Most young kids like playing in sand, even if most of us parents prefer to not have to deal with it in our car etc afterwards! I know my kids can still easily spend a good hour or two at the beach playing in the sand – building sand castles and collecting shells.

Now we don’t always want to swim as well as build sand castles, like on a sunny winters day – or we may not want to travel all the way to an ocean beach to build sand castles. Thankfully, there are a number of good sandy spots along Parramatta River, which means only a short trip.

This list has been a while in the making, grateful for lockdown for providing the time to finally get it done! But a little word of warning first… it’s common to find rubbish along these beaches (just like at ocean beaches unfortunately). I find it best to do a quick scan and remove any items that the kids may hurt themselves on, like broken glass or hard plastic.

Here are our top 10 favourite sand castle building spots. Most will have sand still at high tide, but best visited at a lower tide. You can also get your feet wet, but swimming isn’t recommended at most of them. Please let me know if you have one not on the list!

Address: 172 Cabarita Road, Cabarita | Summary: Cabarita Park Beach is right near Cabarita Wharf and absolutely FULL of shells. This park has a lot going for it, including a kiosk, swimming centre, playground, BBQs and toilets. Plus the longest beach along Parramatta River! There’s plenty of room to spread out, but still keep a safe distance from anyone else. And there’s also shade under the beautiful trees. You can actually swim here too. The only downside is the metered parking. | More Details |

2Bayview Park, Concord

Address: end of Burwood Road, Concord | Summary: Bayview Park has two ‘beaches’ – one in front of the shaded playground where there’s a new netted swimming spot and the other near the boat ramp. There’s a good amount of on-site parking, plus toilets and BBQS. | More Details |

3Salton Reserve, Drummoyne

Address: St Georges Crescent, Drummoyne | Summary: In between the Drummoyne Sailing Club and Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet is Salton Reserve and a lovely beach area. It has great views out over Cockatoo Island and a fun little nautical themed playground. | More Details |

4Wangal Reserve, Mortlake

Address: end of Hilly Street, Mortlake | Summary: Wangal Reserve is on the point at Mortlake, overlooking Putney, and right near the Putney Punt/ Car Ferry. It has great views out of the river, and a good spot to watch the ferries go by. There’s also a fab nature based playground and toilets. Downside is there’s very little parking. | More Details |

5Bedlam Bay, Gladesville

Address: 14 Campbell Drive, Gladesville | Summary: This is somewhat of a hidden gem… though not for long with plans underway to turn it into a swimming spot. It’s probably has the smallest ‘beach’ of the ones on this list but it makes up for it in spades with the tranquillity and fact that there’s a nice walk around to it from Banjo Paterson Park. | More Details |

6Putney Park, Putney

Address: Pellisier Road, Putney | Summary: The already fabulous Putney Park just got even better with the opening of stairs to the beach area. The beach ‘opened’ during lockdown and quickly became a favourite seeing Putney Park already makes for a fun day out. There are two playgrounds, toddler splash pools, toilets, BBQs, picnic shelters and on-site parking | More Details |

7Quarantine Reserve, Abbotsford

Address: Spring Street, Abbotsford | Summary: Ironically, I found out about Quarantine Reserve while we were in lockdown. And surprised it’s taken this long! It’s a lovely spot on Parramatta River overlooking Cabarita and Concord. There are BBQs, picnic tables and toilets, plus some on-site parking. It used to be an animal quarantine station and there are some remnants to explore. The beach area near the seawall is nicer and there’s shade under the trees at the back of the sand…. plus a fun hill to run down! | More Details |

8Memorial Park, Meadowbank

Address: Meadowbank Crescent, Meadowbank (next to Meadowbank Wharf carpark) | Summary: The beach in front of Memorial Park has prime position to watch trains crossing the bridge and ferries going underneath. It was enclosed late last year to allow for it to be trialled as a dog off leash area. The trial was to end in April but not sure what’s happening at the moment. So best to avoid it if your kids are comfortable around dogs. Back up in main part of the park, there are toilets, playground and picnic shelters. | More Details |

Address: Waterview Street, Putney | Summary: Kissing Point Park is rather unassuming from the outside, but ticks a lot of boxes for families with young kids. There are two largish beach areas on either side of the wharf, playground, toilets, two on-site parking areas, walking path, exercise equipment and beautiful fish statues. | More Details |

10Prince Edward Park, Cabarita

Address: End of Phillips Street, Cabarita | Summary: The park on the river has a cute nautical themed playground and is next door to Angelo’s Cabarita. There’s a path along the foreshore and a small beach area. Getting a parking spot can be tricky. | More Details |