The Gold Coast is annually one of the most popular and highly-visited tourist destinations in Australia, and one of the main reasons why is obviously its huge number of pristine white beaches. Stretched out over the course of approximately 57km of coastline, the Gold Coast’s beaches feature some of the most popular surf breaks and beach locations in not only Australia but also the world.

But what differentiates one Gold Coast beach from the next? Which beach is best suited for those with families and young children as opposed to teenagers, couples or students? We attempt to answer all those questions and more with this Gold Coast beaches guide. The core beaches of the Gold Coast, in alphabetical order, are as follows:


Surfers Paradise

Easily the most famous beach on the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise is also easily the most popular throughout the year due to its close proximity to the main attractions and theme parks, accommodation, nightlife and entertainment hub of the Gold Coast. Situated a short stroll from The Ruby Collection, it’s also surrounded by the best Gold Coast restaurants, shopping outlets and fast food chains.


Main Beach

Originally named because it was, quite simply, the “Main Beach” for the nearby town of Southport, Main Beach has become a separate suburb in its own right due to continued development. Main Beach is also usually substantially less crowded than its neighbouring beaches at Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach, lending it a relaxing atmosphere with several nearby restaurants and coffee shops available for use.




Broadbeach, located towards the Gold Coast’s northern end, is a suburb that provides a pleasant blend of shopping and a variety of restaurants. The area, as may be guessed from its name, is also home to a long, clean stretch of beach that is easily accessible for both pedestrians and cyclists and is bordered by several large parks that make for great picnic areas.


 Palm Beach

Twice voted to be the cleanest beach in Queensland, the beaches of Palm Beach have little in terms of distinct features to distinguish them from any other on the Gold Coast, yet provide a reliable, comfortable and often uncrowded option for a day of both swimming and relaxation. As the area is less developed and built up as opposed to some of its northern counterparts, Palm Beach beaches are popular with families, bodyboarders and walkers – especially those with dogs.


Nobby Beach

Nobby Beach in the suburb of Mermaid Beach is a secluded, quiet beach that offers a fairly substantial amount of parking bordered by a large park which provides a nice area for both adults and children to relax. Decent surfing is also offered with good waves appearing on a clean, easterly swell. Families may enjoy a tranquil walk in either direction along the quiet beachfront, with a spectacular sunrise offered at dawn over the sea for the early riser


Kirra Beach

Kirra Point’s small rocky headland serves to separate Kirra Beach on the North from the main Coolangatta beach to the south, and is often regarded as one of the world’s premier surf breaks, with multiple surfing competitions – both professional and amateur – held here throughout the year. Another reason to visit Kirra Beach is not only the beach itself, but also the range of beautiful Gold Coast scenery that it has to offer with scenic footpaths, headland, golden sand and greenery all combining to make it a picturesque locale.



Currumbin Beach

Currumbin’s beaches form a lovely balance between a family destination – with sheltered off, shark-netted swimming areas and nearby parks ideal for barbecues – with a great spot for surfers and other watersports enthusiasts offered by Currumbin Alley. Relatively fast, long waves can be caught when the swell is up that are perfect for lots of turns while also being relatively forgiving. Many surfing lesson schools are also in operation on weekends in the area which can prove both a benefit to beginners and a hazard to surfing veterans.


Coolangatta Beach

Acting as the initial symbol many international and interstate visitors will have upon arriving at the Gold Coast by plane, Coolangatta is the area where the main stretch of continuous beach that reaches up to Main Beach in the north begins. Its two main beaches – Greenmount Beach and Rainbow Bay – are the Gold Coast’s only north-facing beaches which helps to provide excellent, sheltered conditions that are ideal for swimming. A stroll around the point to nearby Snapper Rocks can also give you an increased chance of seeing whales passing on their annual migration throughout the year’s cooler months.


Burleigh Heads Beach

Providing a good alternative to the more tourist-populated suburbs of the Gold Coast, Burleigh’s beaches can also draw significant numbers, especially when the surf is up and spectators as well as participants may appear. Burleigh provides a pleasant beach atmosphere that is protected by the point to the south and offers one of the best all-round swimming, bodyboarding and surfing beaches on the Gold Coast, which is also reflected in the fact that the Quicksilver Pro professional  surfing contest is often held at Burleigh Heads



Budds Beach

Nestled just behind The Ruby Collection, the sandy retreat is great use of the Nerang River to create a uniquely relaxed, secluded natural environment. It’s the perfect spot for beginners to learn how to stand up paddle amongst the calm river waters.


This post has been expanded since its original publication on ExperienceOz.