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The Best Beaches in South Australia for Fun Days in the Sun

Discover the finest beaches of South Australia for the ultimate coastal road trip.

Almonta Beach - Sarah Byden

When it comes to beaches in South Australia, they're nothing short of paradise. Glistening waters, white sandy shores and native wildlife, some ideal for ocean swimming while others are teeming with marine life to discover. With impressive stretches of untouched coast scattered throughout the peninsulas, the closer you get to Adelaide the more the beaches take on a different feel, with a seaside vibrancy that lingers year-round. Accompanied by sidewalk cafes, playgrounds, buzzing bars, picnic facilities and long jetty's that jut out over the deep water perfect for fishing.

There's no denying, South Australia truly knows how to spoil us when it comes to surf, sun and sand, and to prove it we’ve rounded up an ever-growing list of the best beaches in South Australia.

Best Beaches in South Australia - Adelaide

Glenelg Beach (Photo credit: Hayley Hays Photography, South Australian Tourism Commission)

Glenelg Beach

One of Adelaide's most popular beachside locations, Glenelg turns on the charm with its pristine beach, sidewalk cafes and casual, laid-back vibe. Glenelg feels more like a holiday destination than a suburb of a capital city, with the beach itself perfect for swimming, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and snorkelling. With buzzing Jetty Road, Moseley Square and the Moseley Beach Club operating through the summer months, there is no shortage of ways to experience summer days in Glenelg.

Henley Beach (Image Credit: Joe's Henley Beach)

Henley Beach

Another seaside suburb of Adelaide, Henley Beach is a vast stretch of glistening coast, while onshore, the vibrant café scene in Henley Square is abuzz with activity. Although a lot is going on between the bars and restaurants, the beach itself has a laid-back holiday feel throughout summer, where it’s all about enjoying the simple pleasures. It's a popular swimming spot, and the beach is great for stand-up paddleboarding and kite surfing, while the jetty is best for fishing.

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach

Sitting south of Glenelg, Brighton Beach holds its own along this string of beaches as the best spot to go open water swimming. On windy days, a swell can form, and surfers can be seen bopping in the water vying for the perfect wave, while the calm waters closer to the shore make this a family favourite. There are plenty of cafes and eateries nearby to grab a quick bite, and the foreshore walk and jetty are perfect for strolling and taking in the fresh ocean breeze.

Semaphore Beach. Image credit: Gabrielle Walsh

Semaphore Beach

This family-friendly beach is just as much for swimmers as it is for kite-surfers and windsurfers. Sitting north of Adelaide, this seaside destination is a summertime vibe. White sandy beach, expansive lawn foreshore and fun park-style activities, including a steam train during the summer months. It really does tick every box to be one of the best beaches in Adelaide. 

Best beaches in South Australia, Fleurieu Peninsula

Port Noarlunga

Port Noarlunga

From Christies Beach to Moana Beach, this beautiful stretch of sand with red sandstone beach cliffs is often regarded as one of the best beaches in Adelaide. A safe swimming spot, Port Noarlunga's long jetty and reefs also make this area a brilliant diving destination. Off-shore, Port Noarlunga Reef and aquatic reserve is part of the Encounter Marine Park, which is a diver's and snorkeler's wonderland.

Silver Sands Aldinga Beach

Silver Sands - Aldinga Beach

When you need a change of pace from the wineries of McLaren Vale, duck over to Silver Sands Beach where you can drive onto the sand, and swim or surf to your heart's content. Although this alone is enough to make Silver Sands one of the best beaches in Adelaide, the views along the coastal walk and the convenience of Aldinga for a bite to eat make beach days here a breeze. The newest edition to the area – Silver Sands Beach Club – is making the drive to this beautiful beach even more appealing, with beachfront bar and dining at your disposal.

Maslin Beach

Maslin Beach

Just north of Aldinga, Maslin Beach is a beautiful seaside spot, and regarded as one of the prettiest beaches to see. Known locally as Maslins, the high cliffs near Blanche Point are a perfect picnic area, while at the southern end of the 3km stretch is Australia's first legal nudist beach with designated areas reserved for nude bathing. Fun fact - the annual Pilwarren Maslin Beach Nude Games are held here. Nude swimming aside, this is a perfect beachside setting.

Waitpinga Beach

Waitpinga Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula

Sitting west of popular seaside destination Victor Harbour, and off the well-beaten path is Waitpinga Beach. Known to locals and visitors as one of the best surfing beaches on the Fleurieu Peninsula thanks to beach breaks that can hold up to three-metre high waves. It's one for experienced surfers only, and its dunes and conservation area shroud this beach in natural beauty.

Second Valley Beach (Photo credit: Ryan Formosa Photography, South Australian Tourism Commission)

Second Valley Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula

One of South Australia's most Instagrammed beaches, Second Valley has it all – swimming, jetty fishing, kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving. Plus, the cliffs are a playground for heart-thumping cliff jumps. For those who like to relax along the shore, you will be in for a treat with incredible coastal views and unique geological formations. There's no doubt - this is one of the best beaches in South Australia.

Horseshoe Bay (Photo credit: Adam Bruzzone, South Australian Tourism Commission)

Horseshoe Bay, Fleurieu Peninsula

Just on the edge of Port Elliot, it doesn't get more family-friendly than this. Horseshoe Bay is not only a great swimming, snorkelling and diving beach, but it also has a playground, picnic facilities and a Fish ‘n’ Chips shop only steps away. Locals love to swim out to the pontoon, where you will find more marine life. There is a stunning coastal walk perfect for whale watching – with Southern Right whales spotted regulalry in the winter months.

