Top 10 Family-Friendly Swimming Spots On The Gold Coast

Summer is fast approaching and school holidays are on their way.  Next comes the inevitable whine “Mum we’re bored!”.  Embrace the amazing weather of the Gold Coast. It just screams “Get outside!” So what’s a great way to get outside and spend time with the family?  Swimming is always a favourite activity for the kiddos. Plus they can sneak in some exercise and Vitamin D – and you can join in!

With so many fantastic beaches and watering holes to choose from on the Gold Coast, we really are spoilt for choice. But you want to take the kids to a safe spot where they’re free to let loose and run wild (within reason of course). 

So, where to go?

We’ve done the hard work for you. Here’s our tried and tested list of the top 10 family-friendly swimming spots on the Gold Coast.

1. Currumbin Rock Pools, Currumbin

Source: Google Maps

Smooth sloping rocks. Pebbled pathways. Fresh mountain water.

This gem of Currumbin Valley boasts gentle rapids that gracefully flow between natural rock pathways, creating natural waterslides that lead to tranquil pools of cool, shallow water. The kids can clamber over the rocks and explore the other side of the creek.

While many of the water pools are shallow, the Gold Coast City Council has placed signage to warn of any unsafe areas, particularly around deeper waters.

While it’s a large expanse of water, it’s not suitable for kayaks or paddle boards. You may want to consider decking the kids out with rock shoes, as the rocks can get quite slippery.

Nearby Mount Cougal National Park offers a 1.6km return walking trail. Why not squeeze in a stroll through the park before cooling off in the rock pools?

Dogs Allowed? Yes 

Facilities: 

Where? Currumbin Creek Rd, Currumbin Valley

2. Ian Dipple Lagoon, Labrador

Source: Google Maps

This is an idyllic spot for young families. A naturally occurring ocean pool, and a rip-free beach with an ocean-front playground to keep the kiddies amused for hours. This magical spot is even floodlit at night!

Grab some snacks for the family from the nearby restaurant and watch the hungry pelicans as they get in line to patiently wait for the offcuts from the restaurant. 

Get in early to secure a carpark. 

Dogs Allowed? No

Facilities:

  • Seafood restaurant (Charis Seafoods)
  • Ship-themed playground 
  • Climbing playground with poles, ropes, ladders and a flying fox
  • Shaded picnic tables
  • Boat ramp
  • Rotunda
  • Showers / Toilets
  • Fenced playground
  • Drinking fountain

Where? Harley Park, Labrador

3. Broadwater Parklands, Southport

Source: Google Maps

Just south of Ian Dipple Lagoon (opposite Australia Fair) you’ll find the Gold Coast’s world-class Broadwater Parklands. 

The water play area is equipped with cool water fountains and a dynamic marine theme. A man-made oasis that’s great fun for the kids and includes a creek bed and some tidal rockpools.

Putting the safety of Gold Coast kids first, the rockpools are manned by lifeguards during daylight hours. 

From 1 September to 30 November (7 am to 6 pm) the kids can entertain themselves on a giant bouncy pillow.

Stay up-to-date with all the happenings at Broadwater Parklands with their schedule of fun events for the whole family.

Dogs Allowed? Yes 

Facilities:

  • BBQ Areas
  • Inflatable marine-themed park (kids 5 years and up)
  • Walkways
  • Free Wifi
  • Several restaurants and cafes nearby

Where? Marine Parade, Southport

4. Tallebudgera Creek Inlet, Palm Beach

Source: Google Maps

A popular spot for locals and visitors, this postcard perfect location is great for the little ones who are just learning to swim. Bolster their confidence in ocean waters as they learn to frolic in the shallows.

Work up a sweat before your swim and start at the Burleigh Heads ocean view track. Head west until you reach the swimming area, and cross over the creek. Keep your eyes peeled – the kids may be lucky to spot some koalas along the way! 

Bring a picnic or enjoy a barbeque.  The popular Tallebudgera Surf Club is also within walking distance if you’d rather someone else did the cooking. You may be lucky enough to catch a live music performance by some of the Coast’s talented locals.

Dogs Allowed? No. However, you can take him to the Tallebudgera Off-Leash Dog Beach nearby.

