Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Sydney icon-chevron-right The 50 best beaches in Sydney – ranked
People on beach
Photograph: Adrian Rem/Unsplash

The 50 best beaches in Sydney – ranked

Our definitive pick of the very best shorelines Sydney has to offer

By Time Out editors
Advertising

It's no surprise that a city surrounded by water on almost all sides is spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches. There are over 100 scattered around Sydney’s shores (exact figures vary on who you ask, as some disappear with the tides or are all but impossible to reach), but such an embarrassment of sandy riches can make picking the right beach to visit a bit of a head-scratcher.

To help you out, we’ve cast our discerning eyes across almost every beach in the city, awarding points for accessibility, natural beauty, range of facilities and unique charms. We’ve tallied the results, tabulated the scores and can now reveal our definitive rankings of the 50 best beaches in Sydney.

Grab those beach towels, slip, slop, slap, and dive right in.

Not a beach person? Check out these glorious National Parks less than 100km from the Sydney CBD.

The best of the best

Queenscliff Beach and ocean pool
Queenscliff Beach and ocean pool
Photograph: Destination NSW/Andrew Gregory

1. Queenscliff Beach

Attractions Beaches Manly

Good for: surfing, exploring hidden walkways
Facilities: toilets, changerooms, surfboard hire, lifeguard patrol

Earning the crown as Sydney's very best beach is this well-known surf shore in Sydney’s Northern Beaches adjacent to Manly. It’s a popular hangout for locals and out-of-towners alike, found just a short walk from Manly Wharf and with regular connections to the CBD. It’s got all the elements of a truly great beach: exciting waves, accessible by public transport, solid family-friendly vibes, and little nooks and crannies to explore. Continue on northwards from the main beach area towards the 50-metre rockpool and you’ll meet the ‘Manly wormhole’ that’ll spit you out at Freshwater Beach. If you happen to be there for sundown, you’ll see the pinks and violets of the ocean sunset lighting up the waterfront. 

Parsley Bay
Parsley Bay
Photograph: Destination NSW

2. Parsley Bay

Things to do Vaucluse

Good for: kids, picnicking on the grass
Facilities: café, change rooms, toilets, playground

With refreshingly cool water and picture-perfect suspended bridge overlooking its secluded shore, Parsley Bay is a gem of a beach hidden in Sydney’s east. It's definitely one of the prettiest numbers on this list, and it's got a bounty of native fauna and flora for you to explore. If you’re really lucky you might even spot a wild seahorse (they’ve been known to live along the shark net at the mouth of the bay). Its strip of sand is also perfect for a round of beach cricket or Finska – gather the troops and park here for an ideal kind of beach day.  

Advertising
Clovelly Beach
Clovelly Beach
Photograph: Creative Commons

3. Clovelly Beach

Things to do

Good for: snorkelling, sunbaking, families
Facilities: toilets, showers, change rooms, disabled access, ocean pool, kiosk, barbecues, playground

Tucked between Bronte Beach to the north and Gordon's Bay to the south, Clovelly is a small beach lying at the mouth of a narrow bay between two rocky ridges. If sand is not your favourite, you’ll be pleased by the large patches of concrete where you can roll out your towel. Have a float in the ocean pool or grab a snorkel and go looking for ‘Bluey’ the groper – there's also ample space for prams and disabled access all the way around the beach. 

People on the shore at Shelly Beach
People on the shore at Shelly Beach
Photograph: Supplied

4. Shelly Beach

Attractions Beaches Manly

Good for: snorkeling, scuba diving, coastal walks
Facilities: showers, toilets, café, barbecues

This secluded beach is a lot more chilled than the nearby sandy stretch of Manly Beach. The whole area is a nature reserve, so look out for protected water dragons on the walk from Cabbage Tree Bay and blue gropers in the waters, which are popular for snorkeling and diving.

