11 Best Beach Towns on the Central Coast NSW

Are you looking for one of the best beach towns on the Central Coast for your holiday?

The Central Coast NSW Australia is home to more than 40 beautiful beaches. But it takes more than a beach to make a holiday special. The atmosphere and attractions that surround the beach are even more important.

Central Coast beach sunrise

So I’ve compiled a list of 11 towns and villages that stand out for the unique atmosphere and attractions.

In these towns & villages, you’ll find a great beach, unique attractions, good cafes, and a decent place to stay near the beach.

And you don’t have to explore only one beach town. Many of these coastal towns are close to each other so it’s easy to drive from one to another. You’ll find a map at the bottom of the page which shows where the towns are located.

1. Terrigal

Terrigal

Terrigal is known for its stunning coastline and vibrant dining and nightlife. It has boutique shops, restaurants & cafes right next to the beach. This makes Terrigal the most popular and most bustling beach town on the Central Coast.

Here you can swim, surf, kayak, stand up paddle board, fish, dive and snorkel.

Shop and treat yourself to one of the many eateries.

Swim at the beach in the gentle waves with your family. Or walk on the sandy beach to Wamberal.

Have your morning coffee at Terrigal Surf Café overlooking the beach. Have Pork Belly Eggs Benny at Bellyfish Cafe. And dine with the best coastal view at Reef Restaurant.  

Read more on Terrigal...

Looking for a great hotel in Terrigal? We recommend Crowne Plaza Terrigal for its amazing location.

2. Avoca Beach

Early morning surf at Avoca Beach

If you’re looking for a beach town that has it all but is also laid-back, look no further than Avoca Beach.

With its great surf, beach, rock pool and fenced playground, Avoca Beach will delight every family member.

Families will also visit the popular Avoca Beachside Markets and steering a pedal-boat on Avoca Lake. Movie-lovers can watch a quality movie screened by Avoca Beach Picture Theatre. It's a single-screen cinema beside the beach.

Have your morning coffee at Like Minds and watch the waves roll in at Point Cafe for lunch.

Find out more about Avoca Beach...

Looking for a self-contained apartment in Avoca Beach? We recommend Avoca Palms Resort for its excellent location.

3. Killcare & Hardys Bay

Sunset at Hardys Bay

A picturesque town bordered by Hardys Bay and the Pacific Ocean, Killcare is known for the picturesque bush walks nearby and its stunning beach.

This is the perfect beach town for families and couples looking for a relaxing stay.

Walk the Coastal Walk while you’re there. You can also surf, or swim in the waves at Killcare Beach or in the calmer water at Putty Beach.

Enjoy your morning coffee and breakfast at Hardy’s Bistro. Have a toasted sourdough with poached egg, roast tomato, fetta & dukkah. For dinner, head to Yum Yum Eatery. Savour mussels and pot stickers with prawn and scallop dumplings.

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Looking for a relaxing place to stay? We recommend Bells at Killcare for its great location beside Bouddi National Park and fine dining.

4. The Entrance

The Entrance - train and Ferris wheel

Located beside the channel and Tuggerah Lake, The Entrance is popular for fishing and prawning and for its large colony of pelicans.

Kids will like the Ferris wheel, jumping castles, the carousel, and the water fountain. Ride your bicycle along Tuggerah Lake. Swim at the beach and in the ocean pools. Or stroll along the channel for beautiful water views. And watch Pelican Feeding at 3:30 pm.

Eat fish and chips and ice cream on the waterfront. Then visit Bistro Jinja for a peaceful dinner by the water and savour coconut prawns and nasi goreng.

With its different activities on offer, no wonder The Entrance attracts many tourists each year. This beach town buzzes with excitement in the weekends and school holidays but can be quiet during weekdays.

Find out more about The Entrance...

Wondering where to stay in The Entrance? We recommend Sandy Cove Apartments for its great self-contained apartments and location.

5. Macmasters Beach

Barefoot Cafe - Macmasters Beach

Found at the foot of Bouddi National Park, Macmasters Beach is the perfect beach town to relax.

Take in the terrific view of the beach from Barefoot Cafe or have a picnic, and surf or swim in the ocean or in the ocean pool.

Macmasters Beach is one of the only beaches that get shade from the large tree canopies. It makes it an ideal place for the whole family to relax in comfort for a whole afternoon.

You won’t find any shops in Macmasters Beach, only a tranquil village feel.

