This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated in 2018 with more information on the best beaches in Gold Coast.
The Gold Coast has an incredible reputation as one of the best vacation destinations in Australia. With its subtropical climate and 57 km of coastline, it’s a beach lovers dream! To help you make the most of your time here, we’ve listed the best beaches in Gold Coast.
The Most Famous Beach: Surfer’s Paradise
Surfer’s Paradise beach stretches over almost three km and runs alongside towering skyscrapers right in the heart of the Gold Coast. The city attracts a whopping 20,000 tourists a day, looking to eat, stay and play in one of Australia’s most popular destinations.
A beach town with a name like that can’t possibly disappoint, right? But the truth is, it can, and very often – it does. Behind the facade of a golden beach and international recognition, there is nothing more than an uninspiring tourist trap.
Surfers Paradise beach is hardly a paradise. It is swarmed with people, tourists from all over the world, looking for the paradise that no longer exists. What they find instead is a busy beach with a few activities during the day and very average entertainment at night.
Sustainable Traveler Fave: Burleigh Heads
Burleigh’s famous surf break and a pleasant beach atmosphere make it a much more palatable choice than the crowded Surfers Paradise beach. Burleigh has been picking up for years and has now become one of the coolest hangout beaches in the Gold Coast. The neighbourhood is home to great organic cafes, health shops, hippy boutiques and vibrant weekend markets.
This Gold Coast beach is lined with a great park making Burleigh one of the most popular places to visit in Gold Coast not just with the laid back surfer crowd, but also with families.
Best Off the Beaten Path Beach: Coolangatta Beach
The North facing Coolangatta Beach offers sheltered conditions for swimming and picturesque views of the Surfers Paradise skyline on the horizon. Coolangatta Beach doesn’t have big surf breaks, which makes it especially appealing to those looking for beaches in Gold Coast that offer an easy swim and a great spot to catch the sun rays. Head more inland to find a variety of cafes, pubs, and fish and chip shops perfect for a pint and a bite to eat after a day in the sun.
You won’t find too many tourists here, but there’ll be plenty of locals enjoying their lazy Sunday afternoons in this local Gold Coast gem.
The Sophisticated Choice: Broadbeach Gold Coast
Broadbeach is located right next to Surfers Paradise beach, but it is much more polished and sophisticated than its acclaimed neighbour. Broadbeach, or “Broadie” as it is lovingly referred to by the locals, is the new hot spot Gold Coast beach, slowly but surely drawing the visitors away from the crowded Surfers Paradise.
Surfer Paradise isn’t the only place to catch some waves. Head to Broadbeach Gold Coast and pick up some Surf Lessons at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. Afterwards, you can stick around and enjoy the other treats along this Gold Coast beach. Broadbeach Gold Coast offers a perfect blend of shopping, upscale dining, entertainment, nightlife, and relaxation.
Best Upscale Experience: Main Beach Gold Coast
Main Beach is located on the other side of Surfers Paradise. Similar to Broadbeach Gold Coast, Main Beach is a bit more polished and slightly less touristy, with not as many hotels littering the beach. Main Beach, Gold Coast is nice and clean with lots of free public BBQ’s available for use, a benefit that is definitely missing from Surfer Paradise.
Main Beach is also known as a wealthy suburb and makes for an interesting place to visit in Gold Coast, even if you aren’t a self-professed beach bum. You will often find high-end luxury cars parked on Tedder Ave waiting for their owners to catch up over drinks and appetizers.
There is an abundance of great restaurants on Tedder Ave. If you are looking for something special, head to Shuck’s Restaurant where the head chef, Kristian, prepares some of the best seafood dishes on the Gold Coast.
Burleigh, Coolangatta beach, Broadbeach, and Main may be our favourite beaches in the Gold Coast, but the truth is the entire Gold Coast strip is laden with amazing beaches. Each Gold Coast beach is unique and special in its own way.
Every local Queenslander has their favourite Gold Coast beach hang out. Some prefer the calm waters of Coolangatta beach, others the sophistication and nightlife at Broadbeach.
The question is, which of the hidden gem beaches in Gold Coast will appeal to you?