11 Top Beaches With Shade in Sydney

  • Mums & Bubs
    All Ages

Summer days in Sydney can be stinkers! So, naturally, most of us head to our favourite beach to cool down and enjoy some family time.

This is all good in theory until you arrive at the beach to discover there's nowhere to sit in the shade and you've forgotten your trusty umbrella at home. Trying to relax on the beach under the blazing hot sun isn't too enjoyable with kids in tow (and not exactly sun smart either!), so we decided to scour the coastline to find the top 11 beaches with shade in Sydney. Don't forget to slip, slop, slap to be extra cautious!

11 Top Beaches With Shade in Sydney

1. Clareville Beach

Clareville Beach
Shade, shade and more shade is on offer at Clareville Beach.

If you're venturing to the Northern Beaches with the kids and looking for a beach with shade, Clareville Beach should be top of your list.

The lovely calm waters are perfect for little swimmers, paddleboarding, or just lazing about. The wide beach at Clareville is complemented by a large stretch of grass and tall trees providing plenty of shade throughout the day. Make sure you get there early as the beach gets busy.

Location: Delecta Ave, Clareville

2. Parsley Bay Reserve, Vaucluse

Parsley Bay Reserve, Vaucluse
An aerial view of Parsley Bay Reserve on a glorious Sydney summer's day!

Parsley Bay is another popular and busy beach with shade in Sydney but well worth visiting if you get there early!

The beach and bushland duo is a great spot to take the kids for a dip and you'll find shade from bordering trees, plus there's barbecues, picnic tables, and the Parsley Bay playground nearby. 

Location: Parsley Rd, Vaucluse

3. Palm Beach

Palm Beach Sydney
The beach at Pittwater Park on Barrenjoey Road is even better than the pictures!

Another Northern Beaches gem, Palm Beach offers not one but two shaded beaches for hot summer days.

Palm Beach is surrounded by water on three sides so there's plenty of opportunities for splashing. To make the most of the morning shade, we recommend venturing to the Pittwater side of Palm Beach either at Pittwater Park on Barrenjoey Road, or further north at Station Beach near The Boathouse.

Pittwater Park has plenty of shady trees, grass for picnics, a small playground, and the kids will love watching the Palm Ferry making its way along the water.  

Location: Pittwater Park on Barrenjoey Road

4. Greenwich Baths

Greenwich Baths Sydney
Shade, harbour views, cafe nearby, and calm crystal-clear waters - what more could you need?

Greenwich Baths on Albert Street in Greenwich is another beach with shade thanks to neighbouring trees.

This harbour beach has delightfully calm waters and is highly recommended for babies and toddlers. Make sure you get there early to secure a parking spot and a cool, shady spot in the sand. 

Location: Albert St, Greenwich

5. Whale Beach

Whale Beach
If you're up for a bit of a weekend drive, Whale Beach is a fantastic family-friendly surf beach.

The luxuriously large Norfolk Pine Trees that hug the sand at Whale Beach on the Northern Beaches provide ample shade from the sun and the surf is terrific if you're heading out on your board.

If you've got little ones who prefer calmer waters, Whale Beach also has a 25-metre rock pool on site.

Location: The Strand, Whale Beach

6. Shark Beach, Vaucluse

Shark Beach, Vaucluse
Forget about the shade for a second and just look at the colour of that water!


*Shark Beach and the promenade are currently closed for a seawall refurbishment until further notice.*

Shark Beach is just as good as the many stunning pictures you've seen and is the perfect spot for a day at the beach with the family.

While there isn't an abundance of shade on the beach itself, the adjacent Nielsen Park has plenty of shady spots on the grass and coffee nearby at The Nielsen. Finding parking at Shark Beach can be a pain on weekends, so make sure you get there early.

Location: 6 Steele Point Rd, Vaucluse 

7. Clontarf Beach, Middle Harbour

Clontarf Beach, Middle Harbour
If you're looking for a shady beach in Sydney, add Clontarf Beach to your list.

Nestled in Middle Harbour, Clontarf Beach delivers plenty of shade, calm waters, beautiful white sand, a kids playground, picnic facilities, parking and a cafe on site - sublime!

Like most shaded beaches in Sydney, Clontarf gets busy on the weekend but luckily it's quite spread out so you don't feel like you're wedged in like sardines. There's a little bit of shade on the beach early in the mornings but for later in the day, park yourselves on the adjacent grassy areas and enjoy your day outdoors.

Location: Sandy Bay Rd, Clontarf 

8. Carss Park Beach

Carss Bush Park
Go for a dip in the refreshing waters of St Georges River.

While Carss Bush Park is not so much a beach but more of a playground/park combo, and not so much seawater but the waters of St Georges River, it still gets a spot on our list of shady beaches because there's so much on offer when bringing the family down to Carss Park!

Water play, playground, and a cafe are all on offer at Carss Park plus heaps of shady spots under the trees to keep away from the sun - enjoy!

Location: Carwar Ave, Carss Park

9. Balmoral Beach

Balmoral Beach
Head to the grassy knolls next to Balmoral Beach for plenty of shade.

A trip to Balmoral Beach is practically a rite of passage when living in Sydney with young kids, isn't it?

Balmoral Beach is another family-friendly trifecta offering a beach, playground and access to great food and coffee. There is limited shade on the beach itself but plenty on offer near the playground and along the adjacent grassy knolls.

There are several cafe spots on offer at Balmoral but our pick is, of course, the uber-popular The Boathouse Balmoral!

Location: The Esplanade, Balmoral

10. Shelly Beach

Shelly Beach, Manly
Get ready for snorkelling at Shelly Beach!

Shelly Beach in Manly is part of Cabbage Tree Bay, an underwater protected marine reserve and is only 30 minutes from the Sydney CBD.

The crystal-clear waters at Shelly Beach are incredibly inviting on a summers day, plus the adjacent park offers shady spots to keep you out of the sun.

Stop off at the Boathouse Shelly Beach (right next to the beach) for coffee or a light snack, and don't forget to pack your goggles for a bit of snorkelling. If you're planning on staying a while, go for a splash at the nearby Fairy Bower Rock Pool.

Location: Marine Parade, Manly

11. Wattamolla Beach, The Royal National Park

Wattamolla Beach, The Royal National Park
Wattamolla Beach is part of the stunning Royal National Park.

And if you're in the mood for a little family road trip, go for a spin down the coast and visit Wattamolla Beach in the Royal National Park.

We strongly recommend getting to Wattamolla Beach early as this is a very popular spot on the weekends. The sprawling oasis on offer at Wattamolla Beach is definitely worth the drive and offers beach and lagoon swimming plus snorkelling, picnicking, sightseeing, and even a bit of fishing. Please note that Wattamolla Beach is only patrolled during the summer months.

For more swimming nearby, check out more Royal National Park beaches.

Location: Wattamolla Road, Royal National Park

Is your favourite beach not on the list? Let us know in the comments!

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