The Ultimate list of 36 Awesome Sunshine Coast Beaches!
With almost 70 km of pristine beaches and sparkling waters, the Sunshine Coast is a popular holiday destination for those wanting to top up their tan.
Located in Queensland, about an hour north of Brisbane, it is an area of outstanding natural beauty that is also blessed with a sub-tropical climate.
Stretching from Caloundra in the south to the Great Sandy National Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast is renowned for its sensational beaches. Some of which regularly rank amongst the best in Australia.
But unless you are a local (and even if you are) you might not be aware of their existence.
So if you are planning a day trip, or even a longer holiday stay, this ultimate list of 36 awesome Sunshine Coast Beaches should definitely be of interest to you.
36 Awesome Sunshine Coast Beaches
Noosa Main Beach
Of all the Sunshine Coast Beaches to choose from, the main beach at Noosa remains the region’s most famous.
One of the few east coast beaches that face north, Noosa Main Beach is a popular family beach. Protected from strong Southerly swells, this patrolled beach is a safe place for kids to swim, go boogie-boarding and learn to surf.
More experienced surfers like this beach too for the world-famous point break that can be found on the right-hand side of it.
Synonymous for its proximity to Hastings Street, which runs directly alongside it, Noosa offers the best of city and beach. With plenty of boutiques, restaurants, cafes and specialty stores to keep you entertained away from the sand.
You won’t ever be alone here – tourist abound. But a big advantage of Noosa Main Beach is that you can choose to stay right on the beach, in one of a string of upscale apartment-style resorts that line it.
Tea Tree Bay
If Noosa Main Beach is a little too busy for you then head on up to Tea Tree Bay.
Accessed via a serene walking trail that meanders through the National Park, Tea Tree Bay is a more sedate spot favoured by those wanting to be surrounded by nature. (It will take you about 20-30 minutes to get there).
A popular surfing spot, the gently curving beach is surrounded by shady, koala-inhabited trees, and rock pools, which appear at low tide.
One of the many Sunshine Coast Beaches that is not patrolled, you will have to exercise some caution here. But on the upside, there are plenty of private, shady spots to relax and unwind it.
You might also spot turtles and dolphins too!
Little Cove, Noosa Heads
If the walk up to Tea Tree Bay is a little too much for you then Little Cove is a good alternative.
Located about a 15 minute walk from Noosa Main Beach, Little Cove is so small and intimate, it radiates a private island kind of vibe.
A nice spot for a gentle splash in the water it is a great place to lay down a towel, listen to your tunes or read a book.
The sight of the surfers putting on a show is always entertaining and the sunset views you get here rank amongst the best of all Sunshine Coast Beaches.
Feeling adventurous? Then head to Alexandria Bay.
Tucked between Sunshine Beach and Noosa, A-Bay as the locals call it, can only be accessed via a 20-minute walk from wherever you parked your car. But the trek is definitely worth it.
Hidden away in the Noosa National Park, between Lion’s Rock and Hell’s Gate, this 3-kilometre stretch of sandy beach is the ultimate spot to rest and unwind.
Dramatic and wind-swept, this beach is wedged between two rocky promontories, which together offer privacy and serenity.
As few visitors are here at any given time – this is a popular nudist beach (though nudism is not technically legal in Queensland).
This beach is not patrolled, so only experienced surfers should venture into the water.
There are also no shops around the beach. So make sure you bring your sunglasses and sunscreen, as well as plenty of food, water, a hat and towels.
Twin Waters North Shore
Looking for a beach to take the dog?
Then Twin Waters North Shore is the go!
A dream spot for dog lovers, this beach features rolling hills and a wide expanse of sand. The water here is fairly stoic, so your four-legged friend can splash around till their heart’s content.
At low tide you can even venture out to adjacent Pincushion Island.
Reached via access point 132 on the Maroochy River mouth, this is a popular beach to meet other dog lovers.
If you don’t quite know where this is, head to Mudjimba Beach to get your bearings.
Talking of Mudjimba Beach, that is one beach you should definitely visit.
