Trying to plan a family vacation that everyone will enjoy, especially if you have kids, can be a daunting task. You have to take in everyone’s likes and dislikes, their preferences, and so much more. On top of that, it’s nearly impossible to remember everything that needs to be packed!
Even with all of the stress that can come with planning a family vacation, a road trip with the ones that you love is an experience that will stick with you for the rest of your life. Taking a road trip as a child can help spark a sense of adventure, curiosity, and discovery that can last a lifetime.
If you need help coping with the anxiety and stress that can affect even the best of us on when exploring new places and things, click here. Or, keep reading for recommendations on the top ten family friendly road trip destinations.
Pacific Coast Highway
Spanning the length of the United States along the Pacific Ocean, this highway runs all the way from Mexico all the way up to Canada. While you could rush through it in a day or two, this is the type of scenic highway that you’ll want to take your time enjoying.
Starting with the beautiful beaches of San Diego, you’ll continue north along the breathtaking Pacific Ocean view through the Great Redwood National Park to Lewis and Clark National Park and ending around Olympic National Park.
There are tons of stops along the way and plenty of places to stay the night and explore, so this is a trip that is best done either in one long vacation, or two separate ones.
While we’ve all heard of the old computer game by the same name, the real Oregon Trail is no longer as intimidating. Spanning the width of the United States, this lonely expanse of highway boasts some of the most well-known landmarks in America.
If you take the whole trip, you’ll pass through Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore, The Field of Dreams, Niagara Falls, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Cape Cod. These are just the most famous stops along the way, but there is plenty more to see and do as you follow this historic trail.
Historic Route 66
Arguably the most famous road in the world, Route 66 has been the subject of books, songs, and movies for almost 100 years. Originally the path that people from the Midwest took to get away from the Dustbowl and the ravages of the Great Depression, it has since become home to an entire roadside culture of its own.
The route starts in Illinois and ends in Santa Monica, California. Along the way is plenty of history, amazing diners and even ghost towns that are attractions in their own right.
Florida Keys Road Trip
Also known as the Overseas Highway, this road spans 113 miles across the entirety of the Florida Keys. Besides the spectacular views that the road provides, there are a number of stops along the way that offer a wide variety of things to do.
Some of the adventures you can go on in the Keys are snorkeling, scuba diving, visit the history of diving museum, visit the white sand beaches of Morada Bay, and see the historic No Name Pub. Nearly every little island has something to do on it, and this is a once in a lifetime trip to take.
Appalachian Trail Road Trip
For those who aren’t fond of hiking or backpacking, but still want to see the beauty of nature, this is the trip for you. While there is plenty of history to see for those who are interested along the eastern states, the main draw of this trip is the incredibly scenic sights that you will see.
The road takes nearly 25 hours to drive, and it is definitely worth taking your time in seeing. From huge mountains to roaring rivers to plains filled with wildlife, you’ll see the best of what the United States has to offer along this route.
Lake Michigan Coast
Many people forget the beauty of our northern border in lieu of the sights to be seen on the west and east coasts of the country. The Great Lakes deserve a special mention here though for being not only crystal clear and beautiful, but full of interesting stops along the way.
Lake Michigan is the only one that is entirely in the United States, and to drive completely around it would take you nearly 15 hours. Take a car ferry along the way to shorten the drive, as well as experience a unique form of travel! Additionally, you can visit museums dedicated to maritime history if you’re so inclined.
National Park Grand Circle Tour
This trip begins in Las Vegas and takes you through some of the most incredible national landmarks in the West. The trip includes Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Grand Canyon National Park.
This trip will take you through Nevada, Utah, and Arizona and each of these parks can take a few days to fully explore. This is the perfect road trip for an adventurous family or one that enjoys hiking, backpacking, and trailblazing.
Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Grand Teton
Starting at Mount Rushmore, this trip has a little something for everyone. With history from the beginning, you’ll then travel to Yellowstone to see the geysers, scenic roadways, waterfalls, and abundant animal-life. From there continue on to Grand Teton national park for hiking and camping among picturesque mountain ranges.
San Juan Skyway
Ranging 230 miles along Colorado, this beautiful trip will take you through mountains, past lakes and rivers, and lush forests teeming with wildlife. The towns along the way are friendly and welcoming, and by many have been called the Switzerland of the United States.
Jemez Mountain Trail
Located in New Mexico, this hidden gem is a glance into the past. You’ll see volcanic cliffs, petrified water in the Soda Dam, and the historic Jemez Pueblo. You’ll be able to see and explore the ancient homes of the people that once made their houses in the rocks of the mountains in the Bandelier National Monument.
Any of these incredible trips can help you make memories that will last a lifetime. Go out and explore the United States and see all of the hidden wonders that it has to offer.