Disclosure: This post may contain affliate links. We may recieve a small commission if you purchase something using the link. It won't cost you any extra money. Please check our disclosure policy for more information.
Glenelg Beach, or ‘The Bay’ as it is known locally, is one of the best places in Adelaide to spend some serious time on or by the water. Imagine taking an early morning swim with the dolphins, before stopping for lunch overlooking the bustling jetty.
If you want to keep the adrenaline going, take a jet ski tour along the coastline. Why not take the kids for a splash at The Beachouse Water Park. Cast a line from a local fishing charter, or hire your own boat and take yourself off exploring. Just make sure you are back in time to soak up one of the best views of the sunset in Adelaide.
With all that playtime, it’s only right to sit back and relax at one of the many restaurants at Glenelg Marina, admiring the beautiful yachts as your background. Sound idyllic? It absolutely is.
All of this with lively vibes, bustling shops, cafes and restaurants with perfectly located accommodation for those magnificent views of Glenelg Beach.
It’s not hard to see why Glenelg is one of Adelaide’s favourite destinations.
Looking for more ways to get on the water in South Australia?
Check out these popular posts:
$ – inexpensive option, great for budget conscious travellers
$$ – mid-priced, good value for money
$$$ – high end, unique experience
Glenelg Water Activities
How does an early morning swim with dolphins sound?
Temptation Sailing is a popular Dolphin Cruise from Glenelg’s Holdfast Marina with good reason. In fact, it’s voted one of the best things to do in Adelaide. Heading off on the sailing catamaran just after sunrise, this magical experience is a big bucket list tick. Be amongst wild dolphins as they playfully swim around you. Be amazed that they are just as intrigued as you! Kitted up with a snorkel and wetsuit, we bet you won’t want to get out of the water!
Don’t fancy getting wet? Book a Dolphin Watch Cruise instead and still be a part of the excitement. Temptation Sailing also offers Coastal Day Cruises, Afternoon Tea Cruises and the majestic Twilight Cruise for pure relaxation out on the water.
Jump onboard Ocean Safari’s state of the art modern vessel for a true Glenelg experience. With all-weather protection, there’s no reason not to enjoy one of the many tours they offer.
Cruise the coast on the Wild Dolphin Safari, let South Australia show off on the SEA-Food & Wine Safari, take in the local history on the Cultural Safari or get all romantic on the Sunset Safari.
Feeling a bit more adventurous? Ocean Safari offers Adelaide to Kangaroo Island Tours, along with being available for private charters.
$ (free to enter)
Try and say this without pronouncing it The Beach House!
Glenelg’s Beach House is action-packed full of fun stuff to do. This amusement park is a family favourite, with 3 heated waterslides; the Dual Slide, the Speed Slide & the Raft Slide as well as bumper bash boats, perfect to let the kids have a splashing time. There are loads more to do, so don’t be surprised if you lose a whole day in here!
Don’t be fooled though, there is plenty for adults to do too!
Looking for the ultimate adrenaline rush? Take a walk to the next beach north of Glenelg, or jump in the car for a quick drive and head to West Beach. Here you’ll find a jet ski waiting in the water for you, ready to take you on a guided tour. No boat licence required!
Choose from several tours including a 45-minute blast to a 4-hour jet ski safari, exploring hidden islands within the local marine sanctuary. Don’t blame us when you don’t want to give the ski back!
Find out what we thought when we hit the water with Wild Jet Ski Tours!
From the same team at Wild Ride Jet Ski, kayaks and stand up paddleboards are available to hire for the day. Located at West Beach, there is a perfectly sheltered area to get some good practice in, or head straight out and explore the coastline of Glenelg and beyond! Enjoy the tranquillity as you see Glenelg Beach from a different perspective, weaving in and around the jetty.
Single and double kayaks are available, along with some great advice if this is your first time. Perfect for all the family to go exploring.
$$ (free to spectators)
Discover sailing with Adelaide Sailing Club at the next beach along, West Beach. Imagine learning new skills as you glide through the water or build your confidence on a weekend course.
Just enjoy watching the nature of sailing? Check out their events page and head down to the sand. Want to spectate in style? Dine at their gorgeous waterfront Oceanique Restaurant with the perfect 180-degree view.
$$ – $$$
Want to head out on the water to catch your personal best? There are a number of fishing charters that leave from West Beach Boat Ramp – just a quick drive from Glenelg. These local charters often go out on half-day charters – AM and PM. Some offer full fay charters if there are enough expressions of interest. Twilight Fishing Charters are also becoming offered more and more by these charter businesses.
