Cobblestone walkway through a garden with long grasses and trees dripping with Spanish moss.
There's a kitschy and genteel side you'll discover while on the Florida leg of this road trip.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

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.

Road running straight through the desert toward brown colored mountains.Highway 12 is a stretch of road so beautiful it's been dubbed the Highway of Legends.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.

You May Also Like:

Rectangular silver tram suspended from wire going up a mountain with view of city with lots of green trees down below.Take a ride on the Portland Aerial Tram for a great view of the city.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).

A shipwreck sticking out of the lake, its hull missing many boards.The Shipwreck Coast along Lake Superior is home to, you guessed, it many fascinating shipwrecks for you to admire.Photo Credit: Getty Images

A Beautiful, Ill-Fated Coast: Marquette to Whitefish Point

When travelers start looking for areas chock full of natural wonders, The Wolverine State rarely makes it on their lists. That’s a shame, because Michigan has a lot more to offer than automobile manufacturing, frighteningly frigid winters and urban decline.

Take the stretch of Lake Superior shore known as Shipwreck Coast as an example.

This trip starts in Marquette, MI, a tidy college town where you can learn about local metalworks at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum, study science with little ones at Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum, or learn a bit about the coast you’re about to drive in Marquette Maritime Museum. After that, it’s time to head east on Highway 28.

Other than gorgeous views of the lake, the route on your way to Munising offers little more than natural beauty. A detour south to Fayette will net you views of a genuine ghost town, but the real eye candy lies on the route Grand Marais as you cut through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Peer at wind-worn sandstone, scale the Grand Sable Dunes and visit the Au Sable Lighthouse.

The next stop is Grand Marais for some fresh local fish and then on to Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the town of Paradise. In addition to several campgrounds, it boasts one of the widest and tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi.

Finish up at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point where you’ll learn all about the reasons why this drive has earned its particular name.

You May Also Like:

A paint stripped barn with a green roof standing resolutely in a field.Pass horse-drawn carriages and well-kept farmsteads, making frequent stops at markets and grassy fields begging to be appreciated.Photo Credit: Getty Images

A Slice of Sedate Scenery: Ohio’s Amish Country Byway

Some road trips are supposed to be marathons, steady-paced affairs that eat up mile after mile. Some are sprints, speeding across dull landscapes from interesting destination to interesting destination.

Others, though, should be savored in the same way you’d enjoy a stroll, taking your time to soak up the sights. The 72-mile-long Amish Country Scenic Byway in Ohio is just such a trip.

This officially recognized National Scenic Byway (one of the over 800 in the United States) is split roughly in half, with Millersburg, Ohio, serving as a border town between them. The downtown area will have some draw for antique hounds and fans of Amish curios, but the real treat lies on the road.

Keep your eyes peeled as you travel for the ubiquitous horse-drawn black carriages and charming farmsteads framed by grassy fields.

With Millersburg serving as your jumping off point, head west on State Route 39 to Malabar Farm State Park for lots of green space, great food at an onsite restaurant, and to get hands-on with local livestock.

Doubling back on 39 will find you at Killbuck Valley Museum, a quaint single-story structure stuffed with archaeological, geological and historical curios. From there, it’s on to Eastern Amish Country.

The town of Berlin offers tours of Amish homes, horse rides through the countryside, and the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center. Suss out tons of great local eats and locally crafted goods in Walnut Creek, and discover the magic that made literary legend Sherwood Anderson memorialize Winesburg, Ohio in print.

Want more? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and stay up-to-date on all our latest guides, tips, and inspiration!

Sign Up Now!

To help us customize your newsletter experience, let us know which country you currently reside in.

Subscribe with Facebook
Comments +