Lifeguard's beach box in Rainbow Bay, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Credit: Alexander from stock.adobe.com

Ready for a Gold Coast beach-hopping holiday? We’ve gathered a list of the top 16 beaches to visit – from exhilarating surfing swells to calm waters for family fun and secluded stretches of sand for solitude.

Surfing, swimming, sun-soaking, family time, and dining out with a view – the Gold Coast beaches are touted for being some of the most pristine in the world, featuring sweeps of golden-white sand, sparkling blue waters, and vibrant seaside areas that offer culture, cuisine, and character. 

If you seek a Gold Coast beach-hopping holiday, we have rounded up our 16 favourite beaches to explore so that you can start dreaming, planning, and enjoying!

 

1. Surfers Paradise Beach

Best For: Surfing, family fun, bustling atmosphere, beachside dining.

Aerial view of the skyline at Surfers Paradise Beach, Gold Coast

Credit: Katie from stock.adobe.com

Surfers Paradise Beach, as its name implies, is a haven for surfers and is one of the most popular beaches in the Gold Coast. This 2km stretch of golden sand against the backdrop skyscrapers, open air dining and bustling markets offers both captivating thrills and a charming, laid-back atmosphere for surfers and families alike. Surfers Paradise Beach is a great destination for surfers of all levels, with surfing lessons available and surf boards for hire. Those who wish to hit the waves will find great breaks all along the beach, although advanced surfers will enjoy the moderate swell of the outer bar. It is also a great beach for those who simply wish to absorb the energetic atmosphere, enjoy a spot of swimming, and have a relaxed day at a beach with lifeguards that’s close to amenities.

Location: The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast Area Queensland 4217 –  Google Maps

Patrol hours: There are 6 patrolled lifeguard towers, operating year-round 8am to 5pm every day.

Getting there: For those with a rental car, there is limited (and accessible) parking available at the Northcliffe Surf Life Saving Club and there is also on-street parking available. Otherwise, Translink buses run frequently along The Esplanade and the G:link light rail runs through the main stretch of Surfers Paradise.

Amenities: Barbeque facilities, picnic tables, beach access equipment and public toilets. 

2. Main Beach

Best For: Surfing, swimming, bars and restaurants, luxury shopping and accommodation.

Aerial view of the Southport Spit and Main Beach

Credit: Courtney Atkinson for Tourism and Events Queensland

Main Beach is located on the north end of the Gold Coast, right near Surfers Paradise Beach. Main Beach earned its name from being the main surfing beach to the town of Southport and is just as famous for its waves as it is the vibrant atmosphere off the sand.  The beach is a great location for surfers, swimmers, and lovers of food and shopping alike. The boardwalk is sprawled with eateries, most notably the old bathing pavilion, Pavilion 34, which is now a popular casual beach café. The area is also known for its buzzing boutiques, bars, restaurants and cafes, as well as the luxury shopping at Marina Mirage. Main Beach exudes a cosy yet sophisticated atmosphere where fish and chips meets stylish boutiques. It is a great beach to visit for surfers, families, a girl’s weekend away, or a romantic foodie escape! It’s also just a 5-minute drive from Main Beach to the fun and frivolity of Sea World, making it a great stop on your family holiday.

Location: Seaworld Drive, Main Beach, Gold Coast Area Queensland 4217 - Google Maps

Patrol hours: There are 2 patrolled lifeguard towers operating year-round 8am to 5pm every day.

Getting there: There are public buses along Seaworld Drive. You can also access the beach via walking or cycling. There is limited parking at the Southport Surf Club and street parking nearby. 

Amenities: Nearby, there is a grassed that include public toilets, barbecues, tables, shade structures, playgrounds, and beach showers. Main Beach is also conveniently located for Sea World. 

 

3. Tallebudgera Creek

Best for: Swimming, kayaking, picnics, fishing, and exploring the local rainforests.

