Top 7 Beaches on the Gold Coast, the Local’s Guide
They don’t call it the Gold Coast because you’re likely to strike it rich. It’s labelled as such for its stunning array of golden-sand beaches, each offering a sample of the beachside Australian lifestyle that attracts millions of regional and international tourists to Queensland annually. From the golden child, Surfers Paradise Beach, to the lesser-known, equally magical beach locations like Kirra Point, there are 21 beaches along the roughly 70 kilometres of coastline between Snapper Rocks in the south to Southport Spit in the north.
Whether you're a surfer, a sunbather or a beachcomber, our picks for the top seven beaches on the Gold Coast also include Broadbeach, Coolangatta Beach, Mermaid Beach, Burleigh Heads and Nobby Beach. Spend the day by the water and sand, surfing the waves, tanning in the sun, or helping the kids create a sand castle. Visit any of these beaches at sunrise or sunset to witness vivid colours reflecting off the water and the adjacent skyscrapers for a truly spectacular sight.
Also among the nearly 5,000 square kilometres region are 270 kilometres of local waterways and 100,000 hectares of world-heritage-listed rainforests to visit once you’re done with the beach and need more things to do on your Gold Coast Holiday.
Before visiting any of these luscious beaches on the Gold Coast, do yourself a favour and check out the Beachsafe website. Created by Surf Life Saving Australia, this incredible online resource includes current information and conditions for every beach in Australia, detailing local patrol services, hazards and facilities, weather, swell and tide details.
In addition to local safety on Gold Coast beaches, we’ve done our research to include reviews and opinions from locals in the area, alongside reviews from our hotel guests. With three accommodation options dotted along the golden coastline, including the centrally located Oaks Gold Coast Hotel, our brand new upscale Oaks Avani Broadbeach Residences and our Coolangatta resort, Oaks Calypso Plaza Suites, there’s something for everyone.
With accommodation sorted, slop on your sunscreen, slap on a hat, slip on a pair of sunnies, and dive into seven of the most beautiful and best beaches on the Gold Coast, Australia.
1. Surfers Paradise Beach
Distance From Oaks Hotel: A six-minute walk from the Oaks Gold Coast Hotel to Lifeguard tower 31 on Surfers Paradise Beach.
From its picturesque skyline to golden sand beaches, Surfers Paradise Beach sits at the heart of the Gold Coast. Topping our list of the best Gold Coast beaches, Surfers Paradise attracts millions of tourists every year to discover the vibrant foreshore district with an almighty variety of dining, shopping, entertainment, and some of the best nightlife in the country.
Surfers Paradise Beach is so famous that half of all the Gold Coast accommodation is located here, including the Oaks Gold Coast Hotel, which is just a few minutes away. There’s also the “added bonus” of the Florida Garden Tram Station “out front”, as noted by one of our reviewers.
Walking is actually the best way to get around, according to one Reddit user, who in just ten minutes can “get delicious Chinese Sichuan food, pet some kitties at a cat cafe, go do some mini golf and sip a root beer and munch some American candy on the beach before a hot sauna/jacuzzi”.
Across the 2km beach are teams of bronzed lifeguards operating three towers patrolling the crowded but stunning golden dunes and rip-channelled surf every day from 8 am to 5 pm. There’s a popular fishing spot near Nerang Jetty and a lively promenade with access to skyscrapers, opulent resorts, and luxury home rentals ready to serve the steady stream of tourists each year.
Distance From Oaks Hotel: An eighteen-minute walk from Avani Broadbeach Residences to Broadbeach Surf Life Saving Club or an eight-minute walk to Kurrawa Surf Club on Broadbeach.
If the pace of Surfers Paradise Beach is too fast, Broadbeach offers something more relaxed. Plus, it’s only a G-link trip up to Surfers if you want to do both. Before we get to the beach itself, Broadbeach offers fantastic cuisine, energetic nightlife, cosy bars, and stunning shopping. Only a short walk from the Avani Broadbeach Residences, you’ll be perfectly positioned alongside a 17 km stretch of beach and dazzling Pacific Ocean views.
Once you’re done relaxing by the pool, take a peek at the bustling street life, visit the retail therapy mecca that is Pacific Fair Shopping Centre and try your luck at The Star Gold Coast casino.
As for the sun, sand and surf, there’s plenty of it. Technically a reserve, the beach, which sits along Old Burleigh Road, contains the Broadbeach Surf Life Saving Club, sitting two kilometres from its southern neighbour, Mermaid Beach. While Reddit users debate which Gold Coast beach is better, one user suggests that “anywhere along the Gold Coast highway between Broadbeach and Coolangatta is sweet”.
3. Coolangatta Beach
Distance From Oaks Hotel: A three-minute walk from Oaks Calypso Plaza Suites to Coolangatta Beach (roughly the same distance to Greenmount beach).
Sitting at the end of the Gold Coast, Coolangatta offers the best of two worlds: direct access to family theme parks and attractions to the natural beauty and tiny seaside communities of Northern NSW and the Tweed Valley. From the Oaks Calypso Plaza Suites, guests are only a minute's walk away from Coolangatta Beach and Greenmount Beach if they can pull themselves away from the lagoon-style heated swimming pool and its dual water slides. There’s also a spa, sauna and a children’s wading pool.
