I remember when I was a kid, we would pack up the car and drive into the Adelaide Hills with no destination in mind. Every time we got to an intersection we’d take turns in saying left, right or straight and we’d just see where we’d end up. I remember ending up at Lady Bay once and Strathalbyn another time – it was fun.

If destination unknown isn’t your cup of tea, here are a few of our favourite day trips from Adelaide that will get you home before bedtime.

Hahndorf

Around 30 minutes drive from Adelaide CBD. Stretch the legs and grab a coffee and a quick play in Stirling before continuing up the hill to Hahndorf. The whole family will enjoy a stroll down the beautiful main street where you can stop to look in all the boutique shops, pop in to the Hahndorf Fairy Garden, play a game of Mini Golf, enjoy a delicious homemade icecream, chocolate dipped strawberry or bag of lollies from one of the yummy lolly shops. Work off that big german lunch with a visit to a playground just off Main Street, the Alec Johnson Park. You’ll also have enough time to include a visit to one of our favourite kids attractions in SA the Hahndorf Farm Barn.

Gumeracha

Around 60 minutes drive from Adelaide CBD in our gorgeous Adelaide Hills, why not combine a trip to the National Motor Museum with a visit to the Toy Factory and Animal Farm at The Big Rocking Horse. Kids for generations have loved a visit to the famous rocking horse and even after all these years it is still a fantastic trip! Enjoy your hills day trip with a visit to the Cudlee Creek Cafe for a coffee and snack too, or maybe continue onwards to the Barossa Adventure Station to try out the fantastic new playground.

Victor Harbor

Around 90 minutes drive from Adelaide CBD. A great trip for a sunny day you can be running around on the beaches of the Fleurieu Peninsula before lunchtime. Ride the Cockle train at Goolwa, jump on the horsedrawn tram to Granite Island, visit the Whale Centre or visit on Saturday to check out the Victor Harbor Farmers Markets. Victor has a billion fab playgrounds too, why not try the Youth Park on the foreshore for the older kids, or the fantastic GT Fisher (Train Playground) right near the Granite Island causeway and amusements. Oh and no trip to this area would be complete without a treat from Port Elliot bakery, and Adelaide institution and the place where baked goods are delivered straight from heaven. For more on our Family Friendly Victor ideas click here!

St Kilda

Located about 45 minutes from Adelaide, the St Kilda Playground is a fun day out for kids from about age 3+.  There are lots of interesting forts, slides and play equipment to enjoy, and the playground has been recently renovated. There isn’t a lot around the playground, so pack a lunch and stay for the day, or check out our northern family friendly places to eat and plan your day. It is such a massive precinct with so much for the kids to explore….oh and check out the Pirate Ship too! It is a beauty. 

McLaren Vale

You’re thinking a wine region is just for adults, right? Wrong! In recent years McLaren Vale has fast developed a reputation as a very family friendly region to visit and being only 45 minutes south of Adelaide it’s a perfect day trip!

Choose from pizza, icecream and views at Beach Road Wines; build your own platter and a play on the lawns at Doc Adams; or swings with a view at the playground at Gemtree! If none of that tickles your fancy, Woodstock Wines have free kangaroo feeding daily at 11.30am, and Maxwell Wines even have a maze!

Semaphore

Around 30 minutes drive from Adelaide CBD. Semaphore is a hive of activity on a sunny day. Take a slide down the Semaphore waterslides, a trip on the gorgeous old Semaphore carousel or pack the bikes and enjoy a ride along the Coast Park path. There’s also the popular Semaphore Steam Train making it’s 35 minute journey to Fort Glanville on weekends and public holidays

Port Noarlunga

If you’re after a beach destination Port Noarlunga is around a 45 minute drive from Adelaide CBD. Pack the snorkels, the flippers and the sunscreen and enjoy a day on the sand and in the water. Grab some fish and chips for lunch, walk around the historic town centre or pop into the Port Noarlunga RSL overlooking the beautiful Port Noarlunga beach and Esplanade Playground, then have a run around at one of Adelaides best spots for families….. Jubilee Adventure Playground!

Glenelg

Only 20 minutes drive from Adelaide CBD or why not jump on the tram from the city and head into Glenelg for the day. Check out the Glenelg Foreshore Playground, or the incredible brand new Wigley Reserve Playground, slide down the waterslides at The Beachhouse or if you visit in January check out The Big Wedgie – Australia’s Biggest Inflatable Waterslide that will be set up in Colley Reserve until the 5th of February. Hungry from all that playing? Of course you are. Check out Doughballs Pizza Place for lunch!

Belair

About 20 minutes from the CBD, Belair National Park is a great destination for kids of any ages. There are plenty of ovals, BBQ spaces and tennis courts, plus walking trails and bike paths. The adventure playground is a winner with kids who enjoy climbing, running- and who are good at avoiding kookaburras who steal food! The Belair Hotel has a great indoor playground for a lunch stop and we also love the Hawthorndene Playground and BMX tracks which is about 5 minutes drive from the National Park.

Lake Bumbunga

If you’re up for a real adventure pack up the car and head 2 hours north of Adelaide to see Adelaide’s pink lake, Lake Bumbunga up near Dublin. It can get a little slippery in the mud so be careful, but when the weather is right it looks absolutely beautiful. Planning your trip and not sure where to eat? We have a lot of family friendly places to eat out north. Check them out here. It’s so good I wrote a whole post about it! Read it here

Myponga Reservoir

The Myponga Reservoir is open for all sorts of recreational activities and is ready and waiting for you to explore!
Walk, run, cycle around bushland tracks with water views, enjoy picnics, and take in the stunning scenery at lookouts and viewing platforms and so much more. We love a good drive over the damn wall before heading up to the lookout to soak in the stunning views. Read more on this fantastic area here. Oh and make sure you check out the Myponga Nature Playground to let the kids have a run and a climb. Kids got the reservoir bug? Why not take them to SA’s largest damn wall at Mount Bold!