Almost half of Australians own a dog, and almost 90% of Australians live with 50kms from the coast. So yes, getting down to the beach with out dog is a perfect fit!

But in most cities, including Adelaide in South Australia, most beaches aren’t dog-friendly. This article aims to make life a bit easier for South Australian pet owners, by giving you all the options!

If you’re looking for dog beaches in other Australian cities, check out our guide to dog friendly beaches in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne.

A cute Shiba Inu dog poking its head over a sign on the beach, which says the beach is dog friendly

Dog Friendly Beaches near Adelaide

Before we jump into the list of dog beaches in Adelaide, here’s an important note. In South Australia, you must obey on leash restrictions, and always keep an eye on your dog when it’s off leash, in order to protect the Hooded Plover population. Their habitats are under serious threat, and a big part of that is from dogs hunting them and destroying their nests. Find out more from Natural Resources SA.

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1. Henley Beach

One the most dog friendly beaches in Adelaide is also one of the best beaches for humans! Henley Beach is on leash during the day throughout daylight savings time, so you’ll just need to keep up with your energetic dog!

There’s also lots of dog friendly cafes nearby, especially Malobo, which prides itself on being welcoming to out fluffy friends! They have a menu for dogs, and plan to bake and sell their own freshly baked dog treats in the near future. All Adelaide dog owners should check this place out.

Aerial shot of people on Henley Beach in South Australia - Henley Beache is a dog friendly beach in adelaide during daylight savings

2. Sempahore Beach

Head up towards Port Adelaide and you’ll come across one of Adelaide’s clearest beaches, Semaphore Beach. While the beach is best known outside Adelaide for it’s kite festival, seen in the image below, it’s also a great beach for any time of the year.

It’s also one of our favourite dog friendly beaches in Adelaide. Dogs are allowed any time, though they must be on-leash during daylight savings, so best for slow walks, or for a run with an active owner! During non-daylight savings, Dogs must be in close proximity and must be “under effective control by voice command”.

Semaphore beach, a dog friendly beach in adelaide, during the sempahore kite festival, where thousands of incredible kites are flown through the sky

3. Grange-Tennyson Beach

This is another great dog friendly beach near Adelaide city. Grange-Tennyson Beach requires dogs be on-leash beach during between 10am and 8pm daylight savings time, and under effective control outside those times. The City of Charles Sturt has a great infographic on whether dogs should be on leash or off leash here.

The beach cafe and the Grange Hotel are dog friendly and provide drinking water for your pup. While you’re there, you should take some time to check out the Tennyson Dunes, which is the largest natural dune system in Adelaide.

Tennyson Dunes, near Grange-Tennyson Beach, a dog friendly beach in Adelaide


4. Thompson Beach

This author’s favourite beach outside Adelaide, many Adelaide dog owners (or non-dog owners) are blissfully unaware of Thompson Beach, which is a shame. It’s a gorgeous spot, opening onto the Spencer Gulf, and easy 45 minute drive north of Adelaide.

To get there, you’ll need to head along Port Wakefield Road for 38km after the intersection of Waterloo Corner Road (the last set of lights leaving Adelaide), then take the Dublin turnoff to your left. Travel along South Terrace and Ruskin Road, and you’ll have arrived.

While we can’t find any official restrictions on having dogs on the beach, Thompson Beach is the northern gateway of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary/Winaityinaityi Pangkara (a name provided by the Kaurna People meaning “a country for all birds”). As per the note at the start of this page, care should be taken to keep your dogs in check, as they can pose a threat to local bird populations, including the endangered Grey Plover.

An endangered bird, the grey plover, walking through the beach swash. They are found at Thompson Beach - Thompson is a dog friendly beach in Adelaide, but dog owners need to be careful

5. O’Sullivan Beach

Just a short drive south of Adelaide will land you in the Onkaparinga City Council, which has a foreshore dog policy that dog owners will love! With the exception of Port Noarlunga, all beaches in the City allows dogs on leash from 10am-8pm during daylight savings, and controlled off leash at all other times.

But Onkaparinga also has a series of beaches that are off-leash 24 hours a day, seven days a week! Being the closest to Adelaide, O’Sullivans Beach is one of the most popular. The dog friendly section starts south of Selway Terrace, and stretches for around 1km – heaps of space for you and your pup to run!

Random O’Sullivan Beach trivia: the suburb was originally developed to provide housing for the Lonsdale industrial development and the adjacent Port Stanvac oil refinery facility. The more you know…

O'Sullivan Beach boat ramp, a dog friendly beach in Adelaide South Australia

Image: Chris Dorward

6. Port Noarlunga South

The main Port Noarlunga beach has fairly strict rules around when dogs can and can’t be in the area, particularly around the jetty. However, Port Noarlunga South has a fairly large off-leash dog exercise area.

You can find the off-leash region in this pdf from the council.

Port Noarlunga jetty in South Australia - Port noarlunga south is a dog friendly beach in adelaide

7. Seaford Beach

Is your dog a gnarly surfer dude? Just south of Port Noarlunga, Seaford beach is known for both its surf and it’s off-leash dog friendly credentials. There also a great walking and cycling trails that wings along the cliff tops, which give a cracker view of the coastline.

Here’s the councils guide to where you can let your dog off leash at Seaford.

Seaford Beach in South Australia, a dog friendly beach near adelaide

Images: Les Haines

8. Sellicks Beach

Another of the authors favourite beaches in Adelaide, as we as one of the best dog beaches in Adelaide! This is the southern most beach in Onkaparinga City that allow dogs off leash at all times. We skipped a few, including Maslin Beach and Aldinga Beach, mostly because Sellicks is the best of the three! (Click the beach names for the off-leash sections).

Sellicks is where the Mount Lofty Ranges meet the sea, and offer a gorgeous view of the South Australian coastline. As you can see in the photo below, the steep cliffs gradually give way to a beach with plentiful surf and sand. Sellicks Beach, as well as being a great dog beach near Adelaide, is also an awesome fishing spot, with good boat launching facilities. Cars are allowed on the beach below the Esplanade if you get a pass from the council.

Sellicks Beach, with the mount lofty ranges in the background - one of the best dog friendly beaches in adelaide


About Tim Beau Bennett

Tim is an ex-journalist and radio presenter, and has been a professional writer for over a decade. He regularly writes about technology, lifestyle, and smart cities, and has written for news site including the ABC, SBS, and Australian Financial Review.