A Local’s Guide to 11 Popular Gold Coast Beaches

Gold Coast beaches are some of the most beautiful on the east coast of Australia. There are 21 stunning golden sand beaches on this stretch of the southern Queensland coast between Snapper Rocks in the south to Southport Spit in the north. Today local Kathy Marris tells us about her top 11 choices to help you decide which ones you should explore when you visit.

Visitors to Gold Coast beaches can swim, surf, paddle, fish or dive all year round due to warm sea temperatures and a mild climate. So if you are wondering what’s the best beach on the Gold Coast we are going to give you the details so you can decide which one to visit!

Surfers Paradise Beach

Visit one of the Gold Coast’s most iconic and best beaches in the tourist mecca of Surfers Paradise. Here the beach is wide with golden sand, with a beach break that is safe for swimming and surfing.

The official Surfers Paradise Sign
The official Surfers Paradise Sign Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Surfers Paradise Beach runs for 2km along the length of The Esplanade lined by towering high rises, with a promenade and walking path alongside the beach. The beach is patrolled from three towers, all year round by lifeguards.

Beach volleyball facilities, outdoor fitness equipment, and water sports craft hire on offer here make sure Surfers is a hive of activity.

Tip: The pet friendly Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets operate every Friday and Saturday night from 4-9pm

At the northern end of Surfers Paradise is Narrowneck, a favourite surfing spot. Further north is Main Beach boasting beautiful Norfolk Pine studded parklands adjoining the beach.

There are plenty of dining options along adjacent Cavill Avenue. If you want to stay sand side check out the Seaway Kiosk at Main Beach Surf Club.

Accessibility: Beach matting and beach wheelchairs.
Amenities: Toilets and beach showers.
Parking: Car parking is very limited.
Transport: Bus route 705 and the light rail run regularly into Surfers Paradise.

Discover more of Queensland’s gorgeous beaches

Broadbeach

Broadbeach is south of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, located on Old Burleigh Road. It is one of the Gold Coast beaches that is family-friendly and extremely popular with visitors to the coast. The beach is fully patrolled by lifeguards.

Broadbeach waterfront and skyline
Broadbeach waterfront Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

The two-kilometre stretch of pristine beach has two surf clubs at either end, Broadbeach and Kurrawa Surf Club. Broadbeach is fringed with extensive parklands, BBQs and picnic facilities, toilets and showers, and children’s playgrounds.

Tip: Visit in May for Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival, one of the biggest Blues Festivals in the country.

Look out for Beachside Markets and yoga classes in the park.

There are several places to eat adjacent to Broadbeach Mall. Kurrawa Surf Club and Tower 28 Cafe are also popular.

Accessibility: Beach matting and beach wheelchairs.
Amenities: Beach volleyball, walking/cycling paths, and Pratten Park outdoor gym.
Parking: Car park at Kurrawa Surf Club and plenty of parking available in side streets.
Transport: Buses G: link routes 700, 705, and 777 and the light rail run regularly to Broadbeach.

Miami Beach

One of the less crowded beaches on the Gold Coast, Miami Beach, is located midway along the coastline on Marine Parade. The street is lined with Norfolk pines with Miami Headland lookout situated at the southern end.

Miami Beach looking north from the headland
Miami and Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, Queensland Australia

Miami Beach is safe for swimming and also has a great open beach break for surfers of all abilities. There is a Surf Club and Caravan Park opposite, and the beach is patrolled daily.

Tip: Miami Beach has a lovely local feel about it and is family-friendly.

Further north of Miami Beach there are patrolled beaches at Nobby Beach and Mermaid Beach.

When hunger strikes head to Piccolo Espresso Cafe, BSKT, and Nobby Beach Surf Club.

Accessibility: Beach matting and beach wheelchairs at Nobby Beach Surf Club.
Amenities: Toilets, beach showers, walking paths, children’s playground, park, picnic, and BBQ facilities.
Parking: Car parking is available along Marine Parade.
Transport: Buses routes 700 and 777 will get you to Miami Beach.

Burleigh Heads Beach

Arguably one of the Gold Coast’s most popular and best beaches is Burleigh Heads Beach. It has a charm all of its own with a famous right-hand point break off the headland. Burleigh Beach is part of the World Surfing Reserve and is a popular spot for surfers. 

Burleigh Beach is fringed from Burleigh to North Burleigh with beautiful Norfolk pines and green spaces everywhere. The magnificent parklands feature BBQs, picnic shelters, children’s playgrounds, outdoor fitness equipment, and walking/cycling paths that offer beach views.

Gold Coast skyline and surfing beach visible from Burleigh Heads, Queensland
Burleigh Heads Beach and Surfers skyline

The headland offers protection from the southerly winds and creates a calm, safe beach for families with little children. There are three patrolled areas along Burleigh Heads beach. You can also join yoga in the park on Saturdays.

