22 of the Best Queensland Beaches to Set Foot On!

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When it comes to finding the best beaches in Australia, you can’t miss the Queensland beaches.

The Queensland coast stretches over 7,400 kilometres, and features over 1,700 beaches (not including the tropical island beaches off its shores, which adds another 1,900 to the list).

Sunset silhouette at Agnes Water Beach - Queensland, Australia

So choosing the best beaches in Queensland is no easy task when you have such a huge pool to narrow down.

When it comes to choosing the best of the best, we have picked beaches that suit any type of traveller, such as families, surfers, couples, and adventurers.

Whether you seek remote, isolated patches of sand with crystal clear water gently lapping ashore and a hammock strung from a palm tree, or beaches with huge surf, or amazing coastal walks…you can find all that and more in Queensland.

22 Best Beaches in Queensland

From the surf breaks of the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast to the island hideaways in The Whitsundays to the coral cays of the Great Barrier Reef, to the tropical paradise of Cape Tribulation, there’s a Queensland beach with your name on it.

So if you fancy a bit of beach time and Queensland sun, add some of these to your list of beaches in Queensland to visit.

1. Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast

Burleigh Heads National Park beach is an all-time family favourite of ours and a beach we always return to on any trip to the Goldy!

Sunrise over the ocean Burleigh heads beach
Burleigh Point

I love to start the day by watching the magnificent sunrise and the surfers taking on the world-class surf break on the point. It’s a magical spot as the colours in the sky light up in pinks and reds as the waves roll in.

Grab an early morning takeaway coffee from Nook Espresso and sit on the hill and enjoy mother nature, and the surfers.

Back on the beach, Burleigh is a great swimming spot for kids, plus there’s a playground on the grass area and the cafe underneath the surf club makes nice burgers with uninterrupted ocean views.

people sitting on chair looking at view of Burleigh Heads
paddle boarder on ocean at sunrise
Early morning stand up paddle boarder

Whilst in town check out the hip bars, boutique shops, and funky cafes, and you must do the coastal walk in Burleigh National Park.

2. Coolangatta Beach, Gold Coast

waves rolling in at Coolangatta Beach -

Cooly is a special place for us. Back in 2001 I took Caz on a surprise weekend getaway and during a sunset walk along the beach, proposed to her. Luckily she said yes.

The beach is golden, the water is great for body surfing (and solid waves for the surfers out there), and a morning walk or run along the sand or the pedestrian footpath makes for a great start to any day.

surfers at Coolangatta Beach

For the families like us, there are two playgrounds for the kids and the surf club does great meals with spectacular views and people-watching.

We love the southern part of the Gold Coast and Coolangatta is where we like to base ourselves on any trip. Check out the Mantra Apartments which has amazing views all the way up to the Surfers Paradise skyline. You’ll love the sunsets!

3. Greenmount Beach, Gold Coast

sweeping curve of Greenmount Beach -

Next door to Coolanagtta and you have Greenmount, which is basically the same stretch of beach.

The corner section is perfect for swimming with kids and there’s also an excellent wave coming off the point for the surfers to enjoy.

view of Greenmount Beach from walkway

There’s an elevated walkway around Greenmount Headland, which gives you top views back over Coolangatta, Surfers Paradise, and the guys riding the waves. And the surf club is another good spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

4. Rainbow Bay, Gold Coast

orange sunset over the beach
Sunset at Snapper Rocks

Walk around the headland from Greenmount and you’ll find yourself at Rainbow Bay (not to be confused with Rainbow Beach near Fraser Island).

Maybe the Gold Coast’s best-kept secret to travelers, but not to surfers. This beach is famous for the surf break of “Snapper Rocks,” which is known as one of the world’s longest and most consistent point breaks and holds the annual Quiksilver Pro World Surfing Event.

Another excellent family beach owing to its protected location and usually low waves, BBQ areas, a playground, and lots of grass areas for a picnic.

If you’re a beginner surfer, you may want to head to the nearby Surfers Paradise Beach where the waves are a little smaller.

Sunset silhouette of girl at Rainbow Bay -
view of surfers paradise skyline at Sunset

Step inside Rainbow Bay Surf Club which offers great views over Snapper Rocks and all the way to Surfers Paradise.

I highly recommend a sunset drink here, and the meal specials are great value too!

5. Seventy Five Mile Beach, Fraser Island

aerial view of green watera nd orange sand dunes of 75 mile beach Fraser Island,
75 mile beach Fraser Island

I’m not usually a fan of long, open, and pounding surf beaches but 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, is special.

