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The Best Beaches in South Australia for Fun in the Sun

Discover the clearest water and softest sand at the best beaches in South Australia for a dreamy coastal escape.

Eyre Peninsula

South Australian beaches are severely underrated - this coastline is nothing short of paradise. Glistening shallow waters and white sandy shores are ideal for ocean swimming, while others teem with marine life to discover.

With impressive stretches of untouched coast scattered throughout the peninsulas, the beaches closer to Adelaide have a different feel, with a seaside vibrancy that lingers year-round thanks to sidewalk cafes, playgrounds, buzzing bars, picnic facilities and long jetties that jut out over the deep water perfect for fishing.

There's no denying this state knows how to spoil us when it comes to surf, sun and sand, so 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 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 enjoy long summer days in Glenelg.

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

Henley Beach

A picturesque 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.

The bars and restaurants are filled with sun-kissed patrons, while the beach has a laid-back holiday feel throughout summer, where it’s all about enjoying the simple pleasures. It's a popular swimming spot, stand-up paddleboarding and kite surfing, while the jetty is best for fishing.

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach

South of Glenelg, Brighton Beach is one of the best spots for open-water swimming in Adelaide. 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 bite, and the foreshore walk and jetty are perfect for taking in the fresh ocean breeze.

Semaphore Beach (Image credit: Gabrielle Walsh)

Semaphore Beach

This family-friendly beach is perfect for swimmers, kite surfers and windsurfers. Sitting north of Adelaide, this seaside destination has a summertime vibe.

Complete with a white sand beach, expansive lawn foreshore and fun park-style activities, including a steam train during the summer months, Semaphore ticks 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 South Australia.

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 McLaren Vale wineries, duck over to Silver Sands Beach, where you can drive onto the sand and swim or surf to your heart's content.

Silver Sands is one of the best beaches in South Australia, with breathtaking views along the coastal walk, and nearby Aldinga perfect for a bite.

The newest addition to the area – Silver Sands Beach Club – makes the drive to this beautiful beach even more appealing, with a beachfront bar and dining at your disposal.

Maslin Beach

Maslin Beach

Just north of Aldinga, Maslin Beach is a stunning seaside spot, regarded as one of the most beautiful 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

Sitting west of seaside destination Victor Harbor 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, with beach breaks that can hold up to three-metre-high waves.

Best tackled by experienced surfers only, 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

One of South Australia's most Instagrammed beaches, Second Valley has it all – swimming, jetty fishing, kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving. Plus, the towering cliffs are a playground for heart-thumping cliff jumps.

For those who like to relax along the shore, you are treated to incredible coastal views and unique geological formations. There's no doubt - this is one of the best beaches in South Australia, but if it's a little crowded, head 20 minutes up the road to Carrickalinga Beach for equally stunning scenery and secret coves.

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

Horseshoe Bay

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 often 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 in the winter months.

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

Port Willunga Beach

If you’re looking for soft white sand that squeaks under your feet, water so clear you can see the ocean floor and golden cliff faces, then Port Willunga is 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, spotting what is left of the old Port Willunga Jetty.

Best Beaches in South Australia: Eyre Peninsula

Memory Cove (Photo credit: South Australia)

Memory Cove

This slice of paradise at the tip of Lincoln National Park is an hour and a half drive from Port Lincoln. It is mesmerising with its turquoise water, white sandy beaches and native bushland teeming with wildlife.

Drive right onto the beach, or set up camp for the night at the shady beachfront campsite.

Almonta Beach

Almonta Beach

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. For those who love freshly plucked oysters, 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 waves and nature around you your idea of a perfect weekend away? If so, 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 is gorgeous, providing the most beautiful spot to start your day with a morning walk or kayak. And don’t worry - if roughing it isn’t 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

It would be impossible to list the best beaches in South Australia and not mention the incredible Greenly Beach. Thanks to the power of social media, this once-secret spot has become one of the most visited locations for a killer Instagram shot.

Greenly Beach has protected rockpools with crystal clear water and calm waters that are perfect for swimming. This slice of heaven is an hour from Port Lincoln.

Best Beaches in South Australia: Yorke Peninsula

Dolphin Bay

Dolphin Bay

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 swimming on the peninsula, 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

This one is not only one of the best beaches in South Australia, but in the entire country – and we know that’s no easy feat. In 2022, the 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.

Home to some of the whitest sand and clearest water you will see, you can walk through shallow postcard-perfect blue water on soft sand banks that seem to go on forever. 

Best Beaches in South Australia: Kangaroo Island

Vivonne Bay

Vivonne Bay

Seemingly world's away yet so close, Vivonne Bay is reminiscent of a tropical beach in Bali. All six kilometres of the white sandy shores have 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

Though Kangaroo Island is well-known for its abundant wildlife, untouched National Parks and coastal walking trails, the beaches here are unmatched in the summer to enjoy the sunshine.

The white sand and turquoise waters we have come to know in South Australia also feature at Emu Bay, where you are offered 4.5km of coast 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

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 warm day. The beach itself? Perfect.

From dreamy seaside suburbs to remote coastlines, the best beaches in South Australia feel like a tropical paradise. Discover more South Australian gems with our guides to  Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln.

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