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Hastings started as a Western Port Bay fishing village and has a very busy and colourful foreshore and marina. The township is located on a crescent-shaped bay opening onto Western Port and features a modern commercial centre which extends several blocks along High Street with major supermarkets, as well as restaurants, coffee shops and speciality shops, right down to the Western Port foreshore.

Hastings' extensive waterfront foreshore area consists of large and grassy open spaces, native bush and mangroves along the water's edge. There are cycling and walking tracks, picnic and BBQ facilities and a children’s playground, as well as several sporting facilities and the historic Hastings Jetty where you can often see pelicans. The Jetty is a popular spot for fishing and boating activities with an adjacent local marina and yacht club. Hastings is probably the safest small boat harbour on Western Port, as it is easily accessible, and protected from prevailing winds. The area around the pier is a popular area with it's waterfront cafe and many yachts moored nearby.

A significant area of Western Port north of Hastings has been declared a Marine National Park, and the entire area is part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The local mudflats support significant mangrove forests, these being the most southerly species of mangrove in the world. The local Jacks Beach Walk takes hikers through the Warringine park over the mangroves via a series of boardwalks. The mangrove forests are natural fish hatcheries, important for the maintenance of good fish populations in the bay.

Hastings is approximately a 1 hour and 5 minute drive (75 kilometres) south of Melbourne.