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Sydney's Northern Beaches - The Top 10 Beaches

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by Ivana Katz (subscribe)
Ivana is passionate about travel, writing, photography and website design. She enjoys helping people start a new business and turn their hobby into a profitable venture. Visit Ivana at
Published October 23rd 2014
It's a difficult choice
I consider myself very lucky living on Sydney's Northern Beaches. Not only do we have many choices when it comes to great cafes, parks and picnic spots, but also fabulous beaches. During summer we have debates about which beach to visit – a tough decision, I know. Here are some of our favourites and why we love them.

Manly Beach

Address: North Steyne, Manly

After Bondi, this is Sydney's second most popular beach and rightfully so. The beach is well maintained and has a promenade which runs alongside, giving beachgoers easy access. It is patrolled throughout the year and offers visitors lots of options when it comes to summer fun. Spend the day sunbathing, hire a boogie board or surfboard or go for a walk and enjoy some retail therapy at the Corso. Manly Beach is packed with cafes, restaurants and ice cream stores as well as designer clothing shops and on the weekends you will even find a market. Feel like being active? Play some beach volleyball, ride a bike, scooter or skateboard along the promenade.

Manly Beach, Northern Beaches, beach, swimming
Manly Beach

Shelly Beach
Address: Bower Street, Manly

A sheltered and cosy beach, Shelly Beach is just a short stroll from Manly. There are no waves, so the beach is suitable for swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. As the name indicates, there are lots of shells and collecting them will keep your children amused for long periods of time. Right next to the beach you will find a small reserve with BBQs and tables as well as tall trees which provide shade during hot summer days . If you don't feel like cooking, visit the Sandbar Café or Le Kiosk.

Manly Beach, Northern Beaches, beach, swimming, Shelly Beach, Shelley Beach
Shelly Beach

Freshwater Beach
Address: Kooloora Avenue, Freshwater

Enclosed by two headlands, Freshwater Beach has a private feel. It is mostly frequented by locals and can get busy on the weekends and during holidays. Paid parking is available in a carpark next to the beach and free parking can also be found in side streets. You will find a reserve nearby with electric BBQs, tables and playground. A kiosk is located near the beach and several cafes and shops are within a short walking distance. The southern end of the beach has a rockpool which is handy if you don't like swimming in the surf or if you have young children. Freshwater Beach is ideal for surfing, bodyboarding and swimming.

Freshwater Beach, Northern Beaches, beach, swimming
Freshwater Beach

Dee Why Beach
Address: The Strand, Dee Why

Having undergone a big foreshore makeover, Dee Why Beach has become a very popular spot. Lots of cafes and restaurants to choose from as well as two playgrounds, a new promenade make this the perfect beach for families. At the southern end of the beach, you will find a rockpool with toilets and change rooms and a lookout with stunning views. If you are feeling energetic, have a game of table tennis on the outdoor pingpong table (you will have to bring your own racquets and ball). The beach is patrolled throughout summer and is ideal for swimming, bodyboarding and surfing.

Dee Why Beach, Northern Beaches, beach, swimming, Shelly Beach, Shelley Beach
Dee Why Beach

Avalon Beach
Address: Off Barrenjoey Road, Avalon

Avalon Beach is located between Bilgola and Whale Beach. With a grassy reserve, rockpool and a small playground, Avalon Beach is very family friendly indeed. Older children will love Avalon Skatepark situated near the beach. Cross the road and you are in the middle of Avalon's shopping hub with many cafes, restaurants, supermarkets and quirky stores. The beach is relatively quiet and has a great friendly vibe. It is patrolled during summer, so make sure you swim between the flags.

Avalon Beach, Northern Beaches, beach, swimming
Avalon Beach

Palm Beach
Address: Beach Road, Palm Beach

Sydney's most northern beach, Palm Beach is a relatively quiet beach. Surrounded by stunning homes on the headland at one end and Barrenjoey Lighthouse on the other. Fans of Home & Away will recognise parts of the beach as 'Summer Bay'. Visit the Boathouse Café and you may see filming of the show. The eastern side is ideal for surfing, whilst the western side has much calmer waters. In between you will find a reserve with a playground, BBQs and picnic tables. Metred parking is available in a carpark by the beach and unlimited parking in surrounding streets. There are several cafes near the beach but many of them close relatively early.

Palm Beach, Northern Beaches, beach, swimming
Palm Beach

Collaroy Beach
Address: Birdwood Avenue, Collaroy

Just like Dee Why, Collaroy Beach has recently been upgraded with a great new playground and sheltered picnic tables at the southern end of the beach. Although it is a popular beach amongst the locals, it does not tend to get as busy as Dee Why. In summer, the Collaroy Surf Life Saving Club runs nippers on Sunday morning, so if you have children who enjoy the beach, this is a great program to join. Cross the road and you will find take away shops, cafes and restaurants and also a small IGA supermarket. In the afternoon, the beach can get a bit windy, so bring a cover up.

Collaroy Beach, Northern Beaches, beach, swimming
Collaroy Beach

Narrabeen Beach
Address: Ocean Street, Narrabeen

Narrabeen Beach stretches over 3 km with several surf lifesaving clubs along the way. The beach is divided into 3 sections - North Narrabeen, Narrabeen and South Narrabeen and is a popular surf beach which often hosts surfing competitions. At the northern end you will find a lagoon, which is great for swimming and snorkelling. A rockpool is also located nearby. As the beach can get pretty windy, you will often see kite surfers take to the waves. There are several cafes within short walking distance from the beach and also some small playgrounds.

Narrabeen Beach, Northern Beaches, beach, swimming
Narrabeen Beach

Curl Curl Beach
Address: Carrington Parade, Curl Curl

Curl Curl Beach lies between Dee Why and Freshwater Beach. It has two surf clubs – North Curl Curl and South Curl Curl. Both areas have toilets, showers and car parks as well as café/kiosk, where refreshments are available during beach hours. At the southern end you will also find a large rockpool, which is popular amongst families. Due to the direction of the currents in the area, Curl Curl beach, is an ideal spot to swim when other local beaches have blue bottle influx.

Curl Curl Beach, Northern Beaches, beach, swimming
North Curl Curl Beach

Queenscliff Beach
Address: North Steyne, Manly

Queenscliff Beach is located at the southern end of Manly Beach. The beach is very wide so you never feel cramped even on busy summer days. Walk below the bridge and you find yourself at Lagoon Park which has several BBQs as well as a recently renovated playground. If you prefer swimming in calm waters, the rock pool at the end of the beach is ideal. Toilets and change rooms are available in the Queenscliff Surf Life Saving club. Paid parking spots are right near the beach, although these can be costly. Limited and some unlimited parking can also be found at nearby streets. For lunch, head over to Salty Rooster, which serves exotic burgers, salads and chips.

Queenscliff Beach, Northern Beaches, beach, swimming
Queenscliff Beach

Which is your favourite beach and why?
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Why? Great Sydney Beaches For Summer Fun
When: All year round and particularly during summer
Where: Sydney's Northern Beaches
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Ooooh spoiled for choice. Love your articles on the northern beaches. If I were to live in Sydney it would have to be one of these areas
by Julian Groneberg (score: 3|1806) 2560 days ago
I love Bilgola and Newport beaches.
by jolie (score: 1|96) 2556 days ago
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