The idea of a family vacation sounds like a dream. Going somewhere new with the ones you love, the open road, everyone is happy and excited…but we don’t want to get blinded by all the fun only to forget about the down time in between. The hours in the car, time between activities, down time at the campground, you know what we are talking about.
Kids especially get antsy and eager to constantly have something to keep them busy and stimulated. There are ways to make even the down time fun. So, to combat and curb the “are we there yets?” and “what are we doing nexts?” We’ve put together a tried and true list of answers to these questions and activities to keep those kids happy and engaged in the trip as a whole. Read further to get your creative juices flowing and fun parent confidence soaring.
Make the Trip Interactive
Get the kids engaged with the trip itself from the get-go. Doing so establishes the trip as a non-stop activity. There are tons of ways to do this. An easy start is utilizing the route you are taking to your destination(s). Grab an old fashioned paper map, or print a zoomed in version of the actual route you will be taking. You can use colored markers to highlight the stops you’ll be making, places you’ll go, spots to eat, and whatever else you feel your kids would like to follow along with. Add in a journal or notes column for them to doodle, write stories down as they see or experience something new.
Road Trip Games
Stock up on all the games, physical and ones you can play on the fly. Everyone loves the traditional license plate game (that has a million variations), madlibs, or the ABC game. We put together a fun road trip bingo game for the kids to play too. Throw in some coloring books, travel journals, audio books, and movies, and you will be set with a full fleet of activities while you are on the road or in between stops.
Following suit with the interactive map for the kids, it is always a good idea to have a list ready of sights you’d like to see along the way, gas stations, and food stops. Speaking of food, did you pack the snacks? Having a mini cooler of yours and the kids’ favorite drinks at the ready paired with pre-made sandwiches, trail mix, and bento snack boxes will have your future self thanking you ten times over. Check out these various apps to help you with ideas of stops along the way too – Roadside America for the quirky, one of a kind roadside attractions; Roadtrippers to add in your starting destination, ending destination, building your entire route by adding in your own stops and finding suggestions for others. But keep in mind, if we plan your trip, we will provide these amazing extra stops on your drives, so you don’t have to. This still gives you the satisfaction of planning ahead, but saves you from doing the research yourself. Win-win…win?!
Use your Campground
You’ve have your road trip snacks, your maps, games, books, movies, and apps – we think that’ll cover your time on the road. But what about the down time at the campground? Or, running out of activities for the kids to do once you reach your destination? We’ve got that covered too. And they’re really good, trust us.
A campground scavenger hunt is always a fun one to start with. There are plenty of downloadable ones you can grab off the internet or, you can make your own after scoping out the campground once you arrive. You could send the kids off (still in sight, or within earshot of course) to tangibly find these things around the park. Or, you could challenge their senses doing things like seeing a bird in a tree, touching the sticky sap on a tree, smelling the fresh pine, hearing the animals and bugs, and tasting a fresh s’more. While we’re on the topic, having the kids help set up camp and build the campfire is a natural activity to incorporate too. Having them gather rocks, sticks, and brush will keep them busy, involved, and make them feel like they’re helping in a big way.
Each campground will be set up in its own way too. By this, we mean you could absolutely opt in for a secluded spot just you and nature; but, you could find yourself at a resort-style park that has your standard amenities built in too. Think a pool, playground, kayak rental, store, dock, etc. Regardless of your travel and camping style, we’re confident you’ll have all the activities to keep your kids busy at your fingertips.
Wherever you choose to go, however you choose to see it, and whatever you choose to do while you are there, we hope these ideas serve as the perfect recipe to ensure the fun never stops. We are here to help with all your travel needs and RV questions, and cannot wait to see all those smiling faces on their next road trip!