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Glenelg beach, Adelaide

A local guide to the best beaches in Adelaide

With so many exceptional beaches so close to the city centre, Adelaide's sand and surf are virtually inescapable.


One of my favourite things about Adelaide's metropolitan beaches is the fact that they’re so accessible. Feeling drained after a day at work? Jump in the car, chuck on your swimmers and within the hour you can be sprawled on a towel in the sun at Semaphore or perfecting your freestyle at Moana.

With so many options so close to the city, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. But fear not. Here you’ll find a list of the best metropolitan beaches in South Australia.


Family-friendly Glenelg is our most popular metropolitan beach. It’s also the easiest to access. Just hop on the tram from the city and get off at Moseley Square, just metres away from the water at Glenelg.

Once you’ve gone for a dip and strolled down the jetty, grab a bite to eat. After lunch, take a stroll around the picturesque Holdfast Shores or give your credit card a workout at one (or more) of Glenelg’s trendy boutiques. Jetty Road is a bustling mix of quality cafés, clothing boutiques and restaurants. No trip to the beach is complete without an ice-cream or gelati - or two - and you'll find plenty of opportunities to treat yourself at Glenelg.

Tell me more: In the car, follow Anzac Highway all the way to the beach or jump on a Glenelg-bound tram from the city.

Glenelg beach

Moseley Square, Glenelg, is just metres from the beach.

Jump back into the car for ten minutes and you’ll be at Brighton. Mirroring Glenelg with its own Jetty Road, Brighton has a similar relaxed vibe with eclectic cafés, restaurants and fish and chip shops aplenty. While still very popular in the summer months, Brighton beach is generally less crowded than Glenelg.

Tell me more: In the car, Brighton beach is just 10 minutes drive from Glenelg.

Paddleboarding, Brighton Beach

Stand-up paddleboarding at Brighton beach, which is just 10 minutes drive away from Glenelg.


Surrounded by a range of high-end seafood restaurants and centring around a bustling grassed square, Henley is a must-visit whether you’re after a quality dinner, a quality swim, or a bit of both. The shoreline stretches as far as the eye can see, with plenty of space for laying out your towel or taking a dip. 

Tell me more: Henley Beach is about 20 minutes from Adelaide. You can also reach the beach by bike following the River Torrens Linear Park bikeway from the city.

Henley Beach

Henley Beach is a great place to hit the beach with friends, or grab a bite to eat. 


A trip to Semaphore is a trip back in time. The beach is long, wide and bordered by sand dunes; however Semaphore’s main drawcard is its history. Its expansive foreshore and boulevard are dotted with beautifully preserved Art Deco buildings. Nothing quite compares to the grandeur of the Palais – originally a 1920s bathing pavilion, now a great place to grab a pub-style lunch or enjoy a glass of wine. 

Nearby stands Semaphore’s iconic Time Ball Tower, as well as a waterslide complex for the kids, ferris wheel and  gorgeous 1920s carousel – the oldest in the southern hemisphere. Semaphore Road, just metres away, is bordered by historic pubs, restaurants, awesome boutiques and a treasure-trove of op shops.

Tell me more: Semaphore is about 30 minutes drive from Adelaide.

Semaphore Beach

Semaphore Beach is long, wide and bordered by sand dunes.

Port Noarlunga, Christies Beach and Moana
Port Noarlunga, Christies Beach and Moana are a bit further away from the city, but well-worth the trip. Port Noarlunga’s huge shore, crystal clear water and towering red sandstone cliffs assure you that you’ve left the city behind. 

The three beaches are surfing and body boarding hotspots, but still perfect families as swells rarely get too rough. With loads of room on the beach, you’ll never have to worry about overcrowding. Just rock up and hit the water. Take your snorkelling gear to Christies. Its long boardwalk leads to a reef that’s popular all year-round. 

Tell me more: In the car, head south out of Adelaide. Port Noarlunga is about a 40 minute drive.

SNUBA, Port Noarlunga

Explore up to 6 metres under the ocean without bulky scuba diving equipment; just a mask, fins, SNUBA harness and a light belt.

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