Swimming, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding in the Tallebudgera Creek

Credit: Brooke Darling for Tourism and Events Queensland

Tallebudgera Creek is located 35-minutes from Surfers Paradise, and is famed for its idyllic, sparkling water. This is a wonderful place to spend time swimming, kayaking, picnicking, and fishing. Tallebudgera Creek’s peaceful waters make it the perfect beach for all kinds of holidaymakers, including families – especially those with young kids, couples seeking a jungle-like getaway, and lovers of culture and nature. Explore the nearby Burleigh Heads National Park, which features luscious rainforests and the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre. With stunning scenery, a range of water activities, and opportunities for cultural exploration, Tallebudgera Creek offers a truly unique escape on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Location: 1544 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach, Gold Coast Area Queensland 4221 - Google Maps.

Patrol hours: There is 1 patrolled lifeguard towers operating year-round 8am to 5pm every day.

Getting there: There are public buses along the Gold Coast Highway past Tallebudgera Creek. You can also access the beach via walking or cycling. There is a carpark off the Gold Coast Highway next to Tallebudgera Creek and another at the Tallebudgera Creek Surf Club

Amenities: Car park, barbeque facilities, picnic area, public toilet. 

 

4. Broadbeach

Best for: Surfing, vibrant dining options, and family-friendly activities

Aerial view of Broadbeach and skyline

Credit: Jesse Lindemann for Tourism and Events Queensland

Broadbeach is just a stone’s throw south of Surfers Paradise Beach and exudes a quaint atmosphere with an array of energetic outdoor dining options, casual eateries and proximity to one of Gold Coast's most popular shopping centres, lPacific Fair. This family-friendly beach features sparkling waters, a stretch of golden-white sand, playgrounds, surf breals for all experience levels and other all-ages water activities, plus a sophisticated arts and crafts market on the first and third Sunday of the month. Broadbeach welcomes a wide range of visitors and would be a great choice for families and groups of friends seeking relaxation, a vibrant atmosphere, and plenty to do in the area. 

Location: Victoria Avenue, Broadbeach, Gold Coast Area Queensland 4218 – Google Maps

Patrol hours: There are 4 patrolled lifeguard towers operating year-round 8am to 5pm every day.

Getting there: There are public buses along the Gold Coast Highway through to Broadbeach. You can also access the beach via walking or cycling. There is limited parking available at Kurrawa Surf Club and nearby street parking.

Amenities: Shower, toilets, playgrounds, fitness equipment, barbeque facilities, shaded areas, picnic tables, accessible parking, cycling tracks. 

 

5. Burleigh Heads

Best for: The Burleigh Pavilion, world-class waves, and weekend markets.

Hidden outlook on Burleigh Heads bay on the Gold Coast of Australia.

Credit: silardtoth for Tourism and Events Queensland

Burleigh Heads beach stretches between Miami Beach and Burleigh Head National Park, and is popular for surfers and swimmers alike. The stunning turquoise waters offer patches of calm waves, ideal for those who wish to stick to more peaceful water activities. It’s also a great spot for surfers, being part of the World Surfing Reserve. This picturesque beach is protected by its headland, which is lush with vibrant greenery. Peppered in Norfolk pine and swept in golden sand, Burleigh Heads beckons seasoned and beginner surfers and families alike. There are weekend markets with food, live entertainment, arts and crafts, and a range of cafes and restaurants nearby. Burleigh Heads is home to the iconic Burleigh Pavilion, which is a beach-facing bar and restaurant and home to Rick Shores, which is famous for its seafood and elevated dining experience. 

Location: James Street, Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast Area Queensland 4220 – Google Maps

Patrol hours: There is 1 patrolled lifeguard tower operating year-round 8am to 5pm every day.

Getting there: There are public buses along the Gold Coast Highway through Burleigh. You can also access the beach via walking or cycling. There is limited parking available at the surf club and nearby street parking. 

