Participation in high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) benefits children and society. Policy recognition of this manifests through government subsidy strategies to increase ECEC access in the years immediately preceding school. Yet despite this action, many children do not receive the recommended amount. This study utilizes a mixed-methods design to investigate ECEC participation barriers and facilitators in three Australian communities. Parents and service providers completed online questionnaires (45 parents, 63 providers) and semi-structured interviews (21 parents, 16 providers). Results showed that issues related to both direct (e.g., fees) and indirect (e.g., travel) costs are particularly important barriers for families, and are well-recognized by providers. A range of factors were also considered important for facilitating participation (e.g., effective promotion of the benefits linked to high-quality play-based learning in formal settings, professional training of staff). Findings demonstrated the ecological complexity of participation. Strategies to address barriers and harness facilitators are required across multiple levels.