5 Road Trips in US That'll Bring Your Family Together
Pack Your Bags and Fill Up the Tank
Road trips turn simple drives into family adventures full of unexpected attractions, striking sights and quirky diversions. No wonder they hold a hallowed place in the memories of countless families, serving as exciting excursions that rarely bust budgets.
Of course, they can take a wrong turn if you pick a poor route, which makes planning a road trip all the more important! Fortunately, with so much sprawling space in the United States, you can find family road trips ideas that fit your location and crew.
Here are (in no particular order) some of the best family road trips in the U.S.A.
An Old Florida Escape: Tallahassee to Weeki Wachee
For many, Florida conjures up images of Disney’s mouse-eared mascot and the hedonism of Miami’s South Beach. But there’s a simultaneously kitschy and genteel side to the Sunshine State, and striking out from the state capital on Highway 98 and I-75 will show it to you.
Beginning at Tallahassee — which features the kid-friendly Museum of History and Natural Science, as well as the 26,000-square-foot Tallahassee Skate Park — detour north for the greenery of Maclay Gardens. Once you’ve had your fill of Northwest Florida’s largest city, southerly routes beckon!
Ride in a glass-bottom-boat tour at Wakulla Springs and peer at the forts in San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park before driving down Highway 98 to Cedar Key for fresh seafood and stunning views. Eat oranges by the roadside in Citra while learning about Marjorie Rawlings (author of “The Yearling”). See the biggest artesian spring on the globe in aptly named Silver Springs.
Conclude with a mermaid show at Weeki Wachee State Park.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
A Desert-Beauty Drive: Lamar to Santa Fe
Watch towering mountains turn into starkly beautiful desert on this drive. The jumping-off point of Lamar, CO, marks part of the historic path that pioneers took across the continent, and an hour away, Old Fort in Bent lets parents and children alike scrabble around a historical site seemingly plucked from John Wayne’s “The Alamo.”
By the time you reach Trinidad, those looking to add a little length to the journey can circle up to Walsenburg and I-25 via Highway 12, a stretch of road so beautiful it’s been dubbed the Highway of Legends. Consider crashing in Trinidad itself before enjoying fishing, hiking and riding in Cimarron Canyon Park.
When you’ve gotten your fill of nature, push on to Santa Fe. Stopping by the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, one of the many local Mexican restaurants, and any of the nearby golf courses should rejuvenate parents and children alike.
Also, make sure to see if any of the city’s many festivals are going on.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
A Gastrophile Getaway: Portland to Seattle
The Pacific Northwest has a reputation for great grub, and this trip melds stupendous sights with delicious eats. Using Portland as a leaping-off point, get a bird’s-eye view of the city on the Portland Aerial Tram or tour the Oregon Maritime Museum.
Want to nosh before you hit the road? Browse the restaurant-packed Pearl District near the intersection of I-5 and I-405 on the west side of the Willamette River. But don’t forget to stock up on plenty of road trip snacks so you can take in the views ahead without having to make inconvenient detours to fast food joints.
Once behind the wheel, enjoy great views of the Columbia River as you cruise west on Highway 30 to Astoria, where “The Goonies” and “Free Willy” were shot. Heading back to Portland and up I-5 will find you crossing the border to Olympia where you can goggle at Puget Sound or visit the Wolf Haven International Sanctuary.
Another two hours north will take you to Port Townsend with its numerous bike trails and beaches by the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Finish up by slipping southward to Seattle and booking spots on Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour, a guided walk through underground stores entombed during the rebuilding efforts after the Great Fire of 1889. Finally, sample exotic eats in the International District (just north of the I-5/I-90 exchange).