20 of the Best Beaches Near Brisbane within a 2-hour drive of the CBD

Surfing, swimming, dog-walking and sunbathing beaches in South East Queensland

 

20 Best Beaches Near Brisbane

 

Table of Contents

Welcome to my post about the 20 best beaches near Brisbane to visit within a 2-hour drive of the CBD. To make sure it is straightforward for you to read I have arranged it into the following sections:

1. Introduction
2. Best Beaches Near Brisbane
2.1 Suttons Beach
2.2 Coolangatta
2.3 Surfside Beach
2.4 Alexandria Bay
2.5 Nudgee Beach
2.6 Mooloolaba
2.7 Rainbow Bay
2.8 Raby Bay Foreshore Park
2.9 Surfer's Paradise
2.10 Red Beach
2.11 Nobby Beach
2.12 Cylinder Beach
2.13 Honeymoon Bay
2.14 Tea Tree Bay
2.15 Shorncliffe Beach
2.16 Kirra
2.17 Kings Beach
2.18 Main Beach
2.19 Mudjimba
2.20 Streets Beach
3. FAQs

I hope you have found this post useful. If you have, you are sure to have an amazing time regardless of which of the beaches near Brisbane you visit.

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you interact with them).

Read Time: 12 Minutes

 

Introduction

Wanting to visit the best beaches near Brisbane?

Well you have come to the right place. Within a two-hour drive of the state capital there are plenty of sandy areas on and around the Queensland coast you can visit.

In case you are on holiday and are not familiar with them, or if you live in the city and need some inspiration of where to go, here are 20 of the best beaches near Brisbane you can visit within a 2-hour drive of the CBD.

 

Shorncliffe Beach is one of the best beaches near Brisbane to visit in Queensland
View of the sand at Shorncliffe Beach

 

Best Beaches Near Brisbane

Looking for the best beaches near Brisbane within a 2-hour drive for a day trip or weekend getaway? Here are 20 great options to consider!

 

Suttons Beach

Suttons Beach is a highly popular destination for families in Brisbane who love the beach. The beach features soft sands, calm waters, and numerous picnic spots. Lifeguards diligently watch over the waters, making it an excellent place for young swimmers to enjoy a dip.

Located in scenic Redcliffe, just a 40-minute drive from downtown Brisbane, Suttons Beach is a great spot for a family day trip. It offers tree-shaded and grassy picnic areas, which accommodate a playground, barbecues, and long tracks for cycling and walking.

While it can get busy during school and public holidays, and on weekends, there is plenty of space for everyone.

Drive Time: 40 minutes

 

Coolangatta

On the Gold Coast, Coolangatta Beach is the southernmost community in the region and also the closest to the airport. The beach faces north and has golden-white sand and safe, clear waters, making it a popular spot for families.

The waves off the point are great for beginner to intermediate surfers. From May to October, especially in August and September, you may be able to see humpback whales on their annual migration over the border in New South Wales at Tweed Heads. The whales often pass quite close to the shore, providing amazing photo opportunities.

Drive Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

 

Surfside Beach

The name Surfside Beach on the eastern side of Moreton Island comes from its location as the surf-side of the island.

This beach does not have lifeguards, so if you plan to surf, make sure you are confident in your abilities and aware of your surroundings. Rips are common on this side of the island, so be mindful of them while paddling.

Nevertheless, this beach is perfect for a leisurely paddle, which makes it a deserved addition to this list of the best beaches near Brisbane.

Transit Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

 

Sunrise at Kings Beach at Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland
Sunrise at Kings Beach in Caloundra

 

Alexandria Bay

Over on the other side of the famous headland at Noosa Head, you’ll find Alexandria Bay, which provides one of the quieter locations in Queensland for relaxing on a golden sandy beach. You can access it on foot from Noosa Heads (3.5km through the Noosa National Park) or 20 minutes on foot from McAnally Drive on Sunshine Beach (1.3km).

Away from the crowds on Noosa Main Beach, this area is renowned for being a nudist beach, so don’t be surprised if you see people in their birthday suits. (Be aware though, beach nudity is not technically legal in Queensland. So, keep your eyes peeled for the authorities).

Known locally as ‘A-Bay’, you can also enjoy a walk around Noosa National Park, taking in Hell’s Gates and the Fairy Pools, which are popular viewpoints which overlook the North Shore and Tea Tree Bay.

