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South Australia’s Best Beaches You Might Not Have Heard Of

23 Nov 2021

It used to be true that Australians from the eastern states would not consider South Australian beaches worthy of  their ‘must-do’ list. Today that opinion has changed, as word has gotten out of SA’s seriously special coastline.

From epic stretches of vacant white sand to crystal-clear water and idyllic caves, the southern state is spoiled for choice when it comes to amazing beaches within easy reach. So pack the sunscreen and clear the calendar, here is a list of South Australia’s Best Beaches you don’t want to miss!

Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island

SAs best beaches vivonne bay kangaroo island

Image Credit: SATC / Elliot Grafton

Previously voted Australia’s best beach, this one keeps coming up in all the best of lists! Hardly a surprise when you look at its crystal-clear water and white sandy shore, which should fulfill your tropical island getaway fantasies!

Popular with KI locals for a quick dip, a spot of fishing or as a romantic picnic locale, watch out for a population of dolphins, who also love its pristine waters.

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Memory Cove, Eyre Peninsula

SAs best beaches memory cove eyre peninsula

Image Credit: SATC / Carly Kruger

The Eyre Peninsula might take some getting to, but once you’re there, its seemingly endless coastline throws up some of the state's most stunning beaches. Memory Cove is a case in point, with jaw-droppingly beautiful water and white sand that will have you wondering what took you so long to get here.

Just an hour and a half drive from Lincoln National Park, you can even take your car on the sand, pick a shady spot and take your time amongst this idyllic slice of Australia. Kangaroos often come down to say hello, so don’t expect to be completely alone!

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Hardwicke Bay, Yorke Peninsula

Sa's best beaches hardwicke bay yorke peninsula

Image Credit: SATC / @_roamingaus_

A popular holiday spot for South Australians, ‘YP’ is brimming with beaches that offer solitude and sun away from the crowds. Hardwicke Bay has miles of picturesque white sand to choose from, and its shallow blue waters make it ideal for families. Located on the Spencer Gulf side of the peninsula, the sheltered nature of the bay means it's a calm, family-friendly spot to while away the hours in paradise.

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Second Valley Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula

Sas best beaches second valley fleurieu peninsula

Image Credit: SATC / Ryan Formosa Photagraphy

Break out your camera-phone, this is one of SA’s most instagrammable locations for a reason!

At only 100 metres long (give or take a few) Second Valley beach is tiny by SA standards. Surrounded by steep cliffs on both sides, its rocky outcrops and tidal rock pools will not only keep kids entertained, but adults too. A popular spot for Stand-Up-Paddle boarders and those who love to kayak, stunning views stretch out in both directions. Look out for thrill-seekers who have been known to take the daring plunge from the cliffs into the aqua blue waters below!

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Henley Beach, Adelaide Metro

Sas best beaches henley beach adelaide metro

Image Credit: SATC / Josie Withers

At just 20 minutes from the CBD on Adelaide’s much underrated metropolitan coastline, Henley Beach delivers mellow vibes, clear waters and calm sands for families and sunbathers to enjoy. The suburb of Henley is a popular drawcard itself, with upscale cafes and well regarded eateries and pubs lining the main street and esplanade. Joggers and cyclists love nothing more than to end their effort here with a swim, coffee and gourmet breakfast or brunch.

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Salmon Hole, Limestone Coast

Sa's best beaches salmon hole limestone coast

Image Credit: SATC / Mark Fitzpatrick

This is a swimming sanctuary for all manner of beachlover just minutes from the beautiful seaside town of Beachport on SA’s Limestone Coast. Sparkling waters lap at your feet and the softest of white sand beckons you to stay just that little bit longer. Another small beach by SA standards at just 600 metres long, Salmon Hole is sheltered by a reef which results in a calm lagoon perfect for swimming, snorkelling and maybe even a spot of fishing! You’ll have to drag yourself away from this spot.

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Dolphin Beach, Yorke Peninsula

Sas best beaches dolphin beach yorke peninsula

Image Credit: SATC / Adam Bruzzone

On the southern tip of Yorke Peninsula, 800 metres of unspoilt sand blends with the calmest of turquoise waters and dramatic, rugged cliffs. Easy to swim for the youngest members of your tribe, this picturesque bay is highly sought after on one of SA’s perfect sunny days, but it’s likely that you'll still feel like you’ve got it all to yourself. Spend hours lazing in the sand and look out for dolphins who frequently play in its idyllic waters.

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Port Willunga, Fleurieu Peninsula

Sas best beaches port willunga fleurieu peninsula

Image Credit: SATC / Adam Bruzzone

Another of SA’s social media favourites, the love affair here goes way deeper than any instagram like. Shimmering waters that play off its iconic jetty remains and steep sandy cliffs that glow in the evening heat make Port Willunga a ‘next-level’ scenic spot that South Australians keep coming back to. Also known for its calm water and the Star of Greece restaurant, which towers above and offers impeccable views, Port Willunga Beach is one of SA’s ‘places to be’ on any given long summer day, and a perfect location to watch the sun go down.

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Almonta Beach, Eyre Peninsula

Sa's best beaches almonta bay eyre peninsula

Image Credit: SATC / Sarah Byden

Yet another jewel in the crown of the Eyre Peninsula’s glorious array of beach paradises, the azure waters of Almonta Beach will have you believing that the Greek gods were born in South Australian waters. Situated in the stunning Coffin Bay National Park, world class sand dunes surround this relaxing swimmers paradise. Friendly locals you’re likely to encounter include a local population of emus, goannas and a wide variety of local birdlife, while further afield, Coffin Bay Oyster Farm Tours operate an extremely popular working oyster farm where you’ll be served the freshest of oysters plucked from nearby ocean waters. This is a must-do for locals and anyone arriving from interstate!

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Carrickalinga Beach, Fleurieu Peninsula

Sa's best beaches carrickalinga beach fleuriau peninsula

Image Credit: SATC / Graham Scheer

Another family favourite destination, Carrickalinga Beach on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula has long been a drawcard for its calm shallow waters, abundant sand dunes and gently lapping waves. Popular as a spot to camp and launch boats, whether it be an ocean fisher or low-budget tinnie, Carrickalinga is another underrated spot that would likely be packed if it lived in the eastern states. Although there isn’t much in the way of a cafe or pub scene, the nearby town of Normanville offers more than enough chances to fill up, including at the kiosk, which is right on the sand!

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