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man surfing on a large wave

23 Best Central Coast Beaches for a Day Trip

The best Central Coast beaches offer more than just a glimpse at the coastline. After all, the region is close enough for a day trip but far enough away to feel like a holiday, with endless pristine beaches for you to visit. With so many beaches scattered along the 87-kilometre coastline, it’s hard to know where to go. As tough as it was, we’ve narrowed down the best Central Coast beaches for you to try out when the next road trip beckons. Wake up, grab a coffee and buckle in for the drive to the beautiful coastline that awaits you.

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avoca oceacn beach view

1. Avoca Beach

One of the most popular Central Coast beaches amongst Sydney folk, Avoca Beach has something for everyone. There is a killer swell for surfers, a rock pool for the kiddies and a rock platform for fisherman. There are also plenty of cafes, shops and restaurants nearby. It’s no secret why the beach is so popular- it is also one of the first stops off the M1.

Postal code: 2251
Location: 97 km north of Sydney

Panoramic views of forresters beach

2. Forresters Beach

Foresters Beach is a long, sandy beach that is part of the Wyrrabalong National Park. There are plenty of rocks and reefs which makes it a great spot for avid surfers and snorkelers. Towards the south end of the beach is also a good spot for fishing, so bring your snorkel, your fishing rod and a book- you could be here all day.

Postal code: 2260
Location: 97 km north of Sydney

Waves hitting spoon bay

3. Spoon Bay

A hidden gem, Spoon Bay is located in the Wamberal Lagoon Nature Reserve and is one of our favourite Central Coast beaches. It is secluded enough that on most days, it will be close to empty- perfect for a relaxing beach day. The beach is surrounded by tall gum trees and there are lots of native creatures wandering around, keep an eye out!

Postal code: 2260
Location: 96 km north of Sydney

Aerial views of the pelicans beach

4. Pelican’s Beach

Surrounded by the stunning Wyrrabalong National Park, Pelican’s Beach is a true oasis within the Central Coast. Hidden amid bushland, expect to have most of the beach to yourself, despite some keen surfers. The sand seems to stretch on forever and offers spectacular views out onto the lower Central Coast.

Postal code: 2261
Location: 126 km north of Sydney

Aerial views of the maitland bay beach

5. Maitland Bay Beach

Put on your walking shoes, because to get to this beach in the Bouddi National Park you have to trek, but it’s worth it. The 1 km walk is steep but beautiful, and the crystal-clear waters you are met with at the end is the perfect post-hike reward. This empty beach is so well preserved it is unlike any other, secluded and divine. Don’t forget to pack some snacks and soak up the fresh air.

Postal code: 2251
Location: 99 km north of Sydney

woman with two kids sitting on a bench at terrigal beach

6. Terrigal

The vibrant Terrigal is another favourite among city-slickers looking for a brief escape from Sydney and is also a popular holiday destination. Shadowed by pine trees and a busy café strip, the golden sand and stunning headland are an appealing option for those looking for another bustling, exciting location that isn’t Sydney.

Postal code: 2260
Location: 98 km north of Sydney

killcare beach trail

7. Killcare

The tranquil beach and charming town of Killcare is the ideal secluded escape not too far from Sydney. Nestled within by the Bouddi National Park, the beach is surrounded by plenty of walking trails and cycling tracks for you to enjoy post-swim or pre-swim!

Postal code: 2257
Location: 106 km north of Sydney

Norah Head Lighthouse at soldiers beach

8. Soldiers Beach

A favourite with board riders, Soldiers Beach is just a short journey south of the historic Norah Head Lighthouse. We love Soldiers Beach for its pristine white sand, calm waters and stunning rock platform near the lighthouse. Don’t worry about packing snacks, the surf club has a kiosk that will have you sorted.

Postal code: 2263
Location: 125 km north of Sydney

two surfers standing on the shelly beach

9. Shelly Beach

1.5 km of pristine coastline, Shelly Beach is one of the most attractive of the Central Coast beaches. Perhaps our favourite thing is the part of the area that allows dogs, or the dunes that are perfect for running or rolling down, or the surf- we can’t decide!

Postal code: 2261
Location: 102 km north of Sydney

kids walking on the copacabana beach

10. Copacabana

This spot may not be the one where the song originated from, but in our eyes- it’s even better! A popular surfing and swimming destination not too far from Sydney, there is also a whale viewing platform. If you’re lucky you could spot some whales and dolphins if you visit between late May and early August.

Postal code: 2251
Location: 92 km north of Sydney

Aerial views of the putty beach

11. Putty Beach

One of the most beautiful golden sand Central Coast beaches, Putty Beach’s calm waters will have you at the pinnacle of relaxation. The water is perfect for floating and if you have some time up your sleeves, this beach is also the starting point for the Bouddi Coastal walk. There is even a camping ground if you decide you want to stay the night!

Postal code: 2257
Location: 106 km north of Sydney

rockpool at macmasters beach

12. Macmasters

Macmasters is a cosy spot between Bouddi National Park and Copacabana on the Central Coast. The spectacular area has an ocean pool perfect for swimming laps or for you to escape the rough waters. There is plenty nearby, so a trip here is the perfect excuse to grab a coffee and some takeaway to enjoy on the sun.

