Caz & Craig Makepeace are the founders of ytravelblog.com, one of the world’s biggest travel blogs and have been featured by notable brands such as Virgin Australia, Expedia, and Lonely Planet. When not traveling and writing about it, you can find them swinging in a beach hammock at sunset to the tunes of Jack Johnson, or screaming in the stands of their favourite sporting match. Connect with them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Having grown up in NSW and road tripped extensively across both the NSW North and South Coast regions, we’ve now set foot on most beaches in the state. What we’ve learned is that we are spoilt for choice and there is a beach for everyone, whether you are looking for a family friendly beach or want to go surfing, swimming, walking, fishing, snorkelling, diving or even four-wheel driving.
Hitting the beach in NSW in summer is typically the best time of year, but in the quieter months many of these beaches are still spectacular. Below are our top 12 family friendly beaches.
Green Patch Beach
When I first set eyes on Green Patch Beach I was blown away. I’d never heard of this beach, or Booderee National Park where it is located, but it is just as spectacular as the famous Hyams Beach in nearby Jervis Bay. The water is clear and the sand soft and beautiful to walk on. We spent two nights camping in the campground right on the beach, which offers a real bush camping experience. Be sure to walk around the headland from Green Patch and explore the amazing Scottish Rocks.
Famous for having been in the Guinness Book of Records for having the whitest sand in the world, Hyams Beach is a great family beach. Hyams itself is a quiet beachside town in the Jervis Bay region, just 180km south of Sydney. Be sure to finish off your visit by heading to the Hyams Beach Cafe for good food and coffee.
Murramarang National Park
Located in Murramarang National Park on the NSW South Coast, Pebbly Beach is famous as being the place to see wild kangaroos hopping around on the sand. They are familiar with human interaction and there’s a chance you can get up close and personal. Our kids loved it here. Pebbly is a popular camping area with a good surfing beach and bushwalks within the park.
Northern Beaches, Sydney
Palm Beach is Sydney’s most northern beach and possibly our favourite in Sydney. Beautiful golden sands stretching over 2 km, the colours in the water move between shades of turquoise and aqua.
On one end is Barrenjoey Head where you can take an easy 1 km bushwalk up to the old sandstone Barrenjoey Lighthouse for stunning views back over Palm Beach or across the Broken Bay region. From May to November it’s the perfect place to spot migrating humpback whales.
Eastern Suburbs, Sydney
Another of our favourite Sydney beaches would be Bronte Beach in the eastern suburbs. It’s a beautiful beach with a small main street giving it a great vibe. We always stop at Bronte when we do the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk and just love it as a family beach. The rock pool is awesome for the kids to swim in, the HUGE grass and BBQ area is a bonus for families.
A local friend from Coffs Harbour recommended we check out Diggers Beach (located across from the Big Banana) and we’re glad they did. It’s a great family friendly beach that is sheltered and wide, making it a nice place for our kids to swim and play on the sand. It’s also a popular surfing spot for the locals or for a wind-free beach walk.
We grew up 20 minutes from scenic Terrigal Beach, just over an hours drive north from Sydney. It’s a small cove that has calm surf conditions for swimming. The surf club is a great spot to sit and have a meal, and the main street is filled with cafes, restaurants, and boutique shopping.
Walk a few hundred metres to the north and you have Terrigal Lagoon, a good spot to hire paddle boats or stand up paddleboards. And a 5 minute walk up and around the corner to the south is Terrigal Haven, a quiet spot for a picnic and a play with the pelicans or a swim.
If you’re planning a road trip up the NSW North Coast, I highly recommend a stop at Seal Rocks, a quiet fishing village offering clear bays for swimming, snorkelling, boating and fishing. This beach is just perfect, and very quiet. Seal Rocks is also a great place to go camping. Or you can treat yourself to a few nights in a Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage, with amazing ocean views.
Sawtell is a lovely little town 15 minutes drive south of Coffs Harbour. The beach is family friendly, especially toward the southern end which has a nice tidal rock pool area and Sailors Bay, an area sheltered by a small island which can be reached at low tide. The main street is picturesque and divided by big fig trees with plenty of cafes and shops lining both sides of the street, and the Surf Club on the beach is great for a meal, a coffee and classic beach views.
Byron Bay is a legendary beach side town on the NSW North Coast famous for its surfing and alternative lifestyle. If you’re a surfer, Byron actually has 5 great beaches to choose from – but it’s Main Beach which sees most of the visitors walking, swimming and enjoying a beachside BBQ. Don’t miss the Lighthouse Walk to Australia’s most easterly point.
Just around the corner from Byron Bay is beautiful Wategos Beach. This beach is protected by the headland, which makes it an awesome beach for swimming AND riding a long-board with the gentle waves and long rides. There’s a BBQ area to enjoy or make yourself up a picnic and sit on the beach admiring this picturesque location.
Kingscliff, The Tweed Area
Kingscliff is a quiet beach town in northern NSW. The beach will satisfy the surfers or those families just wanting to build sandcastles. At the southern end is Cudgen Creek, which matches the beach as the local’s favourite water playground for stand-up paddle boarding and swimming. There’s a great playground next to the creek as well. There’s one main street in town and it comes alive with busy cafes, restaurants. And the surf club is a top spot for lunch too!