Boasting excellent views of Mudjimba Island (which used to be owned by Sean Connery) and with the imposing Mt Coolum in the background, this terrific beach is an excellent spot for a long beach walk.
Patrolled 365 days a year, with safe swimming between the flags, Mudjimba beach has some very good spots for fishing. There is also plenty of space for kite flying, ball sports and putting up a shade tent.
The beach’s excellent surf breaks attract seasoned surfers, particularly at Point Arkwright. But for a really good surf paddle out 1km to Mudjimba Island (or Old Woman Island, as the locals call it), which boasts a bigger reef break.
You may even seen some turtles here too!
There is a pretty good children’s playground at Mudjimba Beach, as well as plenty of facilities, amenities and a small parade of shops.
Of all the beaches on the Sunshine Coast, Mudjimba Beach is also an excellent choice for a last-minute swim before flying home.
It is located a short drive from the Sunshine Coast Airport.
Noosa North Shore
Love a bit of four-wheel driving on the beach?
Then head on over to the Noosa North Shore.
Located a 5-minute car ferry journey from Tewantin across the Noosa River, the Noosa North Shore comprises of more than 80km of spectacular open beaches, sparkling blue ocean, golden sands, glistening lakes and bosky forest wilderness.
A popular spot for fishing, horse-riding, surfing, camping and of course 4 wheel driving, (permits required for most camping and driving), the Noosa North Shore is also a wonderful spot for climbing sand dunes.
While swimming is not recommended the area is rich in native wildlife including kangaroos and birds. Between July and October, you may even see humpback whales swim past on their way back to Antarctica.
The gateway to the Cooloola Great Walk through the Great Sandy National Park and also the World Heritage listed, Fraser Island this area is remote. So pack plenty of water and snacks, as there are no shops, restaurants or toilet facilities once you hit the beach.
Older locals reckon Sunshine Beach is like Noosa Main Beach was before it became the glitzy destination it is now.
Boasting the best of both worlds – the natural beauty of Noosa National Park and a sprinkling of stylish cafes, boutique shops, hip bars and top-notch restaurants, Sunshine Beach is the start of a 15km stretch of open beaches.
Set beneath a lush canopy of green trees and pandanus palms it is a lovely spot for a relaxing beach day.
Blessed with gorgeous white sands and plenty of surf breaks it is also a great beach to go for a long walk on. Especially with your dog (from Access point 27, running all the way up to Noosa National Park’s southern headland).
Tucked away on the opposite side of the Noosa National Park to Main Beach and Tea Tree Bay, Sunshine Beach is patrolled beach that is good for swimming and surfing.
At the far end of the beach, if you are feeling energetic you can hike up the headland for sensational views of the full length of the beach.
A 15-minute drive south of Noosa, is the laid-back seaside village of Peregian.
One of a number of stunning beaches located between Coolum and Noosa, Peregian Beach is a favourite for families and those who dig a funky vibe.
A bustling community populated with cool cafés and trendy boutique shops, the beach here wide, immaculate, runs for as far as the eye can see.
Rarely overcrowded, it is another excellent patrolled beach for families, offering good surf and swimming, as well as a dog walking area.
Twice a month the suburb is home to the Peregian Beach Market which is well worth checking out. As is the free live music of Peregian Originals on the second Sunday of every month.
If you love a good coffee be sure to visit Skål. Just a stone’s throw from the beach it is renowned for being one of the best coffee spots on the whole of the Sunshine Coast.
It’s easy to miss Coolum Beach on your way to, or from, Noosa and Mudjimba.
But to do so would be a real shame.
One of the best Sunshine Coast Beaches for whale watching during migration season (June to November), Coolum Beach is an excellent year-round destination.
Another laid-back seaside town with a family-friendly patrolled beach, Coolum Beach offers great surf, rock pools, a vast expanse of sand and a relaxed vibe. It also has a skate park and plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes.
If you fancy a walk away from the sand, Coolum also has a long timber boardwalk along the shore that connects the village to the scenic lookout at Point Perry, which boasts expansive views of the coastline.
Cotton Tree Beach
One of the best Sunshine Coast Beaches for families is Cotton Tree Beach.
