10 of the Very Best Beaches on the Gold Coast!

This article covers 10 of the very best beaches on the Gold Coast!

The Queensland Travel Guide acknowledges the Yugambeh peoples the Traditional Custodians of the land on which the Gold Coast is situated. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continued spiritual and cultural connections to Country. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.

Growing up in South East Queensland, I really don’t think I realised how lucky I was to have the gorgeous Gold Coast beaches right on my doorstep! As a child, I spent numerous weekends swimming at the beach, and as an adult, I spent countless holidays and weekends away at one of the stellar beaches.

This stretch of Australian coastline is studded with some of the best sandy spots you could hope to flop your beach towel on. Whether you’re a surfer, a sunbather, or just like to stroll along the shore, the Gold Coast has the perfect beach for you.

And the Gold Coast isn’t shy about its beaches; there’s a whole lot of them!  From the buzzing vibe of Surfers Paradise, where the party never seems to stop, to the laid-back charm of Currumbin, where the waves gently persuade you to stay all day, there’s a beach here to match everyone.

To help you find the best beaches at the Gold Coast, this guide will walk you through the top 10 beaches (in my humble opinion, that is), taking you through all the details you need to find the most perfect one for you!

This post may contain compensated links. Please refer to our disclaimer here for more information

With no particular order – here is my guide to the best beaches along the Gold Coast!

1. Surfers Paradise Beach

Surfers Paradise is pretty much the heartbeat of the Gold Coast and the poster child for what most people think of when they hear “Australian beaches.” If you’re looking for a place that’s always buzzing this is the place.

The iconic beach is a long, wide canvas of sand, perfect for an Aussie game of beach cricket, sunbathing, or just people-watching. It’s patrolled year round, making it a safe spot for a swim or surf. Plus you’ll find all the needed facilities including toilets, showers, accessible beach points and kids’ playgrounds.

In terms of surf, the waves here can vary from beginner-friendly to challenging enough to keep the seasoned surfers happy. It’s called Surfers Paradise for a reason, right?

Just steps from the beach, you’ll find a bustling esplanade packed with shops, eateries, and all kinds of entertainment. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a sit-down meal with ocean views, there’s something for every taste and budget. 

And if shopping is your thing, you won’t be disappointed. From high-end boutiques to surf shops, you can pretty much shop till you drop.

Once the sun sets, bars, clubs, and live music venues light up, offering everything from laid-back beach vibes to dance floors that keep going until the early hours.

Being one of the most popular beaches on the Gold Coast, parking along the beach can be an absolute nightmare unless you’re here crazy early or on a cold winter’s day. So your best bet is to park in a paid car park or, better yet, catch the tram – there’s a station right in the centre of Surfers!

2. Burleigh Heads Beach

Positioned between the high-rises of Surfers Paradise and the laid-back vibes of Coolangatta, Burleigh Heads (or just “Burleigh” to the locals) offers a bit of both worlds.

The beach is a hub for surfers thanks to its famously consistent point break that draws board-riders from all around. Not into surfing? No worries. The wide sandy beach is perfect for sandcastle building, beach cricket, or just lying around soaking up the atmosphere. 

Just off the beach, Burleigh Heads National Park offers gorgeous walking trails that provide great views over the ocean and a decent chance of spotting some local wildlife. If you’re feeling energetic, walking to the Tumgun Lookout is well worth the effort for panoramic views.

This is the perfect spot for families too, with plenty of shady grassed areas, playgrounds, BBQ facilities, picnic tables, toilets and showers.  The beach here is patrolled as well, so it’s safe for swimming.

The area just back from the beach is stacked with cafes and restaurants that range from laid-back coffee shops to award-winning dining spots. Do yourself a favour and stop into Pavilion – one of my favourite spots down the coast for lunch – the views are to die for!

There’s no tram stop in Burleigh, so you’ll need to battle everyone for a car park or take the bus in.

3. Coolangatta Beach

Coolangatta Beach is the laid-back cousin at the southern end of the Gold Coast, offering a nice mix of everything—great surf, welcoming sand, and a friendly local atmosphere. 

With consistent breaks that can accommodate both pros and beginners, Coolangatta is a dream for surfers. Swimmers are not forgotten, with the beach being patrolled year round.  

You’ve also got plenty of great facilities on hand including toilets, showers, loads of parking (although it gets packed quickly) and even a playground for the kids.

The beach itself is a beauty. There’s plenty of sand for everyone, so you can spread out your towel, set up a beach umbrella, or just plop down and watch the world go by.

You’ll find a strip of cafes and shops behind the beach. Whether you’re after a big breakfast to start your day, a mid-afternoon ice cream, or a seafood dinner, Coolangatta’s got your back. It’s all served with a side of ocean breeze and a relaxed vibe.

With paths that offer stunning views up and down the coast, Coolangatta is also a prime spot for coastal walks. You can stroll up to Point Danger, where you can stand with one foot in Queensland and one in New South Wales, the perfect Instagram shot!