Tip: Burleigh Heads Beachside Market, longest running Art and Craft market on the Coast is held on the last Sunday of the month.

When hunger strikes: Burleigh Heads/Mowbray Park Surf Club and beach kiosk, North Burleigh Surf Club and Nectar Espresso cafe, James Street restaurant and cafe precinct opposite, and Burleigh Pavilion restaurants and rooftop bar.

Accessibility: Beach matting and beach wheelchairs.
Amenities: Toilets and beach showers.
Parking: Plenty nearby.
Transport: Regular bus service to Burleigh Heads routes 700 & 777.

Tallebudgera Creek Beach

One of the most family-friendly beaches on the Gold Coast situated on an estuarine creek is Tallebudgera Creek Beach. This picturesque creek is situated around the head, south of Burleigh Heads.

Tallebudgera Creek
Tallebudgera Creek Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

The sparkling shallow waters in the creek attract a lot of visitors, with golden sand beaches on either side. It is extremely popular for a variety of water sports, including swimming, snorkelling, fishing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. It feels like paradise.

Tip: Tallebudgera Beach off-leash dog area nearby near the mouth of the creek. Tallebudgera Creek Holiday Park is located on the western side of the creek.

The beach is patrolled daily from November to April.

You will find quality refreshments available at Neptune Kiosk and Custard Canteen.

Accessibility: Beach matting and beach wheelchairs.
Amenities: Toilets, beach showers, and picnic tables.
Parking: Car parking available.
Transport: A regular bus services Gold Coast Highway route 700 & 777.

Palm Beach

Palm Beach is a long expanse of 4 kilometres of beach and one of the less crowded beaches on the Gold Coast. It has an excellent surf break along most of the beach providing a playground for all kinds of surfing. Parts of this Gold Coast beach are designated as a World Surfing Reserve.

Palm Beach suburb and ocean coastline at sunset. Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Palm Beach in the afternoon light

Palm Beach beaches have several flagged areas for patrolled swimming and the north and south ends have off-leash dog exercising areas. 

Tip: Long beach good for beach walking. Beachfront pathways and exercise equipment.

Palm Beach Surf Club, Palm Beach cafes and restaurants nearby, and Dunes Cafe southern end.

Accessibility: Pacific Surf Club has beach matting and beach wheelchairs.
Amenities: Toilets, BBQs, picnic tables, shade structures and beach showers.
Parking: Car parking near Palm Beach Surf Club and side streets.
Transport: A regular bus services Gold Coast Highway route 700 & 777.

Currumbin Beach

Currumbin Alley and Currumbin Beach are also held in high esteem as the best beaches on the Gold Coast. Currumbin Beach extends from “The Alley” to the south, to Currumbin Vikings Surf Club and Elephant Rock. This beach break tends to get larger waves and is best for experienced surfers.

Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Lifesaving Club Credit: Tourism Events Queensland
The Vikings Surf Lifesaving Club at Currumbin Beach Credit: Tourism Events Queensland

Referred to as “The Alley”, this family-friendly beach is at the northern end of Currumbin Beach and wraps around the mouth of Currumbin Creek. It is an exciting and fun surf break on the Gold Coast and is a great place to learn to surf, stand up paddleboard, boogie board or swim. There is surfboard hire available at Currumbin Alley and there is swimming between flagged areas, patrolled daily

Tip: Each September the beach hosts the annual Swell Beach Sculpture Festival, the largest outdoor sculpture festival in Queensland.

Currumbin Creek Gold Coast Beaches
View across Currumbin Creek looking towards Surfers Paradise at sunrise on the Gold Coast

Restaurants, cafes, and shops are adjacent to Currumbin Beach and Currumbin Vikings Surf Club.

Climb Elephant Rock lookout at the southern end of the beach for some great photo opportunities

Accessibility:
Amenities: Toilets, park, picnic, and BBQ facilities opposite the beach.
Parking: Car parking available.
Transport: A regular bus services Gold Coast Highway route 700 & 777, then it’s a ten-minute walk.

Tugun Beach

Tugun Beach is located on the southern end of the Gold Coast and is one of the less crowded Gold Coast beaches. There is plenty of expanse of surf breaks for surfers, long stretches of beach to walk, sunbake and swim.

Tugun-Beach Gold Coast
Tugun Beach Gold Coast Credit: Kathy Marris

There is a small creek called Flat Rock Creek with a small rocky outcrop located south of the creek mouth on the northern end of Tugun Beach. The beach is patrolled daily.

Tip: The Tugun to Bilinga Oceanway runs adjacent.

