Your weekend search for nearby places to take a dip can end right here thanks to our guide to the very best swimming spots in Sydney.
While most head to populated beaches to cool off when the weather warms up, we have a few under-the-radar alternatives for those seeking something a little more secluded when they bash ‘swimming near me’ into their phone of a sun-soaked morning. Here you’ll find the best swimming spots in Sydney that you should know about – but also keep to yourself.
1. Wylie’s Baths, South Coogee
You may be familiar with the popular pool that flanks the Surf Life Saving Club on the South side of Coogee Beach. You might also be familiar with the McIver’s Ladies Baths – a women’s-only ocean refuge hidden in the cove a little further up.
But Wylie’s Baths is a little more discreet. It’s one of Sydney’s oldest and most beautiful tidal pools but it’s overlooked by many Coogee-goers for sandier pastures. We can’t imagine why. The blue and orange panelling just screams coastal vintage – as do the crowds of retirees found bathing here at all times of the week.
Wylie’s Baths showcase the most breathtaking tidal pools in Sydney. (Image: Destination NSW)
2. Dawn Fraser Baths, Balmain
Inner Westies have grown up swimming down at ‘Dawny’ longer than any other pools in the city. The Dawn Fraser Baths in Balmain were built in the 1880s, making it the oldest pool and swimming club in the country.
Open during the spring and summer months, its most recent facelift was unveiled in 2021 and weekend crowds are still thicker than ever, cementing it as one of the best swimming spots in Sydney.
Paying homage to champion swimmer Dawn Fraser, the glorious tidal saltwater pool is located at the base of Elkington Park, offering netted harbour dips, a small beach perfect for little ones, a kiosk and plenty of unshaded restored decking to sloth upon.
Cool off at Dawn Fraser Baths. (Image: Destination NSW)
3. Greenwich Baths, Greenwich
You’ll smell the hot chips laced with chicken salt before you even reach this secret swimming spot in Sydney’s North Shore, which rolls out a string of true-blue kiosk classics as city views twinkle in the distance.
Greenwich Baths consists of a small patch of sand complete with kids’ toys and netted swimming during the warmer months if you can secure some space, or one of the VIP sun loungers.
You’ll need to get right to the tip of Greenwich Point to find the place. There’s a bit of street parking but if the sun’s cranking ditch the car and hop on a train to Wollstonecraft Station.
Have a refreshing dip in the Greenwich Baths. (Image: Destination NSW)
4. Kutti Beach, Vaucluse
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d been given the wrong directions to Kutti Beach in Vaucluse as literal coastal holes in the wall are pretty hard to come by. Nestled at the end of Wharf Road, Kutti is accessible by a narrow set of stairs between a beach box and a white picket fence.
Most people who come to this hidden harbor oasis, hands down one of the best swimming spots in Sydney, are locals, many of whom have houses backing onto the sand. It’s also a popular dog beach for the area, so don’t be surprised if you see one paddling next to you while you’re taking a dip.
5. Great Mackerel Beach, Northern Beaches
While a little harder to get to than many of its listicle counterparts, Great Mackerel Beach more than rewards those who make the journey.
Go kayaking on Mackerel Beach, Pittwater. (Image: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW)
To access this truly secluded paradise, one must make the journey to the far more populated Palm Beach. Once there, book a ferry or water taxi to this very best swimming spot in Sydney.
After a glacial ten minutes by boat, you’ll find a place with no roads, no cars, patchy internet access, extensive bush walks, impossibly beautiful waters and just 40 permanent residents. All this, just 43 kilometres from the city.
Bask in tranquility with the rolling waves on Mackerel Beach, Pittwater. (Image: Andrew Gregory; Destination NSW)
6. Maccallum Pool, Cremorne Point
Take your phone to the pool with you when you’re taking a dip — the views at this unbelievable swimming spot are pure world-class and you’ll want to capture them.
Bathe yourself in Maccallum Seawater Pool, Cremorne Point. (Image: Destination NSW)
Located on the western end of Cremorne Point, Maccallum Pool is perched right on Sydney Harbour and you can spy the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from every angle. Better still, there’s 33 metres of water to be swum plus it’s open all year round which means it doubles as a million-dollar picnic spot no matter the season.
Witness the sun rising over Sydney Harbour at Maccallum Seawater Pool, Cremorne Point. (Image: Destination NSW)
7. Resolute Beach, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
The Resolute Track, located in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, is a sight to behold. Not only will it take you to two major Indigenous sites and incredible Aboriginal rock art, but it also leads to the secluded Resolute Beach – a small stretch of sand flanked by bushland, calm water and practically nobody else.
Soak in the emerald-green waters of Resolute Beach, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. (Image: Destination NSW)
A swim in the emerald green water will grant panoramic views of Barrenjoey Headland and Pittwater. For an even more exclusive experience, check out the neighbouring West Head Beach.
Enjoy some alone time at Resolute Beach, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. (Image: Destination NSW)
8. Jellybean Pool, Glenbrook
Leave your car at the Glenbrook Information Centre and start the short journey downhill to Jellybean Pool , passing lush foliage and sandstone cliffs along the way. Once you’re well and truly warmed up, you’ll be more than deserving of a dip in the calm waters.