The tram doesn’t come as far as Coolie, so you’ll need to drive down, so consider getting here early if you’re after a prime parking space.

4. Main Beach

Main Beach is where the Gold Coast’s glitzy vibe meets the laid-back beach lifestyle. Sitting just north of Surfers Paradise, it’s got a character all its own—a spot where the high life and the beach life come together seamlessly.

For surf enthusiasts, Main Beach serves up some reliable waves that are generally more suited to those with a bit of surfing experience. If you’re more about swimming, the water is clear and inviting, with lifeguards keeping watch to ensure everyone’s safe.

The beach here is wide and long, giving you plenty of room to sprawl out.  Along the beachfront, there’s plenty of parking (it’s probably one of the easier places down the coast to find a park), and facilities like toilets, showers, and playgrounds are dotted around the foreshore for the kids.

Just off the sand, Main Beach’s Tedder Avenue is a hub of activity. Here, there are cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. It’s perfect for a post-beach meal or a wander through shops that offer everything from high-end fashion to quirky local crafts. 

Along Main Beach, you can even rent a jet ski, take a parasailing trip, or embark on a fishing charter. For a more relaxed pace, the nearby Spit offers peaceful walking tracks and excellent spots for fishing or just watching the boats come in.

And if you’re relying on public transport to get around, you’re in luck as there is a tram stop in Main Beach – but depending on where you’re staying it could be a bit of a hike. It is just a few blocks back from the beach though.

5. Currumbin Beach

Currumbin Beach is a standout on the Gold Coast for its scenic beauty and welcoming, slightly bohemian vibe. It’s where the river meets the sea, creating a unique spot for water enthusiasts and those who just want to chill on the shore.

At Currumbin, the beach curves gently, offering a blend of golden sand and sparkling water mostly sheltered from the wilder ocean currents, thanks to the nearby headland. This makes it a fantastic spot for families or anyone who’s not a fan of wrestling with waves, plus the beach is patrolled.

Surfers still get their fix here though. The point at the end of the beach is known for its long, cruisy waves that you can ride all the way back to the sandy beach. It’s less crowded than the super popular spots, but you’ll find a friendly crowd of locals and tourists on a good day.

Behind the beach, Currumbin Creek is an adventure hub. You can paddleboard or kayak through calm waters, explore the mangroves, or just find a quiet spot to drop a fishing line.

The streets near Currumbin Beach are lined with cool cafes, quirky shops, and eateries that serve everything from fresh seafood to organic treats. Plenty of toilets, showers, BBQ facilities, and picnic areas are also dotted around the area. There is plenty of parking too, but this certainly doesn’t mean parking is easy, as the tram doesn’t make it this far down the coast.

The area also hosts the annual Swell Sculpture Festival, transforming the beachfront into an outdoor art gallery with incredible sand and sea as its backdrop.

6. Broadbeach

One of my go to places when I want a weekend away on the Goldie is Broadbeach, as it strikes the perfect balance between the buzzy atmosphere of Surfers Paradise and the laid-back charm of the southern Gold Coast. 

The beach is a sprawling expanse that offers plenty of space for building sandcastles, playing beach cricket, or lounging around while soaking up the coastal vibes.  The waves are generally friendly, making it a great spot for a swim or a beginner surf lesson. And with lifeguards regularly patrolling the area, you can feel safe year round.

Like most popular Gold Coast beaches, Broadbeach has all the necessary facilities, including toilets, showers, disabled beach access, BBQ and picnic areas, playgrounds for the kids, and various places to park. And there’s a tram stop in the centre too which makes it easy to get around.

The area boasts many restaurants, cafes, and bars catering to every taste and budget. Whether you’re after a gourmet meal or a simple snack, you won’t have to wander far. The Shopalohics aren’t forgotten either, with the Oasis Shopping Centre and Pacific Fair offering everything from fashion boutiques to souvenir shops and high end stores.

Then, when the sun goes down, the area truly comes to life. Home to stylish lounges,  lively cabarets, vibrant nightclubs and the Star Casino, Broadbeach is perfect for those looking for a night of entertainment. Or, if you prefer something a bit more low-key, there are plenty of spots to enjoy live music or a quiet drink.

Broadbeach also hosts various events throughout the year, from music festivals to food and wine fairs.

7. Tallebudgera Creek

Tallebudgera Creek is a slice of paradise tucked between Burleigh Heads and Palm Beach. It’s different from your typical beach scene; think less surfboards and more paddleboards, kayaks, and the occasional fishing pole.

The beauty of Tallebudgera Creek lies in its calm, crystal-clear waters, which make it a favourite spot for families and anyone looking to escape the often rougher ocean waves. The creek is patrolled and perfect for swimming, with shallow areas that are great for little ones and deeper sections for those who like to swim rather than wade. 

