Castle Douglas is about 18 miles south-west of Dumfries on the A75. However, the coastal route south-west of Dumfries (through new Abbey on the A710) takes you past the Colvend Coast to Dalbeattie and on to Castle Douglas.
There are some sandy beaches, such as Sandyhills and Rockcliffe, and long stretches of mud flats. You can walk from Rockcliffe to the Mote of Mark (a Celtic hill fort) and the delightful yachting centre at Kippford - where you can eat at the waterfront Anchor Hotel. There is a causeway at low tide to the National Trust for Scotland's sanctuary on Rough Island (prohibited in May and June when the terns and oystercatchers are nesting).
Dalbeattie has little to offer the tourist apart from shops and supermarkets. About 2 miles north on the B794 is the Motte of Urr, a 12th century Norman motte-and-bailey castle. South of Dalbeattie off the A711 en route to Kirkcudbright, lies the ruins of the circular 15th century Orchardton Tower (key available from a nearby cottage). The waterside Balcary Bay Hotel near Auchencairn, once a smugglers' hideout, provides good bar meals but more exclusive meals are served in the restaurant. Nearer Kirkcudbright are the ruins of the 12th century Dundrennan Abbey.
Castle Douglas was designed in the 18th century by local man Sir William Douglas who had made his fortune in the West Indies. There are few attractions or activities in the town apart from viewing the traditional brewing process at Sulwath Brewery and tasting some culture at the local Lochside Theatre. The main hotel is the Douglas Arms and there is a tourist office in the town. You can walk (cycle or drive) the mile south-west of Castle Douglas past Loch Carlingwark to the stunning Threave Gardens set in 60 acres of woodland and varied gardens owned by the National Trust for Scotland which also has a horticultural school on site. Threave Castle, the 14th century stronghold of the Black Douglases, is situated on an island about two miles away accessible only by ferry and suffered from historical feuds with the English armies over the 15th and 16th centuries.
Loch Ken lies a few miles north of Castle Douglas on the A713 and stretches for about 9 miles. It is a popular watersports venue - windsurfing, sailing, canoeing, power-boating and fishing, available at the Galloway Sailing Centre, and there is also waterskiing available at the Loch Ken Waterski School. Local walks include those at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds nature reserve on the western bank. There is an attractive inn, the Lochinvar Hotel, near St John's Town of Dalry beyond the head of the loch. Leamington House Hotel is in New Galloway.