As the summer heat waves roll in, there’s no better time to explore South Australia’s national parks.
From pristine sandy shores to rugged coastal trails, national parks offer more than just a beach day. They're a haven for families who love to swim, surf, and soak up the sun, while also catering to the adventurous spirits keen on coastal walks and wildlife spotting.
Uncover the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure at our 5 top beach destinations.
1. Yorke Peninsula: Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park
Discover your next family adventure Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park on the Yorke Peninsula. This park is a beach lover's dream, offering a variety of activities that cater to every member of the family.
Fancy a bit of fishing? Browns Beach is your go-to spot for catching salmon, while the Stenhouse Bay jetty offers a chance to reel in mullet, tommy ruffs, squid, and even snook and snapper.
For the surfing enthusiasts, Pondalowie Bay and Chinamans provide more of a challenging experience. If exploring is more your style, take a walk to Ethel Beach and explore the historic Ethel shipwreck remains, giving you a glimpse into the maritime history of 1904. And when it's time to rest, the park has you covered with a range of accommodations from beach campgrounds to the quaint heritage cottages at Inneston.
Top tip: Hear from Ranger in Charge Mark Davison to find out what you can expect at Innes.
2. Eyre Peninsula: Lincoln National Park
Enjoy the perfect getaway at Lincoln National Park on the Eyre Peninsula. This park is a treasure trove of activities perfect for those seeking a mix of relaxation and adventure.
Start your journey at Spalding Cove, a stunning shallow bay at the park's northern end with sheltered waters ideal for a leisurely swim. Plus the campground is right on the beach, giving you a million-dollar-view and a perfect spot to swim.
For the fishing enthusiasts, September Beach and Fisherman’s Rock are your go-to spots for catching salmon. And if you're in search of a serene escape, the Memory Cove Wilderness Protection Area is a hidden gem. With its breathtaking views and tranquil camping spots, it's no surprise its previously been named one of the world's top beaches! Its limited access ensures a peaceful and pristine experience.
Top tip: Make the most of your stay by incorporating some of Park Ranger Elly’s must-do activities.
3. Fleurieu Peninsula: Deep Creek National Park -
Deep Creek National Park, nestled on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula near Cape Jervis is a popular for a weekend camping getaway without a long drive from the city.
The park features six unique campgrounds, each offering a different mix of facilities and activities, so it suits every camping style. While you're there, don't forget to explore the western side of the park. Head to the Cobbler Hill picnic area and embark on a scenic walk to the picturesque Blowhole Beach. This beach is a haven of crystal-clear waters and stunning landscapes, promising a memorable visit.
The journey to Blowhole Beach is an adventure in itself, offering spectacular views of Kangaroo Island and the chance to spot local wildlife, including kangaroos. To reach this secluded cove, start at the Cobbler Hill car park and follow the 1.5km trail down the hill. You might find yourself sharing the beach with local surfers, fishermen, and even kangaroos. The trek back up is steep, so take your time and enjoy frequent stops to admire the scenic beauty on your way back.
4. Kangaroo Island: Lashmar Conservation Park
Kangaroo Island might be famous for Seal Bay and Flinders Chase National Park, but don’t forget to visit Lashmar Conservation Park where Antechamber Bay awaits with its postcard-perfect scenery. This family-friendly destination boasts a stunning 4 km long beach with soft, white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters, making it an idyllic spot for swimming, beachcombing, and leisurely walks.
As you explore, keep an eye out for the nests of hooded plovers, and help protect these precious birds by staying below the high tide line. The Chapman River, meandering through the southern part of the park, creates a serene backdrop for kayaking and fishing for bream. For those looking to extend their stay, the park offers two campgrounds nestled along the riverbank, shaded by melaleuca trees, perfect for a peaceful camping experience.
5. Limestone Coast: Canunda National Park
Canunda National Park stretches an impressive 40 km from Southend to Carpenter Rocks along the Limestone Coast. This expansive park, known for its long sandy stretches, rugged cliffs, and towering dunes, is a favourite among 4-wheel drive enthusiasts, fishing fans, and surfers of all ages.
Take the family on the Cape Buffon Walk for breathtaking coastal views, enjoy snorkeling in the Canunda Sanctuary Zone, or experience the thrill of surf-fishing for salmon and mulloway. With six campgrounds, there's plenty of space for everyone, but be sure to book early for a coveted spot next to the Cape Banks lighthouse during busy seasons.