Locals know about it, but do you? The esplanade between Thorneside and Birkdale (technically, Queens Esplanade and Commodore Drive) is a great place for families, walkers, cyclists and dogs. It doesn't have the bustle of the fish and chip shops and cafes of Manly, but this makes it a less crowded option for an outing (and there are cafes close by).
With Beth Boyd Park at the Thorneside end, and Aquatic Paradise Park at the Birkdale end, there are two nice gathering places for families with kids to have a barbie and play on the playground equipment (which includes a "ship" for conquering the bay).
The picnic areas have shade structures and trees, but the path is sunny. It's best to walk either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the air is cool and there are some lovely colours in the sky and reflected on the water.
Sunset at the esplanade, Birkdale. Photo: J. Hinckley
At the Aquatic Paradise end there is a dog off-leash area, so it's a great place to bring your best friend to exercise on-leash along the path, then off-leash to inspect the water's edge, and romp in the semi-enclosed area.
A good long walk for energetic dogs and humans. Photo: J. Hinckley