Facilities:

  • Change rooms / Toilets / Showers
  • BBQ facilities
  • Tables
  • Playground
  • Walking Track
  • Drinking Fountain

Where? Tallebudgera Creek Park

5. Palm Beach Parklands and Treasure

Source: Instagram

Ahoy me maties! If your kiddies love pirates – they’ll be in heaven when they lay eyes on this pirate ship complete with a lookout, treasure map and suspension bridge. 

The sand-based play area will have your little one’s imagination flowing. Buried treasure, a timber boat, animal rockers, climbing nets, barrel swings, walk the plank (low to the ground), barrel tunnels, cannons and lots of places to hide.  

Bring a picnic or have a barbie after a dip in the cool water outside the entrance to the playground. 

Dogs Allowed? No. However, dog-friendly Dune Cafe is nearby and you can take also your mate to the Palm Beach off-leash beach.

Facilities:

  • Paddle Boarding
  • Kayaking
  • Cafe
  • Live music on the weekends
  • Shaded picnic areas

Where? 945 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach

6. Sea World Drive, Main Beach

Source: Google Maps

En Route to “The Spit”, the stunning aqua waters and golden sand are perfect for kids of all ages. There’s plenty of shade and it’s the ideal spot for water sports (BYO equipment and gear). Watch the boats come and go in the distance and challenge the kiddos to spot the dolphins!

Dogs Allowed? Yes 

Facilities:

  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding

Where? Seaworld Drive, Main Beach

7. Araluen Swimming Hole, Tallebudgera

Source: Google Maps

This 30-metre secluded, fresh waterhole with a rope swing will give the kids hours of summer fun. The turquoise coloured water swirls around limestone rocks before flattening out downstream over a low wall of pebbles. 

Take a picnic and sit by the bank as you watch the kids float in this natural swimming hole that allows the gentle current to take them downstream. 

You’ll quickly realise why the locals want to keep this little gem to themselves.

Dogs Allowed? Yes 

Facilities:

  • Toilets
  • Partial shade
  • Lawn area

Where? Harley Smith Reserve, Tallebudgera Valley

8. Froggy Beach, Rainbow Bay

Source: Google Maps

If you’re further down the coast towards the Qld/NSW border, pop down to Froggy Beach. Sometimes called Froggies by the locals, it’s a stunning stretch of sand between Snapper Rocks and Point Danger. Froggy Beach is protected from the wind thanks to the surrounding hills.  The waves can get a little rough, so check the surf conditions before you head down.

Dogs Allowed? No

Facilities:

  • BBQs
  • Sheltered seating areas

Where? Rainbow Bay 

9. Twin Falls, Springbrook

Source: Google Maps

One of our favourite family-friendly swimming spots on the Gold Coast – the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage area. This dense rainforest is home to a 4km circuit through Springbrook National Park. Pause on your way to admire the stunning view from the various lookouts. Wander behind magical waterfalls, through rock caves, and you’ll arrive at the Twin Falls. Reward your sweaty efforts with a dip in the cool, natural waters.

Many different walking trails are available – from the experienced hiker to the not-so-experienced. Check out the Parks Department’s site for more detailed information on the walking tracks.

Dogs Allowed? No

Facilities:

  • Walking tracks
  • Picnic areas
  • Horseriding

Where? Springbrook

10. Cougal Cascade, Currumbin Valley

Source: Google Maps

This one is so secret that most experts of Gold Coast watering holes don’t even know about it. 

Part of the Springbrook National Park, Cougal Cascade is located at the base of the towering peaks of Mount Cougal. These cascades are the epitome of serenity. Imagine a creek that flows into rock pools with cool, fresh, water. Just what you need on a hot summer’s day.

Cougal Cascade is halfway along the 1km track from the car park to the old heritage sawmill. The graded track is pram and wheelchair-friendly. 

Dogs Allowed? No

Facilities:

  • Walking track
  • Toilets
  • Picnic area

Where? Currumbin Valley

Now you have this well-curated list of the top 10 family-friendly swimming spots on the Gold Coast to keep the kiddos entertained this summer. 

Find a place to start, grab the kids and head off. Then you can sit back, relax and enjoy watching their little faces as they swim and explore these picturesque locations. 

Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

You might also like: 10 Dog-Friendly Cafés on the Southern Gold Coast (A 2019 Guide)

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