Summer holiday in Cape Town? – Here with a Beach Guide
If you’re spending your holidays in Cape Town during the summer, you may well end up spending some time at one of the 72 (yes really) beaches in and around the city, many of which have Blue Flag status.
Some of these beaches are great for relaxing and enjoying the sun (the Atlantic seaboard is known for its “refreshingly” cold waters), whilst others are more ideal for swimming, notably the ones along the False Bay coast.
To make things easier, we’ve highlighted some of the more popular beaches you can enjoy, so let’s “dive in” 😊.
One of Cape Town’s Blue Flag beaches, Muizenberg is widely regarded as one of the best surf spots in and around Cape Town, especially for beginners or those looking to learn how to swim.
The beach is on the False Bay coast, meaning the water is slightly warmer and is a popular destination for families, with a portion of the beach being patrolled by lifeguards during the busier summer months.
Muizenberg is also known for its iconic, brightly coloured huts situated on the beach, and remain a favourite for Instagram photos and TikToks.
Boulders is an ideal spot for kids, so if you’re here on a family holiday, this should definitely be on your “must do” list.
Situated about 40km outside of Cape Town near Simon’s Town, the beach is home to a large colony of endangered African penguins. Its unique layout, set between large granite boulders (hence the name) means the waves are very gentle and perfect for little ones to frolic.
The water is also slightly warmer as it’s situated on the False Bay coastline, so this is a great spot for swimming.
Situated about 20 kms south of Cape Town as you head towards Hout Bay, Llandudno is a great spot for beach picnics, a bit of sunbathing and even – if you’re brave enough to withstand the cold Atlantic waters – a bit of swimming.
A “wide” beach set in a cove, the soft sand makes it very children-friendly, ideal for building sandcastles.
Its picturesque setting means it’s also a great spot to enjoy nightly sunsets and sundowners.
One thing to note is that there aren’t any nearby shops or eateries, so be sure to pack in everything you need when you’re planning a trip here, including umbrellas, snacks (and sunscreen).
Clifton consists of four hugely popular and picturesque beaches, with white-sands set amidst smooth granite boulders.
The beaches are situated below some of Cape Town’s most expensive and sought-after properties, and can be accessed by a set of stairs from the main road.
Each beach is set amidst its own cove, with the accompanying giant boulders protecting sun bathers from Cape Town’s notorious summer winds.
Each of the four beaches have their own distinct character and appeal, offering something for everyone.
First Beach is a great spot if you’re looking for a quiet morning / afternoon of sun-bathing, as it’s usually less crowded. This beach is also off-leash dog-friendly, so is a popular spot for animal lovers. Although the water is colder – being on the Atlantic coast – it does offer fairly good waves and regularly attracts surfers and body-boarders during peak summer days.
Second Beach traditionally attracts a younger more active crowd, with regular volleyball games happening during the summer months.
Third Beach is popular amongst the LGBTQI+ community, but is open to everyone. This beach is also often less crowded but a great spot for relaxing in the sun.
The largest and most popular of the beaches, would be Fourth Beach (colloquially known as “Clifton 4th”). This beach attracts a heady mix of families and friends alike. Fourth Beach has Blue Flag status, (awarded for clean water, safety, and environmental management) and offers great views of Table Mountain’s slightly less famous sibling, Lion’s Head.
Camps Bay Beach
Camps Bay closely rivals Clifton’s Fourth Beach in terms of popularity and picturesque settings. It’s situated minutes away from Clifton, and is also a Blue Flag beach.
Camps Bay beach is a long, wide stretch that is to access, although due to its immense popularity over the summer months, parking space can sometimes be difficult to find.
If you’re planning to visit this beach, it may be best to jump in an Uber so you don’t have to worry about finding a parking spot.
There is a wide variety of restaurants and cafés situated just across the road, so it’s a great spot to enjoy lunch or drinks in between chilling on the beach.
Beta Beach at Bakoven is a leisurely stroll away from Camps Bay. If you’re looking for less crowds, this is a great spot. As with most of the beaches on the Atlantic seaboard, you can expect deep blue seas with white sands, although this beach is usually quite wave-less.
The beach has a great view of Lion’s Head, and is a popular spot for photographers, while it’s also a great place to enjoy sunsets and sundowners.
Also on the Atlantic coast, but further north of Cape Town, you’ll find the beaches of Blouberg.
Popular spots include Dolphin Beach, Small Bay and Big Bay, each offering their own distinct attractions.
Big Bay is great for kitesurfing – in fact, it’s regarded as one of the top spots in the world for this activity – and plays host to an annual international kitesurfing competition.
If you’re looking for a less crowded beach in the area, Small Bay is your go to destination, where the soft sand makes it a popular beach for families and younger kids.
The beaches at Blouberg also gives you a great uninterrupted view of Table Mountain, making it a very “Instagrammable” location, and photographers will also love the sun-setting-into-the-ocean opportunities the west coast location brings.
Hout Bay Beach
Hout Bay beach can be found near the picturesque Chapman’s Peak Drive. This stretch of road runs along the Atlantic coastline between Hout Bay and Noordhoek and arguably provides one of the most stunning ocean-facing drives on the planet.
The beach itself is situated between the cliffs of Chapman’s Peak and the nearby Hout Bay Harbour.
Approximately one kilometre long and backed by adjacent sand dunes, it’s a popular spot families and is also dog-friendly.
Long Beach, as the name suggests, stretches across 8 kilometres and is Cape Town’s longest beach, situated in the suburb of Kommetjie on the Atlantic coast.
Dog friendly, it’s a huge favourite with active types and is the perfect beach for long relaxing (and sometimes taxing depending on the wind) walks on the white sands.
Due to the colder Atlantic, it’s big swimming destination, although the waves make it a popular spot for surfers and body-boarders.
A bit of a “secret beach,” Oudekraal, is situated inside the Table Mountain National Park, which you can access via an entrance fee, and you’ll need to do a bit of walking to get there.
Once you arrive, you’ll quickly realise that it was definitely worth it, as it offers BBQ / braai facilities on the sand, together with small boulders and shallow tidal pools.
It’s also a good spot for snorkelling, where you can explore and see kelp and various kinds of fish (just be sure to wear a wetsuit as it’s in the colder Atlantic)
If you’re a more advanced diver, there is also a nearby boulder cave site which you can explore.
Fish Hoek Beach
One of the most popular beaches in Cape Town for families, this beach is situated in the town of Fish Hoek, and is close to a number of restaurants and shops in the bustling main road.
Fish Hoek beach offers something for everyone, be it sunset viewing, swimming (it’s on the warmer False Bay coast) paddle boating as well as surfing.
Lifeguards and sharkspotters are on duty, and the beach also has a shark exclusion net in place during the peak summer months.