The 5 Best Beaches in Byron Bay Right Now
With Byron’s beaches continuously changing, these are the five to head to if you want to park your towel on the very best stretch of sand in Byron right now.
The beaches in Byron Bay are among the best in Australia and are a major reason why thousands of visitors flock here every year. Long stretches of golden sand, turquoise water, and the iconic lighthouse perched above the town are the stuff postcards (and dream holidays) are made of.
While you won’t find a bad beach in Byron, mother nature is always reshaping them. So to help you make the most of your hard-earned beach time, we’ve used our local knowledge to round up the five best Byron Bay beaches as of right now.
How have the beaches in Byron Bay changed?
You might notice some differences in this list of Byron’s best beaches compared to older guides. In December 2020, king tides and storms battered Byron Bay, stripping the sand from Main Beach and accelerating dune erosion all along the coast.
Main Beach is recovering well, but it hasn’t quite bounced back to its former glory just yet. There are still uncovered rocks, and the tide comes up much higher than before, so most of the sand is usually wet and not ideal for sitting on.
The tide also comes up higher now at The Wreck Beach (next to Main Beach in the direction of Belongil), so that’s not great for sunbathing either.
Storms aside, the sand is continuously shifting and changing the beaches. Last summer, Clarkes Beach was almost non-existent at high tide, and it had a big slab of exposed reef that was great for snorkelling. Now, the beach is bigger than ever, and the reef has been covered with sand!
So – moving in a clockwise direction around town – let’s take a look at the current best beaches in Byron Bay.
🧍♀️ Best for avoiding the crowds
Belongil Beach is slightly out of town, so it’s usually more chilled than the town beaches. There are a few entrances onto the sand, but the main one is located near The Treehouse restaurant.
From here, turning left will take you to the quietest part of the beach, or a right turn will take you towards the Wreck beach and town. This section is wider, slightly busier, and can be good for surfing when the conditions are right.
👨👩👧👦 Best for families
Clarkes Beach is about a ten-minute walk from town and sits next to Main Beach as you head towards the lighthouse. As you step onto the beach from the car park, turn right for a big stretch of sand and sometimes a lagoon that’s perfect for paddling and swimming with children.
At the moment, the reef is completely covered with sand, so Clarkes isn’t as good for snorkelling as it can be, but it’s much easier on the feet! This beach is also great for surfing on the right swell, with gentle waves that are ideal for progressing from the whitewater into green waves.
🏄 Best for sunset and surfing
If you walk from Main Beach towards the lighthouse, The Pass is the last beach you’ll arrive at before having to head inland. At the end of the beach, you can head up to Fisherman’s Lookout for stunning views across the bay and around to Wategos on the other side.
This stretch of sand offers plenty of room to spread out, and the water near the rock is great for paddling, but don’t head out as far as the surfers or you risk getting run over. The Pass is the last beach in Byron to get the late evening sun, and it’s a great place to head for a sunset picnic – just watch out for the bush turkeys!
It’s also well-known as one of the best point breaks in the world, and its mellow peeling waves make it a great place to learn to surf. The downside to such great waves, though, is the crowds they attract. On any given day, you’ll likely be competing with a hundred other surfers for the best waves, so unless you’re a confident surfer, a surf lesson with one of the local schools is the best way to go.
🍔 Best for beach barbecues
Sitting right under the lighthouse, Wategos is an exclusive suburb of Byron with a beautiful beach lined with pandanus trees and backed by dream houses. It’s a popular spot for longboarders and made even more special by the resident dolphins that play in the waves.
The tide currently comes up higher than before at Wategos, which may mean you don’t have much dry sand to play with, but what makes it still one of the best beaches in Byron Bay is its public barbecues. Situated right on the beachfront in front of Raes, you’ll find picnic tables, a small grassy area to eat, and arguably the best views from any public barbecue in Byron.
Wategos Beach is sandwiched between two rocky outcrops, so the only way to get there is by driving or walking the hilly Cape Byron Walking Track from The Pass. Parking is limited, but the upside is that this also restricts the number of people on the beach.
🌬 Best for shelter from the northerlies
Around the cape from Wategos on the other side of the lighthouse, you’ll find beautiful Tallow Beach – or Tallows as the locals call it. This stretch of sand has a more wild, open feel than the town beaches, with bigger waves and Arakwal National Park forming the backdrop.
When the northerlies are blowing, this is the only sheltered beach in Byron Bay. Head to Cosy Corner at the far end of Tallows tucked out of the wind by Cape Byron. But be warned, you won’t be the only one with the idea, and the car park will probably be packed!
Tallows is good for surfing but is a punchier break more suited to intermediate surfers and up.