All Bayside beaches are safe to swim in good weather, while some are best suited for kiteboarding, paddleboarding, windsurfing and sailing.
Families mostly choose to swim between the red and yellow flags at the patrolled beaches that prohibit inshore boating and boarding activities. The six beaches patrolled by volunteer lifesavers on weekends and holidays in summer are Brighton, Hampton, Sandringham, Half Moon Bay, Black Rock and Beaumaris. Go to the Beach Safe website for more information, including patrol times and weather conditions.
Sheltered in a cove and home to the historic bathing boxes, Brighton Beach is a family playground where you can build sandcastles, walk along the Middle Brighton Pier or swim challenging laps in Middle Brighton Sea Baths (home to the Icebergers who swim early morning all year round, no matter how cold).
South of Brighton Beach, the groynes and seawall of Hampton Beach provide anglers with easy access to relatively-deep fishing waters. On the shore, nature lovers can discover the many indigenous foreshore plants or visit the nearby Ferdinando Gardens.
Walkers and runners love the tracks that weave through the natural vegetation of the shoreline reserve, look over the red cliffs of Sandringham Beach, and pass the picnic grounds and 1926 band rotunda. There’s plenty of parking off Jetty Road, which leads to the sheltered swimming, secret picnic spots, the yacht club, the kayak shop (which welcomes beginners and professionals), or the local favourite SHQ kiosk where you can enjoy a breakfast, lunch and an ice cream or hire a kiteboard.
Half Moon Bay
The next stop along the Coastal Trail or Beach Road is Half Moon Bay. Eating fish and chips in the sunset at Half Moon Bay is a Melbourne tradition. This gorgeous bay is famous for the towering Red Bluff (that inspired painters including Arthur Boyd, Thomas Humphrey and Charles Aloysius Wilson) and has clear safe swimming. Off shore, is the wreck of HMVS Cerberus, a Breastwork Monitor warship that was launched in 1868 and sunk as a break water in 1926.
There’s also parking, a boat ramp with parking for boat trailers, a jetty, a surf life saving club, a restaurant, and, of course, takeaway fish and chips.
Black Rock Beach
The Black Rock Lifesavers club sits on the tip of the bluff and overlooks the deeper waters of Black Rock Beach. This beach is more suited to capable swimmers, and it’s a very popular picnic spot with lots of parking, a playground, and easy access to the spectacular seawall path.
Ricketts Point Beach
Ricketts Point Beach near Beaumaris has shallow waters, soft sand and natural rock pools that are perfect for exploring and searching for small sea creatures. The 115-hectare Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary was declared in 2002 and its reefs are very popular with divers, snorkelers and kayakers.
It’s also here that the famed Heidelberg School of Impressionists painted, paddled and picnicked, and the Ricketts Point Cafe has an unrivalled view in all seasons.