Other beaches include Rainbow Bay and Kirra Point, plus you’ll be nearby Snapper Rocks on the NSW border for some incredible views. Surfers will want to visit Point Danger for the most challenging breaks, while beginners will enjoy the gentle swell at Greenmount and Rainbow Bay. Check out our list of the top four surf breaks on the southern Gold Coast for more opportunities to catch that perfect wave.
Described as a “spectacular stretch of beach” by one Tripadvisor reviewer, they reckon you’ll “understand why Australia is cited as having the best beaches in the world” after seeing these beaches. Affectionately nicknamed Cooly by one Reddit user, they say it’s “forever my favourite place in the GC”.
4. Mermaid Beach
Distance From Oaks Hotel: A ten-minute walk from Avani Broadbeach Residences to Mermaid Esplanade, followed by a short stroll to the beach.
Looking to get away from the high rises of Surfers Paradise without leaving the Gold Coast altogether? The prime location of Mermaid Beach maintains a quiet, beachside atmosphere, just far enough away to maintain tranquillity while still being conveniently close to the city's hub. One Reddit user described the Mermaid Waters area as a “great location for a beach lifestyle”.
Situated between Broadbeach and Miami Beach, to the south of Mermaid Beach, is the Barrier Reef precinct, where every road, avenue and street is named after a beach or reef, including the beachfront Albatross Avenue, which sits right next to the Gold Coast's most prestigious address: Hedges Avenue.
The Mermaid Beach Tavern is a beloved hangout that gets especially busy on Friday nights. Various lodging options are available on Mermaid Beach, from multimillion-dollar mansions (giving the area its nickname “Millionaire’s Row”) to the lucrative beach shacks making headlines in real estate.
5. Kirra Point
Distance From Oaks Hotel: A six-minute drive or a seventeen-minute walk from Oaks Calypso Plaza Suites to Kirra Point.
You need only take a look at a few minutes of this YouTube video to understand “people froth” Kirra Point as one of the best surfing beaches on the Gold Coast. Starting at the eastern end of Kirra Beach, across from the renowned Kirra Beach Surf Club, on the crossroads of Miles Street and Marine Parade, the Kirra Point area is situated perfectly on the seafront promenade. With Coolangatta Beach to the south, Kirra Point sits at the northern break of the ‘Superbank’, one of the longest right-handers in the world. For the uninitiated, that’s a wave that breaks from the right of the surfer’s vantage point. From the beach, it’ll break from towards the left. You can check out this Kirra Swell surfing photo posted to the surfing subReddit a few years ago to see what we’re talking about.
Beginners looking to learn how to surf should know that three-time World Championship surfer Mick Fanning, the same bloke who fought off a shark, is one of the club’s founding fathers, alongside Michael Peterson, Peter Townend, Dale Richards and Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew.
Sightseers, however, may prefer the shady, photogenic cover that is the Kirra Shelter Shed. Or you can venture along the short track to the top of Kirra Hill Lookout for a marvellous coastline view, giving happy snappers panoramic views of Kirra Point and the iconic Iron Eagle sculpture. It’s also a lovely spot for picnics with undercover tables, barbecues and parking in case you want to drive instead.
6. Burleigh Heads
Distance From Oaks Hotel: A nine-minute drive from Avani Broadbeach Residences to Ed Hardy Park, followed by a short stroll to the beach.
We couldn’t say it better than this Reddit user, who gave the ideal summary of all the benefits of Burleigh Heads in a single comment: “Burleigh heads = 15 mins South of Surfers Paradise. Absolutely beautiful scenery, there's a little nature walk. Fish and chip shops, an uptown restaurant legit on the water with ocean views. Little Park for the kids.”
Taking things a little further with the compliments is another Reddit user, who answered a fundamental question, why does everyone love Burleigh beach so much? “Lots of reasons”, they commented. There’s a “stunning” viewpoint at North Burleigh, and “scenic” walks around the Burleigh Hill headlands, with more viewing points like Jebbribillum and Tumgun. In town, there are “lots of different restaurants and bars around”, and it's not “unbearably crowded” either.
“Basically, it's just got everything there that you need for a day where you want to forget about everything and just spend time outside. You can just go to Burleigh and do whatever. Just a nice place to spend your free time.”
According to one Tripadvisor reviewer, this “amazing Aussie beach” offers “golden sand, surf, warm water, great amenities, life savers, great parking” and, of course, walks along the beach.
Distance From Oaks Hotel: A six-minute drive from Avani Broadbeach Residences to the end of Seashell Avenue, followed by a short stroll to the beach.
Away from the bustle of Surfers Paradise, this serene stretch of sand offers a beautiful beach, surf, and a collection of stores known for its cafés and eateries. Situated north of Miami and south of Mermaid Beach, Nobby Beach sits on a quieter southern section of the 16km Gold Coast beachfront strip, where you’ll find Nobby’s Beach Surf Club with beautiful, panoramic, 180-degree views out towards Surfers Paradise, the Pacific Ocean and down to Coolangatta. Complementing the sightseeing is an equally extensive menu with plenty of seafood and pub-feed classics.
Two lifeguard towers on Lavarack Road and Seashell Avenue, operated by the Nobby's Beach Surf Club, located on Albatross Avenue, keep watch over this section of the beach and the surfing breaks that swell all day long. For non-surfers and swimmers, a wide variety of lodging, attractions, and facilities are available at Nobby Beach. The town maintains a family-friendly ambience with an ultra-hip feel, attracting visitors to its healthy way of life.