Your 14 Day Guide to a Gold Coast Beach Holiday
The Gold Coast is one of the most popular beach holiday destinations, not just in Queensland but the whole of Australia too.
Boasting over 70 km of coastline it is a mecca for lovers of sun, sand and surf. Drawing more than 10 million visitors every year from all over the world.
Blessed with a number of wonderful beaches, you could easily visit the Gold Coast for two weeks and spend the day at a different one.
So in case this is something you would like to do we have put together this handy 14-day guide to a Gold Coast Beach Holiday.
Whether you love to swim, surf, take photos, walk or simply chill out, these beaches all offer something a little different.
Gold Coast Beaches
Below is a list of 14 great beaches you can easily visit during a two week stay on the Gold Coast.
They are not in any particular order, and by no means represent an official itinerary. But we would highly recommend you visit them as and when you want.
Undoubtedly the most famous beach on the Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise Beach will probably be many visitors first port of call.
A resplendent 2km stretch of shimmering sand and rolling surf this beach is where the action is!
Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean on one side and imposing skyscrapers on the other this is a terrific Gold Coast beach for the whole family.
Ironically, despite its name, it is not known for being an especially good surfing beach. But it is a great place to swim, sunbathe and people watch.
Kids will have plenty of space to run around in and if you want to play a bit of beach tennis, cricket or football you can easily find a spot to do so.
Boasting some great al fresco dining options and trendy bars, as well as thriving night markets, shopping centres and cool boutiques, there is plenty to do off the sand as well.
If you can get up early enough for it, the sunrise views, especially against the backdrop of the skyscrapers and the Pandanus palms and Tamarisk pines that line the beach, are quite stunning.
Granted it is not exactly the most evocative name for a beach, but Main Beach is somewhere you should definitely check out.
Some people actually think Main Beach is in Surfer’s Paradise, but it is infact a completely different destination – so named as it was the main surf beach to the town of Southport.
Situated east of the Nerang River, Main Beach is surrounded by The Spit in the north and a peninsula that stretches all the way to Surfers Paradise to the south. It is the first beach in the long line of beaches that reside on the Gold Coast.
Home to an historic bathing pavilion that has been converted into a cool, casual beach café, this spot is popular with surfers due to its open shore break.
The beach itself is great to look at and there is plenty to do here other than sunbathe. It also has all the facilities and amenities you could want in the surrounding locality. But the true beauty of Main Beach is the diversity of the people that visit it.
This is the place where hipsters mix with the fish and chip mob. Where the beautiful people mingle with Aussie battlers.
Showcasing a veritable melting pot of Australian society – it is a fascinating destination for people watching, especially for visitors from overseas.
Located in Coolangatta, history buffs will love Greenmount Beach as it is home to the oldest surf club in Queensland. The Tweed Heads and Coolangatta Surf Life Saving Club that was established in 1911.
One of only two north facing the Gold Coast beach destinations (the other being Rainbow Bay) the sheltered conditions make them ideal for swimming for those who are less confident in the water.
Enjoying a beautiful setting, this beach features a lovely green expanse which contrasts perfectly with the azure water, white sand and rocky, cobbled shoreline that defines the landscape. The green hill covered with grass on the Snapper Rocks is another great place to enjoy the view.
One of the best aspects of Greenmount Beach is that you often see pods of dolphins splashing around in these waters.
During the winter you might even spot the humpback whales on their annual migration too.
Whilst visiting the beach, take some time to traverse the boardwalk around Greenmount headland. The views are spectacular and you’ll be wanting to take lots of photographs.
If surfing is your thing, then make a beeline to Kirra Beach.
Believed to have been named after its boomerang shape, by the local indigenous people back in the day, Kirra beach is arguably the ‘real’ surfer’s paradise.
Boasting crystal clear water, revered Kirra Point is both a venue for the Billabong Pro surfing competition and the Gold Coast’s most famous surf beach.
Even if you are not a surfer, Kirra Beach, with its stunning stretch of sandy white coastline and azure ocean water, is a lovely beach to visit. Not least because there is plenty of parking spaces available.
Great for paddle boarding, swimming and sun-bathing too, Kirra is a little bit removed from the glitz and glamour with which you would usually associate the Gold Coast. Oozing a laid-back charm and character, as embodied by the chic café scene and quaint weatherboard beach shacks that are dotted around the area. You can spend hours here is a happy daze of contentment.
Once you leave the beach, be sure to head along the scenic walk to R T Peak Memorial Park, to check out some terrific views, which even by Gold Coast standards will take your breath away.