Amenities: Nearby parklands include toilets, barbeque facilities, picnic tables, shaded areas, playgrounds, and showers. 

 

6. Palm Beach

Best for: Swimming, surfing, boating, paddleboarding, beach walks laid-back atmosphere

An aerial view of Palm Beach on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia on a clear blue water day

Credit: Darren from stock.adobe.com

Palm Beach is located between Tallebudgera Creek and Currumbin Creek, and is reminiscent of its Floridian namesake. Often deemed the cleanest beach in Queensland, Palm Beach is a great option for those seeking surf and sun. The beach and the surrounding suburbs exude a laid-back atmosphere, welcoming foodies with its Saturday farmers’ market and string of eateries. The beach itself calls for anyone who loves water sports, including surfing, paddleboarding, and simple beach walks. This uniquely charming beach welcomes families, couples and groups of friends seeking a relaxed seaside getaway. 

Location: Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach, Gold Coast Area Queensland 4221 – Google Maps

Patrol hours: There are 3 patrolled lifeguard towers lifeguard operating 8am to 5pm every day. However, two of the towers operate September to April, and the other operates November to April.

Getting there: There are public buses along the Gold Coast Highway through Palm Beach. You can also access the beach via walking or cycling. There is limited parking available at the surf club and nearby street parking. 

Amenities: Nearby parks include toilets, picnic tables, showers, shaded areas, conveniently located cafes within walking distance. 

 

7. Coolangatta Beach

Best for: Beginner surfers, swimming, fishing, diving, a slow pace

Beach goers and swimmers at Coolangatta Beach in Gold Coast

Credit: Martin Valigursky from stock.adobe.com

Coolangatta Beach, a 30-minute drive away from Surfers Paradise Beach, is an oasis of sprawling sand, a relaxed pace of life, and array of restaurants. Simply fly into the Gold Coast Airport, and within minutes, you can be swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Coolangatta Beach. Coolangatta is perfect for those seeking calm swimming water and waves that are ideal for beginner to intermediate surfers. With its down-to-earth character and nearby high-rise apartment buildings, this beautiful beach will suit families, groups of friends seeking sea and bars, and couples who want a relaxed atmosphere with lots of places for date nights. 

Location: Marine Parade, Coolangatta, Gold Coast Area Queensland 4225 – Google Maps

Patrol hours: There is 1 patrolled lifeguard tower operating year-round 8am to 5pm every day.

Getting there: There are public buses along Griffith Street, which is one street behind Coolangatta Beach. You can also access the beach via walking or cycling. There is limited parking available at the surf club and nearby street parking.

Amenities: Nearby parks include toilets, picnic tables, showers, shaded areas, beach walkways, conveniently located cafes within walking distance.

 

8. Miami Beach

Best for: Relaxed beach atmosphere, avoiding crowds, retro feel, street food market

Aerial view of Miami Headland and beach as the sunrise glow hits the foreshore. Gold Coast, Australia

Credit: Bostock from stock.adobe.com

Miami Beach on the Gold Coast is a stretch of golden-white sand, flanked by a headland, protecting it from southerly winds. The kilometre-long beach starts from Mick Schamburg Park up to Nobby Beach further north. Blue-green waters, moss-coated rock formations, rainbow stairs, and a secluded, retro ambience attracts families and couples alike who seek a care-free beach holiday. A short walk from the beach is a plethora of coffee shops, juice and smoothie bars, and cafes, and the famous Miami Marketta – an outdoor night market with live music, street food and drinks.

Location: Gold Coast Highway, Miami, Gold Coast Area Queensland 4220 – Google Maps

Patrol hours: There are 2 patrolled lifeguard towers operating, however one operates year-round 8am to 5pm every day, while the other operates on weekends between September and April, 8am to 5pm.

Getting there: There are public buses along the Gold Coast Highway past Miami Beach. You can also access the beach via walking or cycling. There is limited parking available at the surf club and nearby streets.

