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Published April 3rd 2012
Although summer is over, there is still plenty of time to enjoy days at the beach. If you have young children, it can be difficult to find a spot that is safe for them to swim and which offers a playground, toilets and the all-important café/kiosk for coffees and ice cream. Here are some popular and yet to be discovered beaches/parks which are perfect for families with young kids.
Over the past few years, Clontarf Reserve has become a popular family destination because of its stunning location and facilities. The beach has a swimming enclosure and at low tide shallow water, so it is perfect for swimming and splashing around even for young children. Clontarf Reserve has a shaded playground, which is suitable for children 0-12 years of age. There is plenty of parking - paid and unpaid (within a short walking distance) and a kiosk right in the middle of the reserve, which sells not only coffee and ice-cream but hot food as well. You will also find plenty of BBQs, tables and benches scattered throughout the park and toilets/showers near the kiosk. Although the weekends can get busy, during the week, this fantastic spot is very quiet, so if you have young children that don't attend school, it is the perfect place for a fun day out.
Shelly Beach is located on Sydney's northern beaches – approximately 10 minute walk from the popular Manly Beach. As the name suggests, you can find plenty of sea shells and children can keep busy for hours collecting them or making sand/shell art right on the beach. Don't forget to bring a bucket or a container to store all the treasures they find. Shelley beach is protected, so there are no waves and plenty of shade can be found under large trees. There is also a kiosk/café for ice-cream, coffees and lunches or bring some sausages and have a BBQ. Shelly Beach has plenty of grassy area and tables where you can enjoy a picnic. Children can ride their scooters or bikes along the footpath. Address: Bower Street, Manly
One of Sydney's hidden treasures, Little Manly Beach can be found just over the hill from Manly Ferry wharf. This beach has no waves and has a shark net pool. Just above the beach is Little Manly Beach kiosk which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner through the summer months. You can either sit down and enjoy your meal at the kiosk or get a take away sandwich, coffee or ice-cream. Kids' meals are also available. Little Manly Beach has a couple of swings for young children or if you walk up from the beach to Little Manly Point, you will find a footpath on which children can ride their bikes/skateboards/scooters and there is also a playground. Little Manly beach has spectacular views of the city and is a great spot for family picnics. Address: Stuart Street, Manly
Manly Cove is located on the "ferry side" of Manly. It has a netted swimming area and virtually no waves. On the northern end of the beach, you will find Manly Oceanworld and Manly Water Works with 3 big slides. Above the beach is a promenade, where children can ride their scooters or skateboards and also large trees and picnic tables. You will also find plenty of cafes and restaurants within a short walking distance as well as great ice-cream shops. Catch a ferry from Circular Quay and enjoy a fun day out swimming and playing in the sand. For older children you can hire a kayak or canoe.
Balmoral Beach is located in the Sydney suburb of Mosman. The beach has no waves and so is suitable even for young kids. Children can ride their bikes, scooters and skateboards along the promenade or play at the playground. Build a sandcastle or dig a giant hole ... the kids are guaranteed to keep occupied for hours. And when it's time for lunch, you will find plenty of cafes and take away shops nearby. The beach has spectacular views of Middle Harbour and plenty of trees that offer shade. You will also find toilets and showers in several spots. This is a very popular beach especially on the weekends so get down early to make sure you find a parking spot.
Chinamans Beach is located at Middle Harbour, not far from Balmoral Beach. The beach is right next to Rosherville Reserve, which has a great playground and modern shower/toilet facilities. There is plenty of grassy area for children to play on and large trees offer shade during summer. Although weekends can be busy, during the week, this spectacular beach and reserve is almost deserted, making it perfect for a day out with young children. The beach has rock formations which can be fun for children to explore and there are no waves. The only thing that is missing is a coffee shop, so pack a picnic and drinks.
Address: Parriwi Road, The Spit