The Central Mums Useful Lists are a quick reference to some of the most helpful, fun and important places in Central Coast. Our lists are continually updated and cover the best places for kids and parents across Central Coast.
With so many beaches in the area, starting at Pearl Beach and finishing up at Budgewoi, there are lots to choose from but they’re not all patrolled and some of them have stronger waves than others.
Here are the five best beaches to visit with kids, from south to north, as recommended by local Central Mums in our discussion group:
Ettalong is calm with clear shallow water due to being protected from the surf by the headland, and there are always lots of babies and toddlers playing and swimming there for this reason. There are plenty of barbecues and picnic tables to eat at. Sydney families can easily catch the ferry from Palm Beach for a day trip.
Address: Ocean View Road, Ettalong Beach.
Patrolled: No - nearby Umina and Ocean Beaches are patrolled beaches.
Parking: Yes - limited off-street places are available.
Kiosk/Cafe: Yes - The Box on the Water
“Ettalong is great for the little ones to have a paddle and play in the sand. There’s also a great park on the foreshore.” - Central Mums member
Backing onto Bouddi National Park, the best feature is the rock pool which is not too deep and very sheltered, that children feel very comfortable wading around in. There are also certain areas of the beach that are dog friendly, provided you keep your dogs on leash.
Address: Marine Parade, Macmasters Beach
Kiosk/Cafe: Yes - The Barefoot Cafe
Toilets/showers: Yes - a short walk away
“Macmasters has a good rock pool for kids and it’s not a long walk down to the water.” - Central mums member
This beach is surrounded by a reef so waves can’t get in, and is known for being one of the cleanest places to swim on the entire Coast. There are barbecues and picnic tables, and dogs are allowed off-leash in the area between Little Bay (south of Toowoon Beach) and Shelly Beach. It’s a great place to take kids snorkelling and you can do stand up paddle boarding there too.
Address: Just off Bay Rd, Toowoon Bay, Toowoon Bay
Playground: Yes - near Swadling Reserve
Kiosk/Cafe: Yes - a kiosk at the at the Surf Life Saving Club
“It’s nice and flat and my girls also love the lagoons created by the reef.” - Central Mums member
The Entrance Ocean Baths
The Entrance has the best of both worlds with the beach, a 50 metre ocean pool and a children's ocean pool to swim in. There are lots of barbecues and picnic tables for lunchtime. Canoes, surf skis and pedal boats can be hired down at the beach.
Address: Marine Parade, The Entrance.
Patrolled: Yes - both the pools and the beach.
Parking: Yes - there is street parking and a public car park within easy walking distance.
Playground: Yes - a short walk away.
Kiosk/Cafe: Yes - a kiosk and lots of cafes across the street.
“The Entrance is my go to just because of the channel and baths if the kids don’t like the waves.” - Central Mums member
Also known as Cabbage Tree Harbour, this beach rockpool north of the lighthouse is a great place for kids to swim at low tide, and go for a walk through the rock platforms to look for crabs and other sea creatures. There’s also a sandy beach area next to it for kids to build sandcastles. It’s easy to access with a pram by footpath, too.
Address: Bald Street, Norah Head.
Patrolled: No but nearby Soldiers Beach is, although this beach is better for surfing than swimming.
Playground: Yes - across from the reserve.
Kiosk/Cafe: Yes - The Ark Cafe is a short walk away.
“Norah Head rockpool is my favourite. It’s big but my three-and-a-half year old year old can walk around almost all of it because it’s a good depth” - Central Mums member
Beaches to avoid
Here are some beaches that are best not to visit with younger children:
Bateau Bay beach isn’t always patrolled and the steep hill down to the beach makes it hard to walk when carrying little kids and lots of beach items.
Terrigal has gotten some high pollution readings and isn’t as clean as other beaches.