There is something really lovely about watching kids play happily in the sand and splashing by the water. Unfortunately, living in Western Sydney means you can’t just quickly pop down to the beach. But if you are happy to drive 30-60mins, then there are plenty of family friendly Sydney beaches you can visit. Here are the 20 closest beaches to Parramatta.
All the beaches listed, except two, are less than 35kms away from Parramatta CBD. Depending on where you live, and when you plan to head to the beach, it can take as little as 20mins or just over an hour to get to one of the beaches. The distances listed are the shortest route by car, which may not be the fastest. See map for locations.
Below is the list of closest beaches to Parramatta, with basic information for each beach and a link to a full review. Note: It is advised not to swim at a number of these beaches for at least 48hrs after heavy rain. You can check water quality at Beach Watch.
Metered parking, ferry wharf, shaded playground, two beaches (one near wharf and other near swimming centre), shade on beach, kiosk at marina, swimming centre, bbqs, picnic tables, lots of shells, no shark net, toilets but not near beach, only waves from passing boats, unpatrolled. Note: This beach is the most western spot you can currently swim at in Parramatta River. It was only assessed as swimmable in 2015 and we have seen pods of dolphins there which is a great sign. Hopefully other spots will become swimmable soon as part of the Our Living River initiative.
2Greenwich Baths (27kms) | Greenwich
Small entry fee, free street parking, free beach toys available for use, toilets, small beach, swimming lanes, shark net, kiosk, unpatrolled. We recommend visiting at low to medium tide, as at high tide there can be very little beach left.
3Carss Park (28kms) | Georges River Council
We are surprised to learn recently that one of our favourite family spots from when we lived in the Sutherland area is actually only 28kms from Parramatta! It’s on the Georges River, not far from Hurstville. Carss Park is the total package park for families, like Cabarita Park and Lake Parramatta Reserve. There is a great playground, yummy family-friendly cafe, netted swimming beach, BBQs, picnic shelters, toilets, street library, swimming pool, bushwalks and on-site parking.
4Northbridge Baths (29kms) | Northbridge
Free parking, bbq, grassed area, shade, shallow water and swimming lanes, shark net, toilets, no waves, pontoon to jump from, no kiosk, unpatrolled, sand at low tide.
5Balmoral Beach (31kms) | Mosman
Calm water, shade on beach, metered parking near beach or 2hr free parking in back streets, fenced playground, cafes, shark net, toilets, unpatrolled. Note: parking can be very difficult to find on the weekends.
6Clifton Gardens Beach (32kms) | Mosman
Metered parking at beach, unrestricted/ free parking up the hill, fenced and shaded playground, grassed area, bbqs, picnic tables, kiosk, toilets, shark net, jetty, shade on beach, unpatrolled. Best to get there before 10am to get a car spot near the beach.
7Chinamans Beach (32kms) | Mosman
No waves, shade in reserve behind beach, metered parking at beach or unrestricted street parking further back, no kiosk, unpatrolled.
8Bondi Beach (32.7kms) | Bondi
Metered parking, large beach, kids ocean pool (north end), fenced playground, toilets, cafes, no shade, patrolled by surf lifesavers. Very popular on the weekends.
9Kyeemagh Beach and Baths (32.9kms) | Brighton-Le-Sands
Fenced playground, shark net, cafe (C Side), cycle path, toilets, no shade on beach but some shade in reserve behind, carpark.
10Bronte Beach (33.1kms) | Bronte
Shallow rock pool, toilets, no shade on beach, shade and covered picnic tables in park behind, playground, mini train on weekends, kiosk, cafes, patrolled by surf lifesavers.
11Nielsen Park Beach/ Shark Beach (33.2kms) | Vaucluse
No waves, shark net, kiosk, toilets, shade, grassed area, unrestricted and restricted parking, unpatrolled.
12Macquarie Park Beach (33.4kms) | Windsor
Calm ‘beach’ on Hawkesbury River, onsite parking in Macquarie Park, no shade on beach, toilets, playground, picnic facilities, opposite Windsor town centre. Keep in mind that the water is murky and the water depth varies.
13Coogee Beach (33.6kms) | Coogee
Large beach, grassed area, no shade on beach, ocean pool, ocean baths, toilets, playgrounds, fairly sheltered beach (usually calm water), patrolled by surf lifesavers, metered parking or restricted parking further away from beach.
14Clontarf Beach (33.6kms) | Clontarf
Metered parking (plus limited free street parking a short walk away), shark net, shaded playground, toilets, kiosk, no shade on beach but shade in reserve behind, no waves, unpatrolled. Very popular on the weekends.
15Parsley Bay (33.6kms) | Vaucluse
Shallow bay with shark net, parking at reserve or street parking nearby, playground, shade on the beach, large grassed area, bushwalks, waterfall, picnic tables, kiosk, toilets, unpatrolled.
16Clovelly Beach (34.1kms) | Clovelly
Sheltered bay, cafe, toilet, shade around beach, playground, grassed area, free carpark at beach and on surrounding streets.
17Ramsgate Beach Baths (34.7kms) | Brighton-Le-Sands
Shark net, shaded and semi enclosed playground, off street parking and picnic tables, bbqs, toilets.
18Manly Dam, Manly Vale (35kms)
Lake, shade on beach, shaded and fenced playground, water sports, on-site paid parking, picnic tables, bbqs, toilets, bushwalks.
19Jellybean Pool, Glenbrook (41kms)
Natural swimming spot along Glenbrook Creek in Blue Mountains National Park with sandy, pebbly beach, accessed by short bushwalk (100m) down stairs. On-site paid parking ($8 per day or free with National Parks pass), toilets at entrance to National Park. While outside the 35km radius of the rest of the closest beaches, it only takes about 40mins to get to Jellybean Pool from Parramatta CBD.
20Yarramundi Reserve, Richmond Area (44kms)
Calm ‘beach’ on Grose River, onsite parking, some shade along riverbank, toilets, picnic facilities, fishing, bushwalking. While outside the 35km radius of the rest of the closest beaches, it is faster to get to Yarramundi Reserve then most of the other beaches. It takes about 40mins from Parramatta CBD.
Other Nearby Beaches Suitable for Older Kids
There are three other nearby harbour swimming spots that would be suitable for older kids:
While they sometimes have a bit of beach for young kids to play on, there usually isn’t much shallow water. Plus Woolwich Baths has a steep walk to get to it.
Future Nearby Swimming Beaches
A central part of the Parramatta River Masterplan launched in October 2018 is the addition of three new swimming locations along Parramatta River to open by 2025. And nine other sites are still under consideration. This will increase options for swimmability in years to come for the Central Sydney region. Sadly though, some parts of the river will never be swimmable again.