Amenities: A nearby park includes toilets, showers, shaded areas, beach walkways, conveniently located cafes within walking distance.

 

9. Currumbin Beach

Best for: Surfing, coastal viewpoints, family fun, beachfront dining.

Surfing a Currumbin Beach with Surfers Paradise in background.

Credit: Jesse Lindemann for Tourism and Events Queensland

Currumbin Beach boasts sparkling clear waters, the famous Elephant Rock lookout, and canal connections to the rainforest mountains of the region. Currumbin Beach offers thrill-seeking water sports such as surfing, and the vibrancy of its wildlife sanctuary. The beach also unveils a relaxing and sophisticated atmosphere, with fine dining, beachside accommodation, and breezy paddleboarding. So, it is a great place not only for surfers looking to catch excellent waves, but also for couples seeking a village-like allure to their beach holiday, and families wanting to enjoy seaside picnics and to explore the Alley, where the creek meets the sea.

Location: Pacific Parade, Currumbin QLD 4223, Australia – Google Maps

Patrol hours: There is 1 patrolled lifeguard tower operating year-round 8am to 5pm every day.

Getting there: There are public buses along Pacific Parade at Currumbin Beach. You can also access the beach via walking or cycling. There is limited parking available at the surf club and nearby streets.

Amenities: Public toilets are across the road from the beach. Nearby parks include picnic tables, showers, shaded areas, and cafés are within walking distance along Pacific Parade.

 

10. Nobby Beach

Best for: Avoiding crowds, family-friendly atmosphere, vibey restaurants, wheelchair accessibility

Lifeguard tower and park with picnic shelter, shady trees and benches at Nobby Beach, Gold Coast

Credit: Sirena Designs from stock.adobe.com

Nobby Beach is a quieter sprawl of golden sand and lapping turquoise waves located north of Miami Beach. Nobby Beach is renowned for its accessibility for wheelchair users and is a popular place for picnics, with tables dotted along the grass beachfront area. As such, it is a favoured destination for all kinds of holidaymakers, from families with young kids to couples seeking a quieter getaway than the likes of a bustling Surfers Paradise. There is also a trendy atmosphere with a lively stretch of restaurants and cafes and a vibrant nightlife, which draws in the young, surfers, and cyclists.

Location: 2243 Gold Coast Hwy, Mermaid Beach QLD 4218 - Google Maps

Patrol hours: There is 1 patrolled lifeguard tower operating year-round 8am to 5pm every day.

Getting there: There are public buses along the Gold Coast Highway past Nobby Beach. You can also access the beach via walking or cycling. There is limited parking available at the surf club and nearby streets, and in the Nobby Beach local centre precinct. 

Amenities: There are public toilets, showers, picnic tables, shaded areas, a playground, walkways, wheelchair accessibility, and cafes within walking distance. 

 

11. Budds Beach

Best for: Young kids, family activities, SUP, quiet escape  

Aerial view of Stand Up Paddle Boarding at Budds Beach

Credit: Hotel Miami for Tourism and Events Queensland

Budds Beach delivers warm shallow waters, a sandy beach, and a cosy beachside town. It’s a perfect place for kids to paddle and build sandcastles and has calm waters for Stand-Up Paddleboarding and kayaking, making it great for family holidays. Budds Beach is truly a hidden gem, close to the action of Surfers Paradise, but far enough away from the busy vibes to unveil a quieter atmosphere for young families and those looking to escape the crowds. Budds Beach is tucked on the sandy stretches of the Nerang River, and is within each walking distance from Surfers Paradise. Featuring grass lawns, a fun playground, barbeques, and the famous Bumbles Café, you can enjoy a day in the sand, and a lunch with the family overlooking the stunning river. Don’t forget to add Budds Beach to your family Gold Coast beach-hopping adventure!

