19 Best Cape Town Beaches

There are many gorgeous beaches in Cape Town. With a wide choice between long sand beaches and smaller coves, Cape Town beaches are places where you can spend an entire day – or just a few hours – relaxing, playing sports (surfing is a big thing here), or simply admire the stunning landscape and wildlife.

Mind you – Cape Town beaches aren’t exactly places where you’d go for a leisurely swim. The ocean in this part of the country is quite cold, and only some beaches have slightly warmer waters where the bravest ones go for a swim – most will be wearing a wetsuit, but local children do go in the water without (but then you know, kids never feel cold!).

What if you don’t have a wetsuit? Don’t worry: there’ll be plenty to do anyways! With the backdrop of Table Mountain and the Cape Fold Mountain range, you’re in for some stunning views and you can spend hours taking stunning photos.

Curious to find out more? Continue reading to discover the best beaches in Cape Town! I will also be sharing practical information on the facilities you’ll find at the various beaches, and the average water temperature throughout the year (keep in mind it may be much colder in the winter months!).

You should also read my post The Best Beaches In South Africa.

Cape Town Beaches
Photo by Peter Travka @shutterstock

The Best Cape Town Beaches

Clifton Beaches

Clifton Beach isn’t actually just one beach — it’s a collection of four beaches, and the are among the best beaches in Cape Town. Named 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Beach, each of these Cape Town beaches has something slightly different going for it.

No matter which one you choose, however, you can expect spectacularly white sand, warmish waters, and the prospect of having an easygoing day at the beach.

Clifton Beach 1st is kind of the unofficial mecca for beachgoers with their dogs. 2nd, is a hotspot for the LGBTQ+ crowd, while the 3rd beach has a youthful party atmosphere.

But 4th Beach is the real showstopper — the only Blue Flag designated stretch of sand out of all the Clifton Beaches, it’s here where families enjoy days by the sea, and young couples enjoy candlelit dinners on the shoreline as the sun begins to set.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Victoria Road
BEST FOR: A day with the family, swimming, couples’ dinners, wave watching
FACILITIES: Outdoor showers, toilet facilities, beach chairs, and umbrellas

best beaches in South Africa best beaches in Cape Town

Camps Bay

If you’re looking for somewhere in Cape Town where you can spend the whole day at the beach, relaxing and unwinding, then Camps Bay Beach is the spot for you.

This famously reliable stretch of sand is a busy, family-friendly spot where (come high season) people flock to in the hundreds. I think it is probably something to do with its Blue Flag status!

There are a number of cafes, bars, and restaurants that edge the powdery white sand here, and a fashionable atmosphere that definitely makes it feel like the place to be.

BEST FOR: Exploring, surfing, wave watching, sunbathing
FACILITIES: Toilet facilities, parking, restaurants, shops

Hout Bay best beaches in cape town

Hout Bay Beach

Hout Bay itself is a vibrant, attractive suburb of Cape Town, and this is definitely reflected in its beach — a wide, curving stretch of sand that’s backed by the picturesque town itself and then dramatic mountain scenery.

With its central position, Hout Bay Beach is mere steps from shops, restaurants, and museums, plus a number of hiking trails that lead up into the hills. It’s not hard to see how Hout Bay has become a popular seaside resort and is always mentioned about the best Cape Town beaches.

The beach boasts calm waters for swimming but also has a number of opportunities for water sports, including kayaking, sailing, and fishing.

The local community here is particularly proud of their coastline and you’ll usually see them out and about with their families, walking dogs or even riding horses along the sand itself.

BEST FOR: Fishing, sailing, kayaking, long beach walks, swimming, a day with the family, exploring, weekend by the sea
FACILITIES: Restaurants, shops, water sports equipment rental, parking, toilet facilities

Cape Town Beaches

Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach is definitely one of the most picturesque Cape Town beaches. Here azure waters gently lap the soft, white, fine sand, scattered with rounded boulders (as the name suggests).

But it’s not just the landscape that brings visitors to this Cape Town beach. It’s also the beach’s resident 3,000-strong penguin colony that attracts people from all over. There are two viewing platforms that overlook the main beach, from where you can get a good glimpse of the penguins in their natural habitat.

Simon's Town

Alternatively, you can walk down Willis Walk onto the beach itself where you can get a closer glimpse of the penguins, or go for a swim with them. Just make sure you don’t pet or feed the penguins — they are wild animals after all.

