Situated between Bude and Boscastle, Crackington Haven is popular with campers, walkers and geology students. The village has a small shop, two tea rooms and a pub called the Coombe Barton Inn in a building which was originally the house of the manager of a local slate quarry.
Crackington Haven has a stony foreshore but a sandy beach is revealed at low water. There are toilet facilities near the beach and lifeguard cover in the summer. Immediately north of the beach is Pencarrow Point and a few hundred yards south is Cambeak headland. One mile south of Crackington Haven, High Cliff rises to 735feet with a sheer drop to the rocky foreshore. It is Cornwall's highest cliff and is also classified as southern Britain's highest sheer-drop cliff (Great Hangman in Devon has a cliff face of 820feet but is a hog-backed hill with a cliff-face, rather than being a normal sheer cliff).
The surrounding cliffs are well-known for their visible folded sedimentary rock formations. The village gives its name to the Crackington formation, a sequence of Carboniferous sandstones and grey shales  .
Until the nineteenth century, Crackington Haven was a small port similar to many others on the north coast of Cornwall. Limestone and coal were imported and slate and other local produce were exported. After the railways reached the district in 1893 the village could be reached more easily (from the North Cornwall Railway station at Otterham) so holidaymaking became more common.
Crackington Haven was badly affected in 2004 by the flood that damaged several other villages, including Boscastle. The road bridge across the stream, several homes and pub were damaged by floodwater. (See also Boscastle flood of 2004)