15 of the best kid-friendly beaches in Queensland
Queensland’s golden beaches have long offered an easy and cheap way for families to keep their kids entertained.
What makes a beach perfect for kids? It needs to be patrolled and have gentle and safe conditions. Any extra facilities located nearby, like playgrounds, water-based equipment for hire and BBQs are a big bonus.
With school holidays and Easter just a chocolate bunny throw away, now’s the time to start planning your trip to one of Queensland’s best kid-friendly beaches.
1. Burleigh – Gold Coast
Burleigh holds a special place in the heart of locals and tourists alike, due to its relaxed vibe and sparkling beach.
If your kids aspire to being the next Mick Fanning or Stephanie Gilmore, Burleigh is the perfect place to learn to surf and there are a couple of surf schools located on the beach.
Sure, big swells can roll through the headland but closer to shore it’s normally nice and protected.
Away from the sand, there’s a prime strip of parkland ready for picnics and BBQs, or treat the family to a holiday feed at the brand spanking new Burleigh Pavilion which occupies a dream spot on the beach.
Get the most out of your trip to Burleigh with our 48-hour guide.
2. Tallebudgera Creek – Gold Coast
It may not be a beach but we’ll forgive Tallebudgera Creek due to its island-like blue water that needs to be seen to be believed.
Just recently it was voted Australia’s best swimming spot in Wotif’s Uniquely Aussie Awards. Likely because conditions here are almost always flat and gentle and there’s a stack of activities to do, like stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and fishing.
The area is patrolled by lifeguards and can get very busy on a sunny day – arrive early to nab a park and a great spot on the sand.
3. South Gorge Beach – North Stradbroke Island
A short ferry ride away from Brisbane, North Stradbroke Island is a slice of paradise with South Gorge Beach just edging out its neighbouring beaches as the pick of the bunch for kids.
Rocks on either side of the narrow beach offer protection from the wind and waves. And overlooking the beach is the Point Lookout Surf Lifesaving Club – an ideal spot to feed hungry tummies.
Combine the time on the sand with a stroll along the stunning nearby North Gorge Walk where you might just spot turtles, dolphins and whales (May-September).
Another great option on the island is the popular Cylinder Beach, where you’ll also find the local surf school.
After more things to do on Straddie? Check out our local’s guide for all the insider tips.
4. Streets Beach – Brisbane
Technically this one isn’t a ‘real beach’, but as if that’s going to bother the little ones.
The massive lagoon is free to use and is patrolled by lifeguards. And there are several areas with different depths making it perfect for all ages.
Make a day of it, with an abundance of things to do in South Bank afterwards – including oodles of dining options (yes, there’s ice-cream), a cinema, and for the older kids, educational activities like a visit to the Gallery of Modern Art or the Queensland Museum.
If you’ve got a week to spare check out our kid-friendly itinerary for exploring Brisbane and the surrounds.
5. Kings Beach – Sunshine Coast
Kings Beach may just be the ultimate beach for your little king or queen.
Not only is there a beautiful patrolled beach, but the area also has rock pools, water fountains and a free oceanfront swimming pool. Add in a gigantic playground and a lush park with plenty of shade and BBQs and almost every kid-friendly box has been ticked.
The cherry on top is a huge range of Caloundra accommodation options within easy walking distance.
Kings Beach may just become your new home away from home.
6. Noosa Main Beach – Sunshine Coast
Noosa needs no introduction, having long been a favourite haunt for families on holidays or day trips.
Its Main Beach is a delightful stretch of pristine sand and serene ocean conditions, with lifeguards on patrol all year round and heaps of water-based activities to choose from.
Mum and dad will love the dining and shopping options on Hastings Street, while the kids will enjoy trying to spot koalas in the nearby Noosa National Park.
One day in Noosa is never enough, with enough to fill up at least a week of holiday-time with the family.
7. Lake McKenzie – Fraser Island
Yes, it’s got the word lake in its name, however, Lake McKenzie was always going to make this list due to its white silica sand and incredibly clear freshwater.
For the ultimate in relaxation, bring along a lilo to float and splash around on. Keep the camera handy as Lake McKenzie is the perfect spot to grab a #thisisqueensland snap.
8. Shelley Beach – Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay’s tranquil waters are protected by Fraser Island, meaning there’s hardly any waves or currents to cause trouble.
With a beach extending 12km along the foreshore, families can take their pick where they want to swim.
Shelley Beach located near the surf lifesaving club is one of the more popular locations.
If you’re looking for a break from the beach, the WetSide Water Park is a top attraction for kids in Hervey Bay and has free entry.
9. Agnes Water – Gladstone Region
Located on the coast between Gladstone and Bundaberg, Agnes Water is a popular family-friendly choice to take a dip.
As Australia’s most northerly surfing beach on the east coast, Agnes Water is the last chance kids have to hang ten on the mild waves that roll through, with surf schools set up on the beach.
If the beach isn’t your thing, there are great picnic areas with barbecues in the foreshore park, plus a playground.
After swimming, tick off the seven must-do activities in the region.
10. Heron Island – Southern Great Barrier Reef
Kids will be spoilt for choice for beaches on Heron Island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
The small coral cay is home to an incredibly diverse range of marine life that can be explored straight from the shore. And yes, there are lots of turtles!
On land, Heron Island Resort runs a smorgasbord of nature-based activities for kids. The whole family can also go on a tour of the Heron Island Research Station.
Maximise your trip to Heron Island with our ultimate long weekend guide.
11. Bluewater Lagoon – Mackay
Similar to Streets Beach in Brisbane, Bluewater Lagoon is not your typical ‘beach’, being three man-made lagoons located right in the heart of Mackay.
But with free entry, waterfalls, water slides and a water playground, kids will have an absolute ball splashing around here.
After your swim, check out some of the other family-friendly activities in Mackay.
12. Alma Bay – Magnetic Island
What it lacks in length, being only 150m wide, Alma Bay on Magnetic Island more than makes up for with its friendly locals and calm and clear water.
The safe, patrolled beach is ideal for families looking to laze around on the delightful sand or in the water.
Just a short ferry trip away from Townsville, Magnetic Island is also home to the largest colony of koalas in northern Australia – make sure the kids keep their eyes peeled!
Seeing koalas is just one of the many reasons your next family holiday should be to Magnetic Island.
13. Whitehaven Beach – The Whitsundays
The best sand castle requires the best sand in the world.
Enter the world-renowned Whitehaven Beach in The Whitsundays which possesses brilliant white sand perfect for building creations.
The water at Whitehaven Beach is naturally amazing as well.
Pro tip: Leave enough time to take on the 1.3km return walk up to the Hill Inlet Lookout to grab some memorable family photos.
14. Trinity Beach – Cairns
A mere 20 minutes drive north of Cairns is the peaceful Trinity Beach, which is suited to families looking for a quieter option to chill out.
Lifeguards are on patrol every day and stinger nets ensure safe swimming all year round.
Excellent views out towards the Great Barrier Reef and back to Cairns can be seen via a short walk around the southern headland.
15. Four Mile Beach – Port Douglas
Four Mile Beach has an enviable reputation for its laidback atmosphere, calm water and swaying palm trees.
Lifeguards are on patrol all year round and stinger nets are in place during the wet season. Picnic and BBQ facilities are dotted along the beach and the main hub of Port Douglas is just a five-minute walk away.
If all that swimming has made you and the family hungry head to one of the best family-friendly restaurants in Cairns and Port Douglas afterwards.