The 8 Best Road Trips for Kids

Road trips with children can be fun-filled or patience-testing. The trick is to stop often to let little ones stretch their legs and run off excess energy; maintain a well-stocked supply of water, juice, and snacks; and keep kiddos entertained with car games.

Most of the expeditions in The Open Road include family-friendly attractions, interactive museums, restaurants with children’s menus, easy hikes, national parks with Junior Ranger programs, and cities with parks, zoos, and play-grounds. A road trip offers surprises around every corner, so engage kids by involving them in the planning process.

South Florida and the Keys

sandcastle in florida
Beach fun awaits in South Florida. Photo © Cheryl Casey | Dreamstime

Kiddos can build sand castles and frolic in the warm water at Daytona Beach, then enjoy the amusements at Disney World’s theme parks.

Route 66

Along the Mother Road, the quirky roadside attractions in small towns and kid-friendly museums in big cities keep the whole family entertained.

Discover these 8 great road trips and more in the ultimate road trip guide.

The Oregon Trail

carhenge, nebraska
Older kids will be in awe of Carhenge, in Nebraska. Photo © Ermanno Iselle/Dreamstime

Ideal for older kids, this trip offers a hands-on, interactive education on America’s westward expansion, including a chance to ride on a real pioneer wagon.

Southern California

Children will never be bored by the rides and shows at Disneyland and California Adventure, nor by the family-friendly offerings in Newport Beach and San Diego.

The Southwest

grand canyon
The Grand Canyon is a family favorite any time of year. © iStock

There’s family fun to be had in the Southwest, whether it’s riding the rails to the Grand Canyon, taking in a PG-rated show in Las Vegas, or standing in four states at once at the Four Corners Monument.

Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills

Every child should see the rock-carved faces of past presidents at Mount Rushmore. At Custer State Park, bring carrots so the kids can feed the burros, then saddle up for a family horseback ride.

Reno to Baker, Nevada

Could this be your kids’ new favorite road trip? It stalag-might. © Rinus Baak | Dreamstime

If children aren’t mesmerized by the stalagmites in the Lehman Caves, they’ll love the steam-train ride in Ely and the Chollar Mine tour in Virginia City.

The Jersey Shore

Bring swimsuits, sunscreen, and a lot of energy for the beach and boardwalk activities—such as arcades, games, and amusement rides—along the Jersey Shore.