Sydney offers a spectacular variety of beautiful beaches and we are slowly hunting down the best toddler friendly options. Dee Why Beach ranks pretty high on our list. I'll admit, we've only just scratched the surface when it comes to Sydney's beaches, but, what I love about Dee Why is that it has a similar sort of vibe to Bondi, just on a smaller, less chaotic scale. It has a wide variety of restaurants, cafes and bars along The Strand, a grassy promenade, there are ocean pools and not one but two playgrounds within walking distance of the beach. We headed out there on a Sunday afternoon while Braino's parents were visiting, to give them a taste of Sydney's stunning coast.
While Dee Why Beach is one of Sydney's most well known surf beaches, we still found it to be safe for a toddler to splash along the shore. Farley enjoyed jumping over the waves with Braino. (Just be sure to always swim between the flags!) Getting down onto the beach with a pram isn't impossible but it is a little difficult - you would have to carry it down a few steps. We had Braino's parents with us so they were happy to sit with Hallie in the pram at the top of the steps while Braino, Farley and myself had a splash on the beach. Hallie must have been very relaxed by the sea air; she slept the whole time!. There was a lot of seaweed on the beach the day we were there but I believe it's not a regular occurrence - it depends on which way the wind is blowing.
Dee Why also has great ocean pools, an adult one and a children's one, and some rock pools which always make for great toddler entertainment. While we didn't spend much time at that end of the beach during this visit, I would definitely come back just for the ocean pools! You can push a pram right up to them - there is plenty of paved pathways and plenty of places to sit at the pools.
One of the best reasons why Dee Why is such a good option for families with toddlers is the choice of two fenced playgrounds within close proximity to the beach. There is one right on the promenade, the Michaela Howie Playground, at the southern end, overlooking the beach and another one a very short stroll from the car park at the northern end of the beach, at James Meehan Reserve, near the surf lifesavers building. Between The Strand and the beach promenade is a well maintain sections of lawn, which is perfect for picnics or setting up a portable BBQ.
You could easily spend a full day at Dee Why Beach and be kept busy with all the swimming options, dining options and playgrounds. Or just come out for a lazy afternoon and discover something new each time.
TIPS & INFORMATION
Getting there: Unfortunately there isn't a lot of public transport options to the northern beaches. If you're traveling from the city the B1 bus or the L90 bus will take you to Dee Why town centre but from there, it's 15 minute walk to the beach. I would recommended driving.
Parking: There is a large car park located at James Meehan Reserve, next to the Dee Why Surf Lifesavers, It's free for vehicles displaying a Council parking permit and pay and display is available for those without. There is also plenty of on street parking in surrounding streets, just be sure to check the parking restrictions.
Dining Options: There is a huge variety of cafes and restaurants along The Strand and in surrounding streets. The first time we visited we ate at Beach Burrito which is walking distance from the beach. On our most recent visit, we had an early dinner at the Dee Why RSL, at Braino's dad's Rossco request. I would recommend both. We also purchased iceblocks and coffee from the Beach Shack, next to the Ocean Pools.
Shade: Both playgrounds have shade clothes but the beach and ocean pool are in full sun. Definitely pack full sun protection for the family.
Toilets: There are public toilets located at either end of the promenade, in the Surf Lifesavers building and also in the building next to the ocean pools.
Address: The Strand, Dee Why NSW 2099