Top Beaches in Cairns & the Tropical North

With swaying palms and blue waters teeming with tropical fish, Queensland’s tropical north is home to some of Australia’s most picturesque beaches. To help you find the perfect seaside paradise, here are some of the best beaches around Cairns

Trinity Beach
Just a 20-minute drive north of downtown Cairns, Trinity Beach is a family favorite for its calm swimming waters, powder-soft sands, and scenic coastal walks. Visit during summer or school holidays and you’ll find plenty of water sports and other activities to keep the kids entertained.

Palm Cove
Just north of Trinity, Palm Cove is the pick of Cairns’ northern beaches, with lifeguard-patrolled areas offering safe swimming all year-round. The seafront promenade is lined with shopping boutiques, chic cafés, and luxury restaurants, while active types can rent kayaks or paddleboards, or cruise out to Double Island. 

Four Mile Beach
With its—you guessed it— four miles of sandy beach and gentle surf, Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas is another great choice for families, with plenty of activities on offer. After trying your hand at surfing or kitesurfing, hike up to Flagstaff Hill for a magnificent ocean view, or check out the lively Port Douglas Markets.

Cape Tribulation Beach
Surrounded by the wild landscapes of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Daintree Rainforest and the vibrant corals of the Great Barrier Reef, Cape Tribulation Beach is a photographer’s dream with its pristine beach and startling blue waters. After checking out the natural wonders, head to nearby Emmagen Beach to swim and sunbathe away from the crowds.

Green Island
One of the most easily accessible islands in the Great Barrier Reef National Park, Green Island can be visited on a half- or full-day cruise from Cairns. You’ll probably spend most of your time snorkeling or diving the coastal reefs, but be sure to head ashore to stroll the white sands, explore the lush rainforest, and enjoy water sports at the Green Island Resort. 

Fitzroy Island
Just a 45-minute ferry ride from Cairns, Fitzroy Island is a prime destination for an action-packed day trip. The island’s No. 1 beach is Nudey Beach, where adventurous travelers can dive in to swim and snorkel, cruise the coast on a glass-bottomed boat tour, rent paddleboards and paddle skis, or even try out a floating trampoline.
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