Summer loving: WA's best beaches

The warm weather is here, and in WA that means one thing: it’s time to hit the beach. From Perth, all the way down the coast to Esperance, WA has some of the best beaches in Australia. With 19 beaches in the metro area alone, West Australians and our visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a place to feel the sand between our toes. Here’s just 10 of the best in the summer months:

WA beach

Cottelsoe, Perth:

Probably the most iconic beach in Perth, Cott has a lot to love. With a huge multi level grassed area for those who aren’t too fond of getting sand in every crevice, Cott has something for everyone. Big pine trees offer plenty of shade, which makes Cott the perfect picnic spot. The beach really comes alive when the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition visits in March every year, bringing plenty of interactive art pieces to a place that’s accessible to all.

Mettams Pool, North Beach:

Even though it doesn’t have one of those long stretches of sand synonymous with WA beaches, Mettams Pool is an absolute hit with families because of its somewhat protected calm waters and surrounding reef, which is very popular with snorkellers. Mettams is also a drawcard for sunset-watching on lazy summer evenings, which means it can get pretty crowded, but it has such a nice vibe, no one seems to care.

WA beach

City Beach, Perth:

Although it’s a bit smaller than some of its neighbours, City Beach is often less crowded, has a shady grassed area for picnics, and offers a nice stroll along the boardwalk to Floreat beach. But by far my favourite thing about City Beach, apart from the standard clean white sand and clear blue ocean, are the new dining and bar options that have sprung up in recent times. Unlike many beachside eateries, Odyssea serves up some amazing, creative and fresh food accompanied by some kick-ass cocktails.

WA beach

Redgate, Margaret River:

Redgate beach is a great spot for surfing and body surfing, or in calmer conditions, snorkelling. Out of the water, it’s also really fun to explore among the rock pools to see little critters going about their business in a hundred miniature worlds. On a calm day, Redgate is perfection, but it can be prone to some pretty big swells at times.

WA beach

The Basin, Rottnest:

Even though you have to take a half hour ferry trip and then a 20 minute bike ride (or bus ride) to get there, the Basin on Rotto is well worth the effort. Looking out at the turquoise, clear, calm water makes you feel like everything is right with the world. And the reef surrounding the Basin is an underwater wonderland for snorkellers too. But if for some crazy reason, you’re not impressed by the Basin, Rotto has around 60 other beaches to choose from.

WA beach

Conto’s, Margaret River:

If you're feeling adventurous, then Conto's beach is a great choice to get you off the beaten track. It's about a half hour drive from Margaret River and the turn off is from Caves road. Be prepared for a 10 minute trek from the carpark through a lot of black sand (apparently due to the ash from fires that swept through the region), so shoes are a necessity (we learned this the hard way and ended up having to try and make thongs out of seaweed). But once on the beach, there’s often few people around, and the swells can make for some challenging body surfing.

WA beach
WA beach

Bunker Bay, southwest:

Only about 15 minutes south of Dunsborough, Bunker Bay is a place where the bush meets the sea. Protected by the Cape Naturaliste promontory, Bunker Bay is a place of (mostly) calm seas and pristine sand. During the week, it’s not unusual to have the whole bay to yourself, and walking from one end to the other takes only about an hour. Bunker Bay is also home to a very cute café which has an outside decking and a boardwalk leading down to the beach.

Hamelin Bay, southwest:

For sunset, it’s hard to go past Hamelin Bay, near Augusta. Sunset is a nightly event during the holidays, and everyone heads down to the beach to dip their toes in the water and watch the sun go down, many with a beer in hand. The bay even has a couple of friendly resident manta rays who come in to shallow water and keep the kids entertained.

Greens Pool, Denmark:

By far one of the most beautiful beaches in the Great Southern, Greens Pool lies on the edge of William Bay National Park. The beach is absolutely pristine, and the water is so clear and so sparkly it makes you want to jump right in. But, be warned, even though it looks inviting, the southern ocean is freezing at any time of year!

WA beach

Elephant Rocks, Denmark:

Right next to Greens Pool is elephant rocks, so named because the huge boulders look like a herd of elephants silently standing in the pristine waters of the bay. Even though you have to use your imagination a bit to see them as elephants, it’s still great fun exploring between the rocks, investigating inside the crevasses and dipping your toes in the freezing water.

WA beach

Notes: There are a couple of other beaches that should be on this list, such as Lucky Bay in Esperance, but that's one I haven't personally been to yet (although I plan to). The list also doesn’t include any beaches up north, as summer isn’t the best time to visit them. Also note, Scarborough beach would normally be on this list, but at the time of writing, was undergoing some major renovations.