If you are hungry make your way to Tugun Surf Club, Salty Bean Coffee kiosk and village of Tugun cafe culture.

Accessibility: Beach access points and platforms available for wheelchairs.
Amenities: Extensive parklands, BBQs, picnic tables, toilets, beach showers and children’s playgrounds.
Parking: Car parking available.
Transport: A regular bus services Gold Coast Highway route 700 & 777, then it’s a 5-minute walk to the beach.

Kirra Beach

Kirra Beach is renowned for being the spiritual home of surfing on the Gold Coast and is considered one of the world’s premier surfing wave breaks. Hence the status as a World Surf Reserve.

Kirra Surfer2 Gold Coast
Surfing near Kirra on the Gold Coast Credit: Kathy Marris

The beach here is wide and expansive. It extends from Kirra Point to North Kirra, both having Surf clubs and surf patrols from November to April.

Tip: Trek to the top of Kirra Hill lookout for 360-degree views over both Kirra and Coolangatta beaches.

Kirra is flanked by the attractive Kirra Pavilion and the photogenic Kirra Shelter, where you can sit for a while to take in the scenery, with Surfers Paradise high rises in the far distance. There are pretty, little shallow rock pools, where families can fossick in, and the beach is safe for swimming in the southern corner.

Gold Coast Beaches Lookout at Kirra Point
The lookout at Kirra Point

There are cafes and restaurants opposite at Marine Parade and Kirra Beach Surf Club kiosk.

Accessibility: Beach access points and platforms available for wheelchairs.
Amenities: Extensive parklands with toilets, BBQs, tables, shade structures, and beach showers.
Parking: Car parking available.
Transport: A regular bus services Gold Coast Highway #700.

Greenmount Beach

Greenmount Beach is located at the south-eastern end of Coolangatta Beach off Marine Parade. Coolangatta is the southernmost point of the Gold Coast and possesses a laid-back vibe.

Greenmount Beach
Greenmount Beach Credit: Kathy Marris

The beach is sheltered by the coastal head of Greenmount Point and is ideal for safe swimming and surf novices. There is a surf club nearby and the beach is patrolled by lifeguards all year round.

Tip: Hire a surfboard and learn to surf or browse the surf shops opposite the beach.

There are some lovely little rock pools located at the bottom of Greenmount Point that is very popular with families with small children.

Eat: Cafes and restaurants opposite along Marine Parade and Greenmount Beach Surf Club restaurant and kiosk.

Amenities: Surrounded by parklands with toilets, BBQs, tables, shade structures, and beach showers.
Parking: Car parking available.
Transport: A regular bus services Gold Coast Highway #700 to Coolangatta, then it’s a 10-minute walk to Greenmount Beach.

Snapper Rocks and Rainbow Bay

The “superbank” is one of the most consistent surf breaks on the Gold Coast in Queensland, and begins at Snapper Rocks and extends to Kirra Point. This rocky outcrop called Snapper Rocks is where surfers launch themselves into the waves.

People enjoying Snapper rocks and rock pool  in Coolangatta, QLD, Australia
Apex Park and Snapper Rocks

Nearby are the remnants of the Porpoise Pool that was once a famous tourist attraction on the Gold Coast.

The location of Snapper Rocks is on the southern side of Greenmount Point beyond the small beach of Rainbow Bay and just north of Point Danger. It is the venue for the first leg of the World Tour of Surfing event at Coolangatta on the Gold Coast, Australia.

Tip: Walk around Snapper Rocks, past the secluded Froggy Beach, up to Point Danger for spectacular views.

Rainbow Bay beach with lifeguard tower, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australi
Rainbow Bay Beach

The pretty beach at Rainbow Bay arches around from Snapper Rocks and is sheltered, fully patrolled, and very safe for swimming. Adjacent to Rainbow Bay there are high-rise holiday apartments that are popular with holidaymakers. It’s one of the best beaches on the Gold Coast for families and surfers alike.

Popular places to eat include the Rainbow Bay Surf Club and Little Mali Cafe nearby.

Accessibility: Beach access points and platforms available for wheelchairs.
Amenities: Park, BBQs, picnic tables, toilets, beach showers, and children’s playgrounds.
Parking: Car parking is available but very limited.
Transport: A regular bus services Gold Coast Highway route 700 to Coolangatta, then it’s a 15-minute walk to the beach.

Point Danger

The southern-most point of the Gold Coast is at Point Danger, on the border between Queensland and New South Wales. The scenic lookout at Point Danger overlooks the iconic surf beach of Duranbah Beach, the mouth of the Tweed River and Letitia Spit. The point was named by Captain Cook

Duranbah Beach Gold Coast
Duranbah Beach Credit: Kathy Marris
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