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Road trips. They start out with so much enthusiasm and excitement, but somewhere along the way there are a few too many bathroom break requests and someone calling out, “Are we there yet?”.
Yes, road trips can be challenging, but they can be fun and entertaining too. So…I’m bringing you the best road trip games for families in the hopes that this list will help make your road trip as smooth as possible, with memories made.
When I was a kid, every summer consisted of road trips. The only airplane I remember was the one we took to move to another state. I remember the jet was big and bright yellow, and at least for me, was a rarity. We would always head out on the highway to visit both sets of grandparents. Then there was the annual camping trip with neighbors and friends.
Road trips. Though I had more than my fair share of them growing up, for my own daughter, they have become the rare experience.
All too often we find ourselves in the air, but this summer I wanted to do something different. We’ve been choosing to experience the long stretches of road and discover all that we have been missing.
TIP: Skip ahead to the bottom for all the games!
A good chunk of school this year was spent studying Texas history, so we headed down I-35 south to San Antonio, where we brought history to life with a visit to The Alamo.
I was so proud of all she had learned, which was clearly on display as we toured the historic landmark. Road trip #1 was a huge success.
We’ve ventured outside of Texas too.
Earlier this summer, you would find us roaming throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland.
From the backroads in Amish Country to the big city of Baltimore, memories were made with split second decisions based on a sign here and there. Those spontaneous decisions ended up being some of the best things.
To make a road trip successful though, I’ve learned to make these things a priority:
Snacks and water. I credit my Grandma for teaching me to always have a box of crackers and a thermos of water in the car. Those times we traveled with her as kids were priceless and it’s funny how the snacks stick out in my memories.
Oil Change and Tire Check.
While I’m at Walmart stocking up on road trip supplies (I have favorite snacks, don’t you?), I drop off the car at the Walmart Automotive Care Center.
The Walmart Automotive Care Center couldn’t be more convenient as it’s attached to the main store and as quick as can be.
Since my vehicle is older now, I’ve learned to rely on Pennzoil® High Mileage Vehicle® motor oil (it’s made for cars with mileage over 75,000). I simply ask for Pennzoil at Walmart. Why? It helps clean out the sludge lesser oils leave behind, while helping to reduce leaks and oil consumption in worn or higher mileage engines.
They do all the work while I shop and it’s ready to go when I’m done shopping.
Exactly what I need (especially before I trust my car to handle precious cargo…my kiddo)!
What’s a road trip without some family fun? Here are some of our family favorites, sprinkled in with a few from other families we know who travel quite often.
Best Road Trip Games for Families
Alphabet Sign Game
- Everyone individually works on finding a word on a sign (road sign, billboard, building, etc) that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Call them out loud as they are discovered. No two people can use the same sign. First one to get to Z wins!
- The same old game, with a road trip twist. One person selects an object and says, “I spy with my little eye, something ___”. Insert description like “red”. You have to move quickly in this game, as objects might pass you by.
Top Ten Categories
- One player names a category and challenges another to come up with 10 answers. Ex. Name 10 Tom Cruise movies.
The Grocery Game
- One player thinks of something that is sold in a grocery store. The other players take turns asking yes or no questions trying to guess what it is. One question and guess is permitted per turn. Sample question might be, “Is it something you would find in the produce department?”.
License Plate Game
- Goal is to spot as many license plates from different states as you can.
Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
- Create a list of 5-10 things that everyone must find in this road trip scavenger hunt. Write them down on a piece of paper, one for each player (except the driver of course). Examples…school bus; yield sign; convertible car. First one to find one of each wins.
Slug Bug Game
- A classic road trip game to see who is great at spotting Slug Bugs (aka the Volkswagen Beetle). If you see a slug bug, you call it (“Yellow slug bug!”) and that’s worth one point. (Classic bugs are worth 2, vans are worth 5 and rare ones – like a “Herby the Love Bug” – are worth 10) Whoever has the most points when the car turns off, wins. If you stop, but the car doesn’t turn off, the game is still on!
Name the Artist
- This one is an ongoing game while the radio is on (make sure any screen which tells the artist is covered temporarily so no cheating). The first person to correctly guess the name of the artist or group when a new song comes on, wins.
- One player starts a story and leaves off at a crucial point or detail. The next player picks up where the last player left off. There is no winner in this game, but it passes the time and the kids can get quite creative. EXTRA: Make each player have to use a place on your road trip itinerary in their story.
Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon (for teens and older)
- This game has the assumption that any movie star can be linked through their film roles to Kevin Bacon within six steps. Your job is to find the shortest path between an actor and Kevin Bacon. One player gives an actors name to challenge another.
- Example. Actor given – Meryl Streep. One possible solution: Meryl Streep is with Robert Redford (Out of Africa) –> Robert Redford is with Demi Moore (Indecent Proposal) –> Demi Moore is with Kevin Bacon (A Few Good Men). Solved in only 3 degrees!
So much fun to be had!
Now get to planning your next road trip and have I got a deal for you…
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Where was your last road trip to? Do you have any favorite road trip games?