The most northerly of the four inner firths of the Moray Firth, the Dornoch Firth extends from the wide sandy beaches and the large bays at the entrance to the firth, inland to Newton Point. It is relatively unaffected by industrial development and supports large areas of intertidal flats, heaths and sand dunes, saltmarsh and a stretch of rocky shore. The main settlements on the Dornoch Firth are Dornoch and Tain.
The Dornoch Firth is recognised as of national importance for its landscape and has been designated as a National Scenic Area. National Scenic Areas are Scotland's only national landscape conservation designation. They are those areas of land considered of national significance on the basis of their outstanding scenic interest or unsurpassed attractiveness which must be conserved as part of the country's natural heritage.
The Dornoch Firth is also important for wild birds and as such it has been designated as a Ramsar site, and a Special Protection Area.
The dune systems at Dornoch Links and Morrich More are of international importance for their flora and geomorphology.