The Best Beaches in Adelaide: Local Guide and Map
Perhaps the beaches in Adelaide are not the first thing to pop into your mind when you think about the city of churches, but the South Australian capital really should boast a little louder about its glorious coastline. Today SA local Tia Cole shares some tips on her favourites and why you should add them to your next visit.
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Best Beaches in Adelaide
Well-known for its cosmopolitan culture, South Australia is filled with luxuries, including its beautiful beaches. Relax in the bliss of Adelaide’s sandy beaches as you soak up some vitamin D, explore the ocean with a scuba diving lesson, and enjoy the nearby attractions. Each coastline of South Australia is unique and we will tell you why. Here is a list of Adelaide’s best beaches.
Find all the best beaches in Adelaide quickly, using the map at the bottom of the page.
Proudly residing on the land of the Kaurna people, Glenelg Beach is easily Adelaide’s most famous beach. Only a tram ride from Adelaide City, this dog friendly town offers the ultimate beach day.
Feel the ocean air as you relax on a dolphin cruise which begins at Glenelg Marina, or hire a Segway with Segway Sensation to roam the sandy shores. Not far from the popular beach are the shops of Jetty Road. Along your shopping spree, cool down with a refreshing smoothie from Bomdia Bowls Acai Bar around the corner on Mosley Street.
On the foreshore is Beach House Amusement Centre, a family entertainment complex. Have some friendly competition in the arcade, slide down the water slides and enjoy much more family fun here.
End your day by watching the stunning sunset over the beach horizon on a sun lounge, cocktail in hand with music complementing the view at the famous Mosley Beach Club, a European inspired venue seated right on Glenelg Beach.
Dogs are allowed off leash at the beach between 8pm–10am during daylight savings and 24h outside of daylight savings.
Enjoy a Glenelg Sunset from the deck of a catamaran with a drink in hand.
The mellow vibe of Henley is what makes this one of the most popular beaches in Adelaide. Here you can unwind listening to the crashing waves, go for a dip and take a leisurely stroll with a view along the Esplanade.
Dogs are allowed off leash between 8pm–10am during daylight savings and 24h outside of daylight savings.
Right by Henley Beach is Henley Square where you can enjoy mouth-watering Swedish tarts with a side of retail therapy, a well needed massage or sip on delightful Margaritas with a side of Mexican cuisine at Mia Margaritas.
Discover Adelaide’s beach on a cycling tour
Spend the day at Port Noarlunga, home to arguably the best beach for swimming with its natural marine reserve. Hire snorkelling gear or jump into scuba diving lessons with Go2Dive. Immerse yourself at the end of the 300m long jetty by the enclosed reef and swim with the aquatic animals, including seahorses and Wobbegong Sharks.
The Port Noarlunga Surf Lifesaving Club patrols the water in the warmer months. Dogs are allowed off leash between 8pm–10am during daylight savings and 24h outside of daylight savings.
Complement your day at Hortas Restaurant as you indulge mouth-watering cuisine, such as their signature Portuguese tapas, while embracing the coastal view. Once your stomach is satisfied, you can visit the nearby gift shops and craft boutiques on Gawler Street, Port Noarlunga.
The large, crystal clear rock pools of this white sand beach are what make this ocean side uniquely beautiful. During low tide, you can walk along the rocks to discover the small marine life that live inside the pools. Down the end of the beach, you will hear the whispers of the wind sweeping around the hidden cove.
Dogs are permitted off leash 24/7.
If you enjoy a peaceful walk or bike ride, the beauty of this coastline can be highlighted along the 5,1km return nature trail, beginning at Carrickalinga and ending at Normanville, where you can stop for an ice-cream at the Kiosk and admire another beautiful ocean view at Normanville Beach.
Framed by a cliff lined recreation reserve, South Australia is home to the country’s first nudist beach, Maslin Beach. The shoreline stretches for 3km, providing plenty of room for privacy. Down the southern end you can soak up the sun while nude sunbathing. If that isn’t your cup of tea, you can frolic in the gentle surf up the other end of this Adelaide beach.
