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Vacay Paradises Adelaide’s Best Beaches

Vacay Paradises: Adelaide’s Best Beaches

The city of Adelaide boasts some of the most amazing beaches in the entire country. With powdery-white sandbars, cafe-filled coastlines, and sleepless party zones, Adelaide’s beach scene and spots are perfect for letting your hair down.

We have scoured the beautiful city of Adelaide to check the chicest and hippest beaches for people looking for seaside parties or activities and for those looking to take a breather on the shoreline. 

Time to prepare your sunscreen, break out the swimming apparel, and kick up your heels for here are our picks for the best beaches in Adelaide!

Glenelg Beach

Glenelg Beach
Photo courtesy of SouthAustralia
Distance from Adelaide’s City Centre11 kilometres southwest
Fastest Ways to Get Here from AdelaideTaxi/Car – 12 minsBus – 26 minsTram – 25 min

If we’re talking about the best beaches in Adelaide, we have to mention Glenelg Beach. It’s an easy-to-access spot that has a variety of bustling cafes and shops. 

For shopaholics and general consumers like us, we suggest visiting Jetty Road because of its high-quality accessory stores, vibrant clothing boutiques, and highly-rated restaurants. This road is a bit crowded, but it’s worth it!

If you’re looking for historical sites, we recommend heading to the Bay Discovery Centre located in the Glenelg Town Hall. The Bay Discovery Centre holds artifacts and memorabilia that celebrate the history and culture of Australia!

You can also try Glenelg Beach’s water sports and activities that include scuba diving, snorkelling, a 3.5-hour swimming session with dolphins, casual and competitive surfing, and coastline exploration via kayaks. 

We’ll never forget our scuba diving experience here! We saw and got pics of Glenelg’s limestone bottom, cuttlefish, and leatherjacket pygmies!

And, of course, you have to explore Glenelg Beach itself where the expansive fine white sand and cobalt blue shallows are the main attractions. It’s the perfect spot to forget all the troubles of the world, as its shoreline is perfectly breezy and very quiet.

Sunny Suggestions: We strongly recommend going on the one-and-a-half-hour catamaran cruise that explores Glenelg’s coastlines. This will make a date unforgettable too, so we suggest going here with your significant other!

Semaphore Beach

Semaphore Beach
Photo courtesy of VisitPortAdelaideAndCoast
Distance from Adelaide’s City Centre14 kilometres northwest
Fastest Ways to Get Here from AdelaideTaxi/Car – 18 minsTram – 26 minsBus – 45 mins

Semaphore Beach is a must-visit place because it offers picturesque scenery of long, broad shorelines. It’s also bordered by ashen sand dunes that make the beach look like a still from a Wes Anderson film. 

This place’s calm and mystifying aura is something to behold!

Magnificent Art Deco buildings also embellish this beach’s extending foreshore and smooth boulevard—adding to its movie-like aesthetic and vibe. The photos we took when we last visited the beach still leave us feeling speechless!

The beach will also transport you in time with its grand and beautifully-preserved colonial infrastructures. 

These buildings include the Semaphore Palais which was originally built to be a bathing pavilion in the 1920s and the Clock Tower, a granite war memorial. 

The Semaphore Jetty is a family-friendly spot that’s spectacular for picnics and barbecues (this area provides free gas grills). 

While relishing the idyllic view, you may also indulge in the sweet and tasty ice cream sold along the foreshore (trust us, they’re amazing).

If you’ve got a hankering for a shopping spree, Semaphore Beach Mainstreet is the spot for you. This wide and spacious area is a not-so-crowded tourist hub full of quirky shops, funky boutiques, classic pubs, and even body therapy clinics.

Sunny Suggestion: While in Semaphore Beach, you can visit Port Adelaide and the Port River where Port River Dolphins and other fascinating marine life and birds can be found. 
Go on a kayaking adventure and interact with the interesting animals inhabiting Semaphore Beach’s lively ecosystems.