In terms of swimming, Boulders Beach is a sheltered cove so it’s safe for small children; there’s also a reef making for some great snorkeling and diving opportunities.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Kleintuin Road, Simon’s Town
BEST FOR: Penguin watching, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, exploring
FACILITIES: Parking, wheelchair-accessible boardwalks, visitors center, restaurants

Lots of day trips departing from Cape Town make a stop at Boulders Beach. You may want to consider this Cape Point and Boulders Beach full day tour.

You should also read my post 13 Great Day Trips From Cape Town.

best beaches in cape town
Photo by Celso Pupo @shutterstock

Water’s Edge

Part of the appeal of Water’s Edge is how hidden it feels. This is one of the lesser known Cape Town beaches. Located close to Simon’s Town, it’s very easy to miss. In fact, the entrance to it looks like the entrance to someone’s garden (it’s a small gate).

But don’t overlook this hidden gem. It’s the ideal spot for families to come and enjoy a day by the sea. The beach at Water’s Edge itself sits in a protected cove and boasts amazing views of the Hottentots Holland Mountains and False Bay.

The water is safe for swimming and there are plenty of big rocks dotting the shoreline — good for both jumping off and exploring with a snorkel.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Kleintuin Road, Simon’s Town
BEST FOR: A day with the family, exploring, snorkeling, swimming, photographers
FACILITIES: Restaurant (just one)

best beaches in Cape Town
Photo by Sunshine Seeds @shutterstock

Glencairn Beach

If you’re going to Boulders Beach to see the penguins or swinging by Water’s Edge (especially by train), it makes sense to make a stop at Glencairn Beach.

This is one of the best beaches in Cape Town according to locals, and particularly for dog walkers or just people enjoying an afternoon strolling along the sand.

You won’t find many tourists at Glencairn Beach, but what you will get is beautiful, smooth sand and the opportunity to enjoy a whole range of water sports. A tidal pool also makes for some nice beachcombing opportunities to keep little ones busy.

In the right season (July to December) it’s also a top spot for whale watching; between August and November, you’re almost guaranteed a glimpse of a right whale, for example.

BEST FOR: Dogs, wave watching, kayaking, surfing and windsurfing, whale watching
FACILITIES: Public transport connections, toilet facilities, parking

Glen Beach Cape Town Beaches
Photo by Mark R Baker @shutterstock

Glen Beach

If you’re looking for an alternative to the sometimes quite lively Camps Bay Beach, then you should consider a trip to its northern neighbor: Glen Beach.

Protected by big boulders and sand dunes, Glen Beach is both calm in terms of the wind and currents, and also the atmosphere. It’s backed by little bungalows and a few eateries, and out-of-season it is a favorite among locals who come to walk their dogs or just stroll along the sand.

All in all, it’s a charming stretch of sand, where children eat ice creams and local surfers chill or catch a wave. It’s not one of the biggest Cape Town beaches, however, and can still get busy, so getting there early is recommended.

BEST FOR: Surfing, a day with the family, sunbathing
FACILITIES: Public transport connections, lifeguards, beach equipment hire

Miller Point
Photo by Alessandro De Maddalena @shutterstock

Miller’s Point

Around an hour’s drive outside of Cape Town, Miller’s Point is a popular stop-off point for road-trippers along the Coastal Road. There may not be a sandy beach here, but the natural tidal pool along this wild coastline more than makes up for that.

The area has remained largely undeveloped, apart from fishermen who enjoy long days along the shoreline here. The lack of development probably has something to do with the fact that Miller’s Point is actually located within Table Mountain National Park.

Aside from a potential splash around in the tidal pools here, Miller’s Point is well known as a whale-watching spot — during the right season, of course.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Simon’s Town (just outside)
BEST FOR: Fishing, whale watching, nature lovers, photographers, swimming
FACILITIES: Toilet facilities, fishing charters, water slide, braai facilities, parking

Beta Beach Cape Town Beaches
Photo by Jarred Pincus @shutterstock

Beta Beach

This is one of the best Cape Town beaches for sunset views. Actually made up of a string of several picturesque beaches and small coves separated by rocky promontories, Beta Beach (also known as Bakoven Beach) is a good option for those who like to explore.

Here, in front of a number of high-end bungalows, the small coves boast powdery sandcastle-ready sand and beautifully calm blue waters; the many rocks make for great snorkeling, too.

The only downside is that at high tide, many of the beaches here all but disappear, becoming small slithers of sand where it can be hard to find a spot to base yourself. But if you do find a spot, the views out across Camps Bay and Lion’s Head are particularly beautiful at sunset.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Beta Road, Bakoven
BEST FOR: A day with the family, sunbathing, snorkeling, exploring, sunsets, photographers
FACILITIES: Toilet facilities, public transport connections, cafe

where to stay in Cape Town best beaches in Cape Town

Llandudno Beach

This beautiful crescent-shaped beach is stitched between Hout Bay and Camps Bay, offering up some dramatic scenery. Here waves roll into the gleaming white sand on a backdrop of rising green-clad headlands, making for a particularly lovely spot for sunset.

