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Melbourne Family Friendly Beaches for Kids

A guide to some of the best beaches for families with kids in Melbourne.

While the word "beach" may not exactly be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of things to do in Melbourne, there are in fact a surprising number of quality seaside locations dotted along the coast which can make for a pleasant day out with the kids - especially in the warmer months of the year where the weather is more consistently hot given Melbourne's often unpredictable climate.

When considering the best Melbourne beaches for kids, there are a few obvious factors that need to be taken into account: availability of protected areas, lifeguard patrols, "quality of people" in the area concerns, kid's play areas, and nearby facilities such as public toilets, change rooms and decent family-friendly restaurants and cafes are all concerns for families wanting the best beach day possible with their children.

With these factors in mind, we've done our best to break down the "Top 6" Melbourne beaches and attempt to provide an indication of their suitability and what they can offer visitors to Melbourne with the kids in tow. Here's our breakdown of how each of the main Melbourne beaches (within reasonable distance from the city) fare and what they can offer for kids:

1. Albert Park Beach

Albert Park BeachAlbert Park, a suburb located right in the south-central of Melbourne, is home to a lovely little beach featuring a sandy, narrow stretch of coastline with safe, sheltered waters that makes it a great choice of beach destination in Melbourne with kids, especially due to how easy it is to reach from most major accommodation spots in the city.

Accessible via public transport within around 20 minutes from the Melbourne CBD and situated next to the tram terminal on Victoria Ave, Albert Park Beach eases gently into the shallow and calm waters of Port Phillip Bay, making for ideal swim conditions for kids. The beach is a popular location for all beach-going purposes; not only swimming but sunbathing, windsurfing, kite boarding and walks along the road pier are all viable options to pass the time on the beach, while there are also many walking and bicycle paths that are popular with those rollerblading or simply going for a stroll.

With change rooms and playground facilities just up from the beach, there are plenty of options here to keep the kids entertained and in addition, a number of cafes and eateries are located nearby that make for a great place to grab a coffee or refreshments and snack on some freshly-cooked fish & chips while enjoying the beautiful bay views. Albert Park Beach makes for a solid choice for those not wishing to travel too far from their accommodation yet still looking for a quality all-round beach experience without having to drag the kids too far.

Directions from Melbourne CBD:

View Larger Map

2. Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach MelbourneLocated around 8 kilometres to the south of Melbourne, Brighton Beach is not just the name of the beach itself, but that of the relatively upmarket suburb that contains it. With fairly little development having taken place on the shorefront to cater to tourist, it maintains an untouched feel that is unique amongst the other popular beaches of Melbourne. The beach also has quite an unusual look, with a series of beach huts of varying colours and paint job set up along the sand that make for some great pictures.

One of the biggest draw cards that repeatedly brings people to (and back to!) Brighton Beach is its reputation for being the cleanest of all Melbourne's main beaches, with sands and waters that are surprisingly pristine for such an urban location. With views on both sides - one of the lovely coastline and the other towards the spectacular Melbourne city skyline - it's a very balanced destination that also provides a safe and sandy swimming area for the kids that is typically patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months.

There are large foreshore reserves bordering the beach that offer facilities such as barbecue and picnic areas that can make for an enjoyable place to enjoy a packed lunch, while they also have walking and cycling paths throughout their grassy surrounds. In order to reach Brighton Beach from the Melbourne CBD, there is a regular train service that stops at the station which is situated virtually alongside the beachfront - an almost unmatched level of convenience in terms of beach going experiences in Melbourne for those without a car or other private transport.

Directions from Melbourne CBD:

View Larger Map

3. Middle Park Beach

Middle Park Beach MelbourneRunning on from Albert Park Beach, Middle Park Beach is a natural extension of this long coastal area and has recently received an upgrade from the local council in order to keep it well-maintained. It's both a popular and picturesque place to take kids for a day out due to the plentiful facilities that can be found nearby, including kiosks, cafes, change rooms, showers and public toilets. Middle Park Beach is also home to a lifesaving club, which helps ensure that it is more heavily patrolled throughout the year than many of Melbourne's other beaches.

One thing to bear in mind if you're driving to Middle Park Beach is that the parking fees around the beach and the Port Phillip Bay area in general can be quite expensive; if you have the option from your accommodation, it may be more reasonable to take public transport. In addition, Middle Park is also the most popular beach in Melbourne for kitesurfing due to its layout, and there are also regular beach volleyball competitions held here that can prove quite entertaining to watch. Lastly, there is also an area of the beach at Middle Park where dogs are allowed for those who have pets, although they are banned from the months of November through April during which an on-the-spot penalty applies.

View Larger Map

4. Port Melbourne Beach

Port Melbourne BeachAnother easily accessible from Melbourne CBD via their light rail system within around fifteen minutes, Port Melbourne Beach is an easily-reachable relaxed experience for a lazy day outdoors. With many narrow grass lawns that are dotted with lovely green palm trees, wide plains of sand and shallow temperature waters sum up what this beach is all about. Low sand dunes for lazing on offer a great level of wind protection, and the beach's pedestrian path is popular with cyclists and rollerbladers alike.

Bay Street - one of the most popular streets for shopping and dining in Melbourne city - is just nearby, providing a huge range of options for eateries, cafes and restaurants. Cycling and walking are both possible and popular on the foreshore, with plenty of paths and tails available that wind their way along this scenic area. While it may not be the cleanest or most charming of the beaches in Melbourne, if you're not looking to commit to a long-winded day out at the beach with kids in Melbourne, head out to Port Melbourne Beach for as long (or as little) as you want, with an evening enjoying some fish and chips at the bay a very popular pastime.

View Larger Map

5. South Melbourne Beach

South Melbourne BeachOne of the best beaches within a reasonable distance of the city for kids due to its cleanliness and facilities, South Melbourne gains a leg up on the others for families with children due to its large playground area that provides plenty of play equipment for the young ones. South Melbourne Beach is a popular place located alongside a mainly residential area that has a great pier on its end that many kids find fun jumping off.

South Melbourne Beach also recently won an award for its cleanliness at the Keep Australia Beautiful Clean Beach Challenge Awards, due in large part to the city of Port Phillip's strong litter education program, with many local residents volunteering as part of the role of providing daily feedback on the condition of the beach. There is also a daily mechanical sweep along he tideline and a full mechanical clean is conducted once a week - so if cleanliness is one of your major concerns when visiting a beach, you'd be hard-pressed to beat South Melbourne as your choice in the city region.

The beach has a large boardwalk that runs alongside it and is great for those who enjoy walking or cycling to get some exercise and sunshine. As both a beautiful and picturesque seaside location, it also has a playground for kids and many cafes nearby to grab a beverage or tasty snack for lunch.

View Larger Map

6. St Kilda Beach

St Kilda BeachEasily Melbourne's largest and most popular beach, a day out at St. Kilda beach is always a mixed bag in terms of what to expect. Popular with people from all walks of life (especially during the summer months) including those with kids, it is always a major drawcard for a ton of tourists, especially in comparison with some of the other beaches listed here, and is basically Melbourne's equivalent to a Manly or Bondi of Sydney beach fame. While St. Kilda beach has a fairly "seedy" reputation, many steps have been taken over the past decade or so to clean up its image and improve on the public perception, especially in terms of catering to families with kids, with the beachfront having been recently redeveloped.

There are plenty of activities to take part in at St. Kilda beach in addition to the standard beach fare; on weekends in the summer, for example, there are camel and pony rides that are popular with kids, as well as options year-round to rent both bikes and rollerblades in order to take advantage of the expansive pedestrian and bike trails which stretch for several kilometres in both directions. Another benefit is its close proximity to the extremely popular Melbourne "eat streets" of Fitzroy and Acland, which contain a huge number of cafes, restaurants and more which offer a variety of choices for all different moods and dietary persuasions.

The slightly shady reputation St. Kilda has acquired is not entirely without justification however, as there are still lingering remnants of slightly "dodgy" people - perhaps due to the large number of hostels and relatively large number of homeless that populate nearby streets - which may act as a turnoff who families looking for a stereotypical "wholesome day of family fun". Getting to St. Kilda beach via public transport is easy, with frequent buses that pull up to a stop just alongside its foreshore and depart regularly from the Melbourne CBD.

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These are just a few of the most popular beaches in Melbourne - of course there are plenty of additional beaches outside the city if you're willing to invest time in travelling to them. In addition, if you're looking for more things to do in Melbourne including tours, attractions, activities and more with kids, be sure to check out our main Melbourne catalogue for hundreds of available choices!