75 Mile Beach is actually classed as part of the Bruce Highway with strict road rules and cops around ready to nab those who speed or drink drive. You need a serious 4wd vehicle to take on Fraser and be mindful of the tides so you don’t get cut off.

Dingo on Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia
aerial of rusted shipwreck on sand

Highlights of driving along this beach include Eli Creek, the Maheno shipwreck, seeing wild dingos roaming, and taking a scenic flight to get a great perspective of the beach and the island from the air.

6. Mooloolaba Beach, Sunshine Coast

Mooloolaba Beach, Queensland, Australia

We lived in Mooloolaba for 18 months and have fond memories of our time there. It’s almost the perfect beach town with a great beach complimented by a strip of lovely cafes, BBQ areas, and kid’s playgrounds.

The beach is lovely for a morning walk or run, and the water beckons swimmers, surfers, and bodyboarders.

Another activity we loved was walking the pathway which runs parallel to the beach around the rock wall and watching the sun set back over the town.

7. Noosa Main Beach, Sunshine Coast

view of curving white sand Noosa Main Beach

Noosa has been rated in the top three beaches in the South Pacific by the folks over at TripAdvisor, and hosts surfers from around the world at the annual Noosa Festival of Surfing.

One of the few beaches along Australia’s coastline that faces north, Noosa is a great family beach, or for those not that confident in the ocean due to its gentle waves and surf lifesavers on patrol. If you want to take a surf lesson, Noosa is ideal for beginners.

person walking on beach at Noosa Heads National Park
Noosa Heads National Park

Whilst in town, don’t miss the spectacular coastal walk through Noosa Heads National Park, and fashionable Hastings street which runs parallel to the beach and is filled with trendy cafes and boutique shopping.

It is said that Noosa National Park is home to native Australian wildlife such as koalas, so be sure to look out for them.

Grab a bite to eat at the Surf Club right on the beach, and the Mantra French Quarter has a great location for sleeping one block away.

8. Agnes Water Beach – Central Queensland

Agnes Water Beach - Queensland, Australia

Located 60km off the main highway between Brisbane and Cairns, Agnes Water doesn’t get the high concentration of visitors that many other Queensland beaches get, and this sleepy beach town was a great discovery on our road trip up the Queensland coast.

Conveniently we were staying at the Agnes Water Caravan Park at the southern end of the beach and the moment we walked onto the sand we knew we’d found a match.

kids running through the water on the beach

Lovely natural looking beach with gentle waves for our kids and is famous amongst surfers as being the most northerly beach on the east coast to regularly receive surf.

Don’t miss the spectacular sunsets and breakfast at Agnes Beach Cafe!

9. The Beach on Lady Musgrave Island

family posing on the beach at Lady Musgrave Island

It was a rough 90-minute ferry ride out to Lady Musgrave Island from the Town of 1770 and we didn’t get a lot of time to spend on this beautiful beach, I don’t even know if this beach has a name, but let’s just call it paradise.

The crystal clear water, the pure white sand, the coral, and the national park as a backdrop made for a postcard setting.

tree stumpslying on white sandy beach
coral on the beach Lady Musgrave Island - Queensland

Lady Musgrave Island is a coral cay and the second island in the Great Barrier Reef chain of islands after Lady Elliot Island.

You can even camp here, with no power or water supply, and the nearby snorkeling in the lagoon is brilliant.

10. Airlie Beach – Whitsunday Islands

palm trees on Airlie Beach
Image: Shutterstock.com

I’m adding Airlie Beach to the mix not because the actual beach itself is out of this world, it’s still a picturesque beach to relax on, but Airlie Beach the town has a lot going for it as a destination I can see us returning to time and time again.

When you can’t swim at the beach due to stinger season (November to May) there’s an awesome man-made lagoon on the foreshore perfect for families, plus with nearby playgrounds and plenty of cafes, bars, and pubs lining the strip and a ton of accommodation choices from backpackers to 5 star it offers the complete package.

girl standing on sand at The Lagoon at Airlie Beach
The lagoon

Airlie is the main hub for the amazing Whitsunday Islands and one of many departure points for the Great Barrier Reef.

11. Whitehaven Beach – Whitsunday Islands

swirling green water and white sand of whitehaven beach

We’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Whitehaven Beach in The Whitsunday Islands is still the most incredible beach we have been to so far in all of Australia, not just in Queensland.

The isolation, the pure white silica sand, the turquoise water, the National Park backdrop, and the fusion of swirling colours seen from the Hill Inlet lookout, I think I’ll just let the photos do the talking.

fammily posing in front of Whitehaven Beach from Hill Inlet
woman and child walking through crystal clear water of Whitehaven Beach,
people walking on sannd banks

12. Huntingfield Bay – Magnetic Island

view of Hungtingfield Bay from boat

Postcard-perfect Huntingfield Beach is one of five beaches on the north side of Magnetic Island only accessible by boat, and it’s that remoteness that adds to the beauty of this beach.

