Burleigh Waters, a residential suburb built around several lakes, is immediately west of Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast. Until the early 1970s an extensive wetland, Stephens Swamp, came to within 700 metres of the beach between Burleigh Heads and Miami. The extreme eastern edge of the swamp bordered the Burleigh Heads drive-in cinema, now the Burleigh Town Marketplace shopping centre.
Residential development travelled from east (Burleigh, Pelican, Miami Lakes, c1972) to west. An undeveloped part between the shopping centre and Marymount Catholic College (1968) remained so until the late 1990s. It has been developed mostly with detached houses, some with waterfront position, mixed with townhouses and units. The estate was marketed as Burleigh Cove. Overall, 70.5% of the dwellings were detached houses and 21.5% were townhouses at the 2011 census.
Burleigh Waters' community is among the higher median age on the Gold Coast generally, indicating retirees. Comparative median ages of residents are: Burleigh Heads 40 years; Burleigh Waters 40; Elanora 41; and Varsity Lakes 32 (2011 census).
There are State primary schools in Burleigh Waters (1987) and Burleigh Heads (1917) and State high schools are further away in Palm Beach, Mermaid Waters and Varsity Lakes. Bond University is closer. Marymount Catholic primary and secondary schools each have high enrolments.
In addition to the shopping centre next to Burleigh Cove there is a local centre in Christine Avenue, near the community centre, library and football club.
Burleigh Waters' census populations have been: