If you’re looking for a beach near the North Shore that ticks all the family-friendly boxes, Dee Why Beach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches certainly does all that. It has a lovely beach, two ocean pools, natural rock pools to explore, two playgrounds, lots of grass, showers, toilets and plenty of cafes, restaurants and take-away food options.
Dee Why Beach holds special memories for me, as it’s the place we lived when we had our first baby in 2009 (that baby is now 11 years old and about to start Year 6). We lived in a 2-bedroom apartment which was about a 5 minute walk from the beach, so I have fond memories of pushing a pram along the neighbourhood streets to the beach, grabbing a take-away coffee and enjoying a lazy morning in the sun.
When we visited again in January 2021 during the school holidays, I realised how family-friendly it is for families with children of all ages – from babies and toddlers, right through to tweens and teenagers. There really is something for everyone.
Dee Why Beach
Dee Why Beach is a patrolled beach, so be sure to swim between the red & yellow flags. The waves are generally big enough for older kids to have a splash about in (but not too big!), but have lots of shallow areas for little ones to splash around in.
If you’re into surfing, Dee Why Point has been a popular spot for local surfers for years. As the Northern Beaches Council website says:
This challenging wave is definitely for the more experienced surfer, if you head here on a winter’s day when the swell angle is coming from the south you’re going to have an absolutely awesome time.
Don’t forget to pack your buckets & spades, and any other boards you might like for the water!
Ocean Pools at Dee Why Beach
There are two Ocean Pools at the southern end of Dee Why Beach, which are a great option if you want to avoid the sand and waves. There’s a small shade area for spectators and accessible toilets and showers nearby.
The toddler pool is perfect for little ones. It’s bright blue and doesn’t get more than about 70cm in depth. Perfect for splashing about and games.
The 50m attracts lap swimmers as well as people who just prefer to splash about. It’s a more natural colour.
The pools are sometimes closed for cleaning (usually for one day every week during Summer), so check the Northern Beaches Council website before you go!
Playgrounds at Dee Why Beach
Michaela Howie Playground
The Michaela Howie playground at Ted Jackson Reserve overlooks the beach and ocean pool. It’s fully fenced (with two gates) and shaded with trees. In terms of play equipment, it features:
- Two sets of double swings (one has two toddler swings, and the other is for older children)
- Large play structure with slides, ladders, criss cross climbing wall, tunnel and bridge
- Little toddler shop for imaginary play
James Meehan Reserve
James Meehan Reserve is situated next to Dee Why Lagoon. It’s also fully fenced and has shade, and is less windy as it’s slightly set back from the beach. There are slides, swings a pirate ship and balancing beams.
Dine in cafes or take-away food at Dee Why Beach
You’re spoilt for choice in terms of food options along The Strand (the main road that runs parallel to the beach).
There are plenty of casual yet funky cafes and restaurants to choose from if you’d like to dine in, and lots of options for take-away if you’d rather sit on the grass by the beach (like fish & chips, burgers, coffee, ice-cream, sushi, sandwiches etc).
Of course, you can always pack a picnic or use the BBQs at Ted Jackson Reserve (by the beach) or James Meehan Reserve (by the lagoon).
Getting to Dee Why
Dee Why is about a 20 minute drive from Chatswood via Warringah Road, or 15 minute drive from Mosman coming via Military Road over the Spit Bridge.
There is a car park located at James Meehan Reserve. Unless you have a Council parking permit for free parking, for everyone else it’s Pay & Display. The cost is currently:
- Monday to Friday: $5 an hour or $8 all day
- Weekends: $25 all day
There is also free street parking on the nearby streets that lead down to the beach, which is another great option if you don’t mind a short walk.
If you’re looking at public transport options, bus is another way to get to Dee Why. Visit Transport NSW for timetables.