Australia’s beaches are known for their pounding surf and excellent waves, but this doesn’t always create ideal conditions for paddling around with small children. Fortunately, beyond the major surfing spots you can find a wide range of laid-back sandy beaches. Many are sheltered from the elements, creating idyllic swimming coves or placid lagoons. If you’re looking for a peaceful beach to spend the day building sand castles with the whole family, the following are a few top options throughout Australia.
Horseshoe Bay, New South Wales
The South Coast of New South Wales is well known throughout the country for its turquoise waters and soft sandy beaches. One of the safest spots for families is Horseshoe Bay, located in the town of Bermagui. It’s north-facing, providing sheltered swimming conditions year-round. In the summer months, the beach is patrolled with lifeguards for added safety and you’ll definitely want to take a dip in these clear, warm waters.
Hampton Beach, Victoria
You don’t have to travel too far from Melbourne to reach Hampton Beach, one of the top family day trip options for city dwellers. Situated on Port Phillip Bay, there are picnic and barbecue facilities to enjoy. The beach is massive, giving you plenty of room to stretch out with the whole brood and enjoy the shallow, calm waters that lap the shoreline.
The Main Beach in Noosa is ideal for fun in the sun with toddlers, with its soft waves and gentle slope. Its north facing position creates gentle surf, making it safe for wading and splashing around in the waves. There are also rock pools scattered around the beach, which fill up with sea life and colourful shells. All of this makes for a pleasant morning of exploration with the little ones.
Lauderdale Beach, Tasmania
Tasmania is Australia’s hidden gem, with its rugged coastline and family-friendly farms to explore. One of the best spots for a day out is Lauderdale Beach. It’s located just outside of Hobart’s city centre, making it easy to access on a day trip even if you only have a day or two to spare. The breezes are gentle thanks to the sheltered positioning of this beach, and it boasts plenty of shade thanks to the numerous trees lining the sand. Take a picnic or paddle out into the waves for a family day to remember.
Victoria’s Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most popular road trips. Choose a kid-friendly crossover from Carsales and hit the road from Melbourne down to the beach town of Torquay, which is located about halfway down the Great Ocean Road. The town’s Fisherman’s Beach is the favourite spot among local families. It makes a good option for families with older kids thanks to its sailing and windsurfing opportunities, but younger children will be safe here as well as there are plenty of lifeguards on duty.
Henley Beach, South Australia
Adelaide’s Henley Beach is a popular urban retreat, particularly during the summer months when you’ll find the beach come alive with a vibrant social scene. With gentle surf and soft sand, the kids can run around in peace. You can enjoy an ice cream from a nearby café, soak up the sun, and relax.
These beaches are some of Australia’s safest, but it’s still important to stay vigilant when playing near the water with children. Always check weather conditions and choose beaches patrolled by lifeguards.