Lying between the Swan River and Western Australia's rugged coastline, Perth is a beach lover's dream. The city is bathed in sunshine almost all year, and there are beaches to suit every kind of swimmer, surfer, and sunbather, from Fremantle in the south to Sorrento in the north.
If you're planning on spending a day by the water, make sure you're prepared with sunscreen, a hat, and a long-sleeve shirt. Always swim between the red and yellow flags that signify a lifeguard is on duty (especially if you are unfamiliar with Australia's surf).
North of the city, Sorrento has a reputation as one of Perth's safest beaches, thanks to an offshore reef that protects swimmers from big swells and a netted enclosure that keeps out sharks and other wildlife. There are bathroom facilities available, as well as picnic tables and grills at the northern end of the beach.
Right next door, Hillary's Boat Harbour offers a charming boardwalk shopping experience, complete with cafes and restaurants looking out over the ocean. Rottnest Island ferries depart from the Harbour, as well as diving and whale-watching tours. The Aquarium of Western Australia can also be found here. It takes around half an hour by car or an hour on public transport to get to Sorrento from the city.
Also in Perth's northern suburbs, this white-sand beach is beloved by swimmers and snorkelers alike as it is protected by an offshore reef. There's a playground and grills, plus rocky outcrops at either end of the beach that make it feel a world away from the city.
To the south, you'll find North Beach, Trigg Beach, and Mettam's Pool, all of which are usually busier than this little cove. Stop by Tropico cafe a couple of blocks back from the beach for a Los Angeles-inspired breakfast. The beach is a 20-minute drive or an hour by bus from Perth city center.
Mettams Pool is a sheltered swimming lagoon that is perfect for families and less capable swimmers. A wide variety of fish, anemones, and shellfish can be seen just below the surface, thanks to the rocky reef that surrounds the pool. There is a ramp running all the way down to the water, making it accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.
The beach can get windy in the afternoon, so we recommend making a morning trip if you intend to snorkel. Mettams Pool is located at North Trigg beach, a 20-minute drive or 40-minute bus trip north of the city. Visitors should be aware that Trigg is one of the city's best surf beaches, but it can be dangerous for swimmers.
Scarborough is one of Perth's most picturesque beaches, just a 20-minute drive or 40-minute bus trip north-west of the city center. This buzzing beach precinct recently underwent a facelift, with new parks and landscaped walkaways, plus an outdoor amphitheater, skatepark, kids playground, and impressive waterside pool. Scarborough is also especially popular with kite surfers and windsurfers.
Once you've worked up an appetite, head to Drift Kitchen for a wholesome brunch, or Scarborough Beach Bar for fresh pizza, bowls, and burgers with a view. Between September to April, the Scarborough Sunset Markets bring local foodies, live music and handcrafted goods to the beach from 5 p.m. to close every Thursday.
A short drive west of the city center, City Beach is surrounded by some of Perth's most affluent residences. The beach itself offers a protected swimming area, park, children's playground, grills, picnic tables, and toilet facilities, making it ideal for a family day out.
To the north, Floreat Beach offers a more secluded option, protected from the city by sand dunes and bushland. A nature walk connects the two beaches, with views out to Rottnest Island. City Beach can also be reached by bus, although the trip takes just under an hour.
This gorgeous beach west of Perth is divided into two parts: South Swanbourne, which is a family-friendly beach, and North Swanbourne, which is clothing optional. (Don't worry, there are signs that clearly mark the nudist section.) Swanbourne usually has small waves crashing onto the soft white sand, but the wind can pick up in the afternoons.
An army base sits behind the sand dunes with a live rifle range, so don't be surprised if you hear military activity. It'll take you around 20 minutes to drive to Swanbourne or half an hour on the train.
If you only visit one beach while you're in Perth, make it this one. Cottesloe's white sand and sparkling blue water are beloved by locals, who flock to the beach every weekend to swim, snorkel, surf and watch the sunset. When conditions are calm, snorkelers at South Cottesloe may even be able to catch a glimpse of the endangered leafy sea dragon.
Dining options are plentiful, but the best views can be found at Barchetta. The iconic art deco-style Indiana Tea House adds an air of sophistication to cocktail hour by the beach. In March, the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition transforms the foreshore into an outdoor exhibition space. Cottesloe is a 20-minute drive or train ride from the city.
Also known as Whalers Beach, this bay in Fremantle is a quintessential urban beach. Swimmers are protected by the northern walls of the boat harbor and the southern wall of Fremantle Harbour, as well as having access to the nearby park and the Bathers Beach House restaurant and bar.
The bustling port of Fremantle is technically a seperate city from Perth and has become known for its creative atmosphere and thriving foodie scene. It takes around half an hour to drive to Bathers from the city center, or 45 minutes on the train.
When you're ready for an escape from the city, head south to Coogee. This beach stretches for over 2 miles and is usually free from the crowds that can descend on the coast closer to the city.
At the southern end, there is a sheltered swimming area and a jetty backed by a natural reserve. The recreational area includes grills, picnic tables, and toilets. If you'd rather let someone else do the cooking, the Surfing Lizard Cafe serves up classic smoothies, breakfast, and burgers. Coogee is around a half-hour drive or an hour train ride from the city center.
Home to Western Australia's famous quokkas, Rottnest Island is a must-do day trip from Perth. The quokkas (small, friendly marsupials) can be found throughout the island and are often happy to pose for a selfie. Plus, Rottnest is fringed by pristine beaches, many of which are well suited to snorkeling.
Renting a bike is a great way to see the island, or you can book a hop-on hop-off bus tour. Ferries to Rottnest Island take around 30 to 60 minutes and there are multiple departures each day. The island can be visited in one day, but there are also camping, glamping, and hotel options available.
The Whadjuk Noongar Aboriginal people are the Traditional Owners of Rottnest Island, which is known as the resting place of the spirits. To learn more about the Indigenous history of the place, explore a section of the Wadjemup Bidi, a network of walking trails that cover cultural and environmental landmarks on the island.