Advertising
North and South Curl Curl Beach
North and South Curl Curl Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

5. North and South Curl Curl Beach

Things to do Curl Curl

Good for: some of the most picturesque swimming you can get in the city
Facilities: two SLSC, two ocean pools, toilets, showers, change rooms, parking

Impressively, this deep cove boasts not one but two ocean baths – the rockpool at the north end and a dual basin lap pool at the southern point that allows cold water wusses to enter gradually before submerging completely. North Curl Curl has protective cliffs, a lagoon and is an off-leash beach for dog lovers. Manly catches most of the tourists so Curl Curl is a quieter locals' beach.

Maroubra Beach
Maroubra Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

6. Maroubra Beach

Things to do Maroubra

Good for: surfing, beachside eats and drinks
Facilities: toilets, showers, wheelchair access, surfboard hire, lifeguard patrol

While Bondi claims the fame, this 1.1 kilometre bay with a world-famous wave culture is the OG home of Surfing NSW. Beyond the thundering waves favoured by the likes of Kelly Slater, the Bra is hemmed by windswept dunes, wild bushland and a rocky headland – yet is close to many eating and drinking options. With year-round patrols, this place is safe and popular with families as well as the constant flow of surfers. But less confident swimmers may be better sticking to floating in Mahon Pool at the beaches’ north. 

Advertising
Freshwater Beach
Freshwater Beach
Photograph: Creative Commons

7. Freshwater Beach

Attractions Beaches Freshwater

Good for: surfers of all levels
Facilities: SLSC, ocean pool, toilets, showers, change rooms, restaurants, cafes

This beautiful cove north of Manly is the birthplace of modern surfing in Australia thanks to a 1914 demonstration by Duke Kahanamoku, a visiting Hawaiian Olympian. It has some of the most reliable breaks in the city and being away from a big shopping hub means it’s one of the Northern Beaches' more relaxed and scenic beaches. It is patrolled from September until May. It's also home to Pilu, a Sardinian fine diner in a weatherboard beach cottage just above the dunes.

A surfer with a board walking on Garie Beach in the Royal National Park.
A surfer with a board walking on Garie Beach in the Royal National Park.
Photograph: David Finnegan

8. Garie Beach

Things to do

Good for: surfing, easy access to the Royal National Park
Facilities: toilets, changing rooms, showers, SLSC, kiosk

Take an hour’s drive south of Sydney and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the epic, rolling bushlands of the Royal National Park. Along its eastern edge, there are several isolated beaches, but the largest and most impressive is unquestionably Garie. It’s surrounded by densely forested hills, but thanks to the Surf Life Saving clubhouse, you’ll still have access to toilets, changing facilities and even (cold) showers. Surf conditions are bodacious here, although these waves are best left to the more experienced tube-chasers as there are only lifeguard patrols 9am-5pm in December and January.

Advertising
Murray Rose Pool
Murray Rose Pool
Photograph: Destination NSW

9. Murray Rose Pool

Sport and fitness Double Bay

Good for: lazing on a pontoon, beach picnics
Facilities: kiosk, toilets, change rooms, showers

Murray Rose Pool (formerly Redleaf Pool) can be found in Double Bay's Blackburn Cove and provides swimmers with a safe harbourside tidal enclosure. There’s a wrap-around deck, which makes for a lovely walk and begs for a dive into the cool water, where you can swim to a floating pontoon that's perfect for sunbathing. Feeling peckish? Head to the kiosk on the hill, grab a snack and take in the views of Sydney's wondrous harbour.

Styene Beaches
Styene Beaches
Photograph: Destination NSW

10. North and South Steyne Beach

Things to do Northern Beaches

Good for: learning to surf 
Facilities: SLSC, volleyball nets, toilets, showers, changerooms, surfboard hire, playgrounds

Manly’s beach is such a luxuriously long stretch of golden sand that it’s divided into three sections: Queenscliif at the northern tip, North Steyne and South Steyne. It’s a popular surf break (home to the Manly Surf School), and very well guarded (year-round) so there’s always a safe stretch for swimming. The long walking/cycling track that runs parallel to the shore is a daily promenade for dogs, skaters and athletic types, or for cardio on the sand there are also beach volleyball nets for hire.

