Can I swim at Airlie Beach?

If you’re planning a trip to Airlie Beach, you might be wondering if it’s safe to swim. The short answer is yes — but only if you’re aware of the risks, follow local advice and observe warning signs.

Where can you swim in Airlie Beach?

One of the most popular swimming spots is the Airlie Beach Lagoon on the oceanfront. This large swimming pool is filled with chlorinated saltwater and is patrolled by lifeguards. There are designated swimming lanes, shallow areas to relax and a children’s pool. There are also grassy picnic areas, barbeques and changing room facilities (all free to use).

You can also swim at Boathaven Beach near the Port of Airlie Marina and Canonvale Beach, which is 3km west of the town. Currently, lifeguards don't patrol these beaches, but there are stinger nets to protect you from jellyfish. It’s recommended to swim only in the designated areas to stay safe.

When is stinger season?

Stinger season is from November to May, when large populations of box and Irukandji jellyfish arrive with the warmer weather. Getting stung by one of these guys can be extremely painful or even deadly. The local council created the Airlie Beach Lagoon for this reason – it's free from stingers and is the safest place to swim.

There are also stinger nets at Boathaven and Canonvale Beach for most of the year. If you're swimming in unprotected areas, it’s recommended to wear a stinger suit to protect your body, arms and legs. Your hands, feet and head will still be exposed, so take extra caution when in the water.

Are there crocodiles at Airlie Beach?

Crocodiles prefer murky, dirty waters, so it’s extremely rare to see one at Airlie Beach, although it is possible. The inlet to Proserpine River (26km south of Airlie Beach) is home to crocs, but they don’t usually venture too far from here. Be croc-wise and follow local advice to stay safe.

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