For a slightly different Gold Coast Beach experience head to Currumbin Creek.
While the word ‘creek’ might not break you out into transports of excitement, it is a beautiful spot that has a unique vibe. One which sets it well apart from the other beaches in the area.
The magnificent waterway of the Currumbin Creek is linked to the lush, pristine, rainforest mountains of Queensland in the west.
Here you can lazily float or canoe around the creek, often amongst pods of dolphins that sometimes glide in to the waterway at high tide to add a touch of magic to the experience.
Regularly voted as the cleanest beach in Queensland and featuring in the World Surfing Reserve, Currumbin Beach’s crystal clear waters extend from its famous Surf Club and iconic Elephant Rock lookout all the way to its imposing giant rock on Currumbin Creek Estuary’s south side.
If you head out to beside the rock, where the waterway meets the sea you will get to Currumbin Alley.
Colloquially known as ‘the Alley’, it produces one of the Gold Coast’s most famous right-hand surf breaks.
Compared to most other Gold Coast Beaches, Currumbin is more residential. Which also forms part of its charm. As a result the beachfront cafes in the area seem a lot more homely too.
If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the crowds of some of the busier Gold Coast beach destinations, then head to Nobby’s Beach.
Located south of Surfer’s Paradise, between Miami Beach and Mermaid Beach, Nobby’s Beach is a quiet suburb that offers a relaxed, uncrowded stretch of beach.
Patrolled by two lifeguard towers the beach is safe for swimming. Which makes it a lovely spot for couples or families to enjoy.
Flanked by a number of bars, cafes and cool, boutique style shops, it is also edged by a headland which is a lovely spot of a BBQ.
It is also an excellent place to watch the sunrise over the beach or take in breathtaking views of the coast from the top of the hill.
It might be labelled as ‘Millionaire’s Row’, but you don’t need to have a huge investment portfolio to visit Mermaid Beach.
Backed by Hedges Avenue, the Gold Coast’s most exclusive address, Mermaid Beach is predominantly a near-deserted stretch of sand that can be used and enjoyed by all.
You won’t see many people here and it is unlikely you will see a mermaid too. Sadly the beach was not named after their presence, but rather the cutter HMS Mermaid which was the vessel explorer John Oxley was in when he discovered both the Tweed and Brisbane Rivers in 1823.
With plenty of parking available this is a great beach to go for a long walk on. If indeed you walk barefoot, you will notice the sand is so fine it will squeak between your toes!
Situated just to the south of the centre of town, Mermaid Beach enjoys a central location. Perfect for family days out, you’ll find lots of sheltered picnic areas, cycling tracks and a lovely children’s playground. The waves are typically smaller here too, making it safer for swimming.
To the south, Mermaid Beach blends into Nobby’s Beach where the locals hang out. This is probably the best option to shop and find food.
Boasting a beautiful cove, with gorgeous white sands, stunning crystal-clear water and fabulous swimming conditions, Rainbow Bay is not to be missed.
Infact it feels more like the Sunshine Coast than a Gold Coast beach. A world away from the hustle and bustle of Surfer’s Paradise. Whose towering skyscrapers flicker in the hazy distance.
Previously known as Sharks Bay, the beach is located at the north of Point Danger. Whilst it might not sound so, it is an ideal place to visit for families with young children, or those who are not confident swimmers.
Renamed Rainbow Bay Beach by John Rous, who found this bay whilst surveying the area on HMS Rainbow, the north-facing sheltered beach here rarely endures the rips that can be a real hazard on other beaches in the coast. So it is generally pretty safe to enjoy the waves.
The same can not be said for the rocky headland known as Snapper Rocks. Located towards the latter part of Rainbow Bay, on the northern side of Point Danger, it forms the first part of the Superbank. A man-made world class surf break that offers one of the longest and hollowest waves in the world.
The Superbank’s break is home to the annual Quiksilver Pro surfing competition. Which draws in hundreds of spectators to watch the pros ride the waves. It also tops most keen amateur surfer’s wish list too.
It’s a wonder Palm Beach isn’t even more popular than it is, given that it has been crowned Queensland’s cleanest beach no less than three times.
Located 15 minutes from Surfer’s Paradise and 10 minutes from Coolangatta airport, Palm Beach fits snuggly between Tallebudgera Creek on one side and Currumbin Creek on the other.
Boasting a 4km long north-east facing expanse of sand, the entire stretch of Palm Beach features classic old style beachfront shacks, which sit side by side to houses, unit blocks and highrise apartments.