We anchored just offshore during our snorkeling tour around Maggie, stopping for a BBQ lunch, and then dived off the boat and swam ashore to be all alone strolling the shore collecting shells.

woman and girl swimming in water Hungtingfield Bay

Adding to the scene are large granite boulders that fringe the back and sides of the beach, with a back-drop of scrub and rocky slopes rising steeply to over 300m. When you visit Maggie, don’t miss Huntingfield.

13. Cape Tribulation Beach – Daintree National Park

girls walking on Cape Tribulation beach

When you have a setting that involves two World Heritage Listed areas colliding, where the oldest living rainforest in the world meets the Great Barrier Reef, you can only imagine what it’s like to set foot on the sands that divide these two natural wonders.

Cape Trib beach is on the north side of the cape and you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve been stranded on an island, not still connected to the Australian mainland.

man kayaking on ocean
view of Cape Tribulation  from Kulki boardwalk
The view from Kulki boardwalk

You can swim at this beach, outside of stinger season (box jellyfish are around from May to November) and one of my happiest moments was a kayaking tour I did chasing turtles, stingrays, and dugongs, and the fringing reef is a great place to explore at low tide.

Take a walk and then pick your spot on the sand and take in the moment, just avoid sitting under a coconut tree in case of falling coconuts, and avoid the middle-of-the-day trippers.

14. Lake McKenzie, Fraser Island (K’gari)

Lake Mackenzie, Fraser Island, Australia

Although not your typical ocean beach, the soft white sands leading into Lake Mckenzie on Fraser Island (K’gari) should not be missed.

The lake is one of the few places on the island where you can safely swim, since the ocean waters are too rough in most areas, but it sure does make up for this when you see how blue and tranquil it is.

15. Sunshine Beach

people standing on a mountain lookout facing the ocean
View of Sunshine Beach

Noosa National Park is home to lovely walking tracks and several stunning beaches. One of the most popular is Sunshine Beach, which you can get to via the walking track up to Noosa Hill, and then take the track to Hell’s Gate.

The hike is about 5.4km one-way, but it’s completely worth it when you see the unspoiled beauty of this beach. The beach spans 15km and has great surf breaks, soft white sand, and is peppered with restaurants and cafes along the promenade.

The beach is perfect for families since it’s well-maintained and has lifeguards.

16. Radical Bay, Magnetic Island

boulders on the beach

Magnetic Island is one of the most relaxing and tranquil places in Queensland. If you’re up for a bit of a hike, be sure to walk over to Radical Bay.

It’s an easy 30-minute walk up and over a hill to Radical Bay from Horseshoe Bay. You can stop at Balding Bay along the way too, which is even more secluded and is a favorite amongst the nudies, which is why we decided to skip it with the girls – we wouldn’t have looked anyway!

You can also hike into Radical Bay from the Forts, which is a much longer way to go. You can drive it if you have a 4WD – do not attempt it otherwise you will trash your car.

17. Ellis Beach

waves on the shore at Ellis beach
View of Ellis Beach without people.

If you’re looking for beaches in Cairns to swim at, then you might enjoy Ellis Beach, which is located just 5 mins North of Palm Cove.

Ellis Beach is a quiet beach with a strip of white sand leading to the azure waters of the Coral Sea.

Most locals will tell you to avoid swimming at the beaches in Cairns, especially during the months of November – May. This is because the waters are full of dangerous animals such as saltwater crocs, jellyfish, and sharks.

But thankfully, Ellis Beach has stinger nets to ensure it’s safe to swim in its waters 365 days of the year!

18. Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island

Mother and daughter walking along Nudey beach
Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland

The sand at Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island is so white you will feel like you’re walking through heaven.

It’s a white coral beach that sits on the South-West shores of Fitzroy Island, one of the largest tropical islands in Far North Tropical Queensland.

The island sits on the Great Barrier Reef and is surrounded by colourful marine life.

If you’re looking for a gorgeous tropical beach in Queensland to snorkel at, this would be a top choice.

19. Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas

Lovely view of Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas from Flagstaff Hill Lookout
Four Mile Beach from Flagstaff Hill

Four Mile Beach is a four-mile-long beach (duh!) located on the East coast of Australia, just north of Cairns.

It has soft, golden sand and crystal-clear blue water – it’s like a tropical island paradise but on the mainland.

The beach is well maintained and great for families since the waves are more gentle here.

