Coastal restoration is often distrusted and, at best, implemented at small scales, which hampers its potential for coastal adaptation. Present technical, economic and management barriers stem from sectoral and poorly coordinated local interventions, which are insufficiently monitored and maintained, precluding the upscaling required to build up confidence in ecosystem restoration. The paper posits that there is enough knowledge, technology, financial and governance capabilities for increasing the pace and scale of restoration, before the onset of irreversible coastal degradation. We propose a systemic restoration, which integrates Nature based Solutions (NbS) building blocks, to provide climate-resilient ecosystem services and improved biodiversity to curb coastal degradation. The result should be a reduction of coastal risks from a decarbonised coastal protection, which at the same time increases coastal blue carbon. We discuss barriers and enablers for coastal adaptation-through-restoration plans, based on vulnerable coastal archetypes, such as deltas, estuaries, lagoons and coastal bays. These plans, based on connectivity and accommodation space, result in enhanced resilience and biodiversity under increasing climatic and human pressures. The paper concludes with a review of the interconnections between the technical, financial and governance dimensions of restoration, and discusses how to fill the present implementation gap.