Henley Beach

Henley Beach
Photo courtesy of SouthAustralia
Distance from Adelaide’s City Centre11.6 kilometres west
Fastest Ways to Get Here from AdelaideTaxi/Car – 13 minsTram – 22 minsBus – 26 mins

Henley beach is a laid-back, metropolitan paradise that boasts sophisticated restaurants, bustling specialty shops, and colourful cafes. With a soothing atmosphere and carefree ambience, we believe that you’ll have a great time here.

The beach is also known for its translucent, blue waters that serve as a cool swimming spot for tourists and locals alike. The smooth and flat coastlines also attract rolling waves, making Henley Beach a good surfing spot.

The wind at the beach is also perfect for trying kitesurfing. With shallow waters ideal for gliding and winds that move at the speed of 27.7 to 46.3 kilometres per hour, you’ll have a blast kitesurfing in this heavenly place.

If kitesurfing is too crazy for you, we suggest touring Henley Beach via bicycle. There are multiple bike rental shops in the area if you don’t have one. 

Biking perfectly matches the mellow mood of the area, and we suggest bringing cameras while riding!

Our favourite activity in Henley Beach, though, is having a glass of rich wine or cocktail while enjoying the beauty of the stars at night. It even gets better once the sweet-sounding cafe music begins to fill the surrounding area.

Sunny Suggestion: The best time to visit Henley Beach is during sunset. It looks a thousand times more beautiful during this time of the day!

Aldinga Beach

Aldinga Beach
Photo courtesy of SouthAustralia
Distance from Adelaide’s City Centre41 kilometres southwest
Fastest Ways to Get Here from AdelaideTaxi/Car – 40 minsTram/Bus – 1 hour 45 mins

With waters rich in marine life and visually enthralling coral reef formations, Aldinga Beach is worth diving for. If you’re a snorkelling or diving enthusiast, this sunny sanctuary should be added to your diving list!

The beach is an ideal swimming destination for kids, as its safe shallows have calm waters and a gradual depth incline, which make it less accident-prone. 

Children can easily navigate this beach. and there are also lifeguard posts before the swimming zones.

Surfing is also rising in popularity at the beach due to the area’s rolling waves that are not too strong. Surprisingly, the best time to surf here is during the winter, as this is the period when the offshore winds ideal for surfing become more reliable.

If you ever get tired of surfing, drop by any of the vintage restaurants and first-rate wine cellars here. We totally adored the beachside view of the Star of Greece restaurant and the distinguished food they served us.

But the best part about Aldinga Beach for us is how we were allowed to drive and park our cars on the shorelines. 

Just bring along a cooler full of cold ones, a picnic basket with wings or chips, and some foldable chairs, and voila, your car is now a VIP beach lounge!

Sunny Suggestion: The Port Willunga area offers a unique shoreline for those who are tired of fine and white sandbars. This spot has rocky and uneven surfaces as well as steep cliffs that are ideal for mini seaside hikes.

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach
Photo courtesy of Expedia
Distance from Adelaide’s City Centre21.7 kilometres south
Fastest Ways to Get Here from AdelaideTaxi/Car – 16 minsTram – 27 minsBus – 26 mins

With a sandy shore where British-style pubs line up, Brighton Beach is an all-time fave vacay destination. 

It’s great for lovers of souvenirs and other collectibles. Known for its affordable shops that sell unique accessories you can’t acquire in the city centre, this beach’s central street is a gold mine for collectors.

The endearing Brighton Jetty is also a great spot for daytime and nighttime fishing. On this 1,500-metre jetty, you can catch Herring, Garfish, Yellowfin Whiting, King George Whiting, Southern Calamari Squid, Blue Swimmer Crabs, Snooks, and Snappers.

In the southern part of Brighton Beach, we also found many caravan parks and two serene clubhouses where you can rest up after a day of strolling, swimming, or surfing. 

This spot also holds the Brighton Beach rock flats and the Instagrammable high tide sand section.

Aside from these, the southern area is also popular for its sandy shallows where the water is at its clearest and safest. When we were swimming here, we even saw schools of different tiny fishes enjoying the pure water along with us!

Sunny Suggestion: Try joining the life-saving clubs of Brighton Beach for an informative, fun, and purposeful vacation! The instructors will also show you the best spots if you volunteer to partake in this noble cause.

