Have pictures of road trips on Pinterest to amazing destinations left you feeling like you just can’t have an adventure unless you have at least a month or more off to explore? Well here are 10 summer road trips that are kid friendly and won’t take more than a weekend–most will only take a day. But the best part is you can take these road trips no matter where you live and your kids will feel like they have had an adventure filled summer.
The secret is to go exploring in your own area–as in the area you can drive to within 2-3 hours tops. You might think driving 6 hours round trip in one day is a bit crazy, but if you prep well for the day it can be both enjoyable and economical since there is no need to shell out money for accommodations. You don’t have to go three hours away though, you can only go one hour away if you prefer. To a small child, an hour drive is an eternity meaning in their eyes you went on a road trip.
10 Summer Road Trips To Take With Your Kids No Matter Where You Live
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1. The Beach Or A New-To-Them Pool
Where we live in Indiana we are about 3-4 hours away from Lake Michigan, which offers plenty of different beaches to explore. You might live near the ocean or far away from any source of water. If the latter is you, then do a search for great pools, splash pads or water parks in towns near you. To kids, a trip just an hour away to a new pool with a higher diving board and an extra water slide than the one in their community is an adventure they will talk about all summer long.
2. A Playground In A Different City
When my three children were little this type of road trip was a big hit. I would do a Google search for “great playgrounds in” and then pack up the kids and go. I think the furthest away we drove was just over an hour, but that is an exciting road trip to a little kid. Make it more of an event by packing a picnic lunch or dinner.
3. Take A Hike
Kids love the outdoors and taking hikes together as a family is a great way to feed into that love. No matter where you live and how avid a hiker you are there is probably a hiking trail within a few hours’ drive that you haven’t explored yet. The app All Trails can help you find it.
4. Visit The World’s Largest Whatever Near You
Pretty much every area has at least one crazy attraction that you just have to see. Use Roadtripper.com to find one near you. From giant rocking chairs to the world’s largest ball of yarn, these marvels delight children of all ages.
5. Experience The Roar Of A Waterfall
Okay, so there might be a chance that you might not be able to do this road trip in a day–but most should be able to. There is just something so powerful and mighty about a waterfall that children are mesmerized by. Perhaps you can combine this trip with number nine on this list, giving you a camping destination.
A website I use to find out about things like nearest waterfalls and hikes is onlyinyourstate.com
6. Try Out A Locally Owned Ice Cream Store In A Different Town
My family is always on the hunt for locally owned ice cream stores with charm. Here in the mid-west, they are not too hard to find. On a hot day, pack the kids into your air-conditioned vehicle and hit the road in search of a new one to add to your list of favorite ice cream joints.
One of my favorite resources for finding out about cool locally owned restaurants to visit is Midwest Living, a magazine I get with my RecycleBank points. It is easy to earn enough points to earn a magazine subscription.
7. Visit A Children’s Museum Or Another Type Of Child-Friendly Museum
Somedays it is just too hot to be outside–on those days head to a children’s museum or another child-friendly museum your family has yet to try out.
8. Visit a Zoo Or Aquarium You Haven’t Visited Before
Nothing screams summer road trip with the kids more than a trip to the zoo or aquarium. Instead of hitting the local favorite, branch out and try a new one.
9. Try Camping In Another Town
You would be surprised by how many people camp at the same campground year after year after year. Take an adventure and camp somewhere new.
Not sure what to pack for camping with children? Check out this list.
10. Go To A Festival Or Major Event In A Town Near You
In Indiana, you can pick up a statewide festival guide at your local tourist center and I am going to guess you can probably pick up something similar in your hometown too. Pick one up and then choose a festival to attend that is in another town or perhaps attend a parade or fireworks display. We drove 3 hours one time to take our kids to see the Fourth of July fireworks display in Louisville on the Ohio River. It was a night they still remember.
A Few Handy Things To Pack For Day Long Road Trips
- Spare clothes for everyone (summer activities like ice-cream, sand, and water can get a bit messy)
- Bathing suits (even if you are not planning to swim, you never know when you could see a cool splash pad near the park you go to visit)
- At least one towel (these fast-drying camping ones are less messy to store after they have been used)
- Snacks (granola bars, trail mix and crackers are some of our favorite traveling snacks)
- A blanket to lay on the grass for a picnic (packing blankets make pretty good ground cover)
- A cooler filled with drinks (we have one similar to this and it fits behind the front seat of the car very well. For longer trips or if you have a larger family, a full-sized one stored in your vehicle’s trunk will probably be needed. )
- Things to do in the car (here is a post I wrote full of screen-free ideas)
3 More Posts For Summer Fun!
- 25 No Cost Or Low-Cost Ways To Keep The Kids Busy This Summer
- All You Need To Plan A Summer Full Of Family Fun On A Tight Budget
- 10 Thrifty And Fun Things To Do With Your Friends This Summer
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