A bit under two hours drive from Brisbane, Peregian offers a beautiful beach -- and lots of other fun things to do.
I grew up on the Sunshine Coast, and Peregian was always one of our favourite places to go. It's a different kind of beach from Noosa -- instead of rocky headlands and small bays, it has long, sandy stretches that you can wander and explore. I have many memories of collecting shells, examining driftwood, and watching crabs scurry into their holes.
I also have great memories of swimming at Peregian, and that's still one of its main attractions. It's an east-facing beach (like Sunshine Beach to the north), which means it can be a bit blowy. But, on a good day, you get great waves at Peregian, and you won't be competing with the crowds that you find at a lot of better-known beaches. It's also safe and patrolled, with flags for swimmers and other craft.
If you have children, as I do, Peregian's long, straight stretches mean that you can let them explore on their own while still keeping them in sight. My boys (now 8 and 10) love having the freedom to wander and dig and paddle over long distances.
They also love the skatebowl that's in the park just behind the dunes -- which attracts everybody from 3-year-old grommets to grown-up skateboarders. I was a bit apprehensive at first -- my kids like their scooters, but they're no expert trick-riders -- but everybody is made welcome and the behaviour is generally considerate. Most users are male, but the few girls I've seen using the skatebowl have also been left in peace to do their thing.
If you have smaller kids, the park also includes a big open area and a playground in front of the surf club. The surf club does meals on the back deck overlooking the dunes and beach (kids' meals available), and often has live entertainment. The surf club also coordinates regular markets in the park.
A short walk from the park is Peregian Village square, which has lots of good places to eat and some interesting shops. Wahoo fish and chips does both an a-la-carte menu and good takeaway fish and chips. We've bought takeaway there a few times and taken it to the grassy square and enjoyed it on our picnic blanket.
You can also get pizza at Zachary's (a bit expensive, but quite nice), and bought very good pastries at Baked Poetry bakery (again, a bit expensive but very good). The pies from the Peregian Beach Bakery are a cut above the ordinary, and the ice-creams at Caribbean Dreams gelati bar are family favourites. You can also take a picnic to eat in the park.
If you're up for some shopping, there are quite a few clothes and homewares shops in the village area, along with some other fun places to browse. It's all self-contained and pedestrian-friendly so, once you've parked, you don't need to drive again. And it's a lot less frantic than Noosa on a busy day.
Dog-owners will be pleased to know that the park and village area are dog-friendly, with containers of water everywhere for Fido. There's also a dog-permitted beach a couple of minutes drive from the main beach, off Lorikeet Drive. (You can't take your dog onto the main Peregian Beach.)
If you're dog-free, you could also consider a walk in the Peregian section of Noosa National Park, a few minutes drive away. The 1km Ocean Track runs through wallum heath to the beach.
If you want to say overnight, I can recommend Horizons apartments, which I've covered in its own review on Weekend Notes. Otherwise, you can leave Brisbane in the morning, have a great day swimming, skating, eating, and exploring, and head home happy in the evening with minimal stress.