Advertising
The Bondi to Bronte Walk, Sydney
The Bondi to Bronte Walk, Sydney
Photograph: Destination NSW/Lawrence Furzey

11. Bronte Beach

Things to do Eastern Suburbs

Good for: post-brunch beaching, gentle swims, big gatherings
Facilities: kiosk, toilets, changerooms, showers, public BBQ and picnic area

Whatever your pleasure, Bronte is a reliably all-purpose beach. It has waves every bit as exciting as Bondi’s, but also quiet rock pools and the beautiful ocean baths at its southern end for those who prefer a gentler dip. Its pristine sands lead to well-manicured lawns with modern utilities, including shower blocks, barbecues and a well-stocked kiosk, plus it’s easily accessible from the city. There are also plenty of cafés to be found along Bronte Road, so it’s ideal for that classic Sydney weekend combo of brunch and the beach.

Tamarama Beach
Tamarama Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

12. Tamarama Beach

Things to do Tamarama

Good for: surfing, as a pitstop along the coast on the Coogee-Bondi 
Facilities: SLSC, toilets, changerooms

The quieter, more chilled-out sister of Bronte and Bondi Beaches, ‘Tama’ is an inlet with great surf and grassy areas for picnicking. Watch out for that current though – it’s well-regarded as one of the country’s most dangerous patrolled beaches. 

Advertising
SOCIAL MEDIA - 1:1 Summer in Sydney
SOCIAL MEDIA - 1:1 Summer in Sydney
Photograph: Filippo Rivetti/Destination NSW

13. Wattamolla Beach

Attractions Wollongong

Good for: a post-hike swim under the falls
Facilities: toilets, barbecue facilities, picnic tables, car park

This beauty of a beach is an overachiever for sure: it’s got a waterfall and a lagoon, and it’s nestled in the Royal National Park, but don’t think that its faraway location saves it from crowds at peak times. It’s a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure: you can trek through the forest to end up here, or you can park close by at the picnic area for ease of access. Just note there’s no drinking water, so bring your own.

Coogee Beach
Coogee Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

14. Coogee Beach

Things to do Coogee

Good for: big get-togethers with barbecues, picnics, people watching
Facilites: lifeguards, toilets, change rooms, showers, shops, cafes, park, barbecues, ocean pools

Coogee is one of Sydney’s most popular beaches, and a great one for swimmers – its more sheltered conditions mean it’s not as regular a surfing haunt. It’s central, easy to access, surrounded by facilities and shops, and the sand backs onto a grassy stretch of park popular for picnics, barbecues and lawn games. Bonus points for having Sydney’s only women’s baths (McIver Baths) and the Wylie Baths tidal ocean pool.

Advertising
Chowder Bay
Chowder Bay
Photograph: Destination NSW

15. Chowder Bay

Things to do Mosman

Good for: a family day out with gorgeous views to boot
Facilities: playground, kiosk, picnic tables, toilets, change rooms

Picturesque Chowder Bay is situated in Sydney’s North near Mosman and makes for a great family day out. If you’ve got kiddies willing to trek, take the walk from Bradley’s Head near Taronga Zoo all the way to Chowder Bay for a stroll with a huge pay-off in views. Oh, and the playground set-up will make you want to be a little one yourself. 

Shark Beach
Shark Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

16. Shark Beach

Sport and fitness Vaucluse

Good for: family days out, relaxed swims
Facilities: café, changerooms, toilets, showers, barbecue facilities, picnic tables

Also referred to as Nielsen Park for the grassy reserve nearby, this calm, shark-netted beach in Vaucluse is a social hub, with a great atmosphere and filled with sun-bathers and family parties on a beautiful day – it can get a little crowded on weekends, but it’s also a great beach to start the Hermitage Foreshore Walk from and check out smaller, lesser-known beaches on the harbour. The Neilsen café is also a great hangout for a long lunch with beach views. 

Advertising
Palm Beach
Palm Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

17. Palm Beach

Things to do Palm Beach

Good for: surfing, swimming, mini-breaks, picnics, and star-spotting
Facilites: Ocean pool, SLSC, toilets, showers, change rooms, cafes and kiosks nearby

Sydney’s most northerly surf beach is also the famous filming location for long-running soap, Home & Away. In fact, it’s far enough from the CBD that people genuinely have holiday homes in Palm Beach, and why wouldn’t you: clean air, clear water, and fewer crowds than the central sands. The narrow peninsula has the open ocean on one side and the calm waters of Pittwater on the other, plus just enough spots for a beachside brunch to keep the coffee set happy. 

