A Locals Guide To The Best Beaches On The Coffs Coast

With a coastline that stretches nearly 80 km from Sawtell in the south to Red Rock in the north, there are plenty of beaches to choose from on the Coffs Coast.

Want family-friendly picnic spots? Tick. Excellent surf breaks? Tick. Relaxing early morning sunrise walks to marvel at the spectacular sunrises from spectacular headlands? Tick.

The Coffs Coast is home to more than 30 beautiful beaches, and we can guarantee you’ll find a beach that is just perfect for you. To help you choose your next beach destination, we’ve curated a guide featuring ten of the best beaches on the Coffs Coast. Enjoy!

For The Families

Jetty Beach

Jetty Beach is one of the most visited beaches in Coffs Harbour and, with its protected bay, is perfect for swimming, taking a stroll or exploring the foreshores. Jetty Beach and the reserve are home to multiple playgrounds, barbeques and picnic shelters, making it ideal for families to spend the entire day soaking up the coastal vibes.

You can explore the foreshores and International Marina or grab some fish and chips from the Fishermens Co-op or delicious tasty treats from the nearby restaurants and cafes. Take a short stroll along the historical Jetty or walk the northern break-wall and up to Muttonbird Island for views across the ocean to the hinterland. The Island is a nature lover’s playground with nesting seabirds, marine life spotting with turtles, and dolphins or whales during the winter months. Muttonbird Island is a sacred site for local Aboriginal people and is also known as Gidany Miriari in the Gumbaynggirr language.

The Harbourside Markets are on every Sunday morning with a vast range of stalls, including art, jewellery, clothing, beauty and lifestyle products, plenty of fresh local produce, and live music.

Did you know? The old timber Jetty is over 100 years old and is very accessible; you can even walk your dog along it. The end of the Jetty is excellent for fishing and taking photos of the boats at the International Marina and Muttonbird Island.

Park Beach

Surfers and beach enthusiasts flock to Park Beach, the main surf beach in Coffs Harbour, due to its excellent surf breaks and conditions. The spot offers an exposed beach break with consistent surf breaks or simply enjoying the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. There is no shortage of things to do on this part of the Coffs Coast.

At the south end of Park Beach, a reserve with shelters, barbecues, and plenty of open grassy space are perfect for family picnics. Park Beach Reserve hosts the Twilight Food Markets every Friday night, from September through to April, with the clear water of Coffs Creek as its backdrop. The food market features a selection of cultural cuisines to taste as you kick back and listen to local musicians jamming away while enjoying the sunset.

Did you know? This stretch of beach is patrolled all year round but remember to stay safe and always swim between the flags.

Sapphire Beach

Sapphire Beach is a serene stretch of the Coffs Coast, located between White Bluff and Green Bluff, Sapphire Beach boasts clear blue waters and captivating coastline views. The foreshore area has a well-equipped, popular playground to entertain the kids for hours.

Towards the southern end of Sapphire Beach, a short walk along the White Bluff Walking Track allows visitors to admire the coastline stretching south across Campbells Beach. Midway along Sapphire Beach is the South Solitary Island viewing platform, where you can take in panoramic views of this historic lighthouse island and neighbouring island, Split Solitary Island.

Sapphire Beach caters to families with ample grassy space for the kids to run around, an expansive playground featuring a zip line, beach showers, toilets and plenty of parking with easy beach access. While the kids burn off energy on the playground, grab lunch or a coffee at Stef Beachstone.

Did you know? Dogs are welcome on Sapphire Beach as long as they are kept on a leash.

For The Surfers

Macauleys Beach

A local favourite for quick dips, surfing and scenic walks, Macauleys Beach is located at the northern end of Park Beach. Sheltered and secluded, it is a beautiful gem on the Coffs Coast. Perfect for surfers, Macauleys Beach provides a northeast swell that produces a long left off the headland. The consistent break offers surfable waves at all tide stages, perfect for beginners or the more seasoned board rider.

