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Best Adelaide Beach

It was tough to determine the Best Adelaide Beach as the traditionally promoted ‘tourist hotspots’ don’t always mean a better beach experience…

Our Places

Best Adelaide Beach

It was tough to determine the Best Adelaide Beach as the traditionally promoted ‘tourist hotspots’ don’t always mean a better beach experience…

Our Places

Best Adelaide Beach

It was tough to determine the Best Adelaide Beach as the traditionally promoted ‘tourist hotspots’ don’t always mean a better beach experience…


However, what is special about Adelaide beaches is that they’re just twenty minutes from Adelaide city. The metropolitan beaches are so accessible!

Adelaide’s beaches are the perfect places to relax, unwind and rejuvenate. You can feast your eyes on stunning ocean sunsets and plan family activities. At some beaches, you’ll find plenty of water sports, cafes, restaurants and shopping. While others are surrounded by beautiful artwork, wildlife and nature reserves.

Here our our top five metro beaches in Adelaide. You’ll be amazed to see that the hot tourist spot Glenelg Beach didn’t even make our list!

Tennyson Beach – a great beach and conservation area

  1. Tennyson Beach

Our number one – Tennyson Beach is a long section of beach further up from Henley and Grange. The beautiful Tennyson beach can be accessed via beautiful dunes (also a nature reserve). The beach still retains much of its natural dunes, unlike the seawalls fronting the other suburbs. Thanks to Adelaide’s northward drift, a lot of sand naturally moves to Tennyson. The beach is wide and sandy and it’s never overly crowded.

You can also enjoy a dune nature trail and stunning sunset views. The dunes are a natural ecosystem and habitat for a number of birds, insects and plants. Research has discovered endangered plant and animal species in the area. A team of volunteers from the Tennyson Dunes Group has made a significant contribution to re-vegetation in the area.

This section of coast is relatively safe inshore and on the attached portions of the inner bar. Care must be taken in the trough particularly if occupied by currents, and on the outer bar. Note: there are currently no services provided by Surf Life Saving Australia for this beach.

Grange Beach Walkway – Esplanade

  1. Grange Beach

In at number two is Grange Beach. Grange is an older seafront suburb, with a jetty flanked by old terrace houses and a large car park. The Grange Surf Life Saving Club is located just north of the jetty adjacent to the terrace houses. Grange Beach has a picturesque jetty and calm clear waters, making it the perfect spot for families to relax, play, fish and swim. There is a railway line straight out to Grange, which makes it even more accessible for the greater Adelaide region.

As a bonus, there is a fair bit of heritage at Grange. Explorer Captain Charles Sturt built his family home ‘The Grange’ in the area back in 1840. Since 1881 the Grange Hotel has been the focal point of the Esplanade. The Grange Hotel is a modern hotel boasting beach views, fine wine and a dynamic, seasonal menu with a strong focus on seasonal produce.

The calm and shallow waters of this beach make it ideal for kids, who can splash around in the ocean and build sandcastle for hours on end. Grange Beach has public toilets with showers. The surf here depends on the winds, with strong westerlies required to produce a sloppy beach break. Occasionally high outside ocean swell reaches the beaches as a low swell. Grange SLSC provides safety patrols.

Henley Beach from Henley Square

  1. West Beach

Booted upwards to number three is West Beach. This is because it has just received an upgrade – in the form of more sand. The government has been busy sand carting – trucking in sand from Mount Compass quarry and spreading it across the foreshore of West Beach. The equivalent of 46 swimming pools of sand has been added to West Beach in 2021 from land-based quarries to address serious erosion problems.

West Beach is an aquatic adventure land. Just a short drive from Adelaide, here the calm shores draw sun seekers for seaside strolls, beach brunches and weekend getaways. Home to one of the best family friendly places to stay near Adelaide, Big 4 West Beach Parks sits in prime position on the foreshore. Some of the best things to do in West Beach for guests and visitors alike is an adventure park, world-class golf greenmini golf course and skate park. Jump on a jet ski, kayak or SUP board and explore the coast from water level with Wild Rides, launch off from the boat ramp or spend the day sprawled in the sun.

This lovely beach is quieter and ideal for people wanting to take time out for relaxation. The benefit is that although the beach is less crowded, West Beach Surf Life Saving Club still provides patrols (unlike our number 1 Tennyson Beach).

  1. Henley Beach

Henley Beach sneaks in at number four. The reason being that there’s plenty to see and do thanks to Henley Square. Not only can you swim, paddle, fish or sun yourself on this wide and sandy beach but Henley Square offers a fabulous variety of restaurants, cafes and bars in a Mediterranean style setting.

Recently upgraded and improved, there are water fountains for kids to splash in, uniquely designed wave-shaped timber seats leading right up to the jetty, large grassed areas for a picnic, and a stunning futuristic beach shower that you need to get a photo under!  A number of venues at Henley Square offer live entertainment. Or you can choose to take a walk along the shopping strip to indulge in some retail therapy and pampering.

What trip to the beach is complete without the classic fish-n-chips? You’ll find some of the best takeaway outlets at Henley Square. Fresh South Australian seafood crumbed or battered to perfection and served with salted golden chips and tartare sauce. A slice of lemon and you’ll be thinking, what else could be better than this?! Don’t forget to swing by West Rooftop Bar – speak-easy style entrance with amazing cocktails overlooking the beach.

Established in 1925, Henley Surf Life Saving Club has the proud history of being the first surf lifesaving club in South Australia! Henley Surf Life Saving Club provide beach patrol services and a host a heap of fun activities.

Discovery Parks – Adelaide Beachfront Holiday & Caravan Park

  1. Semaphore Beach

For tourists, visitors and explorers heading to SA, one of the most entertaining and beautiful seaside suburbs is Semaphore. It has been a much loved South Australian beach getaway for generations.

Semaphore Beach has hit our list at number five for one main reason – it offers events throughout the year held on the Semaphore Foreshore. The foreshore is a hive of activity, with its famous expanse of lawn foreshore, offering two kilometres of public space preserved and reserved for what beach holidays are supposed to be all about … having fun!

Plan a stay at the superb gem – Discovery Parks – Adelaide Beachfront – where the beach is at your caravan or cabin doorstep (check out some of these reviews…). When you’re not sampling local fish and chips, building sand castles or casting a line off the jetty, you’ll be pleased to discover there are maritime, railway and aviation museums, contemporary cafes and funky boutiques nearby.

We mentioned sand carting at West Beach. Well, you should view the sand carting works underway from Largs Bay Jetty to Semaphore Beach (checkout this video from June 2021 by Train Lord).

Play mini golf, slither down the waterslide, ride the vintage carousel or ferris wheel, walk, cycle or jog along the coast path, while kite-surfers, windsurfers and all-weather swimmers make the waters their playground. Or take a ride on the steam train along the shoreline during the summer months.

Best Adelaide Beach – Safety

Going to the beach is an iconic Australian pastime. Although Australian beaches may look amazing, they can be unpredictable and hide some dangers that every visitor should be aware of. For your safety, surf lifesavers patrol many beaches throughout Adelaide and South Australia. Check out these safety tips for more information. 

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