Explorers Dr Alexander Collie and Lieutenant William Preston RN first came across what are now Lakes Preston and Clifton while exploring the coastline between Mandurah and Bunbury in 1829. After the introduction of convicts to the Swan River Colony in the 1850s, the "Old Coast Road" south of Mandurah was rebuilt. For most of its length, the road went through well-timbered, sandy limestone country of little value to agriculture.
The "Preston Beach Estate" was privately developed in 1959, and together with the "Lakeside Estate", was incorporated as the locality Yalgorup by the request of the local government - the name meaning "place of waters or lakes" in the Noongar language. The townsite was gazetted in 1975. However, in 1989, the name was changed to Preston Beach on request from the Shire of Waroona, as this was the local name for the town.
Preston Beach has basic accommodation and facilities. A couple of roadhouses for passing trucks and motorists are located on Old Coast Road 4 km from the town. A convenience store and service station can be found in the centre of the town. The beach has showers, BBQ facilities, and children's play facilities.
In 2006 Waroona Shire Council was developing a strategy for development of areas to the north and south of the townsite, which have been identified for urban expansion since the 1990s and secured by land developers. The strategy was expected to be completed in late 2007.
The Yalgorup National Park was established in the 1970s to protect the coastal lakes, swamps and tuart woodland in the area. The area is also central to waterbird migration patterns. At the edge of Lake Clifton, rock-like structures called thrombolites can be seen, built by tiny microorganisms believed to resemble the earliest forms of life on Earth. Scientists have suggested their presence here may be due to upwellings of fresh groundwater high in calcium carbonate. An observation walkway has been constructed to allow visitors to view these fragile structures.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "2011 Community Profiles: Preston Beach (State Suburb)". 2011 Census of Population and Housing. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names – P". Retrieved 17 April 2007.
- Shire of Waroona (20 April 2006). "Media Release - Planning for Preston Beach Commences". Archived from the original on 25 August 2006. Retrieved 10 October 2006.
- Dept of Conservation and Environment. "Yalgorup National Park". Archived from the original on 18 September 2006. Retrieved 10 October 2006.
- LovePerth (2 May 2012). "Preston Beach Kangaroos". Retrieved 2 May 2012.