15 Weekend escape ideas for the whole family

15 Weekend Escape ideas for the whole family to enjoy

Already thinking about your next family weekend escape? Choosing your ideal destination can be tricky with so many to pick from. Where does your family like to go to relax and unwind for the weekend? Or maybe you are up for some adventuring around this big country? The breathtaking mountains, a sun-drenched beach, or maybe you enjoy the hustle of a trip to the city.

Sometimes the perfect location can be just up the road or at least within a couple of hours, the ideal spot for a weekend getaway. Whether its school holiday time, a long weekend or you simply want to escape for a few days and enjoy some family time, the East coast of Australia is full of holiday hot-spots that are waiting to be enjoyed.

From the sunny shores and adventure parks of Queensland to the natural beauty of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, the team at Play Happy have put together 15 great family weekend escape ideas on the east coast of Australia. So for your next holiday with kids, pick a destination below and start exploring where to stay and find out what to do while you're there.

What to pack for your weekend escape

While you’re planning your trip, don't forget to think about what you’d like to pack so you can really enjoy your holiday. What season will you be visiting, the winter or summer? Are you a minimalist or like to bring everything along, just in case? Better still why not download our free Travel Checklist so you don't forget anything, just print it out and check off each needed item as you pack it, there’s even space to customise your list, simple.

Free Travel checklist

Tips for traveling with kids

Comfortable car seats for kids - Make sure your kids seats are restrained properly, and they have adequate foot room

Car seat organiser - These come in handy to keep little hands busy and everything within easy reach.

Activity and colouring books

Crayons, pencils and pens

Road-trip games and books

Magnetic car games

Extra nappies/wipes/clothes/quiet toys

Sickness bags - Especially if you're taking a windy road, or you have a child susceptible to getting car sick

Ball, frisbee or small kite

Stainless steel water bottles - Travelling in summer? Pop a few ice cubes in the water to keep it cool and everyone well hydrated.

Snack container with separate compartments for healthy snacks

  • sandwiches
  • grapes (cut in half
  • grain chips/popcorn/corn chips
  • muesli bars
  • hard fruit
  • rice crackers
  • sultanas

Pick the best time to drive

When considering your drive for your weekend escape, think about how long your trip will take, how many breaks you may have to stop for and the season. Will you be travelling into the blazing hot sun, or alternatively will it get dark early? Watch out for those kangaroos!

Victoria weekend escape

A diverse state to travel, Victoria boasts many idyllic and seasonal vacation spots for the whole family. From dense green national parks, sprawling coastlines and snow peaked mountains, there's an array of variety for any family and all within a days drive.

Head to the High Country for wine tasting; get indulgent in Daylesford with a luxury boutique stay; take a rejuvenating dip in the Murray River, or tap into Victoria's history at the Goldfields. Where ever you head, Victoria is a boundless playground to explore.

Many picturesque photo opportunities are offered along the way, for instance:

Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley weekend escape

The Grampians

The Grampians weekend escape


Lorne is set on the Great Ocean Road between Aireys Inlet and Apollo Bay, and is the exemplary seaside holiday retreat. Within two hours drive of Melbourne, it's earned a reputation as a family-oriented escape known for safe beaches art and of course surfing.

Phillip Island

Phillip Island penguins weekend escape

Falls Creek

Falls Creek is a resort town in northeastern Victoria,known as an alpine and cross-country ski center in winter, but you can also enjoy mountain biking, hiking, and fishing in the off season.

New South Wales

Beaches, mountains, coastlines and rivers; New South Wales definitely delivers in the holiday arena. If it’s the rugged outback you love or the bustling, busy iconic Sydney, your next family weekend getaway is waiting for you here. With brilliant public transport and fantastic freeways whichever way you choose to see it, Australia's most populous state is a long-standing favourite among travellers near and far, try these:

Palm Beach

Palm Beach is a suburb in the Northern Beaches region of Sydney, and is located 41 kilometres north of the Sydney central business district which is only 90 minutes by public transport from the city centre. The narrow peninsula is surrounded by pristine waters on three sides, a perfect place to learn to surf or swim.


Cooling off in Kiama

Jarvis Bay

Whale watching in Jervis Bay

Southern Highlands

Located midway between Sydney and Canberra and just over an hour from the South Coast, the Southern Highlands is known for its cooler climate making it the place for your next short break. From rural landscapes to historic country villages and towns, Cricket lovers will love the Bradman museum and late September sees the Corbett Gardens transformed into a Tulip paradise.

Blue Mountains

Less than 2 hours from Sydney there are many fun family things to do in the Blue Mountains. Scenic World offers the ultimate adventure with breathtaking views of the region including the iconic Three Sisters. Trees Adventure is Australia's premier eco-adventure experience feature exciting and challenging courses high in the tree canopy, definetly a must do in the area.


It’s not called the Sunshine State for no reason. Queensland is a perfect holiday destination for families. If it’s time to kick off your shoes and unwind, then consider a getaway in Queensland, from the Daintree Rainforest to the Great Barrier Reef, from the Gold Coast to the Whitsundays, Queensland will tick all the boxes. Whether you enjoy swimming, diving, trekking, cruising or exploring natural wonders, then Queensland has it all. Try these top 5 must see destinations:


Cairns is a modern and vibrant city and the gateway to explore the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest. Cairns is an ideal base to explore all that Tropical North Queensland has on offer.The Kuranda Scenic Rail, Skyrail or rainforest boardwalks will be a favourite for nature lovers, or why not visit one of the wildlife parks or try white water rafting.


The capital of Queensland set on the Brisbane River, the city of Brisbane has something for everyone as this list shows.

Gold Coast

The beautiful Gold Coast

Hervey Bay

Fraser Island by Kayak


Made up of 74 mostly uninhabited islands, the Whitsundays showcases the fabulous tropical coast of Australia. Whether you base yourself from Airely Beach or one of the resorts on an island, you and your family will be raving about this holiday for years to come. Some of the latest Google reviews are calling the Whitsundays 'Pure Paradise' and 'Truly amazing'.

What are you waiting for?

Travelling with your family be it a month-long holiday or a quick weekend trip, can really create wonderful memories to cherish for a lifetime. We all need to take time out to recharge on occasion, so why not start planning your next family holiday to one of these top family-friendly destinations, and print out your free Travel Checklist, so you’ll have peace of mind that you have everything you need to enjoy yourself.

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