Let the kids splash around in the shallows at Phillip Island's sheltered bay beaches, or opt for a swim and some body surfing in the swell of one of the island's ocean beaches.

North for swimming

Plan a family day on the sheltered coves on the north shores of Phillip Island, where the waters are calm and beachside amenities are close by. Join other families at the popular beach on the Esplanade at Cowes or head further west to Ventnor Beach, another peaceful spot with beautiful views across Westernport channel. If you're not a strong swimmer or you're travelling with kids, these beaches are perfect for having a dip and splashing about with the little ones.

Nearby Red Rocks Beach, as the name suggests, is set against a backdrop of red rocks and is sheltered and sandy with lots of rock pools for exploring.

South for waves

The island's south coast surf beaches, such as Woolamai, Smiths and Summerland, are more suited to strong swimmers and surfers, although they do get busy with sun seekers and families over the summer months.

Body surfers and swimmers will enjoy a dip at Smiths Beach, Shelley Beach and Kitty Miller Bay. Popular with families and young people, Smiths beach offers consistent surfing, boogie boarding and body surfing opportunities, while the kids can paddle in the whitewater and the rock pools at low tide.

Water safety

Surf beaches on the south of the island can be very dangerous at times. Beware of rips and do not swim alone. Woolamai Surf Beach, Smiths Beach and Cowes Beach are patrolled during the summer school holidays. Look out for lifesaver patrol areas.

For information on lifeguard patrols contact Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club on (03) 5956 7311. Visit lsv.com.au for helpful safety hints.