People swimming in the water at Cronulla Beach
People swimming in the water at Cronulla Beach
Photograph: Creative Commons

18. Cronulla Beach

Things to do Cronulla

Good for: disabled access, families and kids
Facilities: toilets including disabled access, playground, picnic area

City types might wince at the thought of travelling so far south for a beach when there are so many in easy reach, but Cronulla is situated a conveniently short stroll from the train station, with regular services to Sydney Central. It’s patrolled year-round, so no matter the season you can enjoy its waters with peace of mind, and it’s also fully wheelchair accessible. Cronulla seamlessly connects with a chain of beaches running the length of the peninsula (Wanda Beach is also well worth checking out), but should you tire of the sands, there’s the expansive Cronulla State Park to explore.

Advertising
Ocean at Bondi Beach
Ocean at Bondi Beach
Photograph: Anna Kucera

19. Bondi Beach

Things to do Bondi Beach

Good for: groups, families, swimmers, surfers, sunseekers – everyone really
Facilities: bathers pavilion with toilets, changing rooms and toilets, easy access to shops and picnic areas

It is the Sydney beach, which is a status that comes with pros and cons. While it has plenty of conveniences, from its proximity to shops and eateries to its as-seen-on-TV Bondi Lifesavers, it’s also considered one of the city’s biggest tourist traps, and overcrowding, trouble parking and a general absence of beachside serenity tends to put off many Sydneysiders. All the same, there's no denying that this is a world-class beach that ranks up there with the likes of other celebrity sands such as Miami or Impanema.

Gordon's Bay
Gordon's Bay
Photograph: Destination NSW

20. Gordon's Bay

Things to do Sydney

Good for: diving, perching on the rocks with a picnic
Facilities: none, but toilets and cafes at Coogee Beach nearby

One of the prettiest nooks on the Coogee-Bondi coastal walk, this little beach is tucked away just north of Coogee beach. With its calm waters, boats moored on the sand and shady, rocky hangouts, it’s a popular cove come summertime. It’s also a favourite among divers and snorkellers for its clear water.

Advertising
Lady Bay Beach
Lady Bay Beach
Photograph: National Parks NSW/John Yurasek

21. Lady Bay Beach

Attractions Beaches Watsons Bay

Good for: letting it all hang loose to a backdrop of beautiful harbour views
Facilities: none, but toilets and picnic facilities at Camp Cove nearby

This nude-friendly beach isn’t your average family day out, but it’s a stunner if you’re fine with a little open expression. It’s just up near Camp Cove, and looks out over the harbour. You can’t drive or get transport straight there, but it’s pretty easy once you find Camp Cove – just follow the South Head Heritage Trail, which starts up near Camp Cove’s kiosk, and you’ll end up in this little nook. 

Collaroy Beach
Collaroy Beach
Photograph: Creative Commons

22. Collaroy Beach

Attractions Beaches Collaroy

Good for: burning up excess family energy with surfing, swimming and sand sports
Facilites: SLSC, toilets, change rooms, showers, playground, parking, ocean pool, pub

Sydney’s second longest beach stretches 3.6km from Collaroy to North Narrabeen in one long stretch of gold and blue, but for convenience, Collaroy wins the popular vote thanks to a combination of a massive playground, pool, surf life saving club, and a pub that literally opens onto the beach. School groups, surfing schools and sand sport-lovers can pack the sand but you can always keep trekking north and pull into a side street for a quieter swim.

Advertising
Balmoral Beach
Balmoral Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

23. Balmoral Beach

Things to do Mosman

Good for: family-friendly picnics and a full day at the seaside
Facilities: kiosks, cafes, showers, change rooms, toilets, pavilion, park, parking

Once you’ve snagged that elusive parking spot, you're free to soak in the reflected luxe life glory of this gleaming harbour beach. Yes, it gets packed to the gills on sunny weekends with families. The appeal of calm waters, leafy trees, gleaming sailboats, and calamari and chips for lunch is a powerful motivator, and its central location sweetens the deal.

