Be social

As a major tourist destination, there is a huge choice of places to stay in Cairns with the full range of budget options. However, if you prefer a more seaside holiday vibe rather than being in a city, you may prefer staying in one of the city’s northern beach suburbs.

Cairns is certainly a beautiful city with gorgeous views along the Esplanade, as well as featuring a fantastic (but man-made) free lagoon pool on the foreshore, but it doesn’t have a beach.

So if you’re more of a ‘sand-between-your-toes’ beachy kind of person then you might want to consider staying outside the city centre.

The closest, and probably most attractive beaches with places to stay in Cairns, are Palm Cove and Trinity Beach. Both are a short drive from the city centre and feature trendy cafes and an abundance of accommodation options.

Palm Cove has been a tourist hot spot for quite a few years, whereas Trinity Beach is more of an up and coming area to stay. They each have their own vibe so it really comes down to personal preference.

If you are a foodie who likes luxury and sophistication, you’ll probably like Palm Cove.

If you prefer to experience Cairns more as a local would, then you will probably prefer Trinity Beach.

palm cove

palm cove

Palm Cove is a northern suburb of Cairns about 30 minutes drive from the city centre.

In many ways it’s like a mini-Port Douglas in that most of the resorts are 4 or 5 star, there’s a great choice of good quality restaurants and it’s has a relaxed yet sophisticated seaside village vibe.

The focal point of Palm Cove is Williams Esplanade, which runs along the beachfront. With views across the ocean and enormous Melaleuca trees, it is extremely photogenic and not surprisingly, very popular for tropical beach weddings.

The general standard of accommodation in Palm Cove is high; this is not a budget destination. If you’re travelling with children, there’s a good choice of self-catering apartments such as Peppers, Sea Temple and the Mantra.

Travel NQ Top Tips:

  • For a good breakfast in a Queenslander, go for breakfast at Vivo’s
  • For great coffee and juices in a relaxed casual setting, go to the Chill Cafe
  • For beachfront dining try award winning restaurant, NuNu’s

trinity beach

If you like the idea of one of the quieter beach places to stay in Cairns that isn’t so touristy and commercial, then Trinity Beach might be for you.

It hasn’t got Palm Cove’s boutiques and majestic Melaleuca trees but the beachfront is still beautiful and a couple of restaurants here are very popular with the locals.

More importantly, you are far more likely to bump into locals here than tourists.

Since it’s less touristy there are less accommodation options in Trinity Beach but there are some good self-catering apartments and houses available to rent.

Travel NQ Top Tips:

  • For a nice lunch on a Queenslander deck with seabreezes, go to locals favourite L’Unico (on the corner)
  • For good value casual dining with the kids go to the Trinity Hotel