Best Beaches in South Australia


Turquoise waves roll softly onto the glistening sand, powdery and white as flour. Kids build sandcastles on a wide, gently sloping beach while their parents sit in the background, chatting. 

Jump-cut to a different beach. This time the waves are higher, rougher and break in a tube. A surfer pops up on his board and rides the wave almost all the way to the beach.


Best Beaches in South Australia

South Port Beach Adelaide

Did you know you can find these tropical-looking beaches and surf waves in South Australia? Yes, the state with the most wine regions in Australia and known as the ‘gateway to the Outback’ also has beautiful (and heaps of) beaches that are just waiting to be explored! 

In this post, we’ll show you the best beaches in South Australia and why you should take the time to visit at least some of them. 

Let’s dive right in!

Flaherty Beach - Yorke Peninsula

Walking over the sand dunes from the parking lot to the beach, you’ll have to blink a few times to convince yourself that this is a real beach in South Australia. The sand blindingly white, little white sandbanks peak out of the shallow, turquoise water. It’s so pristine you could think you’ve ended up in one of these ads for a tropical destination. Only the missing palm trees along the shore remind us that we’re in South Australia, not the Maldives or Fiji. 

Thanks to the beach being in a bay that's sheltered from the elements, it’s a very family-friendly place to spend the day. Couples love to go for a stroll in the ankle-deep water and while the beach isn’t too famous on social media yet, Flaherty Beach definitely has the potential. 

Location: Point Turton, Yorke Peninsula
From Adelaide: 3h, 230km | 142mi
Best for: Families, couples
Good to know: Flaherty Beach allows cars on the beach and is dog-friendly. 

rocks end of Flaherty Beach

Shell Beach and Rock Pools - Yorke Peninsula

This intimate little beach lies in a halfmoon-shaped bay and is mostly sheltered from the weather. It’s tucked away at the far end of the Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park and you would be forgiven for feeling that you've been stranded on a private little island. 

Following the beach to the tip, you’ll find some granite rocks. Climb over them during low tide and you’ll find the most amazing rock pools to swim in! The water is incredibly clear making it easy to spot the population of little sea creatures living in the pool’s rocky nooks and crannies. 

Location: Far end of Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula
From Adelaide: 4h, 310km | 192mi
Best for: Families, adventurers
Best time to visit: Low tide

Almonta Beach - Eyre Peninsula

With over 2000km | 1240mi of coastline and beaches on the Eyre Peninsula, it’s close to impossible to choose only a few good ones. They’re all amazing!

We picked Almonta Beach for its incredible diversity. The area is home to a range of wildlife including kangaroos, emus, goannas (lizards) and many species of birds. With some luck you can also see dolphins playing in the bay. 

The beach itself is a great place to explore. Wander around the sand dunes, stroll along the water’s edge and check out Golden Island Lookout. You might even find someone who takes you for a drive on the beach in their 4WD. 

Only a 30-minute drive from Almonta Beach is Coffin Bay with its famous oyster farms. If you like eating oysters or not, a tour of the overwater farms is definitely worth your time. 

Location: Far end of Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula
From Adelaide: 4h, 310km | 192mi
Best for: Families, adventurers

Point Lowly Beach and Lighthouse - Eyre Peninsula

A true hidden gem off the beaten track is Lowly Lighthouse and the adjacent Point Lowly Beach. Located south-west of Port Augusta, Point Lowly Lighthouse is a little peninsula sticking out the side of the much larger Eyre Peninsula. Stay on the basic campsite nearby to capture the lighthouse in the pink and purple sunrise glow.

Location: Whyalla, Eyre Peninsula
From Adelaide: 4h, 400km | 248mi
Best for: Adventurers, photographers

Port Lincoln

Glenelg Beach - Adelaide

You don’t need to travel far if you reside in Adelaide and want to include a beach day in your itinerary. Just hop on the right tram and you’ll hit the beach in no time! Adelaide has surprisingly many beaches within a 30-minute drive from the city centre, and they will blow you away! The most popular of the Adelaide beaches is Glenelg Beach. Next to the actual beach (which is miles and miles long, wide and gently sloping), Glenelg also hosts numerous shops, cafes and restaurants overlooking the water. It’s also the only beach in Australia with a bar right on the sand, perfect for a cocktail at sunset. 

Location: Glenelg Beach, Adelaide
From Adelaide: 30 minutes, 11km | 7mi
Best for: Families, foodies
Good to know: No matter the season you visit, you’ll always find something happening on Glenelg Square, next to the beach. 

Glenelg Beach

Vivonne Bay - Kangaroo Island

This six-kilometre (3.7mi) long U-shaped bay on Kangaroo Island was once voted the best beach in Australia. It’s easy to see why. A wooden jetty protrudes from the white beach over the turquoise, waist-deep water, the perfect spot for some early morning fishing. In fact, Vivonne Bay jetty has long been famous for catching huge tommies (Australian Herring).

Only a couple of minutes from the beach you can find Little Sahara, a naturally occurring inland dunefield. Tackle the steep slopes of the dunes with a sandboard. You can also join a tour of the dunes, in a dune buggy for the thrill-seeker or a fat bike tour for the more athletic. 

Location: Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island
From Adelaide: 4h, 220km | 137mi
Best for: Families, couples, adventurers
Good to know: To get to Kangaroo Island, you’ll need to either take the ferry or catch a plane. 

Southport Beach - Fleurieu Peninsula

Southport Beach on the Fleurieu Peninsula is an all-time favourite beach for the locals. It’s located close enough to Adelaide to escape for the day or a weekend but also feels far enough to switch off from the weekday worries. Add Mclaren Vale’s vineyards to the mix and you have the perfect getaway spot. But Southport Beach isn’t just popular due to its sheer proximity to the city and wine. The beach is also great for building sandcastles, strolls along the coast, kayaking and fishing off the jetty. The most famous image of Southport is the stairs that seem to descend from the cliff right into the water.

Location: Port Noralunga, Fleurieu Peninsula
From Adelaide: 4h, 220km | 137mi
Best for: Families, couples, adventurers

Surf Beach - Limestone Coast

South Australia boasts a multitude of surf beaches all over the state, many of them of international recognition. But none other sums up the main attraction of a beach as nicely as the one that was named Surf Beach. Surf Beach delights beginners and pro surfers with consistent waves. It’s located on the Limestone Coast, not too far from Mount Gambier (an overnight stop in our Great Ocean Road itinerary). 

Even if you don’t surf there’s plenty to do. Bring a boogie board to splash about in the waves, watch the surfers ride the surf or take pictures from the jetty. On the other side of the small strip of land where Surf Beach is located, you can explore Lake George, a tidal lake full of birdlife and popular with windsurfers. 

Location: Beachport, Limestone Coast
From Adelaide: 4h, 377km | 234mi
Best for: Surfers, birdwatchers

Did you expect to find this many amazing beaches in South Australia? At First Light Travel, we know all the best places to explore in Australia, be it a popular destination or more hidden gems like these South Australian beaches. 

Check out our South Australia self-drive itinerary suggestions here!


Alexandra Diethelm
Alexandra Diethelm
: 19 Aug 2021 (Last updated: 20 Aug 2021)

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