The town has several beaches which are popular for surfing. It is a resort popular with both domestic and international tourists, including backpackers, who travel along the Australian coast; the scenery also attracts skydivers. The area is also noted for its wildlife, with the whale watching industry a significant contributor to the local economy.
An ocean way runs from the centre of town to the Cape Byron lighthouse. This allows visitors to walk and cycle to the lighthouse.
Temperate and tropical waters merge at Byron Bay, making it a popular area for scuba diving and snorkelling. Most diving is done at Julian Rocks which is part of the recently established Cape Byron Marine Park and only a few minutes boat ride from Main Beach.
Byron Bay also lies close to subtropical rainforests, and areas such as the Nightcap National Park with the Minyon Falls are all within easy reach of the town.
Byron Bay is now also a popular destination for Schoolies week during late November and early December.
Byron Bay also has a number of regular markets including a weekly farmers' market at the Butler Street Reserve every Thursday with over 70 local farmers selling fresh produce. There is also a Byron Community Market held on the same site on the first Sunday of each month and the Artisan Market held on Saturday evenings at Railway Park from October to Easter. There are three annual specialist Beachside Markets held in January, Easter and September.
Events held at Byron Bay include yoga retreats, pagan gatherings, music festivals such as the East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival at Easter and Splendour in the Grass, the Byron Bay Writers Festival, the Byron Bay Film Festival, Byron Bay Surf Festival, Byron Spirit Festival and the Byron Underwater Festival.
Splendour in the Grass
Considered to be Australia's biggest winter music festival, Splendour has evolved from a boutique one day festival held at Belongil Fields on the outskirts of Byron to a three day extravaganza of big name bands a new Australian music now held on a dedicated site 30 minutes north of Byron. Splendour is usually held on the last weekend of July or the first weekend in August.
A bus station in Jobson Street is serviced by Greyhound Australia, NSW Train Link and Premier Motor Services coach services from Sydney and Brisbane.
Much work has been done to the Pacific Highway making for a more enjoyable drive. Whenever driving long distances, driver fatigue should be avoided by sharing the driving and taking rest breaks every 2 hours. With breaks, Byron Bay is about a 9 hour drive from Sydney and about 2 hour drive from Brisbane.