Surfers Paradise has an incredible reputation. This iconic beach stretches over almost three km and runs alongside towering skyscrapers right in the heart of the Gold Coast. The city attracts a whopping 20,000 tourists a day, looking to eat, stay and play in one of Australia’s most popular destinations.

Surfer’s Paradise on a rainy day. You’ll never see it this deserted otherwise

A beach town with a name like that can’t possibly disappoint, right? But the truth is, it can, and very often – it does. Behind the facade of a golden beach and international recognition, there is nothing more than an uninspiring tourist trap. Surfers Paradise is hardly a paradise. It is swarmed with people, tourists from all over the world, looking for the paradise that no longer exists. What they find instead is a busy beach with a few activities during the day and very average entertainment at night.

If you are looking for a real beach paradise in the Gold Coast, follow the locals’ steps to discover four beaches that are MUCH better than Surfers Paradise.

Burleigh Heads

Burleigh’s famous surf break and a pleasant beach atmosphere makes it a much more palatable choice than the crowded Surfers Paradise. Burleigh is slowly picking up steam and developing into one of the coolest hangouts on the Gold Coast. The neighbourhood is home to great organic cafes, health shops, hippy boutiques and vibrant weekend markets.

The beach itself is lined with a great park making Burleigh a popular choice not just with the laid back surfer crowd, but also with families.


The North facing Coolangatta Beach offers sheltered conditions for swimming and picturesque views of the Surfers Paradise skyline on the horizon. Coolangatta doesn’t have big surf breaks, which makes it especially appealing to those looking for an easy swim and a great spot to catch the sun rays. Head more inland to find a variety of cafes, pubs, and fish and chip shops perfect for a pint and a bite to eat after a day in the sun.

Photo via

You won’t find too many tourists here, but there’ll be plenty of locals enjoying their lazy Sunday afternoons in this local Gold Coast gem.


Broadbeach is located right next to Surfers Paradise, but it is much more polished and sophisticated than its acclaimed neighbour. Broadbeach, or “Broadie” as it is lovingly referred to by the locals, is the new hot spot on the Gold Coast, slowly but surely drawing the visitors away from the crowded Surfers Paradise. Broadbeach offers a perfect blend of shopping, upscale dining, entertainment, nightlife, and relaxation.

Photo by Teresa Evangelista via

Main Beach

Main Beach is located on the other side of Surfers Paradise. Similar to Broadbeach, Main Beach is a bit more polished and slightly less touristy, with not as many hotels littering the beach. The beach is nice and clean with lots of free public BBQ’s available for use, a benefit that is definitely missing from Surfer Paradise.

Main Beach is also known as a wealthy suburb. You will often find high-end luxury cars parked on Tedder Ave waiting for their owners to catch up over drinks and appetizers. There is an abundance of great restaurants on Tedder Ave. If you are looking for something special, head to Shuck’s Restaurant where the head chef, Kristian, prepares some fo the best seafood dishes on the Gold Coast.

Main Beach, Gold Coast, Australia

Photo by thegirlonforeignsoil via

Burleigh, Coolangatta, Broadbeach, and Main may be our favourite beaches on the Gold Coast, but the truth is the entire Gold Coast strip is laden with amazing beaches. Each one is unique and special in its own way.

Every local Queenslander has their favourite Gold Coast hang out. Some prefer the calm waters of Coolangatta, others the sophistication and nightlife at Broadbeach. The question is, what will appeal to you? 

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Surfers Paradise gets all the fame, but there are lots of other beaches on the Gold Coast that beat Surfers! Here are our favourites!