Located directly on the shore of a popular caravan park, this is an excellent spot to relax.
At a point where the ocean and river inlets meet, the waters here are calm. So they are great for kids and those who fancy a gentle dip. Its also an excellent spot for stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking.
During low tide you can also walk across to Pin Cushion Island. While a short distance from the beach is a public swimming pool and an excellent children’s playground.
There is a good range of eateries in the immediate vicinity too. While the main Maroochydore CBD with the huge Sunshine Plaza Shopping Centre is less than a 5 minute drive away.
Further down from Cotton Tree Beach is Maroochydore Beach.
Patrolled 365 days a year, Maroochydore Beach is one of the more popular Sunshine Coast Beaches for families.
Great for surfing, fishing and kite surfing it is home to one of the oldest surf life saving clubs in Queensland, which was founded on 1st January 1916.
It features a number of barbecue facilities and picnic tables, as well as a playground and an area to walk the dog.
It is also a very good beach to go for an extended walk on, all the way to the southern wall at Alexandra Headlands.
For an excellent view of the full length of beach, past Maroochydore Beach and on to Cotton Tree, head on over to Alexandra Headland Beach.
There is a rock wall here, with a grassy area that is a great spot for a coffee or a picnic – especially at sunset.
‘Alex’ as the locals call it is a surfing hotspot. It is also a patrolled beach with its own surf club, as distinct from Maroochydore.
There is a skate park here which kids will love, and if you are able to secure one, the wooden daybeds that line the foreshore are perfect for chilling out on with an ocean view.
For a more panoramic view head up to the HMAS Brisbane lookout, which showcases the spot where the hapless warship was scuttled.
Noosa might get all the recognition, but Mooloolaba Beach is considered by many as the best of all Sunshine Coast Beaches.
Backed by a vibrant esplanade of trendy boutique shops, cafes, alfresco restaurants, coffee shops and holiday resorts, Mooloolaba Beach can actually be reached on foot, via a long walk up the hill from Alexandra Headland.
The beach itself gently curves for about 1.7 km. It is patrolled in a couple of spots and offers plenty of facilities and amenities like BBQ and picnic areas, 2 children’s playgrounds, outdoor showers, and plenty of toilet blocks. One of which is the iconic ‘Loo with a View’.
Perfectly safe for swimming, the beach isn’t a great one for surfing, but you do get to see dolphins and whales every now and then.
A very family-friendly holiday spot, the area has a number of attractions, including SEA LIFE which is located on the Mooloolaba Wharf.
There is also a coastal pathway that leads towards the Mooloolaba Spit, to quieter sections of the beach and restaurants where you can get fresh seafood straight off the trawlers.
Point Cartwright Reserves
Possibly the best dog beach on the Sunshine Coast can be found at Point Cartwright Reserves.
Boasting natural beauty in spades, Point Cartwright Reserve is an unpatrolled beach that sits at the end of Kawana Beach. It offers plenty of stretches of flat sand to let your dog run around in, as well as play beach cricket or football.
Showcasing views that overlook Mooloolaba from the iconic lighthouse, it’s also a popular place for BBQs, sunset picnics and general catch-ups with friends.
Known as well for its surfing point break, you can often spot humpback whales in the swell too. Especially if you head on up to the top of the headland, where you will also see fabulous sweeping views.
Ok, not one but six beaches to visit here!
Stretching some 9km all the way from Point Cartwright towards Caloundra is a number of very good Sunshine Coast Beaches that are all named after the local suburb they are in.
The best thing about this stretch is that the beachfront is pretty much completely undeveloped. You will find no highrise resorts, few shops and not that many patrolled areas.
You might not even find that many people either, especially during the working day.
So if you want peace and solitude and the ability to beach walk as far as you want to then this is the place for you.
If you fancy a swim, the patrolled area at Kawana is the safest place to do so. But stay away from the strong rip near Point Cartwright.
Swimming is not recommended in any of the other areas as there are at least 35 rips along this strip overall.
If you like your beaches to be near calmer waters, then head to Currimundi Lake.