Avalon Beach
Avalon Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

24. Avalon Beach

Things to do Avalon Beach

Good for: experienced surfers 
Facilities: SLSC, showers, toilets, change rooms, parking, drinking water

Is Avalon Beach good for surfing? Well, given it was the home for a while of 11-time World Surfing champion Kelly Slater, it’s fair to say that yes, people come here for the surf. Also the rockpool. Plus it’s conveniently located with a parking lot, a bus stop right out the front of the beach and a lifesaving club to keep everyone’s head above water.

Advertising

25. Lady Martins Beach

Things to do Point Piper

Good for: people watching, harbour views 
Facilities: none

A tiny stretch of sand in one of Sydney’s most exclusive suburbs, Lady Martins Beach is found at the end of a Point Piper laneway. Don’t plan to spend the whole day there with picnic in tow, but it’s a picturesque place to lie back, count luxury yachts and spy on exxy real estate from. 

 

 

La Parouse and Congwong Beach
La Parouse and Congwong Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

26. Congwong Beach

Things to do La Perouse

Good for: nature lovers and snorkellers, interesting local history
Facilities: toilets

On the southern edge of the Kamay Botany Bay National Park in La Perouse, Congwong is the larger of two sister beaches just to the east of Bare Island. History seekers can visit the Island Fort, including a secret shipwreck on its rocky roundparts. The seas here are sheltered and calm, which makes them ideal for swimming and families. Double your fun by taking the ten-minute trail along the coast to neighbouring (and clothing-optional) Little Congwong Beach, which is much like Congwong, but (you guessed it) littler.

Advertising
Dee Why Beach and Ocean Baths
Dee Why Beach and Ocean Baths
Photograph: Destination NSW

27. Dee Why Beach

Things to do Dee Why

Good for: a dip close to the hustle and bustle of the high street
Facilities: ocean pool, SLSC, playground, park, toilets, showers, change rooms, parking

At the south end of Dee Why, there’s the Isa Wye Rockpool and lots of shops facing the beach with coastal names like Wildwater and Seachange. But the majority of the beach stretches north onto a peninsula bordering the Dee Why Lagoon, so if you don’t mind some soft sand walking it’s possible to get away from the crowds here. The beach is also well guarded from September until May each year.

Resolute Beach
Resolute Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW/Andrew Gregory

28. Resolute Beach

Attractions Sydney

Good for: a bounty of native flora and fauna 
Facilities: toilets, picnic tables, barbecue facilities, wheelchair access

A trip to Resolute Beach should be a compulsory part of any trip to the stunning Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. Looking out over Pittwater, with Barrenjoey Head and its picture-perfect lighthouse in the distance, it takes a little effort to reach Resolute, but boy, does the time invested pays dividends. You can reach these sands either by taking the Mackeral Trail from Mackeral Beach after catching a boat across from Pittwater Park Wharf or by heading south on the Resolute Track from the West Head Lookout. Whichever you choose, your day at the beach will come bookended by a blissful bushwalk through some of the most beautifully unspoiled parklands near the city.

Advertising
Bilgola Beach
Bilgola Beach
Photograph: Creative Commons

29. Bilgola Beach

Attractions Bilgola Beach

Good for: feeling like you’ve discovered a Sydney secret
Facilities: SLSC, sunscreen dispenser, ocean pool, toilets, change rooms, showers, kiosk, parking, bubbler

A very sharp turn down a precipitous street takes you from the Bilgola Bends, the curling bush road that connects Avalon to Newport, to Bilgola Beach. This also gives Bilgola an “off-the-beaten-track” feeling. It’s nevertheless a well-guarded beach with nice touches like a sunscreen dispenser and a chalkboard introducing your guards of the day and giving stats on water temp and tides. 