Location: Opp 27 River Drive, Surfers Paradise 4217 – Google Maps

Patrol hours: There are no lifeguard patrols at Budd’s Beach

Getting there: There is street parking available. You can also access the beach via walking and cycling.

Amenities: There is a grassy park, shaded areas, barbeque facilities, a playground, and a café within walking distance. 

 

12. Rainbow Bay

Best for: Whale watching, advanced surfing, and swimming in the sheltered bay.

An aerial view of surfers and swimmers at Rainbow Bay, Gold Coast, Australia

Credit: Mel Campbell from stock.adobe.com

Rainbow Bay is at the southern end of the Gold Coast stretch of beaches. The arch of wide sand draws in swimmers and families for its sheltered bay, and shallow sand-banked pool, which toddlers love splashing around in. There is a rocky outcrop at the sound end of the beach, known as Snapper Rocks, which is a popular spot for surfers (more on that shortly!). But it also serves as an incredible viewing point to watch humpback whales, which migrate past the Gold Coast from May to September every year – all 27,000 of them! Rainbow Bay is yet another incredible Gold Coast beach that attracts families, swimmers, and surfer.

Location: 2 Snapper Rocks Rd, Coolangatta, Queensland, Australia – Google Maps

Patrol hours: There are patrolling lifeguards operating year-round 8am to 5pm every day.

Getting there: There are public buses along Griffith Street, which take you to Coolangatta Beach. From there, it's a short 15-minute walk to Rainbow Bay . There is limited parking available at the surf club and nearby streets.

Amenities: Nearby parklands include toilets, barbeque facilities, picnic tables, shaded areas, playgrounds, and showers. 

 

13. Snapper Rocks

Best for: Advanced surfing and surf watching, whale watching, scenic views

Snapper Rocks, iconic surf spot and the most southerly beach of the Gold Coast, Australia

Credit: Steven from stock.adobe.com

Snapper Rocks, the Gold Coast's most southern beach, is a rocky outcrop spilling out from the southern end of Rainbow Bay on Australia’s Gold Coast. This series of rocks serves as a point break, forming a Superbank, which plays a large role in the annual World Surf Leagues. In other words, this set of rocks creates incredible swells and waves for seasoned surfers to bite their teeth into and is considered to be a surfing spot that creates some of the best waves in the world. So, if you are an advanced surfer, you must add Snapper Rocks to your Gold Coast beaches bucket list. If you would prefer to simply watch the action, you can do so from the warm sands of Rainbow Bay, or over a lunch at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club. It’s also an incredible location to watch the annual migration of humpback whales from May to September. Snapper Rocks is truly an action-packed point of the Gold Coast!

Location: Snapper Rocks, Coolangatta, Gold Coast Area Queensland 4225 – Google Maps

Patrol hours: There are patrolling lifeguards operating year-round 8am to 5pm every day.

Getting there: There are public buses along Griffith Street, which take you to Coolangatta Beach. From there, it's a short 18-minute walk toSnapper Rocks. There is limited parking available at the surf club and nearby streets.

Amenities: Nearby parklands include toilets, barbeque facilities, picnic tables, shaded areas, playgrounds, and showers. 

 

14. The Spit

Best for: Fishing, water sports, snorkelling and diving, views of the Gold Coast

Aerial view of The Spit  and the coastline of the Gold Coast

Credit: Hotel Miami for Tourism and Events Queensland

The Spit is located at the northernmost end of the string of Gold Coast beaches. It is a 5km long sandy stretch of land that starts at Main Beach and ends at the Seaway (also known as the Southport Seaway), which spills out into open ocean waters. The Seaway is popular for fishing, snorkelling and even diving. Surfers love this part of the Gold Coast for its ideal swells. Luckily, there are calm waters on the Broadwater end of The Spit, perfect for those seeking a relaxing paddle. The Spit has lots of nearby attractions like Sea World and there are plenty of water sports available, such as kayaking or jet skiing. For those keen on a spot of luxury, there are boutique shops, farmer’s markets and fine dining along the Marina Mirage, which is a magical hub to soak in the sun and watch the super yachts chug by. The Spit welcomes all kinds of holidaymakers from families to couples, who seek a blend of fun and thrilling activities, with a sophisticated flare. 

