Family road trips are like the quintessential summer vacation if you have kids.
They tend to be more affordable, they are often easier to manage (though I find this point debatable), and you can really get a glimpse of our country, opening your children up to things they’ve never experienced before.
Personally, not my jam.
I get hideously car sick which means, most of the time, I’m the one who has to drive. And, of course, I HATE to drive. Plus, one of my kids has terrible motion sickness as well which means a 7-hour road trip to the beach can quickly and easily turn into a 7 hour barf fest to the beach wherein everyone is driving down the street topless with the windows down, hot air blowing into our faces, trying to air out the upholstery that will never smell right again and dry the shirts we had to rinse the barf from with the last of our bottled water.
Ask me how I know this.
Also, the kids don’t make it great. They argue, they complain, it’s cramped, they have to pee, they have to poop and no one wants to take their kid poop in a backwoods gas station bathroom. Plus it can take essentially forever as you sit in traffic along with every other summer vacationing, beach bound family on the Eastern Seaboard.
Not worth it most of the time so I limit us to no more than one up to 10 hour road trip a year.
We either fly everywhere else or stay home (luckily we live in one of the biggest family vacation destinations in our nation).
Since we’ve joined the ranks of the travel sports playing families, we do find ourselves partaking in way more road trips than I would like and I’ve found that the best way to keep everyone from punching everyone else in the arm the whole time is to play road trip games in the car!
I know it sounds super 1981, but when you’re in a car filled with people who won’t sleep (not sure why, but they never) and who can’t read or play video games or look at their phones for fear of barfing all over everything, 1981 road trip games quickly become pretty interesting.
10 Family Road Trip Games to Help You Survive Hours in the Car
My Father Owns a Grocery Store
It’s a guessing game that is great for kids who are old enough to spell.
To play, the first player thinks of something in a grocery store and says, “My father owns a grocery store and sells something that begins with the letter [insert first letter of the name of the item player is thinking of].” So, if you are thinking of an apple, you’d say, “My father owns a grocery store and sells something that begins with the letter A.” The other players have to try to guess it.
Another variation is to allow players to ask for clues with questions. For example, they can say, “Is the item in the produce section?” or, “Can the item be eaten raw?” –Erin S. on Facebook
Going to a Picnic
This is an alphabet-based game as well that requires players to also understand basic alphabetical order.
To play, the first player will say, “I’m going to a picnic and I’m bringing [insert something that begins with the letter A].” For example, “I’m going to a picnic and I’m bringing and apple.” The second player will continue with the letter B saying, “I’m going to a picnic and I’m bringing an Apple and a Bologna sandwich.” The third player would then continue with an item that starts with the letter C and the game would continue this way until you reach the letter Z. –Kirby B. on Facebook
One of those perfect road trip games for keeping kids engaged in looking out the window. Count the number of people who only have one headlight. Shout them out as you spot them. First one to 10 wins! –Alicia S. on Facebook
License Plate Game
There are two ways to play this game, but they both involve searching for license plates from different states. You can either count the winner the one who spots the most, or you can assign points based on how far they are away from where you live the state on the plate is. We live in Maryland so Virginia is one point, Arkansas is 2, California is 3, and Hawaii and Alaska are 5 each! My kids love doing this so much we even do it on short trips to Target.
This is one of those old school road trip games you probably played yourself as a kid. It’s super easy because to get poinst all you have to do is be the first to shout out, “YELLOW CAR!” when you see one. You can switch it up to be orange car or purple car or any color car you’re not super likely to see every two seconds on the highway.
The Alphabet Game
Everyone has their own alphabet and players have to go in alphabetical order finding words in the surrounding environment that start with each letter. The words can be names of businesses (like Best Buy for the letter B) or actual things (like grocery store for the letter G). There is no taking turns required -all players are trying to make it through their alphabets at the same time. First person to get the word, gets it, so if two people are on F and they both see “freeway”, whoever says it first gets to go on to G while the other person still needs F. –Jennifer B. on Facebook
Animal, Vegetable, Person
Animal, Vegetable, Person is a simple guessing game. The first player thinks of an animal, vegetable, or person. Then, everyone in the car goes around in order asking one yes or no question (ex: Is it an animal? Yes. Does it have fur? No. Is it smaller than a loaf of bread? Yes.). The person who guesses the animal, vegetable, or person correctly gets to be “it” next time. –Gretchen W. on Facebook
Sweet and Sour
When the kids wave to someone, if they wave back, they’re sweet and they get a point, when they don’t wave back, they’re sour and they don’t get one. Most points when you arrive at your destination wins! –Trinity B. on Facebook
Shout out every time you see a flag. First person to see ten wins! –Deena M. on Facebook
The traditional game that starts with one player saying, “iSpy with my little eye,” and finishes with a description of the item (ex: something that is red, or something that begins with the letter b). The other players attempt to guess the item.
Need more road trip games for your next trip? Check out the full list on Facebook: Family Road Trip Games