Sydney's Top Beaches for Toddlers & Preschoolers
We can taste summer in the air and the weather report is flashing suns all around! As the temperature rises, it’s time to head to the beach to cool off. So pack a sambo and some tasty snacks, jump in the car, train or bus and head on over to our top pick of Sydney beaches for kids, renowned for their safe surf, shady corners and great amenities.
Parsley Bay Reserve, Vaucluse
Shhh… Parsley Bay Reserve is one of Sydney’s best kept secret beaches for the little ones. We rank it as the most idyllic park-playground-beach combos in the East. It’s a park, a beach, a bushland walk, and a great kids’ playground all in one. Being a bit off the beaten track and with limited parking at the reserve itself keeps this glorious space clear of the masses.
There are public toilets with showers and a kiosk for drinks, coffee, sandwiches and snacks.
Balmoral Beach, Mosman
We absolutely love beautiful Balmoral Beach for its calm and protected harbour beaches, shady picnic areas and the fabulous Balmoral Baths.
Balmoral is divided into 3 main beach areas and on sunny days, these sandy beaches are full of families enjoying the relatively sheltered conditions of this harbourside location. There are cafes and restaurants, enclosed harbour baths, BBQs and wonderful picnic spots. It’s also easily accessible, both by public transport and car, and aside from off-street parking, there’s a dedicated paid parking area at the southern end of the beach.
Be aware that while this is a very kid-friendly beach, it is not patrolled by surf lifesavers.
A gorgeous family-friendly spot just over an hour from the Sydney CBD, Bundeena is definitely worth a day trip, with several beautiful beaches to explore. Bundeena is accessible by ferry from Cronulla or via the Royal National Park by car.
Hordern's Beach is the area's main beach, close to the ferry wharf amid a cosy little village with a playground and quaint cafes littered along the strip. The best spot for the littlies to splash and play is along Bundeena Creek, south of the wharf. With lots of shade covering the gently flowing creek, you can definitely enjoy a peaceful lie on the sand while the kids have a play close to you.
We rate Clontarf Beach and Reserve as one of Sydney’s best spots for a family day out with its fabulous location on the foreshore of Middle Harbour, BBQs, toilets, cafe and netted swimming area.
There is also a well equipped and shaded unfenced playground with activities for both toddlers and older children, plus a toddler bike path around the sandy play area. Parking is available on site and there’s a good little kiosk on the beach as well as a restaurant.
Collaroy Beach is a long stretch of sand that combines with Narrabeen Beach for about 3.4km. Usually known for its surf, the main area suitable for parents with little ones is at the southern headland between Beach Road and Florence Avenue. Here there is a fantastic fenced playground, a car park, an adult ocean pool, a shallow toddler pool and rock pools.
While it’s not a terrific swimming spot, the rock pools are a favourite for your tiny explorer with a little bit of guidance. Help them explore and spot a few sea creatures and sea life living amidst the rock formations and you’ll have a distracted afternoon cooling off.
Little Manly Cove
A peaceful little spot away from the bustle of Manly, Little Manly Cove is a compact beach with a swimming enclosure perfect for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
Overlooking this quiet cove beach is Little Manly Point with a gorgeous playground suited to the littles ones on a shaded, grassed reserve. With a cafe on site, you won’t need to go far to enjoy a cuppa after your kids cool off.
If you’re after a fabulous hideaway with spectacular harbour views in a calm, relaxing beach suitable for your splashing toddler, you won’t go wrong with Greenwich Baths. Other than being a bit of a challenge to get to with a pram, Greenwich Baths have a netted swimming enclosure that makes the waters safe and calm, plus a shaded beach with plenty of room for bubs and toddlers to paddle, splash and roam.
Bear in mind that the Baths are run by Lane Cove Council with lifeguards, so there’s an entry fee to this gorgeous spot.
Bronte Beach can get some killer surf, but head for Bogey Hole – a shallow enclosed natural pool on the south side of the beach. It’s really excellent for the kids with its smooth sloping sand, gentle lapping waves and plenty of rock pools nearby to poke about in.
The seawater swimming pool is also this end, although more for adult swimming, you’ll also find free showers, toilets and changing facilities. Beware there is no shade on the beach so early mornings and late afternoons are best or bring a sun tent. For snacks you’ll find the kiosk on the north end of the beach and plentiful cafés though they can get jam-packed at weekends, so can be difficult with a stroller and not all have high chairs but it pays to ask.
Bayview Park, Concord
In the Inner West Suburb of Concord - known as the 'Parklands Suburb' - Bayview Park is right on the water with stunning views of the Parramatta River. The parkland offers lovely shaded areas from surrounding trees and an accessible beach where children can play in the sand and explore the rock pools at low tide. There are also covered picnic tables, barbecues and toilets.
Plans are currently underway to make Bayview Park a safe spot for natural river swimming with the addition of a new netted swimming area and shower facilities. The project is set to be completed by December 2020 - just in time for summer!
Some More To Try
For toddlers, however, you just can’t go past the protected, calm waters of Harbour Beaches. Nothing is more kid-friendly or Instagram-worthy! They usually have protected, netted swimming areas, and fewer crowds than the big surf beaches. Our favourites include Camp Cove in Watson’s Bay and Milk Beach in Vaucluse.
IMPORTANT BEACH SAFETY INFORMATION
Always swim between the red and yellow flags – surf lifesavers have identified this area as the safest spot to swim in the water. It’s also a good idea to always swim with a friend.
Make sure you ready any safety signs at the beach and you are always welcome to ask lifeguards for more safety advice. If you find yourself needing help in the water, stay calm and attract attention.
Check conditions before you go and find a patrolled beach by visiting www.beachsafe.org.au.
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