The Best Sunshine Coast Beaches To Swim, Surf and Enjoy

While the area may be a little quieter than its southern cousin on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast beaches are some of the best you will find in Queensland. 

Beauty surrounds visitors to the sunny coast, with many opportunities to explore and enjoy decent surf and golden sands, whether spending the day by the sea or taking a coastal walk.

With various beaches, our guide will help you choose the right location for the type of activities you want to do, whether sitting back and relaxing or getting out in the surf.


Parents with little ones often dread taking the whole family to the beach, especially when they hope for gentle waves but encounter rough surf instead. Kings and Bullock beaches are two of the Sunshine Coast’s best beaches for tourists and locals with young families.

Cotton Tree Beach

Cotton Tree Beach has everything you could want: clear, blue water, a well-kept playground, and BBQ areas, making it ideal for families with children of all ages. It’s also a popular spot for watersport activities and fishing and is close to many other family-friendly attractions.

We love this stunning location with everything the whole family needs to spend a day at the beach. It’s a must-see when visiting the coast.

Mooloolaba Beach

The perfect location for little waders and building sand castles in pure white sand, Mooloolaba Beach is also patrolled by two surf lifesaving clubs between September and May. It has a great children’s play area, toilets, and showers.

Fringed by the glistening banks of the Maroochy River and a short walk to Cotton Tree Beach, this stunning location offers plenty of space for a family to spread out and stunning views to enjoy. 


Catching Waves at Surf Beaches

Whether you want to be just like pro surfer Julian Wilson or just want to catch a few waves on quintessential Sunshine Coast beaches, Moffat and Coolum are great places to dive in or take some surfing lessons.

Moffat Beach

Moffat Beach offers the ideal surf breaks if you’re looking for a place that attracts an experienced crowd. The coastline is picturesque, and there are set waves for long rides. But because it’s an unpatrolled beach, surfers need to watch out for the waves and watch out for humpback whales.

There’s an inlet nearby for family-friendly swimming, ideal for paddle boarding and kayaking. When you get a little thirsty, be sure to enjoy some of the best Sunshine Coast craft beer at Moffat Beach Brewing.

Coolum Beach

Out of all the Sunshine Coast beaches, Coolum Beach is where you will find boardies, bare feet, and surfboards—the locals’ uniform. There are surrounding eateries to refuel, and if you’re new to the sport, Coolum Surf School will show you the ropes if you’re new to surfing.

With different types of waves, the location is ideal for anyone, from beginners to seasoned professionals.

Sunshine Coast Beaches Suitable for Exploring

If you like to take in the natural beauty of your surroundings and discover treasures in rock pools, a day of fun is almost guaranteed at these two stunning Sunshine Coast locations: Shelly and Rainbow Beach.

Shelly Beach

While it’s not ideal for swimming, there is much you can explore on foot, and it is the perfect place for discovery for budding marine biologists. You’ll likely find blue periwinkles, barnacles and chiton in the clear, ankle-deep water.

If you’re visiting beaches on the Sunshine Coast, Shelly Beach is ideal for walking, picnicking, and enjoying a cool breeze to cool off.

Rainbow Beach

While it’s sometimes referred to as a secret beach, it’s known to many as a place for adventure. With its long stretch of sandy beach, you can easily spend a few nights in the area, taking advantage of 4WD, horseback riding, paragliding, and other activities. 

For a slower pace, it’s a great spot to stretch out on the sand with your favourite book or simply relax.

Alexandra Headlands Beach

This fun spot is a place where you can marvel at the magic found amongst the rock pools and enjoy the beauty of the beachfront, where you can cycle and explore. Aside from being a calming place to visit, there is much to explore, whether directly on the beach or in surrounding picnic areas.

It’s a fun spot for families to enjoy together, along with budding surfers, with its decent swirl and nearby surf school.

Beaches Where Pooches Are Welcome

Is your best friend four-legged and enjoys the pristine beach as much as you? There are many pooch-friendly beaches for you to explore together, with two of our favourites being Buddina and Sunshine Beach.

Buddina Beach

Buddina is an off-leash dog beach you cannot go past. Your pup can chase the waves all day, every day, and enjoy the shady grass foreshore for a picnic or coffee with friends. While the dog section may be small, there is still plenty of room for you to enjoy a run and splash together.

Sunshine Beach

Also known as Noosa’s Main Beach, aside from being an adventurer’s playground, it has an off-leash area for your favourite four-legged friend. Surrounded by dog-friendly cafes, the Sunshine Beach Surf Club, and places to swim, it’s an ideal location for the whole family.

The Sunshine Coast’s Best Beaches for Rest & Relaxation

If you’re looking for calm waters and a beautiful haven, Golden Beach and Little Cove are quiet havens compared to Noosa North Shore and Kings Beach on the Sunshine Coast.

Golden Beach

The calm waters that hug the shore of Golden Beach are the perfect spot for swimming, fishing, windsurfing, or getting out on your boat. You can cook your catch on the supplied barbeque and watch the beautiful sunset to finish your day.

It is an ideal location for swimming as it is a patrolled beach, making it a safe place for the whole family to swim and play.

Little Cove

Even though it’s only a ten-minute walk from Noosa’s main beach, Little Cove’s serenity makes it a hidden gem. While most enjoy the hustle and bustle of the main beach, fewer people make the most of the soft white sand and the calm water flow.

Aside from being one of the Sunshine Coast’s best beaches, you can enjoy Noosa National Park and the main beach with all they have to offer if you continue a little further.

Alexandria Bay

We couldn’t go past mentioning Alexandria Bay, located in Noosa National Park, which you can only reach on foot. You cannot get a more hidden gem, as this Sunshine Coast beach is an unofficial nudist-friendly paradise, so all you’re likely to need is some sunscreen and a towel!

Visit Sunshine Coast Beaches on Your Next Getaway

If you’re in search of the best beach the Sunshine Coast has to offer, you’ll be glad to find not just one but a multitude of top-tier options. There are many things to love, from the soft white sand on Mooloolaba Beach to the consistent surf at Tea Tree Bay. The golden shores and calm waters at Bulcock Beach are also quite popular.

With so many choices, there’s bound to be a location with what you’re looking for, be it golden shores, places to paddle, a wooden pirate ship, a nearby skate park, or shady trees.The only thing left is to find some of the best Sunshine Coast accommodations with breathtaking views of your favourite beach with Sunshine Coast Getaways. The Sunshine Towers are a popular place to stay that is good for families and is close to Maroochydore Surf Beach.

From lavish hotels to family-friendly spots, the sparkling waters and golden sand await each day. If you want to know more about what’s on offer in the region as soon as you step out of the Sunshine Coast airport, contact our team and get the most out of your holiday.

Browse our Sunshine Coast Family Holiday Accommodation