of on and off-street parking to be found along the Seaham Coast, with two main car parks at Seaham Hall Beach car park (SR7 7AF) and Vane Tempest car park (SR7 7WE).

One impressed visitor said on TripAdvisor: "Lovely beach and great sea glass collecting as came just after the storm. One of my favourite places in the county. Also, North Beach café is just amazing."

Seaton Carew Beach

Lying on the North Sea coast between Hartlepool and the mouth of the River Tees, Seaton Carew Beach provides a good stretch of sand. 

There are plenty of places to park and visitors will find arcades and a range of other low-key beach resort attractions along the beach. 

In Seaton Carew itself, just behind the beach, are some popular chip shops and ice-cream parlours.

One person said on TripAdvisor: "Lovely for a pre-Sunday lunch constitutional walk from Hartlepool and back set us up for lunch nicely. Great views and sea air blew the cobwebs away and worked up an appetite."

Blackhall Beach 

Blackhall Beach, which is between Crimdon and Peterlee, has received several good reviews online, despite being overshadowed by the likes of Seaham a little further north and Saltburn a little further south.

On Tripadvisor, Blackhall Beach has been dubbed County Durham's 'hidden gem' with free parking, with the beach receiving an average rating of four stars out of five and has been recognised as a great spot for walking and its cleanliness.

And it seems like people are praising Blackhall for the way it has been cleaned up, compared to how it was 40 years ago.

One person who visited recently said: "We had a wonderful walk on Blackhall Beach this afternoon. A huge, clean beach. Hardly anyone about. Easy free parking, and nice paths down onto the beach. No litter. Signs of the coal heritage of the beach. Very good for dramatic photo opportunities."

Crimdon Dene Beach

Crimdon has been a popular place for holidaymakers for many years. From the 1920s miners came to Crimdon for their annual summer holidays - and people on TripAdvisor are still loving it to this day. 

The dene is essentially a limestone gorge carpeted with layers of glacial clay, sand and gravel. 

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One person on TripAdvisor said: "Amazing clean beach and in the evening if your lucky you can see the seals lying on the beach. Lots of rock pools to keep the kids busy."

Horden Beach

Horden is a former mining community on the North Sea coast, about 12 miles south of Sunderland.  

Today, this stretch of the coastline has been regenerated, and most of the coal deposits have been gradually washed away by the sea.

This place is great for walks, with people on TripAdvisor agreeing.

One impressed visitor said: "After a short drive down a narrow lane, you arrive at a small car park. Then an amble of 100 yards and you reach a two-tiered beach. The first tier is quite rocky, and then you make your way through gaps in the wall onto this fabulous beach, that appears to go on forever."