Feel a million miles away from city life as you dive into the waters of the peninsula's countless sandy bay inlets and wild surf beaches.
Walk beyond the sandbars into gently lapping waves on the string of golden Port Phillip Bay beaches. These shores link Melbourne and Frankston, the inlets around Mount Eliza and Mount Martha, and on to the expanse from Safety Beach to Dromana, Rosebud, Rye, Sorrento and Portsea.
Set up your sun shelter early in the morning alongside other holidaying families. Cool off in the water, play a bit of beach cricket or take a snorkel around the piers. Enjoy a lunchtime barbeque and then walk it off on a long stroll down the beach.
Wild ocean escapes
Chase the waves and collect driftwood on wintery walks against the backdrop of rocky, sea-battered basalt headlands between Cape Schanck and Point Nepean, epitomising the rugged nature of this famous coastline.
Get your board and tackle the surf crashing in from Bass Strait, ranked as one of the world's most dangerous stretches of water. Test your surf skills at the Gunnamatta, Portsea, Sorrento and Rye back beaches.
Many peninsula beaches are patrolled during peak holiday times, though some surf beaches are not suitable for swimming. Check safety signs and beware of strong rips and reefs.
Port Phillip Bay beaches:
Long, wide bay beaches ideal for swimming, snorkelling, diving, sailboarding and yachting, featuring boat launching facilities and foreshore reserves.
Patrolled by the Frankston Life Saving Club.
Small bay beaches can be found between Mount Eliza and Mornington including Daveys, Canadian and Half Moon bays, Ranelagh and Sunnyside beaches.
Safe swimming beaches located around the harbour and nearby areas include Mills, Scout, Shire Hall, Mothers, Royal and Fishermans beaches. Yacht and boat facilities are available, plus foreshore reserves, picnic and barbecue facilities, a boardwalk and lookouts around Schnapper Point.
Patrolled by the Mornington Life Saving Club during summer months.
A series of safe, sandy bay beaches with yacht and boating facilities, foreshore reserves with picnic and barbecue facilities and a coastal walking path.
Patrolled by the Mount Martha Life Saving Club during summer months.
Calm, sandy bay swimming beach popular for boating, with a foreshore reserve and childrens playground.
Popular camping area and beach stretching from Safety Beach to Anthonys Nose featuring reserves with picnic shelters, barbecues and playgrounds.
A popular family swimming beach on the bay protected by offshore sandbars. Shaded foreshore reserves have picnic, barbecue and play facilities.
Patrolled by the Rosebud Life Saving Club during summer months.
Wide, sandy bay beach with a large foreshore reserve plus jetty, picnic and barbecue facilities, extensive boat launching, washing and parking facilities and a cycling and walking track.
Sandy bay beach with barbecue and picnic facilities in the foreshore reserve, a boat ramp suitable for small craft and a walking and cycling track.
Sorrento Front Beach
Popular bay beach and holiday destination. Also the departure point for the Queenscliff-Sorrento car and passenger ferry. Features foreshore reserves, picnic and barbecue facilities, boat launching and yachting facilities and a cycling and walking track.
Portsea Front Beach
Popular bay beach and holiday destination features wide foreshore reserves with picnic and barbecue facilities.
Portsea Surf Beach
Part of the Mornington Peninsula National Park, this popular surf beach can be treacherous at times.
Patrolled by Portsea Surf Life Saving Club and professional lifeguards from the end of November to Easter (daily from 26 December - 26 January. Weekends and public holidays at other times).
Sorrento Ocean Beach
Part of the Mornington Peninsula National Park, this popular surf beach features picnic and barbecue areas, kiosk and tea rooms.
Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club and professional lifeguards patrol from the end of November to Easter (daily from 26 December - 26 January. Weekends and public holidays at other times).
Flinders Ocean Beach
Part of the Mornington Peninsula National Park, this protected sandy bay beach and foreshore reserve has picnic, barbecue and play facilities, plus boat ramp.
Steep, sandy, pine-tree framed beaches are located around the mouth of Stony Creek and rocky platforms and reefs are popular for family exploration. The foreshore reserve has picnic and barbecue facilities.
Point Leo Surf Beach
This popular surf beach has swells rolling in from Bass Strait, while the foreshore reserve has picnic, barbecue and play facilities, a kiosk and camping area.
Point Leo Surf Life Saving Club and professional lifeguards patrol the beach from the end of November to Easter (daily from 26 December - 26 January. Weekends and public holidays at other times).
Westernport Bay beaches:
A safe sandy bay beach with walking tracks through wide foreshore reserve to beach.
Popular beach with well-vegetated sand dunes, camping and caravan parks, and foreshore reserve with picnic, barbecue and play facilities.
Popular sandy beach with picnic and barbecue facilities within a wide foreshore reserve.