Many veterans bring lilos to help them lounge the day away, too. Alternatively, bring a picnic blanket for one of the sandy patches, or lie back in the shady gumtrees at one of the best swimming spots located just over an hour out of the city.
Lay your picnic blanket on the sand at Jellybean Pool, Glenbrook. (Image: Andrew Fysh)
9. Bents Basin State Conservation Area, Greendale
A popular spot for camping and fishing, Bents Basin State Conservation Area is also an accessible, beautiful swimming option. Housed in a well-established National Park, spend your day lazing on inflatables, paddling to your heart’s content or jumping off a popular four-metre rock face.
While there isn’t much of a beach in the traditional sense, there are certainly spots to sit and lounge. We suggest bringing your own towel or picnic blanket to make a day out of one of the best swimming spots in Sydney, right near Penrith and Camden.
The water flows from Bents Basin into the Nepean River. (Image: Destination NSW)
10. Clifton Gardens, Mosman
If you can navigate the windy hills and narrow roads of deep Mosman, you’ll come across beautiful Clifton Gardens, a secluded beach, picnic area and playground in Sydney’s North Shore. A netted portion of Sydney Harbour provides calm and scenic swimming conditions, making it a huge hit with parents and toddlers.
There’s also a jetty where older kids love to launch off from and there’s a section that allows for dogs to frolic off-leash so make sure you arrive early – it’s a local favourite.
Go frolicking on the beach at Clifton Gardens, Mosman. (Image: Wilford Peloquin)
11. Prince Alfred Pool, Surry Hills
While Brisbane has its own inner-city cool-down zone, Streets Beach, Sydney proper boasts the equally idyllic Prince Alfred Park Pool. Housed next to Central station within Prince Alfred Park, the 50-metre lap pool is designed to match its surroundings so well that if you’re passing from the road, you may never spot it.
This iconic facility also offers beaming overhead sun, a toddler splash pad and a large, shaded area. On weekends, it comes alive with swimmers and unwinders from all demographics, happily sharing this urban oasis cleverly sheltered from the outside world.
Swim to your heart’s content in the 50-metre lap pool of Prince Alfred, Surry Hills.
12. Clarence Dam, Clarence
A truly secluded spot, you won’t find much about Clarence Dam unless it comes from the mouth of a local. A popular climbing area, the dam is good for a lazy inflatable float, low-key swim or adrenaline-filled cliff jump.
While not exclusively adults-only, the jagged cliff edges and lack of patrol don’t make for the safest of kid-friendly conditions. To get there, drive up through Clarence and turn right over crossing the bridge over the railway and past the turn off to the Clarence Colliery.
13. Murray Rose Pool, Double Bay
Scoot up New South Head Road towards Rose Bay from Double Bay and you’ll spy a gorgeous old sandstone building, the Woollahra Municipal Council. But the real delight lies beyond its steep staircase down towards the shore.
Murray Rose Pool is a great place to unwind. (Image: Destination NSW)
Murray Rose Pool, formerly Redleaf Pool, is a tidal enclosure popular amongst the city’s most beautiful people. As million-dollar yachts bobble against the city skyline, tranquil swimming conditions attract young families, serious sunbakers and chilled locals, making the whole experience beyond glamorous. There’s a great kiosk as you climb your way back up the stairs to reward the thirsty work you’ll put in getting there.
Feel the soft sand beneath your toes at Murray Rose Pool, Double Bay. (Image: Destination NSW)
14. Collins Flat Beach, Manly
Manly is world renowned for many of its nirvana-like swimming havens. Surprisingly, however, Collins Flat Beach isn’t one of them. With scenic harbour views and a location nestled between beautiful North Head and Little Manly Cove, you’ll wonder why you’ve never heard of this paradise before.
There are only two car spots for parking, which makes it a bit of gamble for far-flung visitors. For those on foot, you can start your walk from Manly Beach, walking around North Head, past the equally beautiful Shelly Beach.
Collins Flat Beach is hidden away from Sydney Harbour with a beautiful waterfall. (Image: Goran Has)
15. Store Beach, Manly
If Collins Flat isn’t secluded enough for your liking, this neighbouring beach may be up your alley. Store Beach is only accessible by water, meaning you’ll need to find a kayak or boat if you want to get there. The former can be hired in Manly’s tourist-heavy town centre.
Pack lunch, water and plenty of sunscreen before making the journey. You’ll feel like you’re on your own desert island here at one of the best swimming spots in Sydney.
Store Beach is a paradise on its own. (Image: Destination NSW)
16. Bungan Beach, Newport
While Bungan Beach doesn’t lack anything in scale (it’s 600-metres in length) it does lack in visitors. This might have something to do with how hard it is to get to. There’s a long, steep hill standing between you and the water, fronted by rock platforms between Bungan and Mona Vale heads.
It’s accessible via walking down the steep private driveway (at Myola Road) to the clubhouse. Due to the lack of parking, the beach is rarely crowded. Bungan is mostly populated by surfers with waves averaging about 1.5 meters high.
Admire scenic views of Mona Vale Beach across Basin Beach and Bungan Beach. (Image: Adam Krowitz)