Westward Ho!'s unusual name comes from the title of a book by Charles Kingsley, Westward Ho! - the exclamation mark is an intentional part of the town's name, and the only such place name in the United Kingdom.
The town can be found to the north of the A39 road, providing easy access from the towns of Barnstaple, Bideford and Bude. It lies at the south end of Northam Burrows, and faces westward into Bideford Bay, opposite Saunton Sands and Braunton Burrows.
Westward Ho! is well known for its surfing seas and the long expanse of clean sand backed by a pebble ridge. Other attractions of the town include the arcades, go kart track and the grasslands behind the pebble ridge.