Think of the Sunshine Coast and the first thing that pops to mind is a holiday by the beach. Why? Because Sunshine Coast beaches are up there with the best in the world. That’s not surprising, with a coastline stretching from Caloundra to Noosa and beyond, there are plenty of beaches on the Sunshine Coast to choose from.
By world standards, the beaches on the Sunshine Coast are up there with the best and a beach holiday anywhere in the region is bound to be a fun holiday.
The biggest problem you’ll have is which beach to choose from.
- Sunshine Coast Beaches
- Noosa Beaches
- Coolum Beaches
- Maroochydore Beaches
- Mooloolaba Beaches
- Caloundra Beaches
Sunshine Coast Beaches
1- Noosa Beach
Of all the Sunshine Coast beaches, the main beach at Noosa is still the region’s most famous beach.
Noosa Beach is one of a handful of north-facing beaches in Australia and protected from strong Southerly swells.
Noosa is popular because the beach is patrolled and safe place for kids to swim, go boogie-boarding and learn to surf.
Surfers, however, will love the challenge of tackling the world-famous point break on the right-hand side of the beach or the less crowded surf the other side of the Groyne wall.
A big advantage is there’s the convenience of staying right on the beach, in one of a string of upmarket apartment-style resorts, or you can pay a little less for a room without an ocean view.
If you’re not staying on the beach, don’t worry, look for the laneways between the boutiques and restaurants on Hastings Street leading to the beachfront walkway.
- Patrolled beach suitable for families and surfers
- Easy access to the famous Hastings Street shops and a huge choice of eateries
- Some excellent surfing spots
2- Tea Tree Bay
At low tide, Tea Tree Bay in Noosa National Park has shady trees and rock pools.
No longer a hidden gem, holidaymakers have discovered Tea Tree Bay along with the koalas that hang out in the trees.
This isn’t a patrolled beach so you need to be careful when in the water, however, it’s usually reasonably well protected for swimming and surfers can paddle out past the rocks for a point surf.
Keep an eye out for turtles and dolphins.
There’s a long drop toilet at the beach and the walk through Noosa National Park to Tea Tree Bay is a lovely area to stretch the legs.
Tea Tree Bay
- An unpatrolled beach in a natural setting
- Access through a 20-minute walk from Noosa Beach
- Excellent surfing
3- Alexandria Bay
Bring sunscreen and sunglasses to Alexandria Bay or the A Bay as locals call it.
Hidden away in Noosa National Park, between Lion’s Rock and Hell’s Gate, this is an unofficial nudist beach on the Sunshine Coast.
This beach is not patrolled and only experienced surfers should be tempted into the water.
Park at McAnally Drive in Sunshine Beach and follow the Noosa National Park walking trail for 20 minutes.
- Unpatrolled beach popular with nudists
- Access through a 20-minute walk from Sunshine Beach
- Excellent surfing away from crowds
4- Noosa North Shore
A ferry ride across the Noosa River is 80km of driving beach area known as Noosa North Shore.
This 4WD track near Brisbane is a magnet to those who love adventure but make sure you have a beach driving permit.
Pack plenty of water and snacks, as this is a back-to-nature escape with no shops, restaurants or toilet facilities once you hit the beach.
Besides the thrill of driving a 4WD on the sand, a day on the beach might involve climbing sand dunes, fishing and exploring the Coloured Sands.
Between July and October, keep an eye out for humpback whales as they swim past on their way back to Antarctica.
Take the Noosa North Shore Car Ferry on Moorindil Street in Tewantin across the river.
Noosa North Shore
- A 4WD beach driving adventure (get a permit here)
- Access across the river on the Tewantin ferry
- Not recommended for swimming
5- Rainbow Beach
Keep on driving along the beach highway from Noosa to Rainbow Beach and back to civilisation.
The small town has a few shops, cafes, an IGA supermarket and a few resorts.
It’s a good spot to go fishing, horse riding, sky diving or paragliding and a gateway to Fraser Island.
The beach itself is an unpatrolled beach and you should swim between the flags, as there are strong tidal currents.
- Quintessential Queensland beach town
- Unpatrolled beach with strong rips
- Plenty of adventure activities
6- Sunshine Beach
If you’re hankering for Noosa like it was before it glammed up, try Sunshine Beach.
