The weather is warming up and we're all getting ready for those lazy summer days by the beach. This year, though, do something a little different with the family and head to some of our smaller watering holes. We've compiled a list of our best bays and quiet inlets for the entire clan to explore and enjoy. They're often far less crowded than the bigger beaches and the calmer waves are perfect for little ones who are only just starting to find their sea legs.

Best Bays and Quiet Inlets for Families - Callala Bay & Beach

1. Callala Beach

Settle in for some family fun at Callala Bay & Callala Beach. These charming coastal villages are nestled side by side along the northern shores of Jervis Bay and are excellent swimming spots for families with young kids. Callala Beach is a peaceful haven that's often quiet and uncrowded, even though it's actually the longest beach in the bay. Famous for its sparkling, white sands, gentle waves and inviting waters, it's a great place for a relaxing swim and a family beach picnic. A stone's throw to the north, you'll find Callala Bay - an excellent spot for the entire family to snorkel through the pristine sea or explore the surrounds by kayak. Be sure to keep an eye out for our gorgeous pods of dolphins who love to frequent this stretch of coastline.

2. Green Patch Beach

For a lovely escape into nature, it doesn't get much better than Green Patch Beach. This beach and campsite is located in wildlife-filled Booderee National Park and there are plenty of activities that will keep the entire family busy and entertained all day long. Go swimming, fishing and snorkelling in the unspoilt water and then cook up a storm on the barbecues to keep fuelling the adventure for the day. Access to the beach is super easy and the carpark is just a short walk away. The campground is also well equipped with facilities such as toilets, hot showers and infant changing rooms, making it easy for parents to sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning views.

Best Bays and Quiet Inlets for Families - Green Patch Beach
Best Bays and Quiet Inlets for Families - Scottish Rocks

3. Scottish Rocks

Not far away in Booderee, you'll find a little piece of paradise at Scottish Rocks. It's wonderfully secluded but still only a short walk in from the parking area, an awesome bush to beach experience as you move through the shrub and emerge onto the sands. The water is soothingly calm, making it perfect for younger kids who don't want to battle with waves. There are some rocky outcrops to explore along the beach and a shady spot under the trees is a great place to perch for the day and take it easy with a picnic filled with delicious local produce. For those who'd like to spread their beach visit over a couple of days, the nearby campground at Bristol Point is nice and convenient and a lovely spot to wake up to a sunrise over Jervis Bay.

4. Moona Moona Beach

This stunningly serene inlet is an awesome spot for some family fun in the sun. For those travelling with young kids, Moona Moona Beach at low tide is ideal for the little ones to splash about in the calm water and build endless sandcastles on the shore. For the older and more adventurous children, jumping off the bridge at high tide is always a blast. The beach lies just north of Moona Moona Creek and both are fantastic swimming spots for anyone who doesn't feel quite comfortable with big beach waves. There are barbecues nearby where you can grill up some family lunch, or head into centre of Huskisson to grab a bite from one of many delicious eateries.

Best Bays and Quiet Inlets for Families - Moona Moona Creek
best bays & quiet inlets - Tilbury Cove, Culburra Beach

5. Tilbury Cove

You may have already been to the surfing hotspot of Culburra Beach but did you know about Tilbury Cove? Located on the eastern end of Culburra, this quiet beach backs onto Penguin Head and is a lovely, sheltered swimming spot. There's a nice grassy area to set up for the day and lay down a picnic blanket, plus the beach is also dog-friendly so every single member can join in on the fun. The nearby park has a barbecue area equipped with picnic tables and public toilets, making things nice and easy for parents.

6. Ulladulla Harbour Outer Beach & Sea Pool

Located at the southern end of the harbour, Ulladulla Harbour Outer Beach & Sea Pool is a family favourite for travellers visiting the Shoalhaven's southern region. This little known gem has calm waters and the 50-metre ocean pool is an excellent place for the little ones to swim safely in the sea. We recommend grabbing some fresh fish and chips from the local shops, strolling along the boardwalk and tcuking into your meal by the water. For anyone who's keen to learn a bit more about this region's archeological history, take part in the the Gondwana Coast Fossil Walk where you can spot preserved marine fossils that are 270 million years old! It's a great little activity to add onto your stay in Ulladulla if you have some extra time.

Best Bays and Quiet Inlets for Families - Ulladulla Harbour
Best Bays and Quiet Inlets for Families - Palm Beach (Sanctuary Point)

7. Palm Beach, Sanctuary Point

Bring all of the watersport gear and spend a relaxing day at Palm Beach. Located in Sanctuary Point, these shallow and peaceful waters rest on the shores of St Georges Basin. It's an excellent swimming hole for kids but also for anyone who wants to venture out on a kayak or stand up paddle board. This area is famous for its fishing though so why not teach the young ones how to cast a line? It's a great activity that the whole family can do together. Who knows, you might even go home with some freshly caught flathead, usually in abundance around these waterways.

My Shoalhaven Trip

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