It's a pound to park all day, provided you don't mind walking down through the gardens from the car park. You can park closer to the beach, but I never bother. If the sun is shining, it will be very, very busy.
There is also Beer in Devon. Which is lovely, but pretty small. Seaton in Devon, which I would avoid as it's pretty grim. And Minehead in Somerset. You can take a steam train to Minehead from Bishops Lydeard, which is very pretty. Minehead itself is not my cup of tea as it's very touristy. And it has a Butlins.
There's also West Bay in Dorset. I would recommend West Bay as it's not too busy and has some very pretty scenery - the cliffs are very photogenic. Pretty good ice creams too.
I think there's a lot of kite surfing at Exmouth, if you fancy that.
Sidmouth, Devon again, also has a nice sandy beach. Although according to somebody I know from there, the town is 'pretentious.' I'd say give it a visit and make your own mind up!
And there you have it. Some of my local and not so local beaches. I'm from Somerset, but I'm from the south of the county, which means my local beaches are those in Devon and Dorset.
What's the best thing about beaches? Ice cream, of course.