The fact that these beach shacks sit on million dollar blocks that have yet to fall into the hands of developers is kind of cool to see, and only adds to the appeal of the area.
Popular amongst surfers and sunbathers, especially at weekends, this beach has a laid-back vibe, possibly because the suburb in general has a large number of retirees.
Away from the beach it also features plenty of options to eat and shop too.
Like nearby Nobby’s Beach, the 1km stretch of sand known as Miami Beach is another great spot to escape the noise.
Extending north from the small headland of Mick Shamburg Park, the beach is generally quieter than others. Due in part to the relative lack of highrise apartment blocks overlooking it. Despite the fact the entire length of it is fronted by a narrow beachfront reserve.
There are many reasons to love this beach, which is a popular fishing spot.
Miami Beach is also a favoured spot for surfing and sunbathing. Whilst the laid back cafe scene, coastal walks and stunning panoramic viewpoints are a real drawcard too.
You could easily spend a good few hours here.
Burleigh Heads has been called the Gold Coast’s answer to Byron Bay.
A cool enclave of hipsters, bohemians and surfers, Burleigh Heads enjoys a stunning location upon a lush headland, replete with stately Norfolk pines and a strip of delightful cafes, bars and funky shops.
The headland incorporates hectares of National Park which visitors are free to explore. While Burleigh Beach itself features an eye-catching stretch of glistening white sands and turquoise waters that seamlessly incorporates the Gold Coast skyline.
One of the best bodyboarding, swimming and surfing beaches in the Gold Coast, Burleigh Heads features two sections. One with sheltered waters that is perfect for swimming. While the other has a consistent right-hand point break around the headland which is best for experienced surfers.
A great spot for couples as well as families, Burleigh is a place you could easily spend an entire wonderful day in. Exploring the headland, chilling on the beach, perusing the shops or hanging out is classy coffee joints.
Another creek to add to the list, beautiful Tallebudgera Creek is situated on the south side of Burleigh Hill.
Weaving inland and out into the Pacific Ocean, Talley Creek, as it is referred to by locals, is a stunning blue estuary. Fringed by one of the best beaches on the Gold Coast it boasts some of the clearest turquoise water you will ever see.
Lying adjacent to a forested national park, the creek’s shimmering waters are great for swimming, kayaking and fishing (there is a nearby campsite that is very popular).
During low tide several sand bars appear, which create little islands for you to explore and enjoy while they last.
Those with even more of a sense of adventure can jump off a 5 metre high bridge, in to the waters of a deeper section of the creek.
At the very southern end of the Gold Coast, Coolangatta has some of the region’s most beautiful beaches.
Renowned for its casual culture and relaxed vibe, Coolangatta Beach was named after the schooner that wrecked there in 1846.
One of the quieter beaches (by Gold Coast standards), ‘Cooly’ is the perfect area to spend a lazy day at. Boasting a north-facing, sheltered beach of wide, white sand, it is considered very safe for swimming.
The views of the Surfer’s Paradise skyline and overall coastline from the shoreline are particularly alluring here, and there are plenty of facilities and amenities in and around the beach to use. Including very good beach volleyball courts, located directly on the sand.
Just off this Gold Coast beach, the adjacent esplanade has a host of great bistros, cafes, restaurants, bars and shops to check out too.
Just south of Surfers Paradise is Broadbeach.
The stunning Gold Coast beach is quite similar in look to Surfer’s, but the general vibe of the area is much less high octane.
While it still has some glitz and a high-rise hotel backdrop, Broadbeach has quite a few green spots to relax in. Generally there are a lot more locals here too which brings with it a more laidback ambiance.
Broadbeach renowned for being the location of Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club, which hosts the Australian Surf Lifesaving Competition every year.
It covers quite a large stretch of beach, though the main swimming area that you’ll want to visit is Kurrawa Beach.
Away from the beach there is a walking path with awesome views of the ocean. Along them you will find picturesque parks lining the foreshore, some of which, including Pratten Park have large playgrounds for kids, and plenty of free BBQs.
Over the road there is also a wide pedestrian area with a diverse range of shopping centres and a number of excellent pavement cafes and restaurants.
Gold Coast Beach Accommodation
If you are interested in finding a place to stay at any of these Gold Coast beach destinations, there are plenty of hotel and holiday accommodation options for you to choose from.
Some popular options include the Hilton Hotel & Residences, The Langham Gold Coast and the JW Marriott.