Walk to Putty Beach on the Coastal Walk. Stroll to Little Beach for a relaxing picnic at a secluded beach. Or experience one of the other picturesque walks in Bouddi National Park.

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6. Copacabana

Copacabana Beach NSW

A calm beach town where the beach is the focus, Copacabana Beach is the perfect place for those wanting to spend their day swimming and surfing. With only a few shops and cafes across the road from the beach, Copacabana is the epitome of a relaxing Australian surfing village.

Copacabana is quiet. Yet it’s close to busier beach towns like Avoca Beach. Visit the nearby Avoca Beach Picture Theatre and walk the Coastal Walk. And you’ll find plenty of cafes & restaurants 5 minutes away at Avoca Beach.

Drive to Captain Cook Lookout for stunning coastal views and whale watching.

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Looking for a place to stay in Copacabana? We recommend Copacabana Shores for its great location.

7. Ettalong Beach

The Box on the Water - Ettalong Beach

The calm water at the beach and the small playground on the beachfront make Ettalong Beach an ideal spot for families with young children.

Stroll along the beachfront. Picnic on the waterfront. Fish on the eastern bank. And visit the Ettalong Markets for the amazing Italian decor.

Savour fish & chips or mussels for lunch at The Box on the Water. Admire the outstanding view toward Palm Beach and Barrenjoey Lighthouse. And sample Turkish flavours with meze plates at Safran for dinner.

Find out more about Ettalong Beach...

Looking for a great accommodation in Ettalong Beach? We recommend Mantra Ettalong for its amazing location.

8. Umina Beach

Jasmine Greens - Umina Beach

Umina Beach wins over families with its gentle waves, great playground and modern holiday resort beside the beach.

Whether it’s a week-long holiday or weekend family escape from Sydney, this beach town is sure to keep children happy and parents relaxed.

Splash around in the shallow water at the southern end of the beach or swim between the flags in the gentle waves. Want to learn to surf? You’re at the right place. Check out the local surf schools and take advantage of the ideal learning conditions.

Then lay your picnic rug on the grass or have a turmeric latte at Jasmine Greens Park Kiosk while your kids amuse themselves on the BMX track, skateboard park or large climbing net. Toddlers will have fun in the fenced toddler area.

Then visit Ettalong Lookout for amazing views of Pearl Beach and Umina Beach.

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Looking for a family accommodation in Umina? We recommend NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Park. The location and facilities couldn't be better. And the swimming pools are superb.

9. Pearl Beach

Pearl Beach NSW

Nestled in the bushland on the edge of Brisbane Water National Park, Pearl Beach is one of the prettiest beach towns on the Central Coast.

Families like swimming in the calm water at the southern end of the beach (don’t swim at the north side – it’s dangerous!) and in the ocean pool, and small children can get their wiggles out in the small playground behind the beach.

Enjoy the shade and stroll around the pathways at Crommelin Native Arboretum.

A hike up the trail to Warrah Lookout will treat you to an impressive view of the Hawkesbury River below. Or take the short walk to Ettalong Lookout. The views of Pearl Beach from above are spectacular. 

Find out more about Pearl Beach...

10. Patonga

Patonga Beach

Sandwiched between the Hawkesbury River and Brisbane Water National Park, Patonga is one of the most secluded beach towns on the Central Coast. It’s a 10-minute drive to get there from Pearl Beach via a beautiful drive through the national park.  

The highlights here are the relaxing atmosphere of a fishing village, the charming pub beside the beach, and the nice campground next to the creek.

Unwind at Patonga Beach… have a dip in the calm water, take your fishing rods and kayaks, and walk to Warrah Lookout. Then sip on a local beer at the pub.

Live near Palm Beach? Then catch the ferry from Palm Beach for the ultimate relaxing getaway.

Read more on Patonga... 

11. Norah Head

Norah Head

If you’re looking for a relaxing spot, take a trip to Norah Head. As one of the northernmost towns on the Central Coast, Norah Head is a bit away from the summer crowds.  

Best known for its lighthouse, Norah Head also has a pristine beach and a spacious and sheltered rock pool for toddlers. And it’s a great place to have a stroll on the waterfront. Have a swim and take a tour of the lighthouse and enjoy the impressive view from the top.

Have coffee and food at Ark Cafe and enjoy the beach decor and a relaxed vibe.

Find out more about Norah Head...

Looking for a great accommodation in Norah Head? We recommend a cottage at the lighthouse for the amazing views and atmosphere.

Location of the Best Beach Towns

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