Long stretches of powder-white sand, sparkling turquoise water and sunny blue skies… beach paradise is within reach, and it’s right here in South Australia.
Forget the Maldives or Fiji, from the sandy shores of Kangaroo Island to the crystal-clear waters of the Eyre Peninsula, you won’t believe these eight postcard-worthy beaches are right here in South Australia. Escape the crowds, grab your bathers and discover these dreamy coastal destinations with our top picks of the best beach havens in South Australia.
1. Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island
Like something out of your wildest tropical beach dreams, Kangaroo Island’s Vivonne Bay is a genuine island paradise. Once voted Australia’s best beach, six-kilometres of white sandy shores meet gently lapping waves. Imagine sinking your toes into powdered-sugar sand and diving into crystal-clear waters reminiscent of a true island getaway. With a jetty framing the south-end and distant dunes in the north, this beach is the perfect spot for a quick dip, a picnic or a spot of fishing. It’s also a popular haunt for the locals, with dolphins and seals often spotted enjoying the pristine waters. Check out our guide to more of our favourite beaches on Kangaroo Island.
2. Memory Cove, Eyre Peninsula
The Eyre Peninsula's seemingly-endless coast boasts plenty of great stretches of beach but like its name suggests, Memory Cove is unforgettable. With jaw-dropping blue water and snow-white sand bordered by dense bushland, it’s a little slice of pure Australiana that will be etched in your memory bank forever. An hour and a half drive from Port Lincoln at the tip of Lincoln National Park, drive right on to the beach and spend the day lounging in the sand and soaking in the sea to a soundtrack of native birds. You might even be joined by some of the local beach bums; we’re told kangaroos often venture down from the surrounding bush to spend a day by the surf. A shady beachfront campsite conveniently means you can extend your stay in paradise.
3. Almonta Beach, Eyre Peninsula
Another jewel in the Eyre Peninsula’s crown of glorious beaches, the sapphire waters of Almonta Beach will lure you back summer after summer. At the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula in Coffin Bay National Park, pillowy sand dunes meet glassy aqua water and bushland teeming with wildlife. Don’t be surprised to share the beach with a few of the friendly locals, from kangaroos to emus, goannas and many species of birds, who can be found hanging out by the surf. Come low tide when a lagoon forms and rock pools surface, pull out your snorkel and explore the world beneath the water. If your picture of paradise comes paired with seafood fresh from the ocean, you’ll find nirvana in this neck of the woods. Slip into waders and out into the waters of a working oyster farm where you’ll be served freshly plucked Pacific Oysters with Coffin Bay Oyster Farm Tours – all this just 30 minutes from Port Lincoln. Check out our guide to more of our favourite beaches on the Eyre Peninsula.
4. Hardwicke Bay, Yorke Peninsula
The Yorke Peninsula is brimming with beautiful beaches, but if you’re seeking sandy solitude then Hardwicke Bay is the answer. The perfect isolated stretch of sand to escape the crowds, you can forget fighting the hordes to find a sandy spot to claim as your own at this sleepy seaside town. Chances are there won’t be another soul in sight as you throw down your towel on the snow-white sand and slip into these sparkling waters. Located on the Spencer Gulf side of the Yorke Peninsula, sandy shores surround a sheltered bay creating gentle, shallow waters perfect for wading waist-deep or lounging on your lilo… now where’s the cocktail bar?
5. Dolphin BAY, Yorke Peninsula
At the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula in Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park, a summer oasis awaits at Dolphin Beach. The unspoilt 800-metre long stretch of shimmering sand and calm turquoise waters are surrounded by dramatic cliffs. Reasonably protected, the picturesque bay is one of the safest spots to take a dip on the peninsula. And Dolphin Bay’s not just a name – the playful ocean dwellers are often spotted frolicking in the surf - while on land, you’ll spot kangaroos bathing in the sun. Yep, this could just be paradise. Check out our guide to more of our favourite beaches on the Yorke Peninsula.
6. Salmon Hole, Limestone Coast
Imagine sparkling waters lapping at your feet as you walk through the softest white sand and a gentle ocean breeze gently caressing your face. Just minutes from the centre of the charming seaside town of Beachport, the Salmon Hole is the ultimate swimming sanctuary on the Limestone Coast during the summer. The 600-metre-long curving beach is sheltered by a beach rock reef – the result is a relatively calm lagoon between the reef and the beach perfect for swimming. From excellent snorkelling to sand boarding on the adjoining sandhills and top-notch fishing, these turquoise waters are an adventurer’s playground. Check out our guide to more of our favourite beaches on Limestone Coast.
7. Fishery Bay, Eyre Peninsula
A popular haunt for local surfers, the Eyre Peninsula’s Fishery Bay is a sun seeker’s paradise, throwing out some serious tropical vibes - sans the palm trees and humidity. Thirty minutes from Port Lincoln, spend a balmy summer’s day treading crystal clear waters, building sandcastles with powdery white sand or sprawling out in the sun. Once home to a 19th century whaling station, the deeper waters beyond the bay are frequented by Great White Sharks so swim carefully and stick close to shore.
8. Inneston Lake, Yorke Peninsula
Okay, so Inneston Lake isn’t technically a beach… but can we just talk about the eye-piercing blue waters and dreamy sand banks? The ultimate Maldives-material (minus the 11-hour flight), this remote salt lake is best enjoyed on a sunny summer’s day when the waters are at their bluest and warmest. Tucked in the heart of Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park on the tip of the Yorke Peninsula, this patch of paradise is plonked in an abandoned historical town and is surrounded by rugged wilderness, epic coastline and abundant wildlife. You’ll feel like you’re castaway, in the best possible way.
Explore our city beaches
Looking for a place to cool off near the city? One of our favourite things about Adelaide's metropolitan beaches is the fact that they’re so accessible. Jump in the car, chuck on your bathers and within the hour you can be sprawled on a towel in the sun at Glenelg or perfecting your freestyle at Semaphore. Check out our guide to the top five beaches in Adelaide.