There's no shortage of playgrounds on the Gold Coast with almost every beach and green space having something to offer.
The people on the Goldy love their outdoors lifestyle and it's great the local council has provided ample playgrounds and facilities to keep families happy all the way up the coast and in-land. Whether you're visiting on holidays or live here, taking the kids to the playground is one of the best free things to do on the Gold Coast and a great place for kids to interact with others of similar age.
Not to mention, I always incorporate a take away coffee into the experience, I mean there's usually a cafe close by. Win-win! Also, most of the playgrounds come with BBQ and picnic facilities so not only can you get free entertainment for the kids, but you can self-cater and make a day of it.
I haven't scratched the surface yet as far as taking the kids to all the playgrounds in the region, but below are our top 5 favourites so far stretching from Southport in the north, to Coolangatta in the south.
1. Broadwater Parklands, Southport
A short 5 kilometre drive north of Surfers Paradise brings you to the impressive Broadwater Parklands, a three kilometre stretch of parklands along the foreshore in Southport. If you know where the Australia Fair shopping centre is, this park is directly across the road.
The main playground is spread out and offers plenty of equipment to keep kids going of all ages for hours, including the usual favourites like the jumping pillow, flying fox and an awesome seesaw. There's plenty of grass to run around on, bike tracks, BBQ facilities, picnic areas, Rockpool Cafe for your coffee fix, and there's swimming in the patrolled broadwater beach area in season.
At our time of visit, the ever popular Rockpools splash area was closed for annual maintenance but this place is a hit on a sunny day!
2. Kurrawa Pratten Park, Broadbeach
Right in the heart of Broadbeach and directly south of the Kurrawa Surf Club is Kurrawa Pratten Park.
Another large playground area, actually there's two equipment areas close to each other with great slides, climbing equipment, swings, a flying fox, and ample grass to kick a ball around on. There's excellent BBQ and picnic facilities and what I love about this park is your right on the beach and opposite the main cafe strip of Broadbeach.
You could spend all day here if you desired with everything at your fingertips.
3. Justins Park, Burleigh Heads
There's less actual playground equipment here at Justins Park than the two previous mentioned, but from a Daddy perspective this is my favourite park purely because of where it is.
Burleigh Heads is such a great family friendly town and this park is in the heart of everything. You've got the basic equipment like swings, slides, and monkey bars, plus plenty of BBQ and picnic facilities, but the kicker is your smack back overlooking beautiful Burleigh Beach with views all the way to Surfers Paradise.
The surf club is right there and the kiosk under the surf club is super casual and great for cheap eats. And, every Thursday afternoon at around 4pm a few locals put on this awesome free hula hoop, juggling sticks and games equipment the kids can play with. Go Burleigh!
4. Pirate Park, Palm Beach Parklands
The Pirate Park at Palm Beach Parklands is one of the most popular parks on the Gold Coast. Every time we drive past my kids are always yelling out "daddy, can we stop and play at the pirate park?!"
It's a pretty cool set up. A themed park based around a pirate ship so the kids can let their imagination run wild and bring out their inner Captain Jack Sparrow.
The park incorporates slides, tunnels, climbing equipment and it's a lovely setting right on Currumbin Cove with BBQ and grass areas.
If you're not up for a picnic there's Doon Cafe onsite open for breakfast and lunch. Did I mention I'm all about grabbing a takeaway coffee?!!
5. Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta
A smallish park as far as actual equipment goes, but we like to find the balance between playground equipment and location. You know, kids' attention spans can be short and we like to be able to walk to other things!
Queen Elizabeth Park has enough to keep the kids happy for a good period of time with swings, slides, and climbing activities, but where this park wins out is its proximity to the best of Cooly and southern beaches area.
You're positioned on absolute beachfront on Coolangatta Beach with uninterrupted views all the way to Surfers Paradise, and across the road from the main cafe strip.
The paved walkway runs right past the playground, our kids love zooming along here on their scooters, and there are ample grass areas and picnic tables for self-catering. Our kids love coming back to this park.