Alexandria Bay fronts east and is fairly exposed. It is also not patrolled with does not have any amenities, so make sure you carry in everything you will need for the day, including water. The beach is known for having strong currents, so take a quick dip close to shore, but be aware of the potential dangers.

Towards the beach’s northern end, surfers can revel in consistent swell, as southeasterly breezes whip around either side of the headland. However, be warned, it is quite an endeavour to carry a board in and out with you.

Drive Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

 

Nudgee Beach

If you are looking to visit the closest of the beaches near Brisbane from the CBD, then you’ll need to check out Nudgee Beach. It’s less than a 10-minute drive from the main airport and about 25-minutes from the CBD. But it feels like a world away from the busy city streets due to its wild nature.

Flanked by mangroves and the abundant birdlife of the Boondall Wetlands, Nudgee Beach is often overlooked by many visitors. However, it is definitely one of the best beaches near Brisbane to visit for families, thanks to its shallow sections and expansive picnic area.

Nudgee Beach is also known for being welcoming to dogs, with a pooch-friendly expanse of sand as well as an off-leash area which is enclosed at Tuckeroo Park, which isn’t far away. The sands might not be as white and soft as you’ll find elsewhere, but it’s a pleasant spot to let kids and pets splash around in safety.

Drive Time: 25 minutes

 

Mooloolaba

Imagine a vibrant and modern high-rise area with shops lining a luxurious beachfront esplanade and a gorgeous 2km stretch of sand. This is Mooloolaba Beach.

The bustling, patrolled beach has been voted one of the best on the Sunny Coast, featuring beautiful blue water, stunning white sand, and frequent visits from dolphins and whales. You’ll also find a wide variety of dining options and a great holiday atmosphere here.

Mooloolaba Beach is the perfect spot for children to play and build sand castles on its pure white sand. Its foreshore area also has multiple playgrounds, toilets, and showers, which make it one of the best beaches near Brisbane for families.

Drive Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

 

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  • Rainbow Bay

    I wanted to put Rainbow Beach down on my list of the best beaches near Brisbane. But as that is a three hour drive away from the I couldn’t. So, I settled for Rainbow Bay on the Gold Coast instead.

    Rainbow Bay is the last major beach in Queensland before the New South Wales border. It is known as the gateway to nearby Fraser Island, a popular 4×4 touring destination.

    The town is named after the area’s multi-coloured sand dunes, that derive from the mineral content in the sand. Rainbow Bay is also bordered by the Cooloola Section of the Great Sandy National Park, which features several walking trails.

    The mostly flat white sand beach at Rainbow Bay means that the tide can come in fairly quickly, so be sure to keep an eye out to prevent your belongings from getting wet!

    Drive Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

     

    Raby Bay Foreshore Park

    In Cleveland, less than 40-minutes from Brisbane’s CBD, Raby Ray Foreshore Park is a terrific place to explore for a full day.

    The park features a series of sheltered beaches that are perfect for child-friendly swimming and kayaking. Visitors may even be lucky enough to spot dolphins diving in and out of the clear, wave-free waters.

    Additionally, it is well-equipped with picnic areas, sports facilities, a playground, parking, toilets and showers. Long footpaths are popular with cyclists and runners throughout the day. The park also has a dog-friendly area, and pet owners come here to enjoy outdoor time with their canine companions at the designated off-leash stretch of sand.

    Drive Time: 50 minutes

     

    Surfer’s Paradise

    There is no question that Surfers Paradise is one of the best beaches near Brisbane. This 2 km world-famous stretch of golden sand beach is located in the centre of Queensland’s Gold Coast. It is patrolled by three different lifeguard-topped towers and offers safe designated swimming and surfing areas.

    Moreover, there are plenty of free-to-use barbecue grills and seating areas for visitors to enjoy the Aussie surf culture from the safety of the sand.

    If you’re new to surfing or looking to improve your skills, you can sign up for a lesson and hire a board to learn from the pros that are based here. For experienced surfers, the outer bar offers moderate swell and offshore winds, making it an ideal spot to catch some waves.

    Drive Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

     

    View of Surfers Paradise Beach on the Gold Coast
    View of Surfers Paradise Beach on the Gold Coast

     

    Red Beach

    Located on Bribie Island, Red Beach is one of the best beaches near Brisbane to take your dog for a walk.