Wildlife watchers can spot an array of species, including white-bellied eagles, dolphins and whales, during their annual migration north. For a short walk, visit Macauleys Headland along the paved track uphill to continue north toward Diggers Beach. The walking trail has incredible views over the turquoise coast, looking back toward Muttonbird Island and the Solitary Islands.

If you need to reload your carbs after an epic surf or walk, take a short stroll to Peach & Wolf Bakery for fresh daily made pastries.

Did you know? Macauleys is a famous beach for surfing competitions, including the Billabong Oz Grom Cup


A popular morning surf spot in Coffs Harbour with perfect conditions that attracts many surfers and is one of the most visited surfing destinations on the Coffs Coast. It boasts dramatic coastal landscapes from the nearby headland and along Boambee Beach.

Gallows Break out at Corambirra Point offers confident surfers an exciting challenge, but it’s not only surfers who visit this peaceful spot. The water here is warm and clear, and the sea bed is sprinkled with rocks, making it the ultimate location for snorkelers. Bring the family dog for an off-leash walk along the sand or up/around Corambirra Point for stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glistening seas. Take a picnic and a bottle of wine to watch the most beautiful sunset on the Coffs Coast. Watch as the sun dips below the hinterland mountains, turning the sky the most brilliant golden colour.

The local restaurant Jetty Beach House is situated on Corambirra Point with unbeatable ocean views of Gallows, Corambirra Point and the southern break wall. The restaurant serves exquisite cocktails, delicious food throughout the day and plenty of ticketed events along with live music entertainment.

Did you know? In true surfers’ terminology, breaks that are more challenging are given special names such as “Gallows” and “Trapdoors” located at the southern end of Boambee Beach at the mouth of the river. Both Gallow and Trapdoors offer the best wave conditions in the area.

The Best Of Both worlds

Sawtell Beach

Picturesque Sawtell Beach is a treasured section of the Coffs Coast, celebrated not only for its natural beauty but its bustling community, which can be found only moments away. An ideal spot for families and surfers alike, Sawtell Beach marks the end of the Solitary Island Coastal walk and is a great way to spend a day in the water or explore the tidal rock pools.

Patrolled between September and April, Sawtell Beach is a favourite for swimmers and families with children. Praised as a great location for walking, Sawtell offers a handful of walking trails. At the southern end of Sawtell beach is Bonville Lookout, which visitors can climb to watch migrating whales during the winter months or follow the winding track down to Sawtell Memorial Rock Pool which is built into the rocks at the foot of the headland. Visit Sailors Bay, a small bay sheltered by an island on the southern side of the headland, to experience calm conditions that make this section of Sawtell Beach perfect for children.

Nearby picnic areas, children’s playgrounds, showers and barbecue facilities make Sawtell Beach a perfect place for the whole family to enjoy a day at the beach. Surfers of all ages and abilities will find a wave thanks to the existence of some sheltered areas like Sailors Bay. The more experienced surfers will love the higher waves that peel away from the bay resulting in longer point-style waves.

FACT: Solitary Islands Surf School offers a range of surfing lesson options at Sawtell, including Holiday Surfing Lessons for beginners and private surfing experiences.

Diggers Beach

Diggers Beach is a gently curved, unspoiled beach on the Coffs Coast, thanks to its consistent beach breaks in the north and sheltered southern end, perfect for swimming. Framed by two rocky headlands – Diggers Head and Macauleys Headland – Diggers Beach is wide, sheltered and often wind-free, making it ideal for swimming, surfing and fishing.

With two walking trails accessible from both ends of the beach, there’s plenty of opportunity for exploration and wildlife spotting. The Diggers Head Trail offers walkers a chance to experience a tropical oasis of the coastal rainforest before opening up to windows of panoramic vistas at Diggers Head. To the south, the Macauleys Headland walking track follows the jagged coastline before descending to Macauleys Beach.

The southern end of Diggers Beach offers great surfing and is a swimmer’s haven that is seasonally patrolled. The protected north end of the beach provides excellent protection from the north-easterly winds, making Diggers a great spot to learn how to surf.