An excellent place to get back in touch with nature, this conservation park opens out onto the ocean with a gentle-moving current.
This makes it a splendid spot to splash around in for toddlers, or those who aren’t the strongest of swimmers.
Blessed with an abundance of native flora and fauna Currimundi Lake is a peaceful haven for kayaking, stand-up paddleboards and fishing.
If you do fancy a surf you can always stroll over the dunes to reach the Currimundi Surf Beach and if you are feeling adventurous, there is even a six-kilometre canoe trail from the lake you can tackle too.
Moffat Beach is another of the smaller Sunshine Coast beaches that oozes quaint village charm.
Located along the Caloundra coastal track, this unpatrolled north-facing beach is not recommended for swimming. But it is well known to surfers for being the home of Australia’s longest running surf competition, The Ma and Pa Bendall Classic.
The surf is very good here as you would imagine, and there is also a protected inlet if you do fancy a dip.
A lovely place to sip coffee whilst watching the surfers make the most of the right-handers, the local beer from the beachside Moffat Beach Brewing Co is also a must to try too.
Along with the smattering of cafes and restaurants that will keep you fed, and kids will love the playground here too.
If you are up to it the curving coastal walk towards Kings Beach or Bulcock Beach showcases some beautiful coastline that you will want to photograph.
If you are looking for Sunshine Coast Beaches that are great for kids, then Bulcock Beach is hard to beat.
Complete with a lively esplanade and well-maintained parkland with a wooden pirate ship and castle, Bulcock Beach is a great place for kids.
Patrolled from September to May, the park borders the beach, which enjoys a beautiful location facing south towards the Pumicestone Passage and Bribie Island.
The waters are generally calm, so the kids can splash around without drama and there is a surf break at the point for surfers to enjoy.
Bulcock Beach is also a popular Sunshine Coast beach for fishing and if you stroll along the coastal boardwalk, past the parade of great cafes, restaurants and shops, you can reward yourself with stunning views of the sun setting over the Glass House Mountains.
One of the best Sunshine Coast Beaches in Caloundra, Dicky Beach is a pristine stretch of sun-drenched white sand, that faces north-east.
Extending from low rocks at the northern end that separate it from Currimundi Beach to a bluff and rock platform at its southern end, the beach is named in honour of SS Dicky,an iron screw Steamship that ran aground during a cyclone in 1893.
A sleepy patrolled beach, it boasts a playground, skate park and popular caravan park, making it a family favourite.
Good for surfing and swimming, many people also fish off the rocks in the small nearby creek or just off the beach.
Rainbow Beach might be a little out of the way from most other Sunshine Coast Beaches but if you are looking for a beach adventure playground, then it is definitely worth the journey.
Nestled between Fraser Island, Great Sandy National Park and the beautiful expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Rainbow Beach offers 23km of sandy 4WD driving and towering, rainbow coloured sand dunes along the entire way.
If you have a 4×4, you can even drive directly from Rainbow Beach to Noosa, along the ‘Great Beach Drive’.
Overall it is a terrific spot for fishing, horse riding, sky diving and paragliding, while swimming should only be done between the flags.
If you didn’t bring enough with you, the small local town located right next to the beach, has a few shops, cafes and a supermarket for you to top up supplies.
If rockpools are your thing then head on over to Shelley Beach.
Renowned for its ankle-deep rock pools, that abound with Black Sea Cucumbers, Blue Periwinkles and Rose Barnacles, this is one of the best beaches on the Sunshine Coast to explore these types of marine life.
A largely unspoiled stretch of beach in Caloundra, Shelly Beach is a locals, or ‘in-the-know’ only beach. So it is a lovely destination for those looking for peace and quiet, or a romantic walk.
The only beach in Caloundra that faces directly east out to the Pacific Ocean, Shelley Beach runs for 900 metres south of Moffat Head.
It is not the best beach for swimming, but the beautiful expanse of white sand is fantastic to just throw down a towel, relax and ease your troubles away.
Of all the Sunshine Coast Beaches that are favoured by families, Kings Beach is arguably the best.
