The village is a popular holiday destination, with many homes being used for that purpose. It adjoins Fairhaven Beach, which at 6 km long is the longest beach on the Great Ocean Road. The village is separated from adjoining Aireys Inlet by the Painkalac Creek, and development in recent years has seen Fairhaven become increasingly joined to the Aireys Inlet township.
Fairhaven Beach is a popular surfing destination, and the Fairhaven Surf Lifesaving Club, which was founded in 1957, has been described as Fairhaven's "social centre". The club operated out of a volunteer-built clubhouse from 1960 until 2012, when their old premises were demolished to allow for the construction of a new modern building. Numerous delays saw the club operating out of shipping containers for more than a year, but a new clubhouse finally opened in December 2013.
A local landmark is the Pole House, a house suspended 40 metres above Fairhaven Beach. The original house, built in 1978, was demolished in 2013 after the owners thwarted a bid to list the house on the Victorian Heritage Register. It was rebuilt in a modern design along similar lines, on the existing pole, in 2013-14. Better Homes and Gardens filmed a segment there for the opening of the replacement house in early 2014.
The Fairhaven area was badly damaged in the Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983.