Here in the Newcastle region, we are blessed with beaches from Port Stephens to the north to Lake Macquarie beaches to the south. They range from city surf beaches to sheltered family-friendly beaches and pools.
Depending on the age and swimming ability of your kids, you’ll find different beaches or ocean baths to suit your family. Those with babies and toddlers will appreciate the Canoe Pool, shallow edge of Merewether Pool or Grannies’ Pool at Blacksmiths. Families with older kids might prefer the surf of Newcastle, Merewether or Redhead Beach.
*** Current COVID-19 regulations limits us to recreation and exercising in our local government area (LGA) or into a neighbouring LGA if it’s within 5km of your house. Please follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines and mask requirements at these outdoor locations.
According to NSW Government COVID-19 regulation, exercise is an activity that requires physical effort and is designed to maintain or improve health. Examples include running, walking, cycling, water sports or swimming. Recreation includes outdoor leisure activities such as sitting for relaxation, or to eat, drink or read outdoors. Provided you follow the rules for your local area, going outdoors for exercise and recreation is allowed in regional and rural NSW. ***
Here are some of the best beaches and ocean baths for kids in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie organised by LGA.
1. Nobbys Beach
Considered the most safest swimming beach of Newcastle beaches, Nobbys Beach is a great spot for families to visit. Patrolled year-round, it’s a great spot for parents and kids to swim. There’s a rock pool known as Soldiers Baths at the southern end of the beach. High tide tends to cover most of the rocks and low tide makes it a popular spot for snorkellers and those with young kids.
Get more info on visiting Nobbys Beach.
2. Newcastle Ocean Baths
With its Art Deco facade, Newcastle Ocean Baths is an iconic swimming spot with lifeguard services provided 7 days a week all year round. With its pool depth, it’s best suited to kids who can swim or wear a swim vest. The complex is divided into two areas – a general swimming area and a separate area for those wishing to swim laps. Baths are closed for cleaning once a week so make sure you check the cleaning schedule.
3. Canoe Pool
Located next to Newcastle Ocean Baths, the Canoe Pool is a favourite with local families. It’s a shallow wading pool that’s perfect for splashing, swimming, surfing and building sandcastles. The water levels in the pool depends on the amount of sand that’s been washed in or washed away from the pool. Recommended for kids under 5.
Get more info on visiting The Canoe Pool.
4. Newcastle Beach
This is Newcastle’s only true city beach close to the CBD and overlooked by high-rise apartments. However, this doesn’t detract from the appeal of this beach. 650 metres long, it stretches from the shallow pool in the north known as the Canoe Pool to secluded South Newcastle Beach. If you wish to swim, the patrolled area is in front of the Surf Life Saving Club. Newcastle Beach is patrolled from 18 September 2021 to 25 April 2022 during the times of 7am to 5.30pm.
Get more info on visiting Newcastle Beach.
5. Bar Beach
A popular beach due to the large car park, Bar Beach is the most northerly beaches of the sweep of beach that runs from Bar Beach south to Merewether. In addition to the patrolled swimming area, it has a swimming enclosure rock pool closest to the cliff. With a beach kiosk, sheltered picnic tables, nearby skate park and playground, it’s very busy with families.
6. Merewether Beach
A popular surf beach, Merewether is popular with surfers and strong swimmers. Most families with young kids head to the most southern edge of the beach as it’s more protected by the Merewether Ocean Baths.
7. Merewether Ocean Baths
Merewether Ocean Baths has the distinction of being the largest ocean baths complex in the Southern Hemisphere. It comprises of two large swimming pools, one of which is perfect for little ones. With nearby Surfhouse, covered picnic shelters and change rooms, it’s easy to spend hours down here. Lifeguard Services provided seven days a week during swimming season. Baths are closed for cleaning once a week so make sure you check the cleaning schedule. Merewether Ocean Baths shallow section is recommended for kids under 5.
Get more info on visiting Merewether Ocean Baths
8. Stockton Beach
Although Stockton Beach is a long beach, this review refers to the section of sand near King Street by the harbour breakwater. Although Stockton can be a bit rough as it’s more exposed, the stretch closest to the breakwater known as Little Beach is usually more calm and shallow. Currently, Stockton Beach has issues with erosion and exposed rocks on the beach so be careful with your family. Stockton Beach is patrolled from 18 September 2021 to 25 April 2022 during the times of 9am to 5.30pm.
