The eclectic state capital of South Australia has some of the most gorgeous beaches right on its doorstep. Close to the metropolitan city centre, there are over 30km of easily accessible glorious beaches, all of which boast an insane sunset view. But which ones are worth a visit?
We are here to help you decide which beaches are best for which type of trip. With the era of the staycation booming, you might be a local searching for a new spot or you might be a tourist wanting to avoid the hustle and bustle of the popular spots. Do you want to camp next to beautiful white expanses or four-wheel-drive over epic sand dunes? Do you want to paddle in the ocean with your kids or grab a quiet coffee overlooking a bay? Whatever you’re after, we have you covered.
Due to its location, Adelaide isn’t renowned for its huge surf, so you may have to travel out of town on a day trip if you’re seeking anything more than beginner-level waves. That being said, the milder swells lend themselves to family friendly swimming and other water sports so you’ll not be short of adrenaline-filled adventures on these waters.
Best beaches in Adelaide for kids
Semaphore Beach is a popular all-rounder. It’s 30 minutes to the northwest of the CBD and boasts an array of activities. The beach itself is a long stretch of soft white sand perfect for relaxing walks, the shallows are great for a paddle and the dunes protect you from the hustle and bustle. There are cafes, ice creameries and fish & chip shops locally, so you can eat and drink with the water lapping at your feet. There is a great playground, carousel and mini steam train to keep the kids entertained too.
The next big hitter is Glenelg Beach, Adelaide’s most famous beach. There is never a boring moment at Glenelg; there’s a plethora of beachside cafes and shops, historical buildings, world-class sunsets and even the option to go dolphin watching. There are arcade games, playgrounds and picnic areas to take the kids as well. If you want peace and quiet, this is not the beach for you, but if you want to feel a real buzz in the air and explore the shops with a coffee in hand then head on down!
The beaches with easy access
Brighton Beach is a beautiful beach to the south of the CBD. It has cafes and ice creameries close by and a long, glorious jetty. What we love about this beach is how accessible it is to all. There is a large paved esplanade and shared path running alongside the beach for walkers, dogs and bicycles. The access from the car park is well laid out and has great wheelchair and pram friendly ramps so everyone can watch the sunset over the jetty with the sand between their toes.
Best beaches for long walks and furry friends
Maslin Beach is long, wide, quiet and has amazing red, rocky cliffs to the south. The sunset colours hit the cliffs magnificently and can really take your breath away some evenings. To the north is the dog friendly beach and to the south is the ‘clothing optional’ beach, so there really is something for everyone here. The water is shallow and mild for those who want to swim and walk, or you can come away from the beach and hike up to Blanche Point to get some of the best views in the area.
Christie’s Beach is dog friendly and has a tourist park right on the beachfront for those of you visiting from afar. The suburb is friendly and has a gorgeous vibe to it. There are cafes and eateries close to the beach but it’s not overcrowded and touristy. The swell is mild and there are surf lifesavers here to keep the swimmers, doggies and surfers safe.
Best beaches in Adelaide for water sports
Number one in this section has to be Port Noarlunga. Home to the off-shore Port Noarlunga Reef and over 200 species of fish, this is one of the best diving and snorkelling spots in Adelaide. The marine park even has its own self-guided aquatic trail for divers! The swimmers and surfers are protected by the surf lifesaving club in the summer months. This is also a popular spot for kayaking and walking due to the unique river mouth location and long jetty.
Seacliff Beach is only a short walk from the aforementioned Brighton Beach and is probably the best beach in town to get into stand up paddle boarding. There is board and boat hire right on the beach or you can watch others do it while you sip a cocktail from the historic Seacliff Beach Hotel. The hotel has been serving beachgoers since 1935 and is the perfect spot for a post-swim lunch.
If you head three and a half hours south through the Coorung National Park and down the side of Long Bay, you’ll reach Long Beach. It’s 12km of hard packed white sand which you can drive right down onto and unpack your chairs straight away! The beach is great for dog walking or jogging, and the sea is shallower for a while making swimming and kite surfing fun and it can get great swell for surfing too. The best bit – it’s never really that busy!
White Sands is actually an inland suburb nestled on the Murray River. While the beach isn’t the reason it’s on the list, the option for wakeboarding is. Check out White Sands Wakeboarding for something a bit different!
And if you want to simply relax…
If all you want to do is soak up the sun and go and have a nice meal and a cooling drink in a gorgeous beach club then you need to head to Henley Beach. The last beach on our list but by no means the least this is a must-visit when coming to Adelaide. It’s vibrant and sophisticated and the coast goes on as far as the eye can see. Perfect for a sunset stroll and a glass of wine!
There we have it, a comprehensive list of all the beaches you need in your artillery when visiting Adelaide. For more things Adelaide, check out the top things to do in Adelaide and the best outdoor activities.