Dogs may be off leash at all times on the northern side of the beach.
This popular beach is ideal for families and is one of the few Adelaide beaches with car accessibility and a boat ramp. Drive your 4×4 down onto the sandy beach and be swept away by the picturesque view.
Experience the thrill as you explore the aquatic under water cliff and the protected rare reef structure that lives beneath. During low tide, the rock pools are fun for kids to splash around in.
This beach is patrolled by lifesavers during the warmer months. Dogs are allowed off leash between 8pm–10am during daylight savings and 24h outside of daylight savings.
Neighbouring the beach is Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park which is spiritually significant to the Kaurna people. This protected park is home to a variety of rare plants, including Lacy coral lichen. Venture along the nature walks and keep an eye out for Australian wildlife, including the Echidnas.
Originally built in 1860 for pilot launches, the pier at Semaphore Beach is perfect for fishing enthusiasts. For views of the Fleurieu coastlines and Gulf St Vincent, set yourself up on the small sand dunes or the grassy foreshore.
This beach is patrolled in the Summer on the weekends and public holidays. Dogs are allowed off leash at the beach between 8pm–10am during daylight savings and 24h outside of daylight savings.
For the adrenaline junkies, experience a bird’s-eye view with Coastal Skydiving and land on the beautiful beach of Semaphore.
Treat your taste buds to a delicious meal in the heart of Semaphore at the Federal Hotel, one of the town’s historic pubs. The establishment offers activities each week, including live music, karaoke and free pool.
Second Valley Beach
Take photos of the most instagrammed beach in South Australia, Second Valley Beach, one of the nicest beaches in Adelaide.
Take in the breath-taking panorama as you roam the natural geological formations and experience life by the reef as you swim with the fish in the inviting, crystal water.
Dogs are allowed on the east side of the jetty and must be on a lead during 10am-6pm from December 1st to the end of February and Good Friday to Easter Monday.
Bonus beach – Continue a little further south and you will come to Rapid Bay. About 12km from Second Valley, Rapid Bay has a campground right on the beachfront if you want to stay a little longer.
Little sister to Glenelg Beach, Brighton Beach, is located at the other end of Jetty Road. Here is regularly patrolled by the Brighton Surf Life Saving Club. Dogs are allowed off leash between 8pm–10am during daylight savings and 24h outside of daylight savings.
Grab some fish and chips and potter down the long jetty with your fishing gear. If you would rather wine and dine with a view of the magnificent beachscape, you can find the famous Esplanade Hotel along the expansive foreshore . The hotel is known for their extensive liquor list and their locally inspired beach menu. As the evening creeps, grab an outdoor seat to admire the vibrant sunset over the ocean.
Moana beach is a great spot for a family day trip and is ideal for beginner surfers. It is car accessible making it easy for you to bring everything you need for a family fun day out in the sun.
This beach is patrolled in the warmer months. Dogs are allowed off leash between 8pm–10am during daylight savings and 24h outside of daylight savings.
Say hello to the birds and reptiles next door at Moana Sands Conservation Park, an Aboriginal cultural and heritage site of the Kaurna people.
If you have always been keen to learn to surf, this is a great beach for a surf lesson
The water here is ideal for water sports such as surfing, boogie boarding and snorkelling. Swim with the vast variety of creatures that live in the snorkel hot-spot, Witton Bluff Reef. You will also have a lovely view of Gulf Sr Vincent.
This beach is patrolled 12pm-5pm October-March. Dogs are allowed off leash between 8pm–10am during daylight savings and 24h outside of daylight savings.
Walking distance from the beach is Beach Road, which has many popular cafes and a variety of shops including The Magickal Crystal Forest. Here you will find a broad variety of spiritual new age items, including crystals, clothing, spiritual books and more.
Map of Adelaide Beaches
Each featuring a unique niche, you can now plan a beach day suited just for you at one of the best Adelaide.
Enjoy the Beaches in Adelaide
If you don’t have a car and would still like to see as many Adelaide Beaches as you can on your trip to South Australia, this beach tour is a good option.