Prettiest Beach Towns in NSW
In case you missed it (or have had your eyes firmly closed), NSW is home to some of the prettiest beach towns in Australia.
While some Sydneysiders have already bitten the bullet and headed overseas for a holiday during these uncertain times, other families are being extra cautious and sticking to their own backyard when it comes to booking a family holiday, and as far as exciting destinations go, you couldn't pick a better coastline than NSW! Whether you're heading up north or down south, NSW is littered with pretty beach towns that offer beaches, holiday homes, quaint cafes, scenic walks, idyllic villages, and all the trimmings of a fantastic and relaxing break from Sydney.
Here are our picks of the prettiest beach towns in NSW to book when you just need to escape the city for a few days (or weeks!)
10 of the Prettiest Beach Towns in NSW
Situated on the brink of Queensland but claimed firmly as a NSW gem, Kingscliff is a picture-perfect spot for fishing, surfing, whale-watching, snorkelling and whiling away the day playing on the beach.
An ideal pick for families, Kingscliff is still relatively sleepy, but with plenty going on for those who love the great outdoors. There are some lovely family-friendly resorts, such as Peppers Salt and Mantra on Salt Beach, or plenty of Airbnbs for effortless accommodation.
Restaurant-wise, you’ll find plenty of spots to grab a bite along Kingscliff’s main streets, including Kingscliff Beach Hotel and popular seafood restaurant Fins. Kids will love sampling fresh regional produce at the Kingscliff Markets, held on the second and fourth Saturday of the month—or taking a trip to nearby Tropical Fruit World, where there is a range of rare, exotic fruits and wandering kangaroos.
2. South West Rocks
Situated at the mouth of the Macleay River, South West Rocks promise a picturesque escape for families in one of the prettiest beach towns in NSW. Surrounded by stunning sandy stretches and national parks, it’s a great spot for aspiring surfers and keen nature explorers.
Touring the historic remains of the Trial Bay Gaol is often a popular pick with kids, as is checking out the Smoky Cape Lighthouse. The Yarriabini National Park is the perfect spot for a family picnic; especially if you’re keen on bird watching and taking a quick dip in a creek!
Meaning ‘plenty of fish’ in the local aboriginal dialect, it will come as no surprise that Minnamurra is famed for its fishing opportunities (although some places/species are heavily restricted) and is a sparkling jewel of the beautiful South Coast region.
With so much to see and do, a trip to Minnamurra is an excellent option for outdoorsy families. Stand up paddleboarding is a popular option to try in the region, as is kayaking, swimming and of course, surfing at Mystics Beach or Jones Beach. Kids will enjoy checking out the Kiama Blowhole, the many beaches of the region and seeing the local seabirds flock to Rangoon Island (visible on the Kiama Coastal Walk.)
Adorable name, adorable village, adorable cafes... adorable abounds from just about every direction in Berry on the NSW South Coast. As part of the Shoalhaven region, Berry is an easy two-hour drive south of Sydney and offers travellers and weekend hoppers a taste of the country and coastal life with both scenic offerings right on your doorstep.
Rolling green hills, award-winning restaurants, boutique shopping, incredible beaches, scenic drives and more are on the agenda when holidaying in Berry, and those aren't even the best bits. Berry is home to the famous Berry Donut Van that is (trust us, we've tried them!) 100 per cent worth the drive from Sydney just for the incredible freshly-baked cinnamon doughnuts that have been around for over 55 years!
An iconic and idyllic beach holiday destination for families, Yamba is about as popular as they come. Situated in the Clarence Valley on the NSW North Coast. With plenty of fishing, surfing, swimming and beach-hopping to be done, it’s no wonder it’s such a hot favourite for people travelling with kids.
Kids will enjoy exploring the area—notably Yamba Lighthouse and the many parks that pepper the river and beaches; perfect for picnicking on! There are plenty of accommodation options in the area—such as BIG4 Saltwater Yamba Holiday Park and Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort; both offering affordable, family-friendly facilities. Oh—and don’t forget to try the infamous Yamba seafood while you’re in the region; particularly the prawns!
A beautiful village on the brink of Sydney’s Royal National Park, Bundeena is undoubtedly one of NSW’s prettiest beach towns. For Sydneysiders, it’s a great weekend away without too much driving to get there, or even makes a wonderful day trip. Bursting with things to do like kayaking, walking, picnicking, swimming, surfing, fishing—it’s safe to say that if you like anything to do with water, you’ve come to the right place.
There are plenty of cafes around the area, plus a family-friendly bistro at Bundeena Bowling Club serving up Thai favourites that are ever popular with locals and visitors alike.
7. Port Macquarie
Nestled between the Hastings River and the Pacific Ocean, Port Macquarie is a firm family favourite when it comes to the prettiest beach towns in NSW. Renowned for its beaches and wildlife, it makes a perfect holiday getaway.
With the most koalas per capita on the east coast, a visit to Port Macquarie will make mini wildlife enthusiasts very happy indeed. The famous Koala Hospital is a must-visit, alongside Billabong Zoo: Koala and Wildlife Park.
You’ll find plenty of accommodation options in Port Macquarie with something to all budgets. Sandcastle Apartments is a particularly great option for families, and there is also a great range of restaurants and cafes, with a bustling cultural scene that provides a diverse range of things to do.
A gorgeous seaside village, Avoca is brimming with cafes, restaurant and things to do. Situated just 90 minutes north of Sydney, this Central Coast gem is a great pick for families.
Surfing, kayaking, pedal boating, swimming and stand up paddleboarding are all popular options for beachside activities, and there’s also plenty of time to be spent exploring the village and checking out the nearby beaches. For accommodation, Avoca Beach Hotel is a popular choice, and there’s also a range of other options to suit all needs and budgets.
If you've never heard of the beach town of Pambula you're not alone. Pambula is a relatively unknown slice of the south coast close to the Victorian border, roughly six hours from Sydney. Pambula is part of the absolutely breathtaking Sapphire Coast, which oozes natural beauty with its abundance of white-sand beaches, national parks, local wildlife and cool coastal vibes.
10. Byron bay
Cool beach towns don't get much cooler than Byron Bay. Sydneysiders have been escaping the rat race and heading north to Byron for years and it's not hard to understand why. Byron's famous laidback ambience, picture-perfect beaches, natural attractions and 'hipster vibes' offer the perfect relaxing holiday for Sydney families.
Byron Bay offers plenty of accommodation options for all budgets, from high-end villas to family-friendly caravan parks, and a gourmet meal is easy to come by in the village. Attractions such as art galleries, vintage markets, artists trails, Aboriginal walking trails, and the famous Crystal Castle will ensure there is never a dull day in Byron Bay.
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