Western Australia’s sun-drenched capital Perth is known as the world’s most isolated city. What’s less known is that the coastal city is home to the best beaches this side of the Equator. Pack your bikinis, board shorts and sunscreen and check for flights to Perth and its glorious beaches. There are so many Perth beaches that some don’t even have names. At the risk of offending surfers who judge a beach by its surf break or families who crave plentiful car parking, I’ve chosen beaches that mostly have a little something for everyone. Beach goers will quickly learn that Perth is cooled in summer by a brisk sea breeze called the Fremantle Doctor. The Doctor generally arrives mid – late morning. If you want to avoid being sand-blasted choose your beach wisely, or alternatively plan to be off the beach by midday and soaking in the view from a beach-side café, restaurant or pub. Vacationing to Perth? You can visit our Perth Australia Travel Guide for all the area info.
Here are the best all-around Perth Australia Beaches:
Scarborough Beach is probably one of Perth’s most famous beaches. The shore is lined with hotels, apartments, shops, cafes, restaurants, burger joints, ice-cream kiosks and surf shops. Scarborough takes its street-cred seriously. Turn your back on the shore though and look out to the west and Scarborough is blessed with all the essentials – blue water broken by breakers, white sand and tons of sunshine. If you want to escape Scarborough’s crowds walk southwards to Brighton Beach which is every bit as gorgeous but generally has fewer people. This beach is great for surfers and people watchers.
Another popular beach thanks to its location, right in the middle of Perth’s northern suburbs, City Beach has a little something for everyone. When the swell is up it can be a little boisterous though, so families with youngsters should be extra cautious. Beach side there are a couple of terrific restaurant/cafes along with grass park lands and BBQs, so it’s a popular spot for early evening gatherings to watch the sunset. This beach is best for families, body surfers, beach walkers, and those that love a good sunset.
Fremantle’s hipster answer to Scarborough Beach, minus the big surf, Port Beach and nearby Leighton Beach are essentially an unbroken continuous strip of sand all the way to South Cottesloe. It’s a great beach for ocean swimmers, Stand Up Paddle boarders, and families with young kids as there are rarely breakers at Port thanks to its proximity to Fremantle Harbor to the south. Beach walkers and joggers will love it too. A kiosk with cold drinks is available for beach goers, as well as the Salt on the Beach Restaurant. This restaurant is definitely worth a visit whether you’re coming straight off the beach or want a leisurely lunch or romantic waterfront dinner. this beach is best for everyone, but is not a good surfing beach.
The undisputed king of Perth’s surf beaches, Trigg Beach can get a little wild for swimmers. The water is best avoided by weak swimmers and children as beach breaking waves, rips and undertows make it challenging even for strong swimmers. Surfers rate it one of Perth’s best, though its popularity mean that waves can get a little crowded. Get there early. Either way, it’s a beautiful beach to watch the surfers or to get your daily exercise by walking or jogging on the firm beach sand. This beach is best for surfers.
Rivaling Scarborough Beach for Perth’s most popular beach, Cottesloe (or just Cott as the locals call it), has something for everyone. Kids clamber onto the concrete pylon originally used to secure a shark net to, doing water bombs into the water. Protected by a southern break wall, is the iconic art-deco Indiana Teahouse. Even if you’re not a beach goer, it’s worth paying a visit to Cottesloe Beach for the casual Aussie vibe and beautiful coastline vistas. Across the road is the Cottesloe Pub which is a must visit for re-hydrating sun-parched lips. Though there are plenty of other choices too – the Cott, like the Teahouse, is an institution! This beach is great for everyone.
Swanbourne Beach can be divided into two parts. The family friendly southern beach is every bit as pretty as Cottesloe and perfect for beach walkers, sunbathers and swimmers. The northern section is clothes-optional Swanbourne Nude Beach, ‘officially’ one of Perth’s few nudist beaches. The beach itself is not really on public view (so nudists can do there thing in private) as it’s only accessible by a 300m walk from the car park. You’ll know you’re there when you see the clothing optional sign. As if the lack of clothed bodies wasn’t a dead giveaway. This beach is great for everyone in the southern part, and nudists in the northern part.
Popular with locals as well as visiting vacationers, South Beach is always calm thanks to its outlying reef as well as Carnac and Garden Islands which form a breakwater. Shaded by ancient coastal trees and pines, extensive grassy areas, children’s playgrounds, BBQ’s and timber gazebos make it a perennial favorite whether day or night. Families often gather here for picnics while the beach itself is very family friendly. Fremantle’s famous Cappuccino Strip is a few minutes away, for a multitude of dining, shopping and people watching activities. This beach is great for everyone except surfers.
Hidden away between the rock breakwater of South Head and Challenger Harbor, Bathers Beach is the sort of beach you’d go to if you can’t be bothered going anywhere else. It’s super convenient for cooling off or getting your saltwater fix in between breakfast and lunch or for an early morning ocean swim. Surrounded by all the action of Fremantle, this 300m strip of sand is a city treasure – it’s attractive in an urban arty sort of way that Fremantle excels at. Sandstone Kidogo Arthouse is a beautifully restored building behind the dunes, boardwalks are dotted with public art and nearby restaurants, cafes and pubs combine to make Bathers Beach the full package. This beach is great for everyone except surfers.
Perth’s favorite offshore island is known by everyone simply as Rotto. The Beach Gods blessed this little eruption of limestone emerging from the Indian Ocean with exquisite beaches. Dazzling white sand, gin-clear water, sweeping crescent shaped bays and intimate cosy coves are all here. Favorites are The Basin, Longreach and Geordie Bays along with Thompson Bay, the hub of the island. Hire a bike and head for Salmon Bay and Little Armstrong Bay which are rarely tarnished by others footprints if you get there early. Rotto has boating, diving, snorkeling, surfing & swimming – it’s a water baby’s paradise! This beach is great for everyone.