Let us inspire you with 7 ideas for epic road trips to take with your kids before they grow up!
I remember a child hood full of road trips. Hours upon hours stuck in a car with loved ones might not appeal to all, but to be honest, so little of that I remember in retrospect. I do recall waking up in different places, the huge transformation from city to country and one town to the next, my dad’s magnificent itinerary planning and let’s be honest probably where my love for travel was first born.
Being an Aussie kid I saw an awful lot of “big things” growing up, and learnt there was pretty much nothing a Ford Falcon couldn’t do! Yes, road trips do bring back many happy memories, something that I really hope I can emulate with my own family (remind me that when I’m completing a planned 2,500kms on the road with them this summer…)
We’ve again asked our team of family travel bloggers to reveal some of their favourite and most rewarding road trips of all time from around the globe. Some are whole countries, some are just snippets from enormous nations that you simply can’t miss. Yes, it looks like our bucket list just got longer!
Ting from My Travel Monkey
As much as Iceland’s capital Reykjavik had plenty of wonderful attractions to keep visitors occupied, it wasn’t until we hit the road did we like we got a true sense of this breathtaking country. A self-drive adventure is a great way of seeing more of the countryside without the hassle of sticking to schedules and waiting around for other tourists. Being on the open road was fantastic. It was my most favourite part of our Iceland trip.
LeAnna from the Economical Excursionist
This island is a coveted travel destination for many people and it is clear to see why. There is so much to do and see that it is often hard to narrow down your choices. You could spend months travelling throughout Ireland and still not see everything – we covered the highlights in a week including the Cliffs of Moher (pictured), Trim Castle (think Braveheart), the Dingle Peninsula, Blarney and of course Dublin.
Ruth from Exploramum
Most people take a road trip when the sun is shining, and the weather is fine. We however decided to take a journey through Romania in the heart of winter. And I loved every minute of it! Call me crazy, but you don’t find the average Australian single mother taking her 9-year-old son on an adventure through the heart of Romania. Not when she is driving on the other side of the road, and certainly not when it is snowing!
So why was it so great? Firstly I loved the freedom. The roads were quiet. We could stop whenever we liked with ease – that is a photographers dream. We were able to pull over for bathroom breaks, lunch when we needed, and pop in and out of towns and decided where we wanted to stay for the night. Nothing was full, so prices were low. I loved the serenity. As the snow softly fell, and it was a blanket of white. We loved the people. Friendly and helpful; as though time stood still. We enjoyed a white Christmas and loved the town Christmas markets with their local produce. And for New Year, we chose a tiny town with a medieval resort where we shared one of the best banquets I’ve ever encountered. To finish it off, we ventured out for a horse and sleigh ride on New Years Day.
We loved Romania so much we ended up taking two separate winter road trips. Even my son (who is now eleven) declared just this week that he would love to return there again for their winter.
Margaret River Region, Western Australia
Sally-Ann from Toddlers on Tour
The quintessential Australian road trip requires hours and hours and hours on the road. It can be quite a long slog for anyone, let alone those with kids. My child struggles with even a 2 ½ hour road trip to the start of the Margaret River Region south of Perth, Western Australia. However within a couple of days of being on the road visiting tourist sites like Amaze’n Margaret River and Ngilgi Cave the cries of, “how much longer?” and, “what time is it?” begin to dim, which is perfect as we then choose to spend an entire day on the road tasting our way around the Margaret River Region.
We start with morning tea at The Berry Farm devouring home-made scones with freshly whipped cream and locally made jams. We move on to taste their full range of jams, sauces and vinegars’. Then we drive onto Temper Temper (a chocolate factory) and Vasse Olive (offering soaps and cleansers made from olives). The rest of the day we are in and out the car stopping for tastes of candy, venison, cheese, nuts, fresh breads, wine and more chocolate. Perhaps it is the fact we stop regularly or it is all the great food we find, either way it makes for an enjoyable full days family road trip with limited calls of “are we there yet?”