Mona Vale Beach and Ocean Pool
Mona Vale Beach and Ocean Pool
Photograph: Destination NSW

30. Mona Vale Beach

Attractions Beaches Prospect

Good for: a wild and foamy swim in the ocean pool
Facilities: SLSC, toilets, change rooms, toilets, parking, picnic tables, ocean pool

As a rule, the ocean pools dotted along Sydney’s coastline tuck into the rocky outcrops at either end, but the Mona Vale pool sits protruding out to sea at the widow’s peak between the quiet, little Basin Beach and Mona Vale’s bigger beach. The beach is also insulated from the built environment by the adjacent gold course so it feels more wild and remote than other suburban beaches.

Advertising
Narrabeen Beach
Narrabeen Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

31. North and South Narrabeen Beach

Things to do Narrabeen

Good for: experienced surfers who want to spread out across the waves
Facilities: SLSC, changerooms, toilets, showers, kiosks, parking

It’s long, famously rip-filled and a breeding ground for world-class surfers. Four SLSCs guard this stretch of coastline and as such they are the safest places to swim. Aside from the clubs and kiosks there isn’t much in the way of high street shops or facilities - but one benefit of the location is that there are vast amounts of beach-adjacent street in which to search for parking.

Newport Beach
Newport Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

32. Newport Beach

Attractions Beaches Newport

Good for: making a day out of a trip north - go from the beach to the famously updated pub, the Newport.
Facilities: SLSC, toilets, change rooms, showers, playground, ocean pool

This 1.3km beach shares more than just its name with California’s famous seaside town. Newport Beach has two surf breaks that draw crowds, an ocean pool, a Surf Lifesaving Club, and a playground when the swell is too much. There’s a stormwater drain right in the centre of the beach so this is one to avoid after heavy rain.

Advertising
Milk Beach at Vaucluse
Milk Beach at Vaucluse
Photograph: Jayphen / Flickr

33. Milk Beach

Things to do Vaucluse

Good for: a quick dip along the Hermitage Foreshore walk
Facilities: picnic tables (on grassy area above the beach)

This tiny strip of sand on the Hermitage Foreshore Walk is beautiful, secluded and worth a stop and a dip while exploring the north-eastern coastline of the city. Take a trip up to the historic Strickland house up above while you’re there.

 

 

Whale Beach
Whale Beach
Photograph: Creative Commons

34. Whale Beach

Attractions Beaches Whale Beach

Good for: some casual whale watching with your swim
Facilities: SLSC, toilets, showers, pool, playground, brunch spots up the hill

Being slightly off the main thoroughfare through Sydney’s northern reaches plays in its favour – this beach isn’t as busy as Palm Beach to the north. Its name isn't just a name - during season, the giants of the sea can be spotted frollicking off the coast as they migrate north and back down again. If you want a fancy getaway, luxe boutique hotel Jonah’s is perched up high on the ridge surrounding the beach.

Advertising
Little Bay Beach
Little Bay Beach
Photograph: Creative Commons

35. Little Bay Beach

Things to do Little Bay

Good for: swimming, snorkelling and watching beautiful sunsets
Facilities: toilets, change rooms, foot-washing facilities

Embraced by two rocky outcrops on either side, this ocean-facing beach is surprisingly well sheltered from the monster swells so common at other popular spots along Sydney’s southeast coast. While it’s certainly not a total secret, particularly amongst locals, Little Bay definitely falls into the “hidden gems” category of Sydney seaside attractions. We recommend you take in the sunset here; framed by the Bay’s adjacent cliffs, it’s a breathtaking natural spectacle.

Reef Beach
Reef Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

36. Reef Beach

Attractions Balgowlah Heights

Good for: a mid-walk swim
Facilities: toilets

The Manly to Spit Coastal Trail may be one of Sydney's most popular inner-city hikes, but this charming beach on the Dobroyd Head leg of the track is often overlooked by passersby. This pretty spot has great views across the harbour waters towards Manly, and because of its sheltered position within the North Harbour, the swimming conditions here are excellent. The rocky outcrops at the beach’s southern end are worth exploring, both for the marine life in the many rock pools and for the ancient Aboriginal carvings, depicting fish and shields. These are extremely weathered and not always possible to spot, but they're easiest to find when the tide is at its lowest.