Location: 40-44 Seaworld Drive, Main Beach, Gold Coast Area Queensland 4217 – Google Maps

Patrol hours: There are 4 patrolled lifeguard towers operating, however one operates year-round 8am to 5pm every day, while the other two operates on weekends between September and April, 8am to 5pm, and the other operates on weekends between November and April, 8am to 5pm.

Getting there: There are public buses along Sea World Drive Main Beach. You can also access the beach via walking or cycling. There are two car parks - Doug Jennings Park Carpark and Philip Park Carpark.

Amenities: Nearby parklands include toilets, barbeque facilities, picnic tables, shaded areas, and showers.   

 

15. Kirra Beach

Best for: Surfing, beachfront dining, bike riding, energetic atmosphere.

Kirra Beach on the Gold Coast

Credit: Zstock from stock.adobe.com

Kirra Beach is a southern Gold Coast beach, world famous for being the ‘spiritual home of surfing.’ With a gentle curve of golden sand, lapping waves, and a laid-back atmosphere, this is the perfect place to spend hours soaking in the sun at one of the bustling beachside cafes or riding the waves. The suburb oozes with a soulful culture, making morning strolls along the beachfront for a coffee and breakfast a must-do activity as part of your time at Kirra Beach. Kirra Beach is a great place for surfers, couples, and groups of friends to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere. You may even get to spot whales frolicking out at sea at the right time of year. The area is also touted for having more bikes than cars, so if you wish to escape the sounds of traffic, and indulge in the active lifestyle, Kirra Beach is a great choice for any Gold Coast beach getaway!

Location: Gold Coast, Gold Coast Area Queensland 4225 – Google Maps

Patrol hours: There are 2 patrolled lifeguard towers operating from November to April every day, 8am to 5pm. 

Getting there: There are public buses along the Gold Coast Highway and Marina Parade. You can also access the beach via walking or cycling. There is parking at the Kirra and North Kirra Surf Clubs.

Amenities: Nearby parklands include toilets, barbeque facilities, picnic tables, shaded areas, playgrounds, and showers.

 

16. Mermaid Beach

Best for: Crowd-free swimming and surfing, a romantic getaway, and beach volleyball

Lifeguard tower at the entrance of Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast

Credit: Matthew Taylor Thomas for Tourism and Events Queensland

Mermaid Beach, tucked between Nobby Beach and Broadbeach, unlocks the magic of peace and a quieter atmosphere. This 2-kilometre sprawl of golden sand tumbles into pristine, clear waters, and is touted as the place to go for those who seek swimming and surfing without the crowds. The beach enjoys moderate swells for surfers and when the winds are offshore, you can be sure you are in for incredible conditions for both thrills and a relaxed afternoon in the sun. Cocooned in calm scenery, this beach is the perfect choice for a serene romantic getaway, or those looking to escape the crowds of Broadbeach. The beach boasts a range of facilities including volleyball nets and exercise equipment, so there’s much more to do at Mermaid Beach than relax!

Location: Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast Area Queensland 4218 – Google Maps

Patrol hours: There are 3 patrolled lifeguard towers operating, however one operates year-round 8am to 5pm every day, while the other two operate between November and April, 8am to 5pm every day.

Getting there: There are public buses along the Gold Coast Highway past Mermaid Beach. You can also access the beach via walking or cycling. There is limited parking at the surf club and nearby streets. 

Amenities: Nearby parklands include toilets, accessibility toilets, barbeque facilities, picnic tables, shaded areas, showers, volleyball nets and courts, exercise equipment, and wheelchair access.