    The beach is not patrolled and there are no amenities such as toilets or beach showers, so I would recommend this beach for a short shoreline walk.

    Fishing, however, is a popular activity here, so if that’s your thing, feel free to cast away.

    Drive Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

     

    Nobby Beach

    located between Miami and Mermaid Beach, Nobby Beach is a peaceful and family-friendly stretch of golden sand just north of Burleigh Heads National Park. The beach is patrolled year-round from 8 am to 5 pm. It’s important to only swim in the area between the flags as there are several strong rips in the area.

    As one of the most popular accessible beaches on the Gold Coast’s, there are multiple access points designed for wheelchair users. These points offer beach matting, wheelchairs, and wheelchair platforms to ensure everyone can enjoy the sand.

    Drive Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

     

    Cylinder Beach

    Cylinder Beach on North Stradbroke Island is one of the most popular swimming beaches near Brisbane. It’s renowned for its family-friendly atmosphere and lovely picnic areas shaded by trees.

    While the waters are more suitable for strong swimmers, lifeguards are present during high season to ensure safety for families. It takes about an hour to get to Cylinder Beach from downtown Brisbane by car or bus followed by a ferry ride.

    Camping facilities are available, so visitors can enjoy swimming and surfing until sunset.

    Transit Time: 1 hour

     

    Don't fancy the beach? Check out these tours!

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  • Australia Zoo Tour
  • Wet’n’Wild, Sea World & Movie World 3-Day Pass

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  • Mt Tamborine Rainforest and Springbrook Day Tour
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  • Winery Tour & Tasting on Tuscan Terrace with 3-Course Lunch
  • Honeymoon Bay

    Honeymoon Bay resembles a scene straight out of a postcard – almost too good to be true. At a mere 50 metres in length, it is not the biggest of the beaches near Brisbane and is best enjoyed with minimal crowds.

    The water can be somewhat hazardous due to large swells and concealed rocks within the whitewash. Instead, consider bringing along your finest picnic basket, a blanket, and a delightful bottle of wine for a truly unique date night.

    Transit Time: 75 minutes

     

    Tea Tree Bay

    Take a stroll away from Noosa’s Main Beach along the boardwalk that leads to the National Park. You could spend an entire day exploring the tropical beauty, and Tea Tree Bay is one of the must-see stops on the scenic route.

    With its crystal-clear water and impressive surf, it’s a favourite spot for local surfers who enjoy the picturesque paths to reach this serene area with top-notch waves.

    It’s around a 30-minute walk from Noosa’s Main Beach, and along the way, you’ll pass the beautiful Little Cove (perfect for a swim and some fun) and the entrance to the National Park, which houses a kiosk, eco-friendly toilets. There is also free parking, but only if you can find a spot, which is not easy, especially during busy tourist times when surfers abound.

    Drive Time: 2 hours

     

    Shorncliffe Beach

    Less than 30-minute drive north of the centre of the city, Shorncliffe Beach is one of the best beaches bear Brisbane for day-tripping families, thanks to its calm waters and well-maintained playground.

    The beach is located right next to the famous Shorncliffe Pier, and there are a number of waterfront spots nearby that serve excellent fish and chips to hungry beachgoers.
    Shorncliffe is a good starting point for coastal walks, with couples, families, and solo joggers following the 1.5-mile ‘Lovers’ Walk’ along the waterfront to Sandgate.

    Talking of Sandgate, you’ll find plenty of bars offering coffee, beer, or a chilled glass of white wine to take the edge off the heat on a summer day there.

    Drive Time: 35 minutes

     

    Stunning views from the shoreline at Coolangatta Beach Gold Coast Australia
    Coolangatta Beach on the Gold Coast

     

    Kirra

    Over in Coolangatta, Kirra Beach is home to one of the most famous surfing spots in Australia. It is the northern break of the ‘Superbank,’ which is one of the world’s longest right-handed waves.

    Back in 1916, Kirra set up one of the Gold Coast’s O.G. surf clubs. Its clubhouse remains and is a great place for lunch while watching the beach and the waves.
    Locals gather every Saturday at 7 am for the free 5 km Parkrun along the beach, which starts near the North Kirra Surf Life Saving Club.