When you have enough of the sand and sun, you can take a rest in the neighbouring picnic area and children’s playground or spend some time wildlife spotting in the elevated pavilion. See which seabirds you can spot, or just take in the uninterrupted sea views.

Did you know? You can get something to eat or your morning brew from the friendly folks at Frothers, the coffee van in the car park.

Moonee Beach & Reserve

Moonee Beach is the perfect spot to spend the day at the reserve enjoying water-based activities such as snorkelling, fishing, paddle boarding and kayaking. Moonee Beach Reserve area has plenty of big trees that offer shade for picnics and relaxing, and there’s everything you need for a family day out with a children’s playground, barbeques, and amenities. Many visitors return to this spot for its crystal waters, wading in the creek, and the stunning views of the unique shoreline with the South Solitary Islands lighthouse in the distance.

You can soak up nature heading north along the beach to Look At Me Now Headland or south across the footbridge through native foliage and open grassy patches to Green Bluff. The reserve areas are excellent for birdwatchers who might be lucky enough to spot white-bellied sea eagles, ospreys or Brahminy Kites hunting along the coast. During the winter, you can spot whales migrating north along the coastline from the beach and Green Bluff.

Did you know? The Moonee Beach reserve area is pet-friendly. You can book accommodation at Reflections Moonee Beach Holiday Park staying in one of their cabins or camping.

For The Dog Lovers

North Wall Beach (Park Beach South)

At the mouth of Coffs Creek is the popular North Wall Beach, the most central and probably the most popular off-leash beach on the coast. There’s the loop walk with a pathway through the green foliage towards the creek and sand giving your four-legged friend plenty of variety before hitting the beach.

North Wall Beach boasts plenty of space for your dog to get sand between their paws and salt spray in their fur. This beautiful stretch of sand is looped around to the mouth of the creek, where your pooch can splash about in the clear waters.

An exposed point break makes North Wall a great spot to catch some consistent waves, but with no lifesaving patrols, swimmers should head to Park Beach or Jetty Beach for safer waters. At the southern edge of Northwall, visitors enjoy access to the Harbour precinct with restaurants, cafes, and facilities. The Coffs Harbour Marina walkway, which eventually arrives at Muttonbird Island, makes for a short but stunning walk enhanced with views of sailing boats and glimpses of incredible birdlife.

Did you know? You can grab some fresh seafood and order delicious takeaway fish and chips from the Fishermens Co-op.

Emerald Beach

Emerald Beach is a laidback seaside village just 15 minutes north of Coffs Harbour and a stone’s throw from Moonee Beach Reserve. This stretch of the Coffs Coast is known for its protected wildlife, breathtaking coastal landscapes, idyllic lifestyle and a great selection of fabulous local eateries just a short stroll from the beach.

Lifeguards patrol Emerald Beach during the summer holidays. Thanks to a southern left-hand reef break as well as a beach break, it’s also a surfing hotspot. The team from Solitary Island Surf School can often be teaching beginner surf lessons at Emerald Beach – the southern headland shelters the beach from larger swells, making it perfect for newbies.

Emerald Beach is also a popular place to get out for a stroll because of the walking tracks on the surrounding headland and leading to iconic Coffs Coast views (including whales in winter!). To the south, the Dammerel Headland Track leads to Shelly Beach and Look At Me Now Headland, where you can spot grazing eastern grey kangaroos lazing in the sun. North is Diggers Point, part of Moonee Beach Reserve, and a lovely walking track to Fiddamans Beach.

Did you know? The Dammerels history walk is a shot easy stroll with spectacular views out to the Solitary Islands, named by Captian Cook.

Discover Them all

To explore all the Coffs Coast beaches, spend a few days walking the coastline’s trails across golden beaches, rocky headlands, and lush rainforests linked together, forming the Solitary Islands Coastal Walk. This iconic walking experience, one of the most picturesque on the east coast of Australia, runs the length of the protected Solitary Islands Marine Park.

Solitary Island Coastal Walk
Solitary Island Coastal Walk

Photography Credit: Matt Evans from Naturally Creative