People have been coming to Mission Beach to top up their tans since the 1920s, when the first holiday homes were built along its shores. Development increased in the 1960s and today this is a thriving, affluent oceanfront suburb. Thankfully, though, it hasn’t lost its old-fashioned charm. Stroll along the boardwalk that runs the length of the beach and enjoy the relaxed, carnival atmosphere courtesy of street performers, roller bladers and skateboarders, and the occasional artist selling jewelry or other crafts.
People-watching is a sport in itself at Mission Beach. Venture into the breakers with a boogie board, rent a bike or blades and weave amongst the crowds, or join in an impromptu volleyball game. Just half a mile (805 meters) off-shore lies the remains of shipwrecks, and a number of dive companies will take you down for a look. If you prefer to see your fish on the end of a line, then cast away from the jetty at the south end of the beach.
Belmont Park is the main commercial attraction, featuring the Giant Dipper, an old-fashioned wooden roller coaster. On the Octotron, you control the speed and direction of your ride, while Vertical Plunge will take you straight up and down on a thrilling three-story ride. Kids love the gentler pace of Tilt-A-Whirl, and all the family will enjoy bumper cars and the Liberty Carousel. Admission to the park is free; purchase unlimited ride wristbands at the ticket desk.
There’s no need to dress up for a night out at Mission Beach, as the bars and restaurants all have a relaxed vibe, in keeping with the area’s origins as a vacation destination. The beach is well-serviced with toilets and showers, but parking fills up early in the day. It would be wise to make your way here via bike or public transport.