For the more adventurous, Tallebudgera Creek offers a variety of water-based activities. You can rent paddleboards or kayaks and explore the serene waterway at your own pace. The creek is also a popular fishing spot.

Walking tracks around the creek are perfect for nature lovers. They wind through Burleigh Head National Park, providing stunning views and a chance to spot local wildlife. 

Tallebdugera is also a popular spot for picnics, thanks to the large, grassy areas that line the banks. These areas have BBQ facilities and plenty of shade. Toilets, showers, and parking spaces are also dotted around the place but they fill up fast as there is no tram stop here.

For those not keen on packing a picnic, there are a couple of local cafes and eateries where you can pick up some fish and chips or a burger with the lot.  For those after a sit down meal, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants a short drive away. 

8. Rainbow Bay

Image credit thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland

For a full day at the beach, one of my all time favourites down the coast is Rainbow Bay.  This gorgeous little stretch of beach is tucked away at the southern end of the Gold Coast, right next to the New South Wales border, offering a peaceful retreat from the more crowded beaches up the coast.

Rainbow Bay is a haven for those who like their beach days laid-back and their surf smooth. The gentle waves make it a popular spot for families and novice surfers. But don’t be fooled—on the right day, seasoned surfers can find some fun challenges, especially near Snapper Rocks, which is just a stone’s throw away.

The beach curves softly around the bay, providing a natural shelter from the more aggressive waves and winds. It’s a prime spot for a swim or just a float, with lifeguards checking to ensure everyone is safe. The sand is perfect for building castles, digging holes, or just planting your chair and umbrella for a day under the sun.

The area has some excellent walking trails that offer stunning coastline views. One of my favourites is the walk around Greenmount Hill, which gives you a panoramic view, including surfers catching waves, whales breaching in the distance during migration season, and everything in between.

At Rainbow Bay, you’ll find all the necessary facilities, such as toilets, showers, picnic areas and a playground for the kids.  There’s not too much on offer regarding cafes and eateries; however the local surf club is a great spot serving tasty food with a view.

Parking is also here, but like most places on the Goldie – it fills up quickly, so be prepared to park some distance from the actual beach unless you’re one of those lucky buggers to snag a park along the beach. The tram doesn’t make it this far unfortutnately.

9. Kirra Beach

The main attraction at Kirra is, without a doubt, the surfing. The beach is home to world-renowned waves that can offer long, blissful rides that feel like they go on forever. Kirra’s point break is legendary, often creating perfect conditions for postcard-worthy surfing moments.

But Kirra isn’t just for the pros. The beach has plenty of space for everyone, from families looking for a sandy spot to set up for the day to casual beachgoers wanting to soak up some sun and paddle around in the shallows. The water is super welcoming thanks to its crystal clear water and lifeguards on duty to keep everyone safe.

Kirra’s got more to offer just steps from the beach. There’s a mix of surf shops, cafes, and eateries that stay true to the beach’s laid-back surfer vibe. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast to start your day, a quick coffee refuel, or a relaxing dinner, there’s something around for all types.

Kirra also hosts various events throughout the year, from surfing competitions that draw crowds from all over the globe to local markets and festivals that showcase the community’s vibrant culture and arts scene.

Facilities include basic amenities like toilets and showers and various parking spots. There are also BBQ facilities and a playground for the little ones. No tram stop here though.

10. Snapper Rocks

Located at the southern end of Rainbow Bay, Snapper Rocks is internationally known as one of the world’s premier surf spots, famous for its superbank that creates one of the longest and most consistent waves. 

The rocky outcrop that gives Snapper Rocks its name isn’t just for looks; it’s an integral part of the geography that makes the waves here what they are. Snapper Rocks is not the kind of place packed with sunbathers; this is where you’ll find surfers sizing up the waves or discussing the latest swell. 

For non-surfers, Snapper is still worth a visit just for the spectacle. Watching surfers navigate the superbank is pretty cool. Plus, the walking paths around the area offer great vantage points for snapping some great pics for your Instagram account.

But if you’re looking for a patrolled beach for swimming, you’re out of luck.  Your best bet is to walk around to nearby Rainbow Bay or even Coolangatta.  This is also true for facilities, as they’re fairly minimal at Snapper Rocks and there is no tram stop either.

There’s not too much nearby either in terms of places to eat or shops. So, if you are hungry, your best bet is to head to Rainbow Bay Surf Club or jump in the car and head to nearby Coolangatta for numerous dining and shopping options.

Hopefully, this guide excites you about visiting the Gold Coast.

If you’re planning a trip up the coast, I highly recommend you check out our Gold Coast guide, which provides links to everything you need to know to plan your trip.  To start, you definitely should read the guide on everything there is to do on the Gold Coast.

I’d also recommend you join our free Queensland Travel Guide Facebook community, where you can ask all your questions and find even more great trip suggestions.

If you’re heading to the Gold Coast beaches, you might also be interested in the following nearby destinations: