10 Best Beaches on the Gold Coast, Queensland
Gold Coast beaches have some of the most beautiful coastlines in Australia and attract travellers from all over. But which are the best beaches on the Gold Coast? Well it depends who you are! Whether you are travelling to the Gold Coast as a family with a baby, young kids, older kids, or even with friends, see our top 10 below and discover which beaches on the Gold Coast are the best for you.
Gold Coast Beaches
If you’re planning on visiting the Gold Coast, chances are that exploring some of the beautiful beaches is high on your “to do” list.
This beach city in southern Queensland is well known for being home to some of the most amazing stretches of sand and sea in the whole of Australia.
Conditions, facilities and activities vary wildly though. The best beach on the Gold Coast really depends on who you are visiting with, and exactly what you’re looking for.
There are some great spots with calm water and no waves that are perfect for families with little ones to enjoy paddling in the shallows.
Likewise, though there are some beaches with world class waves perfect for surfers and then there is everything in between as well.
No matter which Gold Coast beach you’re looking for, always remember to swim between the flags and stick to the advice given by the lifeguards on duty.
We’ve provided the times you can expect each beach to have a manned lifeguard tower. It’s worth noting though that these beaches are all patrolled every single day during the Queensland school holidays.
10 Best Beaches Gold Cost
Below you can find our top 10 best beaches on the Gold Coast.
Tallebudgera Creek is a favourite among locals and young families and definitely one of the best beaches on the Gold Coast to visit with kids. It’s an amazing, secluded bay with incredibly calm waters that are perfect for little ones or those who are a little nervous around the surf.
There is plenty of shade at the end closest to the ocean as well as tables, toilets, beach showers and a small playground for little ones. Custard Canteen is just next to the car park and an awesome spot to grab a coffee or some delicious meals.
The car park is only small though and can get busy, especially during weekends and school holidays. We would usually avoid the creek during these times and opt to go with our little ones during school hours in the week. Gold coasters are early risers so if you do want to visit on the weekend, get there early to secure a park close by.
The beach is patrolled 7 days a week between November and April from 8am to 5pm.
Famous for its excellent surf, Rainbow Bay is one of the busiest beaches on the Gold Coast and it’s easy to see why! It’s part of the World Surf Reserve and is the gateway to Snapper Rocks where you’ll find the best point break in the city.
It’s not just for pro surfers though. At Greenmount (the southern end of the beach) you’ll find slower paced and smaller surf that is more suited to beginners and teens.
Young kids can still enjoy paddling in the shallows and the long stretches of sand though. It’s a great Gold Coast beach for families with mixed interests. Perhaps dad wants to pop off to the Northern end for a surf while mum and the kids play in the water at the southern end, (or the other way around).
The beach is patrolled year round, 7 days a week between the hours of 8am and 5pm.
Also sometimes referred to as Currumbin Alley or The Alley by locals, this calm stretch of sand where the creek meets the ocean is suited for families with kids of all ages!
With the beautiful rainforest mountains as a backdrop, it’s the perfect place to sit and soak up the atmosphere. If you’d rather try something a little more exciting, this is a favourite spot for watersports like stand up paddle boarding and kayaking. Currumbin Alley has a small slow surf break that’s great for learning to surf too.
The creek itself is well sheltered from the winds though so the water further up the beach is super calm and perfect for younger kids.
The adjacent parklands have great bbq facilities and seating and there is also shade structures and equipment hire places. The beach itself doesn’t have much shade though so be sure to bring an umbrella or beach tent for the little ones.
The beach is patrolled between November and April, 7 days per week, between 8am and 5pm.
Nobby’s Beach on the Gold Coast is a lovely, quiet and long stretch of beautiful sand and sea that is usually just frequented by locals from the surrounding suburbs.
Surf conditions here vary wildly throughout the year so be sure to check before you visit.
At certain times of the year, the waves can be quite large and really dump on the beach so it would b best for older kids who are confident swimmers. There are some shallow areas and little pools when the tide goes out though.
The long stretch of sand is perfect for kids to run, dig and play so even if the waves are big our toddlers really enjoyed a visit to this pristine beach. They might even be lucky enough to spot the local pelican hanging around the locals that fish in the surf.
The lifeguard tower at Lavarack Road is manned every day, year round between the hours of 8am and 5pm.
5. Burleigh Heads
Burleigh has long been known as one of the trendiest spots on the Gold Coast and the beach is no different. It’s a favourite spot with locals for relaxing or getting in some exercise with a run along the sand. It’s also a great spot for families though!
The headlands are a popular spot for surfers but are only suitable for those with a lot of experience. The size and pace of the beach break will vary year round though. Sometimes it might be the perfect spot for older kids and teens to practice but be sure to check the cameras for conditions first.
If surfing isn’t your thing, there are still some great protected waters for swimming. If other beaches in the area are windy, it’s still worth checking Burleigh as there’s a high chance it will be protected.
There are also great facilities with a park and playground adjacent for the little ones, showers, toilets, the surf club and the popular James Street a few minutes walk away with its plethora of cafes and shops.
This beach is patrolled year round, 7 days a week between 8am and 5pm.
6. Surfers Paradise Beach
Probably the most well known and iconic beach on the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise is a mecca for tourists who want to experience the golden sands with relative ease.
The newly refurbished Esplanade is always buzzing with locals exercising and tourists exploring and there are even beachfront markets that open every Friday and Saturday from 4pm.
The beach itself is huge and everything you would expect from the Gold Coast – soft golden sane, beautiful water and a sprinkling of different surf conditions to suit all tastes.
Although it’s one of the busiest beaches on the Gold Coast there is plenty of space to spread out. There is a beach break that younger kids may enjoy body boarding or learning to surf in during the calmer months.
There are great facilities right next door as well with the shopping and dining precinct just a few minutes walk away and there is heaps of accommodation in the area making it super convenient.
There are 6 lifeguard towers along this vast and popular stretch of beach and patrol times vary slightly so be sure to check before you go.
7. Currumbin Beach
If Currumbin Creek is a little too crowded or you feel like a change of scenery, Currumbin Beach is a great spot if you have some experienced surfers in the family.
Currumbin Beach is mostly frequented by locals and you’ll find a much quieter stretch of sand than the nearby creek and alley.
Although the surf break here can produce some big waves the beach itself has a shallow stretch of water first so it’s a great spot for young kids to paddle and experience the waves in relative safety.
The Currumbin Surf Lifesaving Club is an amazing place to enjoy a spot to eat as it looks directly out onto the beach. You can also climb the walkway to Elephant rock for some great views out over the surf.
This beach is patrolled year round between 8am and 5pm.
8. The Spit
An often overlooked but still enjoyable and beautiful beach on the Gold Coast, the Spit (or Southport spit) is the northernmost beach on the Gold Coast. It extends up from Main Beach and is home to the popular Sea World Resort as well as some of the Coasts swankier hotels.
To the north of the jetty, there is a shallower area with gentle waves and it’s a perfect spot for beginner surfers and older kids to practice. Close to the shore in the same area is also a great spot for younger kids to practice their bodyboarding skills.
There is also an off leash area for dogs at the northern end of the beach so it’s the perfect spot to enjoy with your four legged friends too.
This is a great beach to visit if you want to escape the busy Surfers Paradise but without having to travel too far. It’s a vast stretch of golden sandy that connects the Surfers Paradise Beach to The Spit.
There are various sized beach breaks all the way along this stretch of sand and the conditions will vary throughout the year. Be sure to check out the beach cameras for some real time info on what the surf looks like on the day.
Main Beach is a great spot for families with slightly older kids who aren’t afraid of diving into the surf for a swim.
There are a couple of lifeguard towers here, one at Breaker Street and one at McArthur Parade, that are both patrolled year round between 8am and 5pm.
Kirra Beach is mostly frequented by locals but is another great spot if you or some of the family are really experienced and avid surfers. Kirra Point is part of the World Surfing Reserve and produces some sizable surf breaks.
While one parent surfs the large breaks at the point, the other can hang with younger kids on the wide sandy area of Kirra Beach.
Surf conditions will vary but for large parts of the year, the water is calm away from the point, thanks to being protected from the wind. Kids will love playing in the gently lapping waves or digging in the sand.
The surrounding parklands have great facilities including BBQs, seating, shade structures, toilets and beach showers. You’re also close to residential areas full of cafes and restaurants or take a stroll to North Kirra Beach and enjoy lunch at the Surf Lifesaving Club.
Kirra Beach has a lifeguard tower at Marine Parade that’s patrolled from November to April between 8am and 5pm. The lifeguard tower at North Kirra Surf Lifesaving club is also manned November to April from 8am to 5pm.
Really, you can’t go far wrong with any of the gorgeous beaches spread up and down the Gold Coast. No matter which of the Gold Coast beaches you choose to visit, you’ll be rewarded with soft golden sand, clean oceans and great facilities.
The major differences tend to be how busy they are, how calm the water is and therefore how suitable they are for different levels of surfers and swimmers.
If you just want some beautifully calm waters that are perfect for younger kids or those who aren’t used to a beach break, definitely check out Tallebudgera Creek or Currumbin Creek.
If you want something that can cater to all levels of surfers and for kids who aren’t afraid of a small beach break, Rainbow Bay is a beautiful spot that should meet everyone’s needs.
Have you visited? Which do you think are the best beaches on the Gold Coast?
Make sure to check out our post on Things to do on the Gold Coast with Kids!