Sunshine Beach and neighbouring Marcus Beach are on the Sunshine Coast, 115 km north of Brisbane and immediately south of Noosa Heads. Both are the product of successful real-estate developers, Alfred Grant Pty Ltd and TM Burke Pty Ltd, in the 1950s-60s.

Sunshine Beach is reached by David Low Way, a coastal road jointly financed by the State Government and the developers, the latter gaining generous subdivision approvals from the government and Noosa Shire.

Despite the suburb's proximity to the Noosa/Lake Weyba National Park, Sunshine Beach has been criticised for the lack of neighbourhood recreation space. It provides most of the educational facilities for Noosa - Sunshine Beach, State (1982) and Catholic (1990) primary schools and a high school (1992). There are also two churches, a campus of the University of the Sunshine Coast, a drive-in shopping centre and surf life-saving club.

For population census purposes Sunshine Beach was included with Marcus Beach and Peregian Beach, and their combined figures have been:

 areaCensus DatePopulation
Sunshine Beach
Marcus Beach
Peregian Beach
19968862
 20019614
Sunshine Beach20062359
 20112288