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6 of the best beaches you can visit on the Gold Coast

Palm Beach from Burleigh Lookout (Image: © 2018 Inside Gold Coast)
Palm Beach from Burleigh Lookout (Image: © 2018 Inside Gold Coast)

Well now, aren’t we the lucky ones for being fantastically spoilt with endless glorious beaches here on our golden coast. Kilometre after kilometre of pristine sand awaits you around every outcrop, headland, and creek; creating the rather envious — and ever-present — predicament of what beach you might lay your towel on.

It’s the finer details, the nuances if you will, which separate the good from the great. By that we mean not just the beach itself — but the amazing places you can grab something to eat/drink from nearby! As official beach experts, we take great pleasure in outlining the finest patches of shoreline on the Gold Coast for your sun-kissed reading pleasure.

Main Beach
For all readers living north of Surfers Paradise, Main Beach is a huge drawcard when it comes to getting yourself some beach time. And there is little reason why you wouldn’t find yourself here on a perfect day with your favourite book and sunblock. This quiet and sprawling section of sand is backed by some of the Coast’s most luxurious resorts before finally coming to an end at The Spit, which offers you peeks of South Stradbroke Island. Often empty and within striking distance of most northern suburbs, this is a stellar choice for spending an hour or three.

Eat: The Seafood buffet at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort is a must-try either for lunch or dinner. Open to outside guests of the resort and serving the freshest seafood straight from the trawlers.
Do: Peruse the shops at Marina Mirage, then walk to Fisherman’s Wharf (affectionately known as Fisho’s) for a sunset drink overlooking the magificent Broadwater filled with yachts in the Marina. If you’re out late, take a moonlit walk along the beach after dinner to finish off a perfect evening.

Surfers Paradise at the steps down to the beach at dawn (Image: © 2020 Destination Gold Coast)
Surfers Paradise at the steps down to the beach at dawn (Image: © 2020 Destination Gold Coast)

Surfers Paradise
The one and only. One of the main reasons why tourism exploded here in the latter part of the last century was indeed Surfers Paradise. A suburb that is a lot of things to a lot of people, but almost certainly the most recognisable part of our coastline for visitors. Although the busy end of town, you will always find a piece of the beach to yourself — finding a car park however is a different affair altogether (catch the tram)! The pedestrianised pathway along the beachfront is the perfect opportunity to pull out your skateboard or dust off your roller skates/blades and experience the beach, in a slightly different way, whilst being active. Regardless of the crowds, if the weather is playing ball, the beach here is one of our best.

Eat: There’s a myriad of options here, however, we suggest you head to Mos Burger (a stones-throw from the beach) to tuck into some Japanese-inspired burger goodness.
Do: We all know shopping is a type of therapy and therefore good for you. Once you’ve had your share of sun, sea, and sand why not shower off and head to Paradise Centre or Soul Boardwalk – you’ll find some of the Coast’s best retailers and sweet ice-cream shops perfect for a hot day.

Broadbeach beach looking towards Surfers Paradise

Broadbeach
Further down you’ll find Broadbeach, which can be defined as being a slightly more relaxed and slower version of the vibrant Surfers Paradise stretch. For a morning walk with some incredible sunrise light, this is where you need to be at. When you’ve had enough of getting sand in all of your small places — there’s a spattering of green areas and parks with some great BBQ facilities and seating areas. Still, with its fair share of extravagant looking high rises the shadows begin to creep across the beach (depending on the time of year) around the 3pm mark. By this time, it could very well be time to grab a cocktail anyway…

Eat: A Gold Coast institution, Elk Espresso is the answer to all of your breakfast and lunch dreams. And being positioned on the corner of Oasis Shopping Centre and merely metres from the beach is nothing short of perfection in our eyes.
Do: Feeling like the midday sun is getting to you? Head inside the Oasis and you’ll be met with a tonne of shopping options, making it a tough call to go back to the beach.

Burleigh Pavilion (Image: Amanda Hibbard)

Burleigh
The jewel in the crown? Quite possibly, and for good reason. Burleigh has, we think, exceeded all expectations of what a modern Gold Coast suburb should be. With its admixture of surfy/bohemian/laid back vibes and a plethora of shops and eating options, you can easily spend a whole day here and want for nothing. Lush greenery meets golden shoreline as the iconic point and National Park frame the beach at the southern end before it winds a parallel line with the Pacific Ocean towards Miami Hill in the north. Take the day off, grab your sunscreen and put your phone on silent, because this part of our coast is truly a special one.

Eat: With the same eye-watering view, Rick Shores, The Burleigh Pavilion and The Tropic are the ideal places to grab something to eat, and or drink, and remember how lucky you are to be here.
Do: There’s no arguing that the beach here is fantastic. Do as the locals do and head up Burleigh Hill as the sun begins to set and you get to savour those last parts of sunlight as it cascades towards the horizon.

Tallebudgera Creek (Image: © 2019 Destination Gold Coast)
Tallebudgera Creek (Image: © 2019 Destination Gold Coast)

Tallebudgera Creek
Controversial inclusion or not, being not technically a beach in the sense it isn’t backed by the ocean, Tallebudgera Creek beach is still one of the best places you can get some sun on your skin whilst submerging yourself in pristine water. Being a creek with shallow sand bars, the way the sunlight enters and refracts around the water always provides you with so many different variations of the colour blue! The real magic about this location is the fact you have two different sides of the creek to explore; both have their advantages for when the sun, and wind, start to move throughout the day.

Eat: Nearby Custard Canteen is the creation of husband-wife duo Ben & Ursula Watts of Bam Bam Bakehouse and Cubby Bakehouse fame. Need we say more?
Do: Take a wander down into nearby Palm Beach and treat yourself to some rooftop action either at Frida Sol or Las Palmas.

The Undercurrent's Coolangatta shirt (Image: © 2018 The Undercurrent)
The Undercurrent's Coolangatta shirt (Image: © 2018 The Undercurrent)

Coolangatta
Having some of the squeakiest and whitest sand along our 70km coastline, Coolangatta Beach was a dead fire inclusion on this list. Unbeknown to some people, the north-facing aspect of this beach, provides some great protection from the southerly winds – meaning no unexpected blasts of sand to the face. Much like Burleigh Headland, Greenmount adds a rustic green backdrop to the beach and acts as a great lookout so you can appreciate the nearby surfing going down at Rainbow Bay. If surfing isn’t your thing then you may well be lucky enough to catch glimpses of dolphins which are known to gracefully glide their way past on any given day.

Eat: Amble your way from the beach to Little Cooly just inside The Strand, with some much-loved pasta and pizza and their signature Sip Sessions from 3pm daily. It’d be rude not to!
Do: Take a stroll to nearby Kirra, walk to the top of the hill to truly enjoy the views of the Gold Coast from a southern perspective. Once you’ve done that, and burned enough calories, it’s time to head to Ottimo for some of the best handmade gelato this side of Italy.

Words by Alex Mitcheson.

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