This Sunshine Coast beach is small enough to have the best of both worlds – the natural setting of Noosa National Park as well as a clutch of stylish cafes, boutiques and top-notch restaurants.
Treat yourself to pan-fried wagyu beef dumplings at Embassy XO or pop into Sum Yung Guys for a heavenly beef with wutang sambal, fried egg and Thai basil. Sounds delicious?
Relax in the beer garden at Sunshine Beach Surf Club or walk your dog in the northern dog-friendly section.
- Patrolled beach with great surf breaks
- Stylish cafes and two super cool Asian fusion restaurants
- It’s where the locals go for a Noosa hit without the crowds
7- Peregian Beach
Another beautiful Sunshine Coast beach with good surf and swimming between the flags, Peregian Beach is also close to the shops.
Stumers Creek Park is a good spot to visit with your four-legged friends and is a lovely place to watch the sun rising over the ocean.
Beach access to the dog-friendly area is from Pitta Street in Pitta Street in Peregian Beach.
- Patrolled beach with swimming between the flags
- A long beach with good surf and dog walking area
- Close to shops
8- Coolum Beach
Coolum Beach is both the name of the family-friendly patrolled beach and a laid-back seaside town with a population of 8000+.
Learn to surf at the home break of pro surfer Julian Wilson (check out the live surf cam on Coastal watch and see if you can spot him).
Other activities are skating at the Coolum Beach surf park, shopping or grabbing a bite at one of the many cafes.
Coolum has a long timber boardwalk along the shore that connects the village to Point Perry.
- Patrolled beach suitable for families
- Cafes and shops
- Good for learners and experienced surfers
9- Mudjimba Beach
Mudjimba beach has lovely views of Mudjimba Island and the long sandy beach is a great spot for walking or kite flying on a windy day.
Patrolled 365 days a year, with safe swimming between the flags Mudjimba beach also has good spots for fishing.
Paddle over to Mudjimba Island to see turtles.
The consistent surf breaks along the beach attract serious surfers, with better banks towards Point Arkwright.
- Patrolled beach perfect for boogie boarding
- Kids playground and facilities
- Consistent surf breaks
10- Maroochydore Beach
Patrolled 365 days a year, Maroochydore Beach is a popular destination for a family vacation and surfing lessons are available.
The beach is popular for surfing (check out Pin Cushion next to the mouth of the Maroochy River), fishing and kite surfing.
It has barbecue facilities, picnic tables, a playground and an area to walk the dog.
Cotton Tree is a growing hotspot with trendy cafes and boutiques.
- Patrolled beach with facilities for families
- Close to trendy Cotton Tree shops
11- Alexandra Headland
Lounging around Alexander Headland or “Alex”, as the locals call it, is a pleasant way to spend the day.
The snack kiosk at the surf club is a popular spot for morning coffee and the open bar area is a lovely spot to have drinks and watch the sunset.
There’s a popular surf school for kids and lots of apartment-style accommodation right across the street from the beach.
It’s a decent walk up the hill to the HMAS Brisbane lookout, which points to the spot where the Australian warship was scuttled.
Keep on going down the hill past the Korean Veterans War Memorial to Mooloolaba.
- Patrolled beach for body surfing
- Excellent public facilities, including daybeds, skate park and beach kiosk.
12- Mooloolaba Beach
Mooloolaba beach is giving Noosa a run for its money and is fast becoming the place to go for a summer vacation.
Mooloolaba’s main beach is a popular spot as it has playgrounds, barbeque facilities, picnic tables and the famous “loo with a view” toilet block you just have to see to believe.
The Mooloolaba Esplanade has is a vibrant strip of cafes, bars, boutiques, alfresco restaurants and resorts.
Follow the coastal pathway to Mooloolaba Spit for quieter sections of the beach and fresh seafood straight off the trawlers.
Around the corner, the redeveloped Mooloolaba Wharf is one of the newest hotspots on the Sunshine Coast, with sleek new bars and eateries.
Other Mooloolaba attractions are visiting SEA LIFE, kayaking, humpback whale tours and diving the HMAS Brisbane.