Some of the best fishing charters from West Beach are:
- Glenelg Fishing Charters
- Absolute Fishing Charters
- Go Get ‘Em Fishing Charters
- Get Hooked Fishing Charters
- Strike1 Fishing Charters
If you are looking to save a few dollars on a fishing charter, it is worth checking Groupon and Scoopon as often fishing charters advertise good deals on these sites. If you haven’t used either of these sites before, you can also get 10% off your first booking!
However, this also means that they get booked up quickly, so you may need to book in advance of your visit to Glenelg.
Want to get out on the water your own way? In your own time? Or at your own pace? Hire a self-drive rental from B.A. Boat Hire who can launch for you from the local West Beach Boat Ramp. Choose from their smaller Weekender boat or their larger Centre Cab for the ultimate adventure. Half-day and full-day hire available and ready waiting in the water for you. A valid boat licence is required.
Or want to get to know more about them? Check out this interview post with the owner, Ben who explains what’s behind Adelaide’s favourite boat hire.
Glenelg Beach Swimming
Glenelg Beach is Adelaide’s much-loved swimming beach. With good access and safe swimming, it’s popular with everyone, including families. Waves are often low with a continuous shallow bar to avoid getting too deep too quick. The beach is often patrolled by Glenelg Surf Life Saving Club, giving you the confidence in swimming safely – just remember to stay between the flags.
If you want to know more about the safety of the beach and those surrounding it, check out the Beach Safe website.
Is the weather not looking so great? The nearest best indoor swimming pool is at SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre with a splash park, water slides and a 50m pool for lap swimming. There is some serious fun to be had at this place! Or stay outdoors at the Marion Outdoor Pool with heated pools (3 of them!), water slides and their own splash park as well. Both are located just minutes away from Glenelg.
Glenelg Jetty Fishing
Claim your spot on the jetty and cast a line over the edge. With shallow waters, it is best to fish here at high tide. Imagine teaching the kids to fish, catching a range of species including Tommies (Herring), Squid, Snook, Garfish, Mullet and those never-ending Blue Swimmer crabs. For more details on how to catch and what time of year, check out this post from Tackle World Adelaide Metro. This post also includes information about other local jetties and what can be caught!
During the summer months, Glenelg’s giant Ferris wheel reaches for the sky for spectacular views of the coastline, Glenelg and even across to the Adelaide Hills. Whilst this may not be a water activity, the views at 35 metres high of the ocean, jetty and esplanade are not to be missed!
With so many water activities on offer in Glenelg and the local area, the hardest thing will be deciding which ones to do! From the calming experiences of fishing and kayaking to adrenaline-pumping water slides and jet skiing, you literally can go from one extreme to the other!
Don’t miss the water fountains in Moseley Square too. These are a perfect way for kids (and adult kids) to cool down on a hot summer day!
Glenelg Waterview Dining
Experience stunning ocean views day and night at this popular Beachfront Bistro. The menu covers all tastes, including a good range of seafood dishes, made with local fresh ingredients with a modern Australian fare. If you love traditional Thai cuisine, their Thai chefs will have the perfect menu waiting for you.
The Pier is situated right on the Holdfast Promenade, overlooking Glenelg Jetty and is well-known to be the home of entertainment at Glenelg Beach! Check their website for dining times during the day.
Known at the bar with the views, you can’t get much closer to the beach without actually getting on it! Spilling out on the promenade and Moseley Square, enjoy an ocean breeze as you sip cocktails with some simply stunning food. This local favourite serves food and drink all day, including breakfast.
Next to the above mentioned Grand Bar, the Promenade Restaurant is the waterfront fine dining experience of Glenelg. As part of the Stamford Hotel, this culinary delight is open for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings. With spectacular views of the golden beach and deep blue ocean, this dining option is one to remember.
Waterfront dining in Glenelg doesn’t come much better than this! Open to the public, this lively surf venue is a great way to support a great local club… with stunning views! Take a seat on the newly refurnished balcony and enjoy one of their restaurants themed nights, along with Happy Hour! Watch the busy club during the day with a hive of activity, or soak up the glowing sunset in the evening.
If you are a dough lover, you’ll love DoughBalls. Situated on Moseley Square, this Italian dream has some of the best views in Glenelg. Enjoy the bustling vibes of the square, water fountains springing into the air, the soothing sounds of the ocean; you cannot help but love this place! And that’s all before you’ve tucked into some warm butter-soaked fluffy doughballs, followed by an authentic pizza that’ll be sure to make its way onto social media.
Can you tell we like this place?! Read our post about grabbing life by the doughballs!
