This post is sponsored by Toyota, all opinions are my own.
Family road trips have never been my jam.
I know, they’re like the great American pastime and whatever, but when you’re someone who gets motion sickness if you walk too quickly through the tall book shelves at the library (something about all of the books flying by my face), you can imagine what being in the back seat of a car for hours on end might be like.
Because when kids get car sick, they seem to almost always be entirely caught off guard by it. One minute they happily playing their iPad, the next they’re gifting you a disgusting surprise that aggressively spews around the vehicle, entirely disregarding the brown paper bag specifically designated for car sickness related incidents. No surface or human is safe and everyone in the car gets to experience it enough to prompt several sponge baths in random gas station bathroom sinks.
I used to be that kid.
I can’t recall a road trip where my puke didn’t make an exciting appearance until my parents started putting me down with a healthy dose of Dramamine.
As an adult the answer is usually to drive.
No catching up on work, no reading a book, or sneaking in a nap, or watching the entirety of TikTok.
Not my jam.
Until 2020 decided to change all of our lives.
Like so many families this year, Coronavirus has pushed flying and other public transportation well out of our comfort zone, making road trip travel our best bet for a getaway this summer.
We certainly gave up plans to visit California for the sake of safety and don’t anticipate shoving our kids into a fuselage anytime in the foreseeable future.
So, road trips it is!
This year we decided to take a day trip to Lewes Beach and Cape Henlopen Beach in Delaware with a Toyota Highlander to test while we went.
It has been a couple of years since we made it to the beach and, because I wanted to visit one that would have a little spread out space, we avoided some of the more popular and densely crowded beach locations like the nearby Rehoboth and Ocean City in our home state of Maryland.
Lewes Beach Delaware
Our first stop of the day was at Lewes Beach, bay side.
Because of its location on the bay the waves here are largely nonexistent meaning the kids can play in the water for hours without getting unceremoniously flipped on their heads when the tide starts to come in.
The breakwaters and sandbars also make it a fun place to wade out pretty far without going much deeper than your waist for bigger kids.
September 2020 Coronavirus specific tips for Lewes Beach:
- We visited on a Friday but other weekdays are reportedly less crowded.
- If you’re looking for more space to social distance, park in lot 2 and head towards the ferry to find a little more space.
- Masks are required on public areas – near the food locations, on boardwalks and where social distancing isn’t possible.
Beach at Cape Henlopen State Park
My big adventurers were eager to see some “real” waves though, so we packed up the Highlander and made the five minute drive to Cape Henlopen State Park.
For a $10 admission fee (out of state-ers price), you can enjoy this beautiful state park all day. They have bike rentals to explore the trails, a newly renovated nature center, historical sites to explore, fishing, disc golf and many other things my kids had absolutely no interest in experiencing.
They were dead set on getting their real waves and thankfully the beach at Cape Henlopen State Park did not disappoint.
We found an open stretch of beach front to plop our stuff on and they spend well into the early evening playing in the water, building sand castles, hunting sand crabs and playing football along the shore.
They were entirely spent when we climbed into the Highlander so that I could make the three hour drive back home.
Usually I wouldn’t be looking forward to manning the ship solo while everyone else slept, but if there’s one thing that can make being the family road trip DD worth it, it’s having a sweet ride to drive.
September 2020 Coronavirus specific tips for Cape Henlopen State Park Beach:
- This location was much less crowded than Lewes Beach.
- It also got less crowded toward the later afternoon – when we left at 5:30, there was plenty of space on the sand.
- The park only allows about 60% of capacity into the park daily so there is generally plenty of space.
2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The Toyota Highlander definitely did the trick.
In fact, I enjoyed driving so much that I told my husband we were going Highlander shopping when we got home!
It was the perfect option for us – roomy enough for three tween boys, packed with all of the options you want and some you didn’t even know you needed, an awesome sound system, a smooth ride, and fantastic gas mileage for an SUV.
If you’re in the market for a new SUV, here are a few things to know about why it’s perfect for families who road trip.
- Plenty of seating: The Highlander seats 8. Like most cars in this class, that third row of seats isn’t the most spacious, but the adjustable second row makes splitting the difference super easy when you need to accommodate people comfortable in that back seat.
- Lots of USB ports: Everyone can keep their devices charged and working without fighting over who gets to go next.
- Plenty of cup holders: And bottle holders too! Perfect for families like mine who are on the road for sports competitions even more than for vacations.
- Plenty of trunk space: Though limited a bit when the third row of seats is in use, when they’re flat the trunk has plenty of cargo space for suitcases, sports equipment and more. You can also use the top roof rack if you need additional room for gear.
- Great gas mileage: If you go with the Hybrid version (like the one I was driving) you can expect to get about 35mpg. I love that even with the hybrid model you still feel like you’re driving an SUV as opposed to some that feel more like a minivan when you get behind the wheel.
Interested in learning more about the Toyota Highlander?
Check out them out at Toyota.com