Despite its location on the Queensland coast, Cairns doesn’t have any beaches within the city (the closest are just to the north). But you can still enjoy the sun and sand downtown at the Cairns Lagoon. This 50,000-square-foot lagoon is the highlight of the Cairns Esplanade and the perfect place to relax, swim and sunbathe without worrying about the box jellyfish and saltwater crocodiles that sometimes makes appearances in the near-shore waters.
With a maximum depth of only five feet, it’s a safe and welcoming spot for kids, visitors and locals alike, complete with fountains, sunshades, sandy beaches and nearby lawns and tables that are perfect for a midday picnic overlooking Trinity Harbour. The myriad shops and restaurants of the Esplanade surround the lagoon, so it’s easy to enjoy an hour or two by the water amid a day of shopping and sightseeing in the city.
The Cairns Lagoon is free and open to the public. Lifeguards are on duty, and bathrooms and showers can be found nearby. The lagoon is open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., except Wednesdays, when it opens at noon to allow for weekly maintenance.