Postal code: 2251
Location: 96 km north of Sydney

Aerial views of the waters at bateau bay beach

13. Bateau Bay

You’re bound to be captivated by this beautiful, small beach on the NSW Central Coast. It’s a local favourite for fishing and snorkelling, with countless spots for you to try out. The region is hidden in the southern section of the Wyrrabalong National Park, which means it’s secluded and surrounded by plenty of coastal walks.

Postal code: 2261
Location: 109 km north of Sydney

people with paddle boards standing on the toowoon bay beach

14. Toowoon Bay Beach

Conveniently located a 5-minute drive from The Entrance, Toowoon Bay is a protected beach that is known for its calm waters and relaxing vibe. This means it’s a great beach to bring the kids, or your paddle-board if you’re just a beginner. Picnics are also a great idea here- with plenty of grass areas and picnic tables so you don’t end up chewing on a sand sandwich!

Postal code: 2261
Location: 107 km north of Sydney

view of a frazer beach from wooden stairs

15. Frazer Beach

Another one of the Central Coast’s best-kept secrets, Frazer is conveniently hidden behind the Munmorah State Conservation Area. As a result, the location is completely undisturbed. The perfect spot to relax and recharge, this hotspot is also connected to a campground and a lagoon, so there’s plenty for you to do to keep busy.

Postal code: 2259
Location: 130 km north of Sydney

woman walking on the timber beach

16. Timber Beach

Wedged in between three cascading cliffs, Timber Beach is a small beach with a big personality. The narrow stretch could be something out of the Portuguese coastline and requires quite the adventure to get to the sandy oasis. You will have to walk down a track that starts at Timber Beach Lookout and climb down a (slippery!) rock wall where the track meets the apex of the beach.

Postal code: 2259
Location: 130 km from Sydney

waves at wamberal beach

17. Wamberal

The less popular cousin to Terrigal, Wamberal is one of our favourite Central Coast beaches. If you need a break from the excitement happening in Terrigal, Wamberal is a slower, quieter spot. The stretch of sand seems endless- perfect for those long, romantic coastal walks.

Postal code: 2260
Location: 96 km north of Sydney

Aerial views of the umina beach

18. Umina

A popular holiday destination, Umina is also a great spot for a day trip. Umina is calm and collected, great for the kiddies or a relaxing day. Not far from the beach is the town, which has a variety of cafes and shops for you to explore after you’ve had a bit too much sun.

Postal code: 2257
Location: 96 km north of Sydney

boats on the ettalong beach

19. Ettalong

Ettalong is perhaps the best of the Central Coast beaches if water sports are your thing. The calm waters are perfect for boating, kayaking and paddle-boarding. The best part is if you do fall off, the water is just as pleasant to swim in! The location also has a stunning view of Wagstaffe, directly in your eye line.

Postal code: 2257
Location: 93 km north of Sydney

Aerial views of the patonga beach

20. Patonga

A true gem amongst the iconic Central Coast beaches, Patonga is accessible by car or ferry. If you find yourself in the Northern Beaches of Sydney, you can easily jump on a relaxing ferry ride to Patonga from Palm Beach. The area is stunning, and we suggest stopping for lunch at the Boathouse here.

Postal code: 2257
Location: 100 km north of Sydney

Aerial views of the pearl beach

21. Pearl Beach

A shiny pearl amid the sandy Central Coast beaches, this long stretch of sand will make you feel miles away. The area was named after the pearl size quartz pebbles that were commonly found on the beach. Surfers steer clear, the waves are dumpy so you won’t get lucky here, but it’s perfect for swimming or fishing off the rocks at the south end.

Postal code: 2256
Location: 97 km north of Sydney

Panoramic view of little beach

22. Little Beach

Another beach buried in the leafy webs of the Bouddi National Park, Little Beach is private and quaint. The beach is only accessible by a 10-minute walk through the gum trees. Once you reach the end, you will be met with a hidden little patch of sand that hopefully, you can claim all to yourself!

Postal code: 2251
Location: 100 km north of Sydney

Aerial views of the tallow beach

23. Tallow

Fancy camping by the beach? Tallow has you sorted. The Beach is perfectly tucked away within the Bouddi National park and will greet you with 400 metres of sandy heaven. Set between two headlands, it’s the perfect beach if you want to feel like you’re passing by a sunny day on a remote island.

Postal code: 2257
Location: 102 km north of Sydney

General FAQs

Which beach has the best rock pools on the Central Coast?

Avoca Beach has the best rock pools on the Central Coast.

What is the best dog-friendly beach on the Central Coast?

The north end of Shelly Beach is dog-friendly and the best spot to bring your four-legged friends.

What is the best beach near Gosford?

The best beach that is closest to Gosford is Terrigal Beach.

What is the best Central Coast beach for camping?

The best beach for camping on the Central Coast is Tallow Beach.

About the author

About the author
CONTRIBUTOR

Aimee O'Keefe

Aimee O’Keefe is a Sydney-based freelance writer with a background in fashion, entertainment and technology coverage. She completed a Bachelor's degree in Media and Communications at the University of Sydney and has previously worked with Universal Magazines and the Ministry of Style. She currently works as Content Writer for a leading digital marketing agency.