It’s no secret that Sydney boasts some of the most beautiful and famous beaches in the world. With well over 100 beaches in the city, Sydneysiders are spoiled for choice when it comes to golden sands, coastal walks and spectacular surf beaches. Popular all year round, but especially packed out between September to March, there’s no such thing as ‘beach season’ in Sydney.
Stop scouting Google Maps for the best-looking stretch of golden sand on Sydney’s outskirts. From Freshwater to Dee Why, here’s our guide to the 10 best beaches in Sydney:
Nestled between two stunning headlands, Freshwater is one of Sydney’s best surf beaches. Just north of Manly, this family favourite has great access and adjoins to a reserve fitted with a playground and barbecue facilities. If you’re not a strong swimmer, the rock baths at the beach’s northern end are a popular spot especially on days when the surf can get a bit rough.
Just a short coastal walk from where the ferry drops you off, Shelly Beach is Manly Beach’s uncrowded little brother. Shelly Beach is unique as it’s the only west facing beach on the east coast of Australia, and boasts a gorgeous view of Sydney’s coastline and the secluded Cabbage Tree Bay. Popular for snorkelling, Shelly Beach’s clear waters are a haven for protected marine life. Head out and see the submerged motorbike which sits in the middle of the bay.
Sydney’s northernmost beach is less than an hour drive from the CBD and boasts a shimmering surf beach made famous by Home and Away’s fictional Summer Bay setting. While you’re here walk to the historic Barrenjoey Lighthouse for unrivalled views of the north coastline, or dine on modern Australian cuisine at Jonah’s Restaurant and Boutique Hotel.
An hour’s train ride south of the CBD, Cronulla is not just a beach, it’s a cultural hub in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire. One of the city’s best surf beaches, and with links to the nearby Royal National Park, it’s also a fantastic spot for whale watching. For people watching, Cronulla Beach is the best spot to revel in southern Sydney’s sun-drenched beach culture.
Another northern Beaches hub, heading south towards Warriewood, this beach runs south-east for a kilometre towards the rock platform that divides it from the Basin, a second beach spot just north of Mona Vale. Not only is Mona Vale one of Sydney’s best beaches, it’s also one of its biggest. Mona Vale boasts plenty of great reef breaks and a lap pool making it a prime destination for avid swimmers and surfers.
Home to the Beachley Classic, Sun Run, Ocean Thunder and many more first-class sporting events, Dee Why is one of the biggest and most bustling beaches on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Just a stones throw from the commercial hub of Dee Why, this popular spot has a children’s playground, outdoor table tennis table and even free wi-fi, making it one of Sydney’s best beaches for a family outing.
With a shimmering surf beach and magnificent 6 km coastal walk towards Bondi, Coogee is one of Sydney’s best buzzing beach hubs. Whether you’re sunbaking on the sand or strolling along the famous coastal walking path, Coogee’s dramatic cliffs and ocean views form one of Sydney’s most iconic stretches of coast.
Nestled in the beautiful Northern Beaches, just past Newport and Bigola Beach, Avalon is a surfer’s haven with a 25 metre salt water rock pool at the south end. Renowned for its relaxed beach town vibe, the beach centred around a triangle-shaped sandbank attracts a vibrant mix of beachgoers and an avid board-riding community, making it a great spot for families.
In Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Clovelly Beach sits on the edge of a narrow bay and is hugely popular for swimmers. While you’re here visit the surf lifesaving club which is one of the first in the world, founded in 1906. With many popular bistros and the Clovelly Hotel nearby, it’s also a favourite lunch spot among Sydneysiders.
Love it or hate it, Bondi Beach is undoubtedly Sydney’s most iconic beach. From the sun-kissed locals to the trendy eateries that line the streets, Bondi is buzzing with tourists all year round and it’s easy to see why. The Bondi to Bronte coastal walk is spectacular and the beachfront promenade oozes cool with its many outdoor cafes, trendy bars, surf shops and beach babes. No best beaches in Sydney list would be complete without this sand and surf mecca.
From surf beach giants like Bondi to Cronulla, to hidden gems like Clovelly and Shelley, hardcore surfers and casual swimmers alike are treated to a handful of Australia’s best beaches in Sydney. Head down to these prime sun-drenched spots, and enjoy the best assets of Australia’s east coast – its sun, sand and surf – when you’re staying in Sydney.