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. At Skyscanner Australia, we’ll show you the best beaches in Perth—including local favourites.
With so many choices, it wasn’t easy to narrow it down to the ten best Perth beaches. In fact, there are so many beaches in Perth, many don’t have proper names. At the risk of offending surfers who judge a beach by its surf break or families who crave plentiful car parking, we’ve chosen a mix of beaches that have a little something for everyone.
Be sure to check the Government of Western Australia website before planning your beach trip to Perth as travel restrictions may come into effect at any time.
Tips for visiting beaches in Perth
You’ll quickly learn that Perth is cooled in summer by a brisk sea breeze nicknamed the “Fremantle Doctor”. The Doctor generally arrives mid- to late-morning, with winds howling come 2 P.M. You’ll want to choose your beach wisely to avoid being sand-blasted. Alternatively, plan to be off the beach by midday and soak in the view from a beachside café. (And if you’re a windsurfer or kitesurfer, Perth is paradise!)
1. Scarborough Beach
One of the few Perth beaches to be overshadowed by high-rise buildings, Scarborough Beach is probably one of Perth’s most famous.
The shore is lined with hotels (Rendezvous Hotel is a dominating tower backdrop), apartments, shops, cafes, restaurants, ice-cream kiosks and surf shops. The seaside pool, skate park, and playground offers a bit of a break from the sand and the sea as well. Needless to say, Scarborough takes its street-cred seriously.
Turn your back on the shore, though, and look out to the west. Scarborough is blessed with all the essentials—blue water broken by breakers, white sand and lashings of sunshine.
If you want to escape Scarborough’s crowds, walk southwards to Brighton Beach and lay down a towel in between the sand dunes. Brighton Beach is every bit as gorgeous, but generally has fewer people.
Best for: surfers, people watchers, families
2. City Beach
City Beach is another popular beach thanks to its location in the middle of Perth’s northern suburbs.
Beachside, there are a couple of terrific restaurant/cafes, along with grass parklands and BBQs. It’s a popular spot for early evening gatherings to watch the sunset.
When the swell is up, the water can be a bit boisterous, so families with youngsters should be extra cautious.
Best for: families, body surfers, beach walkers, sundowners
3. Port Beach
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 (SUPers) as well as families with young kids, as there are rarely breakers at Port thanks to its proximity to Fremantle Harbour to the south. Beach walkers and joggers will love it too.
For low-key dining and snacks, you’ll find a kiosk on the beach. For something a bit more formal, Salt on the Beach Restaurant is definitely worth a visit whether you’re coming straight off the sea or want a leisurely lunch or romantic waterfront dinner.
Best for: everyone (except surfers), families
4. Trigg Beach
The undisputed king of surf among Perth beaches, Trigg Beach can get a little wild for swimmers. The water is best avoided by weak swimmers and children. Beach breaking waves, rips and undertows can create some challenging condidions.
Surfers rate it one of Perth’s best, though its popularity means that waves can get a little crowded. This is especially the case during school holidays, when lifesaving clubs host a gamut of events at Trigg Beach.
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.
Best for: surfers
5. Cottesloe Beach
Rivalling Scarborough Beach for Perth’s most popular beach, Cottesloe (or just Cott, as the locals call it), is the place to go when you want to make surfers, swimmers, kids and beachcombers happy. Protected by a southern break wall, the iconic art-deco Indiana Teahouse flanked by grassed terraces dominates the foreshore. Kids clamber onto the concrete pylon originally used to secure a shark net, outdoing each other with bombies.
Even if you’re not a beachgoer, it’s worth paying a visit to Cottesloe Beach for the casual Aussie vibe and beautiful coastline vistas. Across the road, the Cottesloe Pub 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!
Best for: families, tourists, day trippers
6. Swanbourne Beach
Swanbourne Beach can be divided into two parts. The family-friendly southern beach is every bit as pretty as Cottesloe to the south—perfect for beach walkers, sunbathers and swimmers.
The northern section is clothes-optional Swanbourne Nude Beach, ‘officially’ one of Perth’s few nudist beaches (Warnbro Beach south of Perth is another). The beach itself is not really on public view (so nudists can sunbake away from prying eyes) as it’s only accessible by a 300m walk from the carpark. You’ll know you’re there when you see the clothing optional sign.
Best for: nudists in the northern part, everyone else in the southern part
7. South Beach
Popular with locals as well as holidaymakers bunkered down in Fremantle, 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, BBQs and timber gazebos, South Beach is a perennial favourite 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.
Best for: everyone (except surfers), especially families or groups of friends
8. Bathers Beach
Hidden away between the rock breakwater of South Head and Challenger Harbour, Bathers Beach is the sort of beach you’d go to if you don’t want a long commute or to mix with huge crowds.
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 the 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.
Best for: everyone (except surfers)
9. Rottnest Island
Perth’s favourite offshore island (truth be known, you could count them all on three fingers) is known by everyone simply as Rotto. Most famous for its cute quokkas, there’s much more to this little island.
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. Favourites 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, snorkelling, surfing and swimming—it’s a water baby’s paradise!
Best for: animal lovers, peace seekers, surfers
10. Hidden Gems
In a city of over one million residents, it’s still possible to find a patch of sand far from the madding crowds. Here are a few for soul searchers and solitary beach walkers.
Sandtrax Beach – north of Fremantle’s northernmost breakwater, this is a good spot to avoid the blustery wind when it’s in full sand-blast swing.
Bailey Beach (near Mettams Pool) – a teeny cove with a reef, making it a great snorkelling spot in calm conditions.
Discover where you can go
Making plans to get back out there? Find out whose borders are open with our interactive global map, and sign up to receive email updates when your top destinations reopen.
Common questions travellers have about finding the best beaches in Perth
Families with young kids will love spending time at Hillary’s Boat Harbour. This calm bay has a seaside playground, a wide grassy area, calm water, and a shopping centre with kid-friendly restaurants and shops. Another good pick is Scarborough Beach for its pool, playground, skatepark, and wide stretch of sand.
Surfers tend to flock to Trigg Beach, the most popular surf beach in Perth. There are also waves to be had at Cottesloe and City Beach.
Perth beaches are famous for their sugar-white sand and bright blue water. Though the beaches differ when it comes to waves and what’s around, they are all beautiful in a distinctly Western Australian way.