This is one of the best beaches in Cape Town for surfers, who regularly find good waves at Llandudno Beach. Just off the coast many a ship has met its doom over the centuries. But for those who just want to chill out on the sand or dip their toes in the shallows, it’s an ideal spot.

There’s not much in the way of facilities here, so it’s a good idea to bring along a picnic if you want to stay for a few hours. You’re bound to get a space on the beach though, as it’s never overly busy, and you can shelter from any breeze by nabbing a boulder-protected spot.

BEST FOR: Surfing, photographers, sunsets, exploring, sunbathing
FACILITIES: Surf clubs, toilet facilities

Cape Town day trips

Muizenberg Beach

Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town, and Muizenberg Beach are probably my favorite Cape Town beaches. Muizenberg Beach really has it all: Blue Flag accreditation, a thriving surf community, a family-friendly atmosphere, soft sands, and photogenic scenery. It’s no wonder that it’s so popular.

This is where pretty much everyone in Cape Town comes to learn to surf, thanks to its ideal surf school conditions; as a result surf clubs, schools and rentals abound along the shore here.

But it’s not all about surfing. In fact, there are some gentler portions of the beach here, making it just about right for paddling and splashing around in the shallows. There’s also the colorful, now iconic beach huts, which have found their way onto many an Instagram feed in recent years (including mine!).

best beaches in cape town

The family-friendly credentials of Muizenberg beach continue at the western end, where a water park is located — ideal for letting off steam on a summer’s day. There’s also a swimming pool and miniature gold, too. The beach also sits in the shadow of the Muizenberg Mountains, which feature amazing hikes to waterfalls, caves, and viewpoints.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Muizenberg
BEST FOR: Surfing, a day with the family, sunbathing
FACILITIES: Shark spotters, surf schools and board rentals, changing rooms, toilet facilities, parking, cafes, restaurants, shops, and a train station.

Head over to my post 24 Best Things To Do In Cape Town.

best cape town beaches
Photo by ArTono @shutterstock

Fish Hoek Beach

The family-friendly Fish Hoek Beach is an ideal spot to get away from it all. The village of Fish Hoek itself remains almost undeveloped by modern-day standards, with barely any chain eateries or shops, and retaining a charming feel of yesteryear.

The beach here features calm waters with reliably good swimming opportunities and plenty of snorkeling sites along the rocks. The beachfront, although quiet, still has a clutch of coffee shops and restaurants.

Come for whale watching season and you may be treated by a display of tail slaps and breaching by majestic marine mammals and their young. No wonder many believe it’s one of the best beaches in Cape Town!

BEST FOR: A day with the family, photographers, strolling, snorkeling, swimming
FACILITIES: Parking, toilet facilities, shark nets (in high season), lifeguards, cafes, restaurants, shops

Buffels Bay
Photo by Caron Palmer @shutterstock

Buffels Bay Beach

For a truly dramatic slice of Cape Town’s coastline, look no further than Buffels Bay Beach. Here you’ll find a wild, rock-strewn slice of sand backed by grassy lawns and overlooked by soaring, sometimes cloud-topped, mountains.

This very picturesque beach lies within Cape Point Nature Reserve, and as such is very undeveloped. It’s a particularly inviting spot to take a dip to cool off in the sea after a long hike in the reserve itself. There are a number of tidal pools here, packed full of interesting marine life, which makes for a calmer place to swim and explore than the sea itself.

People often bring picnics here, particularly in the form of braai thanks to the dedicated facilities. This makes it one of the best Cape Town beaches for families. However, be careful of baboons, however, as they roam free in the area. Restaurants are a short drive away from Cape Point.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Buffels Bay, Cape Point Nature Reserve
BEST FOR: Exploring, wave watching, photographers, a day with the family
FACILITIES: Braai facilities, picnic facilities, toilet facilities

Best beaches in South Africa: Bloubergstrand

Bloubergstrand Beach

One of the best things about Bloubergstrand (literally “Blue Mountain View”) is indeed the view, where, across the sea, Table Mountain rises up from the Atlantic Ocean itself. But that’s not all. This being an unprotected wild beach, the waves roll in here and the wind blows a gale.

This doesn’t make it great for swimming (though some do brave the cold water) or chilling on the beach, but it does make it one of the best beaches in Cape Town for surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing.