Second Valley Beach

Second Valley Beach
Photo courtesy of SouthAustralia
Distance from Adelaide’s City Centre91.9 kilometres southwest
Fastest Ways to Get Here from AdelaideTaxi/Car – 1 hour 13 minsBus – 1 hour 25 mins

Second Valley Beach is among the top-rated beaches in the entire country, and its fantastic view of the surrounding valleys and shoreside rock formations are the main reasons for such. With a more “sheltered” feel to it, this one’s a hidden and unique gem.

One of the other amazing features of the beach is that you can visit it any time of the year and it will still provide you with captivating landscapes and seascapes. But for us, the best time to head to this stunning beach is from late May to late September.

Fishing fans can also go straight to the Second Valley Beach jetty where the common catches include Garfish, Leatherjackets, and even Gummy Sharks. 

If you don’t own fishing equipment, there are nearby stalls that will provide you with one for an affordable rental fee.

Snorkelling is also huge in this preserved paradise. The jetty and seagrass beds are the best snorkelling spots on the beach because these are the homes of the elusive sea dragon, blue devilfish, and other multicoloured fishes and plant life. 

If you get hungry or thirsty from doing all those water-based activities, you can simply go to the coastal town where there are multiple seafood restaurants and juice bars.

Sunny Suggestion: The coastlines of Second Valley Beach are best explored by kayaks. We had a blast checking every scenic spot. The calm waves and the soft sea breeze also added to the enjoyable experience!

Moana Beach

Moana Beach
Photo courtesy of MoanaBeachTouristPark
Distance from Adelaide’s City Centre37.5 kilometres southwest
Fastest Ways to Get Here from AdelaideTaxi/Car – 31 minsTrain – 45 minsBus – 1 hour 5 mins

If you’re planning to take your family on a beach escapade, you should add Moana Beach to your target destinations, as this shady beach offers family-friendly activities. 

With compact sand and clear shallows, sandcastle building and swimming here are outstanding.

Setting up picnic tables is also very easy because you’ll be allowed to park your car on the shoreline once you pay their $6 parking fee. The beach provides volleyball nets too for those who want to play a game of beach volleyball.

If you want to get into surfing, there are many surfing centres along the coastline. We found the surfing instructors here to be jovial and friendly, and their very positive vibe was perfect for a fun surfing experience.

Beach cricket, boogie boarding, and totem tennis are also popular beachside activities here. Equipment can be obtained from the local shops surrounding the area, and if you want, you may also play with the other tourists for a more exciting experience!

And it would be a crime to not mention the Deep Blue Cafe which sells mouthwatering pizza and other international meals. With colourful walls embedded with kaleidoscopic parasols, this cafe exudes summertime vibes no matter what the season is!

Sunny Suggestion: If you have pets, you’re allowed to bring them to Moana Beach without additional payment. The long coastline is a great spot to run along with your furry pals, especially during sunrise!

Sellicks Beach

Sellicks Beach
Photo courtesy of Expedia
Distance from Adelaide’s City Centre47 kilometres southwest
Fastest Ways to Get Here from AdelaideTaxi/Car – 44 minsTrain/Bus – 2 hours and 15

Surrounded by the enticing Sellick hill ranges, Selick Beach is a sandy thing of beauty that’s ideal for family picnics and unwinding. We suggest taking a picture of the ocean atop one of the hills.

Parking your car on the shoreline of this beach is also free. But we strongly advise you to plan your path well before driving toward the beach, as navigating it can get tricky at times due to the narrow shoreline.

If you want a slow exploration of the beach’s hidden spots, we suggest trying the boating services available in the area. But if you want a more extreme way to check out the area, you may also try windsurfing!

This scenic beach is also rich in marine wildlife and sea plants. We loved fishing at the various fishing spots, but in our opinion, scuba diving is the better method of checking the colourful sea species and reefs of this picturesque spot.

If you just want to lounge, sunbathing in Sellicks Beach is the way to go. With a beverage on your side, the soft sound of crashing waves, and the perfect amount of shade and sunlight, you’ll have the time of your life at Sellick Beach.

Sunny Suggestion: The long and dense shoreline of Sellicks Beach is great for biking. Exploring this area on a bicycle will let you have a better view of the converging hill ranges and beach.