Advertising
Camp Cove
Camp Cove
Photograph: Destination NSW

37. Camp Cove

Things to do Watsons Bay

Good for: pretending you’re a billionaire 
Facilities: toilets, showers, change rooms, kiosk

It’s the first harbour beach inside the southern head where everyone will have their pants on (Lady Bay is clothing optional). The cove is popular with swimmers, boaters and even scuba divers – the water here is extra clear and crisp – and there's a kiosk where you can buy gelato frozen inside a lemon rind or a Callipo. It’s also an easy walk from Watsons Bay if you want to save yourself the traffic dramas and get the ferry.

Warriewood Beach
Warriewood Beach
Photograph: Creative Commons

38. Warriewood Beach

Attractions Beaches Warriewood

Good for: feeling far from the madding crowd
Facilities: SLSC, kiosk, toilets, showers, parking

It’s a steep descent down from the clifftops to Warriewood Beach, and at times the narrow road is one car wide so on weekends it could get snarly. But once you’re here and have parked basically on the beach the sheltered aspect and bird song in the trees will fill you with calm. It’s a reliable surf beach, with a clubhouse at one end with facilities and a kiosk.

Advertising

39. Seven Shillings Beach

Things to do Rose Bay

Good for: a quiet swim with harbour and city views
Facilities: none, but toilets nearby at the Murray Rose Pool

Push past a gate next to the Murray Rose Pool and you’ll find yourself at Seven Shillings Beach, a flat and scenic strip in Double Bay. Head back towards shore and explore the greenery around the Blackburn Gardens after you’ve had a dip.

Rose Bay Beach
Rose Bay Beach
Photograph: Creative Commons

40. Rose Bay Foreshore

Attractions Beaches Rose Bay

Good for: a pup’s day out
Facilities: park benches (nearby on Dumaresq Reserve)

This relaxed beach in the East is placid and perfect for running around with your furry friend. Dogs wanting to swim laps can go for gold at any time in the calm water. At nearby Dumaresq Reserve on the north, free play times are before 8.30am and after 4.30pm.

Advertising
Collins Beach Flat
Collins Beach Flat
Photograph: Coral Chum

41. Collins Flat Beach

Attractions Beaches Manly

Good for: secluded swims and breathtaking views
Facilities: disabled parking spot

Take a walk off the beaten path, away from the big beaches at Manly, and you may find yourself in a tucked-away cove that has a beach and its own waterfall. This is Collins Flat Beach – the closest waterfall to Sydney Harbour and a nice little getaway from the city. It’s more of a dribble than a gushing waterfall on our visit, but the best time to go is after heavy rainfall in autumn. You can’t bring dogs though, as this hideaway is a habitat for fairy penguins. 

Obelisk Beach
Obelisk Beach
Photograph: Creative Commons

42. Obelisk Beach

Things to do Mosman

Good for: a relaxed clothing-optional vibe, snorkelling, gay friendly 
Facilities: none - take what you need, leave nothing behind

Obelisk Beach is one of Sydney's few legal nude beaches, so if you're feeling the natural vibe, then shed some layers here. You'll need to park up the hill and walk a fair way to get here – it's at the bottom of a long series of steps, and as far as beaches go, she's a small one. But it's worth it for the gorgeous views of Camp Cove and Parsley, Watsons and Vaucluse Bays in the distance.

Advertising
Station Beach
Station Beach
Photograph: Creative Commons

43. Station Beach

Attractions Beaches Palm Beach

Good for: a quiet waterfront barbecue away from the waves and crowds
Facilities: Beach House café, barbecues, picnic spots, toilets, drinking water, golf course

Sure, Palm Beach might get all the limelight, but this serene stretch of tidal sand in Pittwater on the other side of the peninsula is where to head for some quiet time, maybe with a kayak or paddleboard. There are parklands for a barbecue or picnic, the Boathouse Palm Beach for fancy brunch and a golf course.