    Drive Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

     

    Kings Beach

    If you fancy a trip to Caloundra, make sure you head to Kings Beach. With playgrounds to entertain both big and little kids, an oceanfront pool, waterpark, plenty of barbecues, and all the necessary family facilities along a grassy foreshore, it is perfect for a family outing.

    One of the best beaches near Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast, there are plenty of dining options nearby. It’s also the location of the annual Caloundra Music Festival – a lively event that attracts musicians and visitors from near and far.

    Drive Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

     

    Main Beach

    Visitors to Main Beach in North Stradbroke Island, will immediately understand the origins of its name.

    This expansive stretch of pristine sand extends for nearly 25 miles, from Point Lookout to the island’s southern tip. It is renowned for its rampant surf, stunningly beautiful backdrop, and fabulous opportunities for whale-watching. Main Beach is also well-suited for outdoor enthusiasts with its series of campsites and strategically placed picnic spots.

    Surfers love it, while the lush bushland is full of koalas and also offers exciting nature walks, where you might encounter kangaroos making their way down to the beach from the interior.

    Transit Time: 2 hours

     

    Mooloolaba Beach Sunshine Coast
    Mooloolaba Beach on the Sunshine Coast

     

    Mudjimba

    Another beach on the Sunshine Coast, Mudjimba Beach is a pristine coastal haven located just a short distance from Maroochydore and 90 minutes from Brisbane. The expansive, golden sands of this beach are bordered by the Maroochy River and the Pacific Ocean.

    Tucked away in the backstreets, this beautiful beach has earned hidden gem status, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing beach holiday with friends and family. This beach is patrolled daily, and it’s important to swim only between the flagged areas near Mudjimba Surf Club’s watchtower to avoid rips or strong currents.

    Mudjimba Beach is located three kilometres south of Marcoola, with ample, unmetered parking available close to the beachfront. It is one of the best beaches near Brisbane for fishing and surfing with many excellent spots along the sand to cast a line and plenty of consistent surf breaks. The patrolled sections of the beach are also perfect for kids’ boogie board adventures.

    Adjacent to Mudjimba Surf Club, there is a fantastic kids’ playground. This shaded grassy area is equipped with covered barbecues and picnic tables, making it an excellent spot for a leisurely lunch. Moreover, across the road, there are numerous eateries serving a variety of food, from traditional fish and chips to organic, locally-sourced fare and espresso coffee.

    Drive Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

     

    Streets Beach

    If you don’t fancy driving up to two hours to put your feet in the sand, don’t forget Brisbane has its own beach!

    Australia’s only man-made beach, Streets Beach, offers cityfolk a chance to swim and sunbathe without leaving the CBD. Situated on the south bank of the winding Brisbane River and with its own clear-water lagoon, the stretch of palm-fringed white sand makes a dramatic contrast to the surrounding skyscrapers and shops.

    Lifeguards patrol the beach year-round, and its location within South Bank Parklands means there are plenty of facilities for families. These include restrooms, walking tracks, picnic areas, and plenty of eateries and bars for those who want to bring their own food with them.

    The clean, stoic waters are perfect for a dip on a hot Brisbane day, and the chance to grab an ice cream or ice-cold beer by the riverbank only adds to the appeal.

     

    FAQs

    What is the closest of the swimming beaches near Brisbane?

    The closest of all the swimming beaches near Brisbane is Streets Beach which is located at Southbank. This man-made beach patrolled by surf-lifesavers, so it is perfectly safe for people of all ages to enjoy a dip in.

     

    What is the closest seaside beach near Brisbane?

    Nudgee Beach is only 15km from the Brisbane CBD. It has a lovely community feel and plenty of nice cafes and shops. It also has a pleasant beach to enjoy too.

     

    What is the easiest of all the beaches near Brisbane to get to?

    In my opinion, the easiest of all the beaches near Brisbane to get to is Sutton Beach in Redcliffe. It is a straightforward drive to get there on the Bruce Highway and is also accessible via regular Translink bus services.

     

    Are the best beaches near Brisbane on the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast?

    Both the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast have excellent beaches near Brisbane to go to when you fancy a day trip or weekend getaway. The best ones are really a personal choice and will depend on factors such as the sand, surf, facilities and degree of family-friendliness.

     

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