LAKE MACQUARIE LGA
9. Redhead Beach
Redhead Beach is a beach that the whole family will enjoy. If parents are surfers, they’ll love the surfing breaks. Kids will enjoy splashing in the beachside creek and rock pools. Redhead Beach is home to Redhead Surf Lifesaving Club.
10. Belmont Baths
Go for a dip in Belmont Baths. It’s a top spot to cool off in salt-water Lake Macquarie. The swimming enclosure consists of a netted swimming area 70m long and 45m wide along with a 70-metre jetty that’s fun to jump off. There’s plenty of room for everyone including those with inflatables. Just note, that there can be razor clams, so wear old joggers or aqua shoes if you’re concerned about these.
Get more info on visiting Belmont Baths.
11. Blacksmiths Beach
Of all the Lake Macquarie beaches, Blacksmiths Beach is considered the most family-friendly. Located at the southern end of a long stretch of coastline, Blacksmiths Beach is an east-facing patrolled beach. Due to the breakwall, it enjoys calmer conditions than neighbouring beaches. Blacksmiths Beach is home to the Swansea Belmont Surf Lifesaving Club. Council lifeguards patrol Blacksmiths Beach annually from the September/October school holidays through to April.
Get more info on visiting Blacksmiths Beach.
12. Grannies’ Pool
Grannies’ Pool at Blacksmiths is one of Lake Macquarie’s most popular sheltered swimming spots. Accessible via Blacksmiths Beach, Grannie’s Pool is a tidal pool that faces the Swansea Channel. A new level pathway and platform provides access to all users, including strollers and wheelchairs. Grannies’ Pool is recommended for kids under 5.
Get more info on visiting Grannies’ Pool.
13. Pelican Foreshore Beach
This area is a great spot for a family day out. As well as a fully-fenced playground, it has a lakeside beach. On warm days, it’s a beautiful spot to have a dip or build sandcastles. Please note that Lake Macquarie Council advises that the current can get quite strong coming from the edge of Swansea channel and the beach can drop off suddenly in parts, so its best the kids are supervised at all times. Also, a reader advised there have been some blue-ringed octopuses spotted in the area.
Get more info on visiting Pelican Foreshore.
14. Naru Beach
A hidden gem, Naru Beach is a gorgeous spot. This small beach reserve at Marks Point is located at the end of a dirt road and is a well-kept local secret. It’s a flat beach area with crystal-clear water and amazing views of Lake Macquarie. It’s a popular spot for families who appreciate the stunning views and kid-friendly swimming areas. However, note that there are no amenities and like Pelican, there have been sightings of the blue-ringed octopuses spotted here.
Get more info on visiting Naru Beach.
15. Caves Beach
Of all the beaches about the region, Caves Beach is one of the most interesting. Caves Beach features a network of sea caves accessible during low tide. Families can combine a visit to the beach with exploring the sea caves and rock pools. Go for a swim at the main patrolled beach or splash around in shallow rock pools near the caves. Caves Beach is home to the Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club. Council lifeguards patrol Caves Beach annually from the September/October school holidays through to April.
Get more info on visiting Caves Beach.
PORT STEPHENS LGA
16. Little Beach
Although it’s not technically in Newcastle, it’s up the road in Port Stephens so we consider it a regional beach. Little Beach is just around from the tourist hub of Nelson Bay. This peaceful harbour beach is perfect for littlies who will love playing in the sand or splashing in the calm water. just around from Nelson Bay. If they tire of the beach, there’s a small playground at the beach to keep them busy for ages with swings, musical equipment and the popular play house.
Where’s your favourite beach to go to with kids in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Port Stephens region?
You might also like:
Started in late 2012 by a local mum, Newy with Kids has grown into a thriving go-to family guide for the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Hunter region. Parents visit the Newy with Kids website to find things to do with babies, kids and teens. Whether it’s local attractions, upcoming events, kids eat free, school holiday activities or birthday party ideas, Newy with Kids is the best website for local parents to find local kid-friendly activities and information 24/7.