- A patrolled beach in a popular holiday destination
- Lots of attractions at Mooloolaba Wharf
- The Esplanade is a vibrant destination with boutiques and alfresco cafes.
13- Kawana Beach
9km of beach stretches from Point Cartwright to Currumundi, passing through Buddina, Kawana, Warana, Bokarina and Wurtulla.
Each section of the beach is named after the suburb but the amazing thing about this strip of paradise is the beachfront is undeveloped.
So, pick the right time of day and there’s every chance you’ll have the beach to yourself.
The patrolled area at Kawana is the safest place to swim but stay away from the strong rip near Point Cartwright (there are 35 rips along this strip of paradise).
Buddina Beach has a small section for walking the dogs off-leash at all times (between Point Cartwright and Gulai Street).
- A long strip of undeveloped beachfront with beach access points from residential areas
- A patrolled area at Kawana
14- Moffat Beach
Located along the Caloundra coastal track, the vibrant little strip of Moffat Beach has a village atmosphere.
The beach is not patrolled, so it’s not recommended for swimmers but as a north facing Sunshine Coast beach, it’s pretty popular with the surfers.
Walk up the headlands for lovely views and a chance to see humpbacks during whale season July to October) or pop into the Moffat Beach Brewing Co for locally brewed beer.
- Unpatrolled north facing beach great for surfing
- Only beach with a microbrewery
- Cute village atmosphere
15- Dicky Beach
A laid-back patrolled beach that is moderately safe under normal wave conditions, Dicky Beach is one of the sleepier Sunshine Coast beaches.
Both the suburb and the beach are called Dicky Beach, after the iron screw Steamship SS Dicky which was caught up in a cyclone in 1893.
There’s a popular caravan park, skate park and playground for the kids.
A popular thing to do is to go fishing off the rocks straight off the beach or in the small creek.
- Patrolled beach moderately safe for swimming
- Popular caravan park destination
- Some good spots for fishing
16- Shelley Beach
A hidden gem around the corner from Kings Beach, Shelley Beach is the perfect spot to escape the crowds.
The downside? As it’s not patrolled the beach isn’t suitable for swimming but there are rock pools to explore for Black Sea Cucumbers and other marine life.
17- Kings Beach
With a boardwalk and a playground just back from the beach as well as a water fountain for the kids to cool off under, Kings Beach is a popular choice for families.
The patrolled beach has a gentle beach break decent surf too.
One of the main features at Kings Beach is the oceanfront saltwater swimming pool, which is an impressive public pool area decked out with shade sails. It has a 25m seawater lap pool, kids pool and disabled access to a wading area.
- Patrolled beach with an impressive saltwater swimming pool
- Cafes and eateries nearby
- Home to Caloundra Music Festival
18- Bulcock Beach
A vibrant Esplanade and parkland with a wooden pirate ship and castle, Bulcock Beach is a great place for kids.
Patrolled from September to May, there’s a surf break at the point
Stroll along the coastal boardwalk for views of the sun setting over the Glass House Mountains.
- Patrolled from September to May
- Excellent facilities for kids
19- Golden Beach
Protected by Bribie Island (which is the northern point in the Pumicestone Passage), Golden Beach is a great spot for cyclists and walkers who can start at Caloundra Waterfront Caravan Park and take the coastal path all the way to Jensen Park.
Golden Beach is a fabulous post if you hate being dumped by waves.
Here, you can hire kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, windsurfers or catamarans to explore the inlet.
Fraser Park jetty is the place to fish golden trevally or flathead and as there are plenty of fish cleaning stations, you’ll be able to cook your own dinner on one of the barbecues along the esplanade.
- Patrolled beach with calm waters
- Good fishing off the Fraser Park jetty
- Shops and eateries one street back
20- Woorim Beach
Beach camping anyone?
Head to Ocean Beach camping area on Bribie Island National Park.
There are 63 campsites and access to toilet and cold shower facilities but the water is unsuitable for drinking, so make sure you bring your own.
The camping area is between 16km to 19km north of the beach access point on North Street in Woorim.
The Sunshine Coast Council has a listing of beaches and playgrounds here.
See live surf cams of several Sunshine Coast beaches here.
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