Florida Keys, USA
Tonya from Detail Oriented Traveler
One of my favorite road trips took place driving the 90 mile stretch of the Florida Keys. 90 miles may not seem like much of a road trip and if you were on the interstate, it would last less than 90 minutes. However, just like everything else in the islands, driving is a bit slower, forcing you to enjoy the scenery more. I’d say the entire trip takes about 4 hours from Homestead to Key West, but we found plenty of places to stop along the way that makes it a 2-day trip for us.
Our first hidden gem we happened upon was the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary. Located in Tavernier, this is a blink and you’ll miss it kind of place. The sanctuary provides a safe and humane place for injured birds to live out their lives. They have a beautiful walking trail through the mangroves and if you time it right, you can feed the pelicans at the end of the trail.
Our other must stop in the Keys is to eat at Lorelai in Islamorada. The large mermaid out front makes it seem like an old roadside attraction, but toes in the sand, eating the freshest seafood ever on the beach later and you’ll know you picked the right spot. Lorelai has bar and covered seating, as well as patio chairs with umbrellas right on the sand. Our favorite is the giant booth gliders that allow you to feel as if you’re on a porch swing. It’s perfect for enjoying the sunset.
Maria from One Tiny Leap
After four months on the road, Oregon was pretty much the dreamiest part of our whole trip through the States. We started in quirky Portland, which had long been somewhere I’d wanted to visit – the city was vibrant and we had a memorable walk through Forest Park, which was like something out of a fairy-tale, absolutely gorgeous. From Portland we drove down the coast to Cannon Beach where we spent one of the best days of our trip, including a short though energetic hike on the coastal cliffs- which got me a little freaked out after seeing a sign warning of ‘Mountain Lions’ – complete with an ice cream to reward ourselves for our effort (Charlie) and bravery (me).
Then it was on to a detour to the picture-perfect Cape Lookout for some quality beach time, and Tillamook where we visited the famous local cheese factory. Heading further south, we stopped for a few days in a quaint little coastal community called Yachats, with whales in the sea and fresh fish for dinner every evening – somewhere I could easily see myself living, and spent a couple of hours at the famous Thor’s Well, a huge pit in the rocks that draws the seawater inside then spits it out. The motion of the water is mesmerising. Nearby, we also paid a brief visit to a huge cave full of sea lions that were remarkably unfazed by the waves crashing all around the rocks they were perched upon.
Our final stretch in Oregon took us to the placid and utterly breathtaking Crater Lake, staying in one of our funkiest AirBnb accommodations to date, an A-frame house in the countryside with a couple of friendly deer for our neighbours. During our six months on the road in the US, I can honestly say our time in Oregon was some of the very best, and I would absolutely love to return there one day.
North America – Mother of All Road Trips
Erin from Explore with Erin
Now we couldn’t do a round-up of road trips without including Erin Bender and the Mother of all Road Trips
“Our epic #motherofallroadtrips had us road tripping the US and Canada for a year. From New York to Eastern Canada, on to the middle of the US. After that we did a quick flight to Oregon to pick up Big Red for the rest of our journey. From Oregon to Vancouver, Vancouver to New York, New York to Florida to Texas and finishing in Las Vegas. We covered big attractions like Disney World, funny attractions like the Big Can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup and historic destinations like Mount Rushmore. The US and Canada are so varied and interesting it’s been an amazing trip through time, food and culture.”
For an incredibly comprehensive look at road tripping North America, do hop over to Erin’s site with links to their planning and guides to the US by region.
Thanks as always to all our Best Destinations Family Travel Blogger contributors – do go and check out their blogs as well for a more in-depth look at their adventures. We’ll be taking a little break from this series over the summer, but watch out for Explore My City – our guest contributor series is returning over July – August and we have some great family-friendly travel ideas from around the world coming your way! (Travel Bloggers click here for how you can contribute)
Have we missed your favourite? Where else can you recommend children are bound to be kept entertained for hours despite the drive?
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