Explore These 11 Great Central Coast Beach Towns

Central Coast beach sunrise

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

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.

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 cafe(s)

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 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 restaurants.

Swim at the beach in the gentle waves with your family. Or walk on the sandy beach all the way 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.  

Find out more about Terrigal Beach.

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, check out Avoca Beach.

With its great surf and beach, Avoca Beach will delight every family member.

You can also visit the popular Avoca Beachside Markets and steer a pedal-boat on Avoca Lake. Movie-lovers can watch a quality movie screened by Avoca Beach Theatre. 

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

Find out more about Avoca Beach.

3. Killcare & Hardys Bay

Sunset at Hardys Bay

Killcare is a picturesque town bordered by Hardys Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It's known for its picturesque bush walks nearby and 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.

Read more on Killcare.

4. The Entrance

The Entrance - train and Ferris wheel

The Entrance is located beside a channel and Tuggerah Lake. It's a popular place for fishing and prawning and it's well-known 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.

Eat fish and chips and ice cream on the waterfront. Then visit our favourite Mexican restaurant, Los Dos Hombres for delicious tacos and nachos and a lovely embience. 

With its many activities on offer, no wonder this beach town attracts many tourists each year. It buzzes with excitement in the weekends and school holidays. But it can be quiet during weekdays.

Find out more about The Entrance.

5. Macmasters Beach

Barefoot Cafe - Macmasters Beach

Located 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 between the flags 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.

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

Find out more about Macmasters Beach.

6. Copacabana

Copacabana Beach NSW

Copacabana Beach is perfect for spending your day swimming and surfing. It's a calm beach town where the beach is the focus. There are 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 Theatre and walk the Coastal Walk.

Savour amazing baked goodies at Burnt Honey Bakery with a delicious coffee or breakfast at Cabana Cafe and Bar. 

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

Find out more about Copacabana Beach.

7. Ettalong Beach

The Box on the Water - Ettalong Beach

Ettalong Beach is an ideal spot for families with young children... The water is calm and there's a small playground on the beachfront.

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.

8. Umina Beach

Jasmine Greens - Umina Beach

Umina Beach wins over families with its gentle waves and big playground beside the beach.

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 in 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 play in the playground. Toddlers will have fun in the fenced toddler area.

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

Find out more about Umina Beach.

9. Pearl Beach

Pearl Beach NSW

Pearl Beach is one of the prettiest beach towns on the Central Coast... it's nestled in the bushland on the edge of Brisbane Water National Park.

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

Patonga is one of the most secluded beach towns on the Central Coast... it's sandwiched between the Hawkesbury River and Brisbane Water National Park.

The highlights here are:

  • the relaxing atmosphere of a fishing village
  • the charming pub beside the beach
  • the popular 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.

Find out more about 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 great 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. 

Enjoy an excellent coffee and food at The Island Cafe.

Find out more about Norah Head.

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