Blessed with a boardwalk, playground, water fountain and bandstand, as well as a 25m saltwater swimming pool just back from the beach, there is something to entertain all the family here.
Home to the Caloundra Music Festival, which in itself is well worth attending, the patrolled beach offers decent surf and good swimming conditions.
There are also plenty of facilities, amenities, shops and eateries in the area, as well as decent parking too.
The boardwalk, which meanders west around the headland, is best experienced at sunset and the grassy foreshore is a fabulous spot for a BBQ or picnic.
Hugging the shores of the Pumicestone Passage, Golden Beach is a fabulous place for boating, fishing and swimming in calm waters.
Protected by Bribie Island (which is the northern point in the Pumicestone Passage), it is also perfect for walkers and cyclists who can set off from the Caloundra Waterfront Caravan Park and make their way to Jensen Park via the coastal path.
Neighbouring Bribie Island protects the waters here, producing ideal conditions for an easy splash around, or a spot of kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding or windsurfing.
Avid fisherman should cast a line at the nearby Fraser Park Jetty to fish for golden trevally or flathead. There are also plenty of fish cleaning stations and public bbqs to cook up your catch.
If you would rather buy something to eat, there is a good selection of restaurants, cafes and shops in the area to suit varied tastes and budgets.
Do you love beach camping? Then put Woorim Beach on your list!
Located on Bribie Island, the Ocean Beach camping area is the perfect spot for beach camping.
Overall there are 63 campsites and access to toilet and cold shower facilities, so there are plenty of places to stay. But the water is unsuitable for drinking, so make sure you bring your own.
The closest surf beach north of Brisbane, the camping area is between 16km to 19km north of the beach access point on North Street in Woorim.
The beach itself is beautiful to look at. Good for both surfing and fishing, the wide open spaces are very relaxing too.
Located just north of the Maroochy River and 10 minutes south of Coolum, Marcoola Beach is a fabulous spot to get away from it all.
Boasting quiet uncrowded beaches, which are best suited for serious surfers and those who like long walks, Marcoola Beach is close to the Sunshine Coast Airport.
So it’s another of those beaches you can go for a last-minute visit too before flying home.
Flanked by a row of hotels and apartment style accommodation, the beach offers open grassy areas for picnics, BBQs and family hangouts.
Surrounded by beachfront reserve, the surf breaks are excellent here while opportunities for successful fishing and kayaking abound too.
Yaroomba/Marcus/First Bay/Castaway Beach
Between Coolum and Marcoola is a 5km string of Sunshine Coast Beaches that are well worth visiting.
Flanked by a vegetated foreshore reserve, Yaroomba Beach, Marcus Beach, First Bay and Castaway Beach, are quiet residential beaches that all offer fantastic opportunities to relax and unwind.
Some of them are unpatrolled, so swimming should be done with extreme caution.
But they are all beautiful, uncrowded and good for fishing and surfing in slightly different ways.
As they are linked you can visit them all over the course of a few hours. Something we recommend you do.
For one of the more unique Sunshine Coast Beach experiences, with a bit of a difference head to Chambers Island.
Found in the middle of Maroochy River, Chambers Island is a fantastic getaway for both locals and visitors.
A small island that only takes about 5-10 minutes to walk around, if you don’t stop, this is a great spot for families.
The water is calm and safe to paddle in, whilst kayaking, sailing, stand up paddleboarding and wakeboarding are all a popular pastime here too.
Accessed by a low walk bridge that connects the island to Bradman Avenue, Chambers Island features a beautiful and rugged forestry.
A fantastic place for families and couples to picnic, there are bbq and seated tables on both sides of the bridge. Supplies can be bought from the Sunshine Plaza in Maroochdyore which is less than a 5 minute drive away.
Place to Stay
There is a wide range of holiday accommodation options near Sunshine Coast Beaches that cater to all budgets, styles and tastes.
This includes a plethora of luxury and family-friendly resorts, as well as 2-3 bedroom apartments for long stays.
Many of these are handily located by or within a few minutes walk of one or a few Sunshine Coast Beaches.