Families, too, enjoy days here on the sand, brought here by the chance to fly colorful kites in the wind — and by the interesting rock pools that dot the shoreline.

On days when the wind does drop, however, the beach does fill up with sunbathers.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Bloubergstrand, Table View
BEST FOR: Windsurfing, kitesurfing, surfing, kite flying, a day with the family, wave watching
FACILITIES: Surf schools, cafes, bars, restaurants, parking, lifeguards, shops

Mouille Point Cape Town Beaches

Mouille Point

Also known as Granger Bay Beach, this hotspot for beachgoers in Cape Town is tucked away in the affluent suburb of Mouille Point itself, which is sandwiched between the V&A Waterfront and Granger Bay.

The beach here is mainly rocky, so it’s not one to come for days spent lounging on the sand. But thanks to the promenade above, and the sea breeze whipping around, it’s an atmospheric place to stroll for families — ice cream (or coffee) in hand, of course.

Into rollerblading? Bring your skates, because that’s the thing to do along this seaside promenade.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Mouille Point
BEST FOR: Wave watching, seaside strolls, jogging, rollerblading, a day with the family
FACILITIES: Public transport connections, promenade, cafes, restaurants, shops, parking

Long Beach
Photo by David Steele @shutterstock

Long Beach

Measuring in at almost 5 miles long, the aptly named Long Beach is a haven for surfers and dogs alike — it’s one of the only Cape Town beaches where pooches can freely run off the leash.

The wild natural coast here is buffeted by winds, so not exactly one for a gentle day lounging around on the sand, but surfers love it. These winds make it a great spot for surfing and boogie boarding. The waves can get quite busy, so remember to wait your turn.

It’s also popular with people out for a beach stroll; the length of the beach is worthy of a day-long hike! You may even meet some friendly pups along the way.

BEST FOR: Surfing, long beach walks, exploring, dogs
FACILITIES: Parking, toilet facilities, restaurants, shops

best beaches in Cape Town
Photo by Christian Horz @shutterstock

Oudekraal Beach

This secluded spot is located a 10-minute drive along Victoria Road inside Table Mountain National Park. Lacking big developments, Oudekraal Beach is also sheltered from the elements by big boulders, which means less wind and safe swimming.

One of the best things about this beach aside from its snorkel-worthy waters (particularly around those boulders), as well as a historic shipwreck that ran aground in 1698 that attracts divers, are its braai facilities.

Here you grill up a storm here with your family or friends and kick back on a grassy picnic area. To be honest, most people come here stacked up with firewood and meat for a braai on a scenic backdrop.

Because the beach is part of the national park, note that there’s an entrance fee to access it.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Oudekraal Nature Reserve, Table Mountain National Park
BEST FOR: Snorkeling, a day with the family, swimming, scuba diving
FACILITIES: Parking, picnic facilities, public transport connections

St James Beach Cape Town
Photo by Andrea Willmore @shutterstock

St. James Beach

St. James is the eponymous beach nestled in the small village of St. James. But despite its size, St. James has become something of a tourist draw for its famous rainbow-hued beach huts.

As well as being picturesque, the beach at St. James is sheltered from the Cape Town winds, has safe swimming, and is well connected by public transport. No wonder it attracts locals and visitors from far and wide.

Shops and restaurants, as well as other conveniences, are just a stone’s throw away at Kalk Bay – I recommend Olympia for a lovely lunch. And for hikers, there are multiple trails a few blocks from the beach.

BEST FOR: Photographers, exploring, a day with the family, swimming
FACILITIES: Transport connections, restaurants

Queens Beach
Photo by Moobatto @shutterstock

Queens Beach

Only a quick drive from the V&A Waterfront, Queens Beach nevertheless feels like a forgotten corner of Cape Town’s beach scene.

Even so, it’s backed by apartment blocks and big hotels, and people definitely know it’s here — come to New Year’s Day, it’s packed to the rafters (like every beach in Cape Town).

Surfers and families in particular, however, do find their way to the mercifully wind-free Queens Beach, attracted by the big breaks, the lack of a sandblast to the face, and the interesting sea life living in the rock pools.

The downside is there are no lifeguards on duty, but in the shallows, it’s fairly safe to swim and paddle. There’s also a swimming pool nearby.

BEST FOR: Exploring, surfing, a day with the family
FACILITIES: Transport connections, toilet facilities, parking, promenade

Further Readings

If you are traveling to Cape Town, these other posts will be useful:

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Discover the best Cape Town beaches - via @clautavani

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