Carrickalinga Beach

Carrickalinga Beach
Photo courtesy of FleurieuPeninsula
Distance from Adelaide’s City Centre75 kilometres southwest
Fastest Ways to Get Here from AdelaideTaxi/Car – 1 hourBus – 1 hour 19 mins

Easy-to-access vistas, toe-engulfing pristine sand, invigorating cool waters, and rocky ocean pools—what’s not to love about Carrickalinga Beach? 

This isolated paradise is where nature lovers can take pleasure in spirit-mending silence.

Carrickalinga Beach may not be as famous as the other beaches in this list, but we included it because of its unspoiled features. There are only a few establishments near this spot, and this preserves the beach’s cleanliness and tranquillity.

With nearby hills and vistas, the beach is also a great spot for hiking and bushwalking. If you’re going to do these activities with your kids, remember to keep an eye on them because of the area’s isolated features.

If climbing heights is not your cup of tea, feel free to explore by bike or on foot. We enjoyed coastal walking and biking here because we got to see the tide pools that serve as a home to amusing aquatic animals like tiny crustaceans and molluscs. 

We also tried kayaking to get to the other beautiful areas you cannot reach on foot. We were amazed by the several underwater spots that could clearly be seen even if we were onboard our kayaks!

Sunny Suggestion: The vistas and hills of Carrickalinga Beach are great spots for sunbathing. We suggest taking the eastern portion of the area where there are stairs provided for safe and easy climbing. 

Christies Beach

Christies Beach
Photo courtesy of Tripadvisor
Distance from Adelaide’s City Centre21.7 kilometres south
Fastest Ways to Get Here from AdelaideTaxi/Car – 27 minsNight Bus – 50 minsTrain – 1 hour 12 mins

With a flourishing coffee-brewing industry and lush cliffs that provide a tempting view of the grand Southern Ocean, Christies Beach is for coffee aficionados and nature lovers. 

The sun-lit shoreline is extremely spacious, making it an ideal spot for those who love seaside strolling. Teenagers and adults usually play beach volleyball here, while children typically spend their time building sandcastles on this beach. 

Just like the other beaches in this list, Christies Beach also boasts multiple eateries that provide food ranging from restaurant-style meals to simple snacks. What sets the beach apart is that the treats and products sold here are locally-made and grown.

What we love the most about this majestic place are the local townhouses that have a homey and cozy feel to them. The seaside Seahorse Holiday Townhouse, for example, is a comfortable place to stay in because of its balcony view and modern amenities. 

Sunny Suggestion: Sunrise is the best time to visit Christies Beach. The green cliffs and the ocean become more vibrant and Instagram-worthy during this time of the day!

Maslin Beach

Maslin Beach
Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor
Distance from Adelaide’s City Centre21.7 kilometres south
Fastest Ways to Get Here from AdelaideTaxi/Car – 33 minsTrain – 1 hour 18 mins

Maslin Beach is a revitalizing place that offers eye-soothing coastal and cliff landscapes, electrifying water activities, and a private section for free-spirited travellers. 

Whether you’re looking for a generally fun time or a steamy getaway, this beach can be a great destination.

We truly enjoyed walking on the sandbar of this peaceful sanctuary, especially in the dry zones. The fine sand in the drier sections of the beach doesn’t hurt even if you walk barefoot—in fact, every step feels like a “grainy” and soothing massage.

There are also multiple cliff-line recreation reserves where tourists can rest and explore. These encompass the coastline from Maslin Beach Town up to Balance Point in the South.

We advise tourists to check the view atop one of the cliffs wrapping around Maslin Beach. If you’re a photographer, you would go ham with the amount of photographic material you’ll get from standing at these high vantage points.

Sunny Suggestion: The underwater world of Maslin Beach hides dramatic shipwrecks and stunning marine life. You won’t regret snorkelling or scuba diving in the diving spots here because of the breathtaking things you’ll see. 
If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the elusive Leafy Seadragon!

FAQs about Beaches in Adelaide

If you swim during winter, you will get an average temperature of 57°F which is the coldest the beaches of Adelaide get.

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