You’ll find palm trees lining the beach and there’s always a gentle, cool breeze.

You can spend your days relaxing, swimming, or sunbathing under the palms. It’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy being on one of Australia’s top beaches.

20. Tallebudgera Creek

people paddle boarding on Tallebudgera Creek

If you’re looking for a quiet beach to enjoy with your family, then Tallebudgera Creek near the Gold Coast is a good option.

It has lifeguards and patrols to make you feel safe and has gentle currents and clean, clear water to swim in.

The creek is famous for its natural beauty, with the stunning Burleigh Heads National Park on one side (you know it’s our favourite place by now) and Palm Beach on the other side.

If you’re into fishing, it’s a great place for that. Otherwise, simply enjoy a picnic, sunbathe, or try out some water sports.

Note: This was my favorite hidden secret living in Burleigh. Read more Gold Coast posts here.

21. Tangalooma Wrecks Beach, Moreton Island

people kayaking in clear kayaks near Tangalooma Wrecks
Kayaking around the Tangalooma Wrecks

For adventurers, you might enjoy the shores of Tangalooma Wrecks Beach on Moreton Island. The beach is famous for its Tangalooma Wrecks, a cluster of ships that were put here during 1963-1984. The boats were actually put there on purpose as a way to provide safe anchorage for recreational boat owners.

What makes these wrecks special is that the sea has claimed them as its own, and coral is starting to grow on them.

Sometimes, you can see dolphins, wobbegongs, and dugongs swimming near them, as well as thousands of colourful fish.

Grab yourself a kayak and snorkel mask, and start exploring!

22. Point Lookout Beach, North Stradbroke Island

curving beach with rocky headland

Point Lookout Beach is one of the most popular surfing beaches in Queensland. In the summer months, you might be able to see whales migrating from the headland, or from the North Gorge Walk atop the cliff.

It has a laid-back, beach holiday vibe. You can go camping, swimming, surfing, fishing, scuba diving, or walk along the coastal walks.

Final Thoughts on Queensland Beaches

So there you have it, those are the best beaches in Queensland. As you can see, there are some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia in this region.

Whether you’re looking for ideas for a day trip or you’re looking for a place to kick off your shoes for a while, there’s a beach for everyone on this list.

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Have you visited any Queensland beaches? Which ones would you add to this list?

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17 thoughts on “22 of the Best Queensland Beaches to Set Foot On!”

    1. Hi Anders,

      We did drive past Ellis Beach on our way to Port Douglas. Looked nice but we were on a time limit. Thanks for reminding me we need to go back up north!

  1. The Guy (flightsandfrustration.com)

    Hi Craig, fabulous selection here and truly wonderful pictures. I’m sold 🙂

    I’ve been to Airlie Beach and the gorgeous Noosa so thoroughly agree with these.

    I’d love to get to the Whitsundays at some point and Fraser Island. Everything I hear and see is amazing.

    I tend to prefer the Sunshine Coast more over the Gold Coast though maybe I need to be more adventurous. However I’d certainly add Red Beach of Bribie Island or in fact just Bribie Island (one of my favourite places on earth).

    It is little wonder I love visiting your country of Australia. It is truly blessed with some wonderful places. Thanks for your suggestions for my next visit.

    1. Hi Guy,

      The Sunshine Coast does have some great beaches, but had to keep this list relatively short.

      Thanks for the tip on Red Beach. We’ve never been to Bribie Island.

  2. When you are driving up to Cape Tribulation next time, stop at Rex Point Lookout on the Captain Cook Highway and think of me! 😉

    Favourite beach is definitely Three Mile Beach at Port Douglas followed by Cape Trib, and Rainbow Beach. Did you know you can get cheaper Fraser Island Tour Trips from Rainbow Beach than from Hervey Bay?

  3. I have to say 4 Mile Beach, Port Douglas. For 6 years it was home, I used to love dawn walks or runs down on the beach. Some of the more hidden, secret beaches up on Cape Tribulation are breathtaking too, Cow Bay is a bit of a favourite, no swimming though, too many crocs.

  4. Hello, I agree with many on your list! I would encourage you to check out my favourite hidden QLD gem, Moreton Island. Only an hour from Brissy and a whole world away. Always sea life to find and crystal clear water. Like Fraser, 4WD only. North Stradbroke Island is worth checking out too. Enjoy!

  5. i will have to be slightly biased and push Whitehaven beach into number 1 just because I am there 3 times a week 🙂 My favourite beach is on the NW side of Armit Island in the Whitsundays. Its a stunning beach with awesome reef on the southern tip. No tours go this direction so you can have it all to your self most days .

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