Best Beaches Near Brisbane

Now that the temperatures are rising in Brisbane, we’ll all be thinking about a visit to the beach to cool down. We’re a bit lucky in Brisbane because we have the Gold Coast beaches stretching to the south and the Sunshine Coast to the north, plus the islands of Moreton Bay. With so many beautiful beaches within an hour or two’s drive, it can be difficult to decide where to go.  Here are a couple of our family favourites.

Bulcock Beach – Caloundra

Bulcock Beach – Caloundra

This beach is sheltered from the surf and is great for little kids. There can be a strong tidal flow so you need to be in the water with young children. We like to use the flow for a free ride along the beach. You jump out, run up the beach and do it again. There are picnic tables and cafes nearby.

Kings Beach – Caloundra

Kings Beach - Caloundra

Kings Beach – Caloundra

This is a popular surfing spot, but if the waves are too big, there’s a salt water pool at the end of the beach which has sun shades and shallow areas for little children. There’s also a great play area with fountains that shoot out of the ground, up behind the beach.

Main Beach – Noosa

Main Beach - Noosa

Main Beach – Noosa

A very popular beach which is right behind Noosa’s glamour strip of Hastings Street, I have honestly seen beautiful young women wearing gold bikinis and high heels here. However, there are also lots of families and slightly less glamorous mummies like myself (okay, a lot less glamorous) enjoying the waves.

If you need a break from the waves, there are the shops and cafes of Hastings Street to explore, or you can take a walk in nearby Noosa National park which has spectacular coastal views.

Bribie Island

Woorim Beach - Bribie Island

Woorim Beach – Bribie Island

Bribie Island is only an hour’s drive from Brisbane, but you really feel like you’re on holiday when you drive over the bridge which links the island to the mainland. The pace is slower on the island and the atmosphere is more relaxed than the more developed coastal areas to the north.

There are sheltered beaches on the bridge side. They’re great for really little kids who can make sandcastles without having them washed away by waves. There’s also plenty of shade and picnic shelters behind the beach. Every time we’ve spent some time sitting on the beach near the Bongaree jetty, we’ve seen dolphins cruising by, just off the beach.

If you want some surf (don’t expect big waves), head directly across the island to Woorim. The beach is patrolled by lifesavers (and the surf livesaving club has good food). There are beautiful parklands behind the beach with picnic shelters and playgrounds.

We’ve stayed on Bribie for a few days and found it really relaxing. There’s a bike path right across the island, and it’s flat so even young riders will manage the trip. We stayed at Aquatic Vista Apartments on the Pumicestone Passage/bridge side of the island. The apartments are all new and shiny and you can walk everywhere. The people running it were super friendly and helpful.

Cylinder Beach – North Stradbroke Island

Stradbroke Island – Cylinder Beach

Cylinder Beach is one of our all time favourite beaches, probably because we love visiting Stradbroke Island ‘Straddie’ so much. Sometimes you can get a good wave at Cylinder, but at other times it can be pretty flat. If you’re after a wave, Straddie’s Main Beach around the corner is usually pumping when Cylinder is quiet, although I find it a bit too rough for small children.

During the whale migration season, we’ve seen whales leaping about, just off Cylinder Beach and if you’re on the beach just after sunrise, it’s not unusual to spot a pod of dolphins. I’ve taken my kayak out and had them swim right up beside me.

Streets Beach – Brisbane City

Streets Beach – Southbank Parklands Brisbane

If you don’t have time to travel to one of the coastal beaches, there’s a beach right in the city, in the South Bank Parklands. We love having an evening swim at Streets Beach and you can watch the city lights across the river. A word of warning: the lovely aromas coming from nearby BBQs and restaurants get your appetite going. Right beside the beach is Aquativity, a water play area for children.

Do you have a favourite beach near Brisbane?

About Dianne McLay

Australian writer, author and photographer. Author of 3 guidebooks: Brisbane's Best Bush, Bay & City Walks -- Best of Brisbane guide book -- Best Village & Coastal Walks of the Sunshine Coast. Photographer for "Building Brisbane's History - the fascinating stories behind the city's most notable buildings and structures" Editor of
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9 Responses to Best Beaches Near Brisbane

  1. We are pretty spoilt with some pretty amazing beaches!

  2. Pingback: Brisbane: info & tips! | Travel Bug's Travel Blog

  3. Renaldo says:

    Twin Waters – North Shore Maroochydore River!

  4. Cylinder Beach is one of the best beaches to go to! 🙂

  5. westseventhfreelance says:

    Someday…. 🙂

  6. woo sunshine and beach, nice~

  7. Jody says:

    Reblogged this on Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches and commented:
    What a wonderful list! The Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, islands and parklands, whales and dolphins! What’s not to love on the Best Beaches Near Brisbane? Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Love your photos of the beaches … particularly Straddie and Bribie … and Main Beach Noosa … interesting framing. And of course that made me thing of having a swim at Main Beach then walking over to the Royal Copenhagen for an icecream.

    • Dianne McLay says:

      Yes, the swim on Main Beach followed by an ice cream on Hastings Street is one of those great summer rituals.

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