Melbourne may be best known for it’s laneways, street art and coffee culture, but on hot days you’ll find most Melbournians hanging out at the beach. Melbourne has hundreds of kilometers of suburban bayside beaches starting in the west at Point Cook, and extending all the way round Port Phillip Bay to Frankston in the south. Sure, you won’t find big surfable waves here like you do in Sydney, but the calm clear waters of Melbourne’s bay beaches are perfect for families and kids.
With so many beaches to choose from, it’s pretty easy to avoid a crowd if you are in the know. My tip is to steer clear of well known beaches like St Kilda and Brighton, which are usually full of tourists and end up being littered with rubbish, and head a bit further afield.
With Summer slowly fading, I asked a few Melbournians which beaches they loved spending time at this year (and if they’d give up their secret beach spots!)
Here’s what they had to say:
Who: Rachel Devine, Photographer & Blogger at Sesame Ellis
Favourite Beach: Hampton
Why Rachel likes it:
Hampton beach just had a massive face lift over the fall and winter where they put tonnes of sand from the sea floor onto the shoreline to build up the area. New rock jetties were built to help prevent the fast erosion that had plagued the area and families are coming back in droves. Avoid the big crowds that tend to stick to the Brighton end and set up your towels closer down closer to the Hampton Life Savers Club. There are no on beach spots to get snacks or coffees in this stretch, so come prepared. The shopping strip of Hampton Street is a drive, not a walk, from the shore.
If you don’t want to pay for the required beach parking, you will have to walk a bit as the side streets with ticket free spots are on the other side of both beach road and the Sandringham train line.
Because of Hampton’s orientation along the curve of the bay, you get brilliant sunsets over the water making it a wonderful spot to swim on hot summer evenings.
Who: Bron Leeks, Family Travel Blogger at Smiths Holiday Road
Favourite Beach: Seaford
Why Bron Likes it:
I can escape there just by walking. One moment you are in suburbia then you are walking on the sand looking all the way to the city or all the way to Mornington. It is great in all weather conditions and perfect for families with great shade under the pier and coffee close by!
I have always lived close to the beach. I like just knowing it’s there, like the edge of the world, so wild and free and open. I spent all my childhood visiting the beaches along Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay. We would pack up the car and stay a whole day. Seaford seemed like a day trip away then! When we had our kids we yearned to repeat these memories with them but Cooper needs to use a wheelchair and this makes beach days really tricky. One day a few years back I walked down to Seaford pier to feel the wind in my hair and I saw something that made me cry. It was a ramp, fresh, wooden, new all the way to the sand and it would be Coopers and our families lifeline to making our own beach memories.
Who: Madeleine Stamer, Artist & Illustrator, Little Circus Design
Favourite Beach: Silverleaves beach, Phillip Island. (Not in Melbourne, but we’ll give Maddie a pass).
Why Maddie likes it:
It’s not exactly local, but when we’re feeling adventurous and all our planets are aligned we love to shoot down to Phillip Island and dip our tootsies in the water and frolic on the sand at Silverleaves beach.
It’s gloriously calm, family friendly, a bit daggy and surrounded by the most magical banskias, gums and tea-tree woodlands. The Silverleaves General Store is a short walk through a glorious canopy of trees. They offer a decent menu but be prepared for a wait during peek season. They have an impressive looking expresso machine and apparently the coffee is good but I’m no coffee drinker and usually opt for a Spider. The kids love the little play nook and entertain themselves with games and books while the adults enjoy a nanosecond of grown-up time.
Like with any beach visit, when the sillies set in the kids do their usual sand burying routine and they love digging out massive holes in the sand to create their own mini lagoons (remember to pack a bucket and spade!).
Silverleaves doesn’t appear to get too overcrowded so you get to enjoy your own micro environment at a decent distance from your fellow beach goers. The best part is being able to sit back and relax on the sand while watching the kids do their thing in the water. The perfect combo.
Who: Cintia Gonzalez (that’s me!)
Favourite Beach: Altona
Why I like it:
It’s not our local hang out, we tend to go mainly to Elwood as it’s just down the road, but Elwood although convenient, is usually very windy and fairly busy.
I worked in Altona for many years and revisited the area over the school holidays. Altona is in Melbourne’s west and the suburb still retains it’s old school beachside village charm. With over 3km of wide sandy beach front, you are sure to find an uncrowded spot. The old pier is fun to walk down and explore under at low tide.
There is plenty of free all day parking, and lots of cafes and shops just a few hundred meters from the beach. It also had a grassed foreshore with plenty of shade perfect for a picnic lunch. Wide sand flats mean this is a super shallow beach ideal for small kids and toddlers especially at low tide when little pools form.
For current beach conditions and safety information visit beachsafe.org.au