Long Reef
Long Reef
Photograph: Emily Lloyd Tait/Time Out

44. Long Reef and Fishermans Beach

Attractions Parks and gardens Collaroy

Good for: a secluded alfresco lunch with stunning vistas
Facilities: SLSC

On either side of Long Reef Head are two of the quieter stretches of sand along the Northern Beaches inside an aquatic reserve where line and spearfishing are permitted. There’s a Surf Life Saving Club at Long Reef Beach, which is north of the mouth of the Dee Why Lagoon, but little else facilities wise. While Fishermans has even fewer amenities, it's still a picturesque spot to eat an award-winning pie from Collaroy bakery Upper Crust.

Advertising
Clontarf Beach
Clontarf Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

45. Clontarf Beach

Attractions Beaches Clontarf

Good for: family picnics with splashy fun
Facilities: kiosk, barbecues, picnic tables, shade, toilets, parking, netted swimming area

Sandy, shallow, warm and shady is how to best sum up this family-friendly beach in Middle Harbour. The Clontarf Reserve has picnic tables, amenities, a kiosk and barbecues plus lots of shade, and the netted pool is a gradual incline so it’s good for swimmers of all skill levels.

Forty Baskets Beach
Forty Baskets Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

46. Forty Baskets Beach

Attractions Beaches Balgowlah Heights

Good for: cooling off those hot feet after a long walk
Facilities: netted swimming area, swings, barbecue area

As you near the 10km mark on the Spit to Manly Coastal Walk you’ll be aching to dip your feet in the cold, clear water that’s been taunting you the whole way. If you can’t hold out for Manly you can always call time early and slip into the netted swimming pool at Forty Baskets Beach, so named for a particularly successful fishing day once upon a time.

Advertising

47. Gibsons Beach Watson's Bay

Things to do Watsons Bay

Good for: relaxing swims close to a top tier pub
Facilities: dinghy storage, park benches

The boutique hotel might be synonymous with the name now, but Watson’s Bay was just a pretty strip of sand before Sydneysiders and out-of-towners came to sip Aperol Spritzes and eat fish and chips en masse. Gibsons Beach is a great, secluded spot to while away a day – and you know where to get a drink when you’re ready for one.

Manly Cove
Manly Cove
Photograph: Destination NSW

48. Manly Cove

Attractions Beaches Northern Beaches

Good for: one final dip before the ferry leaves the wharf
Facilities: netted swimming area, bubblers, shops and kiosks nearby

No one would try to argue that Manly Cove was the number one swimming spot in Manly. Hell, it probably wouldn’t even make top five in this water-centric ‘burb, but it is a conveniently shark-netted pool right next to the ferry wharf so if you’re short on time, have just finished the walk in from the Spit, or just want one more dip before heading off – it’s a cheeky spot to strip off and wet your gills.

Advertising
Bungan Beach
Bungan Beach
Photograph: Destination NSW

49. Bungan Beach

Attractions Beaches Newport

Good for: feeling like you’ve got your very own private beach
Facilities: SLSC, toilets

There’s a reason you haven’t heard of Bungan Beach, and that’s because it’s very difficult to access unless you live in that particular pocket of Newport. It feels like a private beach, especially as you need to walk down a steep drive to the SLSC – there’s no parking near the beach and the hike back out is no picnic.

Turimetta Beach
Turimetta Beach
Photograph: Creative Commons

50. Turimetta Beach

Attractions Beaches Warriewood

Good for: getting away from everyone and everything
Facilities: none, bar the ocean itself

Want to feel like you’re miles from anywhere? Turimetta Beach is a little known beach at the bottom of a steep cliff stairway that leads down from a tiny pocket of shops in suburban Warriewood. There are no lifeguards, no facilities, just you, a bunch of rips and some unspoilt beauty with cliffs to shield you from any reminders of the major city you’re in.

In search of more natural beauty?

Garie Beach in the Royal National Park
Garie Beach in the Royal National Park
Photograph: CC/Dimitri Koussa

The best national parks to explore near Sydney

Attractions Parks and gardens

Next time you need a break from the city, we suggest you take a trip to one of these lush and leafy retreats within 100km of the CBD. Hike coastal paths, see native fauna, and get back to nature just a stone's throw from the Big Smoke.

Recommended

    You may also like

      Advertising