Port Willunga Beach (Photo credit: Mish and Kirk, South Australian Tourism Commission)

Port Willunga Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula

If you’re looking for soft white sand that squeaks under your feet, water so clear and blue you can see right down to the ocean floor, golden cliff faces to create the perfect backdrop, then Port Willunga has the beach for you. It doesn’t take long to see why this is one of the most photographed beaches in South Australia, with the calm waters looking irresistible as you take your stroll along the sand, where you will see what is left of the old Port Willunga Jetty. Feeling peckish after your beach walk? Head to the top of the cliff and dine in at Star of Greece, one of the best restaurants in Adelaide for fresh seafood and unmatched coastal views.

Best Beaches in South Australia, Eyre Peninsula

Memory Cove (Photo credit: South Australia)

Memory Cove, Eyre Peninsula

This slice of paradise at the tip of Lincoln National Park is an hour and a half drive from Port Lincoln. It is absolutely mesmerising with its turquoise water, white sandy beaches and native bushland that's teeming with wildlife. Drive right onto the beach or set up camp for the night at the shady beachfront campsite.

Almonta Beach

Almonta Beach, Eyre Peninsula

Located along the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula in Coffin Bay National Park, Almonta Beach is where sandy dunes meet some of the clearest waters you will see. Bordering the stunning beach is bushland that happens to be a playground for local wildlife – kangaroos, emus and goannas are just some of what can be spotted here. During low tide, a lagoon forms with rock pools, and for those who love freshly plucked oysters be sure to visit Coffin Bay Oyster Farm for an interactive experience you won’t soon forget.

September Beach (Photo credit: Kata & Belle)

September Beach, Lincoln National Park

Is camping by the beach with just the sound of the waves and nature around you your idea of a perfect weekend away? If so, you need to check out September Beach in Lincoln National Park. Ideal for all cars (not just 4WD’s) there are several campsites to book and pitch your tent for the night. The beach itself is gorgeous, and provides the most beautiful spot to start your day with a morning walk or kayak. And don’t worry - if roughing it isn’t really your thing you can always get a little fancy by booking a glamping stay with Kata and Belle.

Greenly Beach (Photo credit: Elise Cook via South Australian Tourism Commission)

Greenly Beach, Eyre Peninsula

It would be impossible to list the best beaches in South Australia and forget to mention the incredible Greenly Beach. Thanks to social media, this once secret-spot has become one of the most visited locations for a killer Instagram shot. Apart from the great photo opps, Greenly Beach has protected rockpools with breathtakingly clear water, and calm waters that are ideal for swimming. This slice of heaven is an hour from Port Lincoln.

Best Beaches in South Australia, Yorke Peninsula

Dolphin Bay

Dolphin Bay, Yorke Peninsula

Tucked away on the southern tip of Yorke Peninsula in Innes National Park, this 800-metre long stretch of sand and glistening waters is a dreamy beach in South Australia to escape to. Considered one of the safest spots for a swim on the peninsula, here you can spend your days lazing on the shore while spotting playful dolphins in the water and friendly kangaroos on land. 

Flaherty Beach (Photo credit: _roamingaus_ via South Australian Tourism Commission)

Flaherty Beach, Yorke Peninsula

This one quite literally is not only one of the best beaches in South Australia, but also in the entire country – and we know that’s no easy feat. In 2022, the truly breathtaking Flaherty Beach at the top of the Yorke Peninsula was awarded a top four place in a list of the best beaches in Australia by Tourism Australia, and it’s not hard to see why. Home to some of the whitest sand and clearest water you will see, you can walk through shallow postcard-perfect blue water on sand banks that seem to go on forever. It’s a gem that locals love, and we are pretty proud of this beachy haven.

Best Beaches in South Australia, Kangaroo Island

Vivonne Bay

Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island

Seemingly world's away, yet so close, Vivonne Bay is reminiscent of a tropical beach in Bali or Thailand. All six kilometres of the white sandy shores has been named one of Australia's best beaches, and rightfully so with its pristine waters and white sandy shores. With a jetty framing the south end and dunes to the north, this is the perfect spot for swimming, fishing and wildlife spotting.

Emu Bay. Image credit: Kangaroo Island

Emu Bay, Kangaroo Island

Though Kangaroo Island is well-known for the abundance of wildlife, mostly untouched National Parks and coastal walking trails, the beaches here are unmatched in the summer as a place to enjoy the sunshine. The white sand and turquoise waters we have come to know in South Australia also feature at popular Emu Bay, where you are offered 4.5km of coast with crystal clear water to splash in or play a game of beach cricket on the sand.

Stokes Bay (Photo credit: Elliot Grafton via South Australian Tourism Commission)

Stokes Bay, Kangaroo Island

For a secluded sanctuary, look no further than Stokes Bay Beach. Hidden away on the north coast of Kangaroo Island, this award-winning paradise is one of the best beaches in South Australia. With a giant natural pool protected from pounding waves, this is a dreamy spot to spend several hours on a summer's day. The beach itself is as you’d expect – absolutely perfect.

From dreamy seaside suburbs to remote beaches tucked away in national parks, the beaches of South Australia will make you feel like you are in a tropical paradise. Keep discovering South Australia's gems with our edit of the dreamiest getaways in Kangaroo Island, and the best events in SA to entertain the whole family.

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