Join Ellenika’s Family Table, a traditional Greek Taverna right in the heart of Glenelg’s Holdfast Marina. The views of the luxurious docked yachts are just as good on the eyeballs as the Meze Journey that your tastebuds will enjoy. With a large menu and plenty of sharing options available, you’ll want to leave plenty of room for this feast!
$$ – $$$
A prime waterfront location isn’t complete with an Oyster Bar experience. This sophisticated but casual dining location is within the marina; a perfect view for enjoying an exciting range of chilled and grilled Coffin Bay, Eyre Peninsula oysters with a hand-picked South Australian wine list.
Oyster lovers, are you tempted at just the thought yet? Then don’t miss the “Let’s Shuck” ultimate unique experience from farm to plate.
As the name suggests, this is the place to be on a balmy Glenelg Beach evening. With both ocean and marina views available on either side of their venue; you are spoilt for choice. Their cocktail list is impressive, each one being more and more tempting as you work your way down the list. The menu is simple; enough to enjoy alongside those cocktails, but also interesting – beer battered hotdog anyone?!
All-day Australian Cuisine dining is available from The Wharf with a good range of seafood, grill plates, sharing options, schnitzels and something for more health-conscious guests. Dine inside or alfresco with a choice of views of Glenelg’s sandy beach, or the calmer waters of the stunning marina.
$$ – $$$
Imagine a unique authentic Japanese Teppanyaki cooking experience right on the waterfront of Glenelg marina. Sit back and relax as their expert chef prepares and cooks your fresh Japanese cuisine at your table, on the sizzling hot plates right in front of you. Food lovers don’t forget your cameras as you won’t want to miss this one!
This is Adelaide’s hottest Beach Club during the summer months! This popup beach club is located right directly on the sand and is definitely the place to be seen in Glenelg. Free to enter, you can hire a day bed to soak up the atmosphere, or just pop in for a drink or meal whilst chilling on the bean bags or picnic tables. The cocktails are made for sunny days on the beach with pure uninterrupted views of Glenelg’s sheltered bay. And the tunes are pretty cool on a hot day!
Summer doesn’t get much better than this in Glenelg!
$ – $$$
Glenelg Beach cannot be mentioned without the infamous Moseley Square; the central hub of this popular destination. Bursting at the seams with cafes and restaurants, there really is something for everyone, whatever mood your taste buds are in. From European cuisine and casual dining to burger delights and takeaways to tuck into on the beach; some have sea views, others have energetic vibes and most have well-protected areas from the elements with their covered outdoor dining.
We can’t end this section of the guide without also mentioning Jetty Road. Whilst you lose the ocean view as you meander up this busy high street, there is a feast of dining options available. Check out more at the Jetty Road Glenelg website.
Glenelg Waterfront Stays
$$ – $$$
Enjoy this absolute beach frontage location with a wide range of one, two and three-bedroom apartments. Premier Suites are also available for that special occasion. Take in the endless ocean views from your waterfront balcony or sneak a peek at the dazzling marina and green parklands from the opposite side of this hotel.
You won’t need to venture far with an indoor pool, a spa tub, a sauna and a fitness centre all within the hotel. This really is the place to spend a night or a few days with everything available on your doorstep.
$$ – $$$
The Stamford Grand stands proud, just steps away from Glenelg Beach. You cannot miss it as it overlooks the sandy beach, almost as though it is purposely there to just keep an eye on things! The luxurious Stamford really is grand in the way it offers premium waterfront accommodation. Packages are available from the range of Grand Rooms to Ocean View Suites, with an outdoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, fitness centre and business facilities within the hotel.
Locations do not get much better than this!
If feeling nautical vibes are your way of enjoying time close to the water, the Seawall Apartments are the place for you. Right on the beach, these award-winning, uniquely presented self-catering apartments are perfect for couples through to larger groups. Each apartment has its own name such as The Crows Nest, The Stern, The Beach House and Beachside Balcony.
Dreaming of an en-suite spa bath overlooking the ocean whilst watching the dolphins swim past? Don’t miss The Captains Quarters, Seawalls grand entertainer and an absolute gem!
Looking for your own bit of private beachfront paradise? This stunningly designed 2 bedroomed apartment offers one of the best accommodation views in Glenelg. Located on South Esplanade, we’re pretty sure you won’t want to leave this gorgeous apartment!
Minimum night stay applicable.
$ – $$$
Glenelg hosts a whole range of privately owned Airbnbs, with more and more being added to the number of holiday rentals available. Many are situated along Holdfast promenade, or further down the beach foreshore with stunning views. There are also options available to those looking to be slightly set back from the waterfront, who want to spend more money on getting out on the water with all the activities and boat tours available!
Have you been to Glenelg Beach recently? Thinking about visiting? We’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
Water loving British girl who moved to Australia and seriously caught the travel bug! Loves to explore and share destinations that inspire others to spend more time on the water and in the great outdoors. Typically, you’ll find her on a boat or next to the ocean, often in a daydream!