Melbourne’s beaches are a little bit different compared to the rest of the country—the waves aren’t big, sharks aren’t patrolling the waters, and the sand doesn’t exactly stretch for miles as it would in Perth. But that's part of their appeal: these beaches are calm and safe.
Melbourne wraps around Port Phillip Bay for 3,857 square miles, so you can expect plenty of beautiful beaches in the city that are excellent for kitesurfing, tanning, and swimming.
Ready for some much-needed R&R? Here are the top 10 beaches in Melbourne.
About eight miles south of Melbourne's Central Business District is Brighton Beach. You will probably see this beach on postcards or pieces of artwork because yes, it’s that pretty. What makes it stand out are the Brighton Bathing Boxes—82 colorful beach huts that sit in a neat row along the shore, each one painted a different design. And it's hard not to be impressed by the big city of Melbourne shining away in the background. Because the beach itself is calm and the shallow waters are great for splashing around, it's a go-to place for fishing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing.
St Kilda Beach
St Kilda Beach is a short tram ride from CBD. It’s a fun-filled beach with an extensive boardwalk, long pier, and plenty of nearby restaurants. Melburnians and international travelers flock to St Kilda beach on sunny days, so it can get crowded. It’s a suitable beach for swimming, tanning, kitesurfing, and people-watching. Stick around for sunset to catch the super adorable fairy penguins waddle onto shore!
The further you travel from the city, the better the beaches. Even though Sandringham is about 10 miles from CBD, it's easy to get to on the train. At this bayside beach, there's a long and narrow stretch of gold-colored sand, ideal for a leisurely stroll to the jetties. Because it's patrolled, Sandringham is perfectly safe for swimming and stand up paddleboarding. When it’s time for lunch, you'll find plenty of cafés and restaurants in town next to the train station.
Mordialloc Beach is a local paradise. You can get here by jumping on the Frankston railway line at Flinders Street station and traveling the 40-minute commute to the Mordialloc stop. There’s a pier that separates the beach into two: the north side and the south side. Although lifeguards don't patrol the latter half, both sides are safe for swimming because the water is super shallow. If you want to get on the water, you can rent a small boat from Bluey's Boat Hire. When it’s time to eat, SunnyBoy Beach Club and Doyles Bridge Hotel offer waterfront dining. Otherwise, there’s a casual burger joint off Main Street called YOMG that gives In-N-Out a run for its money.
Mount Martha Beach
An hour's drive down the Mornington Peninsula, Mount Martha Beach is a bit of a journey from Melbourne city center. Take the Nepean Highway route, though, and you'll be met with incredibly scenic views along the way. Divided into North and South, we recommend hitting up Mount Martha Beach North. This is where where you’ll find the yacht club and Instagram-ready beach boxes. Want to explore the coastline? You can rent a paddleboard or kayak and head out into the calm waters. There are public restrooms, restaurants, and a grocery store just behind the beach boardwalk if you need to freshen up.
Shire Hall Beach
About an hour's drive from the city center, the town of Mornington comes alive during the summer. Small and breezy, it’s kind of like the Hamptons for Melbourne city folk. Shire Hall Beach is shaped like a mini-bay within a bay, so this makes it an excellent spot for paddleboarding or floating on the clear, shallow water. While you're in the area, walk down Main Street for lunch, where you'll find heaps of restaurants, bars, and ice cream shops.
Eastern Beach Geelong
An hour’s drive from CBD, Eastern Beach in Geelong is a small, clean, and safe beach reserve. Featuring a promenade, beach volleyball, and an enclosed ocean pool with diving boards, it's a fun destination for the whole family—so pack a picnic and plan for a day trip.
Williamstown Beach (“Willy Beach,” as the locals call it) is a wide stretch of sand that gets crowded with city slickers on a sunny day. It’s a prime spot for sunbathing and swimming—although, this part of the bay may get too choppy for water sports. To make a fun day out of it, take the ferry from CBD to Williamstown. Or, you can hop on the train and get off at the last stop. When you need some shade, Pier Farm is a waterfront bistro that serves incredible seafood.
If St Kilda beach is too crowded, migrate one mile south to Elwood Beach. It’s a little bit bigger, a little bit cleaner, and a lot less crowded. The waves are calm here, so venture to Elwood Sailing Club to participate in a sailing class. If you’d rather stay on land, there’s a clear walking path behind the beach where you’ll encounter plenty of friendly dogs. Elwood Beach has barbecue grills, so grab a few shrimp and sling ’em on the barbie. Plus there’s a playground next to the beach for the little ones. This Melbourne beach is where you should come to relax with a capital ‘R’.
Sorrento Back Beach
All the way at the end of the Mornington Peninsula is Sorrento, about 66 miles from CBD. It’s a hike to get to Sorrento—but it's well worth the drive. Sitting right on the ocean, this back beach has waves, giant rock pools, small sand dunes, walking trails, and a popular jetty. When you've had your fill of sunbathing, the town itself has heaps of boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants to explore.