If you're looking for a fun holiday destination within driving distance of Perth you can go no further than Albany. This beautiful, bustling town is host to a wide range of enjoyable activities that will suit the whole family.
One of the first things you should take a look at is Albany's town centre. Compared to Perth the traffic is minimal and the roads are flanked with some lovely little shops that I've had hours of fun exploring. If you walk down to the bay you'll come across The Old Convict Gaol and the Brig Amity, a full size replica of the ship that sailed from Sydney on 9th November 1826, carrying a party under the command of Major Edmund Lockyer, who had orders to form a settlement at King George Sound. Admission to each is $5 for adults & $2.50 for children, though children under 6 are allowed into The Old Convict Gaol free. Both are a lot of fun to visit and you should go to see them at least once. When you're done exploring you can make your way back up to town for lunch/dinner. I highly recommend the Venice Pizza Bar and Restaurant near the centre of town for an absolutely delicious meal. If instead you're in the mood for coffee I would go to Gloria Jean in Albany's shopping centre.
Your next day in Albany should be spent exploring the coastline to the south. Take Frenchman's Bay road out of Albany and follow it along the coastline. Along the road you can turn off to view a variety of natural attractions; the gap, the natural bridge and the blowholes. You'll also run into Albany's Wind Farm; if the weather is good I suggest you take the wind farm walk trail to take a closer look at the powerful turbines. If you follow the road you'll eventually end up in Whale World. This attraction is indeed interesting however the price of entrance is high--- $27 for adults and $10 for children. I would only go there once if you are really interested in the whaling station, otherwise it might be a good idea to skip Whale World. You should note that the price of food at Whale World is also over-inflated, so it would be best to bring your own food with you if you intend to eat there.
Another great outing in Albany is the opportunity to explore the Princess Royal Fortress atop Mt Adelaide. The Fort contains a wide variety of exhibits relating to the Australian defence force as well as a great range of weaponry from the world wars. If your boys love playing with tanks and missiles this would be an excellent place to take them. Admission for the fort is $11 for adults and $4 for children aged 9-16. If you get tired of racing around the fort there's also a small cafe on the premises. When you're done at the fort, you might like to drive up to Mt Clarence nearby to take a look at the War Memorial and the beautiful view. If you're in Albany during whale watching season you could also stop at the lookout along Marine drive to see if there are any whales in the bay.
To fully explore what Albany has to offer, I suggest you stay there for at least two or three full days. The town is located approximately 5 hours from Perth, with the most direct route there being the Albany highway. Along the way you can stop off in the small township of Kojonup to explore their beautiful Rose Maze. Alternatively you could include Albany in a round trip of the south-west, for example on our last trip my partner and I travelled through Bunbury, Margaret River, Pemberton, Denmark and Albany.
There's a wide variety of accommodation available in Albany and you should have no trouble finding a place to suit your needs. Last time we booked our accommodation through the Albany tourist bureau website and were very happy with our stay at the Emu Point Motel.