The best beaches in Melbourne for swimming and relaxing

Brighton Beach boxes


Posted December 06, 2023

From St Kilda to Seaford and in between, Melbourne is home to beautiful beaches for swimming, family time and relaxing. 

Melbourne might not have the same sun-kissed reputation as places like Noosa and the Gold Coast, but that doesn’t stop locals and tourists hitting the beach whenever the temperature allows. 

While avid surfers may head to the Bellarine or Mornington Peninsulas to ride the waves for the best surf beaches, the city and its surrounds are dotted with beaches across the bay, some perfect for swimming, others for quiet relaxation, and still great for families.

And if you’re looking to bring your four-legged friends, there are plenty of top dog beaches in Melbourne as well.

Many of Melbourne's great beaches are easily accessible by public transport. Plan your trip to the sun and sand with the free journey planning app arevo.

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The best beaches in Melbourne, Australia

Famous and popular beaches in Melbourne

St Kilda Beach 

Conveniently found just 6km from the CBD and easily accessed by public transport, St Kilda Beach is popular amongst swimmers, joggers, volleyball players and water sport enthusiasts alike. 

There’s no shortage of cafes, restaurants and other attractions nearby, with the iconic Luna Park only a short walk from the foreshore as well. 

Come on a Sunday after a visit to the St Kilda Market, or visit at twilight and you might even spot a fairy penguin or two by the breakwater. 

Brighton Beach

As well as being one of the most scenic beaches in the city, Brighton Beach is proud of its multicoloured bathing boxes - a relic of the late 19th century where they used to protect the modesty of swimmers. 

These days, the boxes are a major tourist attraction on the Bayside Coastal Trail, and will cost you quite the pretty penny if you wish to own one - they often sell for north of $300,000. 

Half Moon Bay

Though it feels delightfully secluded, the throngs of Melburnians swimming at Half Moon Bay in summer shows the popularity of the inner suburban beach. 

Half Moon is bordered by steep sandstone cliffs, the most famous of which is Red Bluff. At low tide, you can traipse around the bottom of the cliffs to discover more secluded swimming spots.


Half Moon Bay in Melbourne on a sunny day, as taken from the cliff

Half Moon Bay, located 40 minutes south of the Melbourne CBD, is bordered by steep sandstone cliffs. Image: Parks Victoria

The best swimming beaches in Melbourne

Williamstown Beach 

Swimming is serious business at Williamstown Beach in Melbourne’s west, with the resident surf lifesaving club hosting the Williamstown Open Water Championship (the ‘WOW Challenge’). Held in March, the ocean swim events range from 750m to 10km in length, with both children and adults joining in on the fun. 

Of course, casual swimmers are also able to enjoy the beach for swimming at any time, with patrols throughout summer and beach wheelchairs available to book at the swimming hotspot just 10km from Melbourne’s CBD. 

Kerferd Road Beach 

Kerferd Road Beach in Albert Park is sheltered, with a swimming area protected from jet skis, boats and similar. 

The neighbouring Port Melbourne Beach also features volleyball nets if you prefer to exercise on the sand, with a great maritime-themed playground found just behind the bay. 

Elwood Beach 

There’s plenty of space to relax on your towel at Elwood Beach, either before or after you take a dip in the water. Swimming is safest in front of the surf lifesaving club, where boats are prohibited. 

Elwood is a great beach for families too, with a playground and picnicking facilities at the adjacent reserve, and some great woodfired pizza nearby.


St Kilda beach on a busy summer's day

St Kilda Beach is one of Melbourne's most popular beaches thanks to its proximity to the city. Image: Visit Victoria

Family-friendly beaches in Melbourne and surrounds

Altona Beach

As one of the west’s biggest beaches, it’s common for Altona Beach to be heaving with visitors during summer. A wide sandbar keeps the water shallow well out from the shore, ideal for little swimmers. 

The beach is fully accessible, with year-round beach matting down to the water. 

Mordialloc Beach

Wide stretches of sand await you and your family at Mordialloc Beach, or ‘Mordi Beach’ as it’s known to the locals. 

In addition to the 4km of sand and great fishing spots, there’s also a playground nearby at Peter Scullin Reserve, plus barbeques, picnic tables and a rotunda. Shops and cafés also abound the area nearby. 

Frankston Beach and Foreshore

Another family favourite is Frankston Beach, which in addition to 2.5km of sand, also features boardwalks, a playground, plenty of toilets, several cafes to choose from, and dedicated parking. 

Kids are safest swimming closer to shore and in the patrolled areas, as troughs are present further out.


Williamstwon beach''

Melbourne's west offers beachside fun just outside of the city. Image: Williamstown Beach, Visit Victoria

Quiet beaches in Melbourne

Sandringham Beach 

Compared to other beaches in Melbourne’s south, Sandringham Beach is relatively tranquil, while still featuring plenty of charm and great snorkelling at nearby Rickett’s Point.

The southern end tends to be quieter, but swimming is best done along the beach’s northern end near the surf lifesaving building. 

Seaford Beach 

If you like pristine sand and the sort of blue water that could make the Maldives jealous, then you’re going to like Seaford, where it’s common to find young families frolicking in the gentle waters. 

As well as being the coastal hotspot where Mad Max was filmed, Seaford Beach is a true gem, with a refurbished pier to stroll along and crystal-clear waters to swim in.

Edithvale Beach 

Parking is limited at Edithvale, making the expansive shoreline a favourite with locals looking for a swim (or even a surf when there’s a westerly) without too much company. The Edithvale train station is just under 1km from the beach too. 

Aspendale Beach 

Rounding out some of the best quieter beaches in Melbourne’s south is Aspendale, which is just as pretty as its neighbours Edithvale and Mordialloc, but comes with the bonus of colourful beach huts (think Brighton, but smaller). 

It’s likewise popular with locals and accessible by train station.

Beach safety

Wherever you go, be sure to catch up on your beach safety first, check the water quality, and always swim between the red and yellow flags.