19 Epic Family Road Trip Ideas

19 Epic Family Road Trip Ideas that Even Kids Will Love (2024 Reviews)

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Nothing says adventure like an epic family road trip. Whether you prefer the ocean coasts, bright lights and big cities, or wooded mountain tops, family road trips that even your kids will love can bring your family fun, good times, and lots of togetherness.

Create new moments and memories as you raft down a raging river, find the best apple orchard in New England, hike along the Appalachian Trail, or ski the best slopes in the north. Check out our list below of the most epic family road trip ideas (from day trips extended road trips) that even your kids will love.

Water or Coastal Fun

Do you love the sand, sun, and surf? Consider an epic family road trip centered around all things water. From coast to coast, enjoy aquatic activity such as whale watching, scuba diving, kayaking, and scalloping.

Day Road Trip Ideas:

  • Map out the local watering holes – No matter where we live, most of us are a daytrip away from the ocean, a pond, lake, waterfall, stream, river, dam, or other water getaway spot. Make a day out of the best water spots in your area.
  • Visit a local water park or two that feature water-themed rides – Chances are there is a notable water fun park nearby. Places such as Cowabunga Bay Water Park in Utah, Sandcastle Waterpark in Pittsburgh, Water World in Colorado, and Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park in Florida offer you and your kids a day trip worth remembering.1

Extended Road Trip Ideas:

  • Plan an epic family road trip involving aquatic life – Immerse yourself in the aquatic life with whale watches on the east coast, scuba diving and snorkeling in the west and south, or swimming just about anywhere. The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort offers a family-friendly area on its private beach for snorkeling in natural waters.2
  • Go canoeing, kayaking, rafting, or boating – Consider river rafting in California or Utah, kayaking in Vermont or Maine, or boating in Florida or Louisiana. Plan an epic road trip that includes multiple hot spots for water sports.
  • Take a road trip to fish for your dinner, scallop for fun, or dig your way to fresh clams – An epic family road trip along the ocean wouldn’t be complete without some kind of seafood. From Maine to California, catch and cook the seafood yourself or find the best restaurants that’ll do it for you.3

Outdoor Adventures

If your idea of an epic family road trip that your kids will love involves a lot of time outdoors, consider using a recreational vehicle or spacious tent for some epic camping or hiking trips, or other outdoor adventures.

Day Road Trip Ideas:

  • Enjoy some family time day camping – Check out your state parks, local hiking trails, or nearby watering holes for a day of outdoor activities while on the road. And don’t forget to bring a great travel backpack.
  • Map out a scenic drive in a local area – Many states across the country feature beautiful or historic stretches of roadway. Places like Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, Route 100 in Vermont, or Route 66 throughout multiple states allow you to partake in a scenic day trip.4

Extended Road Trip Ideas:

  • Rent an RV or campervan and hit the road – Take your pick of mountain camping in the north, beach camping in the south, deep woods camping, glamping, or resort parking. From staying in a tent on the legendary Appalachian Trail to renting a treehouse in Georgia, epic family road trips can include zip lines, climbing walls, horse riding, and kayaking – activities even your kids will love.5
  • Plan a cross country trip by way of the most scenic routes – Plenty of roadways across the U.S. are scenic, historic, or simply worth the travel. Journeys such as Skyline Drive through Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, Route 100 in Vermont, Lake Michigan Coast in Michigan, and National Park Grand Circle Tour in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona make for epic family road trips that kids will love.6
  • Stay active on your trip with winter sports – Family road trips can occur in winter as well. Destinations such as ski resorts, indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks or ponds, snowmobile trails, and more provide you and your family cold, winter fun.

Sightseeing, Educational, or Tourist Spots

When you prefer to make your epic family road trip both memorable and educational, consider sightseeing popular tourist attractions. From historical landmarks to museums to the biggest ball of twine, a road trip across the country offers a plethora of fun and educational activities your kids will love.

Day Road Trip Ideas:

  • Create a day trip with an educational or sightseeing theme – Maybe you have multiple museums or stately libraries in your area, or reside in a place that’s well-known for its history or culture.
  • Play tourist in your home state – Map out a route through your state that hits all the tourist spots. If you had never been to your state before, what would you like to see and do?

Extended Road Trip Ideas:

  • Plan an epic family road trip up or down the east coast – New England is rich with history, museums, festivals, and fairs. The east coast also features the nation’s capital, as well as monuments, memorials, and many other learning opportunities.7
  • College road trip – Maybe your kids are a bit older and more apt to complain about being on the road for a long period of time. Make the family road trip epic by visiting potential colleges and universities across the country.

Seasonal or Holiday Themed

Take advantage of the seasons and holidays to plan the most epic family road trip that even your kids will love. From feisty fall colors and tangy apple cider to bright, cheery holiday lights and creamy hot cocoa, enjoy a short or extended road trip with apple picking, maple syrup making, haunted tours, and musical holiday displays.

Day Road Trip Ideas:

  • Find your local farmer’s markets and fruit-picking places – Plan a family fall day around the farms in your state. Fairs, festivals, and farm stands with activities are plentiful around autumn.
  • Take in seasonal or holiday activities – Enjoy a haunted house tour or hayride around your local area. Explore pumpkin patches and corn mazes.
  • Check out holiday light displays – This might be more of an evening road trip, but riding around looking at holiday light displays – especially with the ones that play music – is always an epic family road trip.

Extended Road Trip Ideas:

  • Drive to New England for some foliage sightseeing – New England is well-known for its fall foliage colors. The bright reds, oranges, and yellows grace much of the north. Enjoy apple picking, maple syrup making, and everything pumpkin.
  • Take a spooky haunted ghost trip – Be ghost hunters and plan an epic road trip around everything haunted and spooky.8

No matter where you live there’s a way to create the most epic family road trip that even kids will love. Whether you have a day, the weekend, or longer, spending time with your family is of the utmost importance. Make it count by enjoying time together on the road.

Article Sources

Safe Smart Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. McCarthy K, Johnson H. The 33 Best Water Parks in the USA. Travel.usnews.com. Updated April 14, 2022. Accessed May 16, 2022
  2. Best Family-Friendly Resort Snorkeling Spots. Travelchannel.com. Accessed May 16, 2022
  3. Doherty P. 6 Best East Coast Road Trip for Fascinating History, Beautiful Beaches, and Delicious Seafood. Travelandleisure.com. Updated July 21, 2021. Accessed May 16, 2022
  4. Cope R. 20 Best USA Road Trips Famous Driving Destinations in 2022. Thebrokebackpacker.com. Updated March 25, 2022. Accessed May 16, 2022
  5. Johnson H. 12 Top Family Camping Trips, Ideas and Campgrounds. Travel.usnews.com. Published May 14, 2020. Accessed May 16, 2022
  6. Parfitt D. 11 Best Family Road Trips in the U.S. Familyvacationist.com. Published February 17, 2022. Accessed May 17, 2022
  7. Doherty P. 6 Best East Coast Road Trip for Fascinating History, Beautiful Beaches, and Delicious Seafood. Travelandleisure.com. Updated July 21, 2021. Accessed May 16, 2022
  8. Mattern J L. 25 Ghost Tours Across America That Aren’t for the Faint of Heart. Countryliving.com. Published September 20, 2021. Accessed May 17, 2022