Road Trip Boredom Busters

Road Trip Boredom Busters

Get ideas for fun things to do on road trips.


Pre-K, K, 1 - 12



Photo of a rural road bounded by hedges and a tree.
Photograph by Sam Abell, National Geographic

Road trips mean sitting in a car for a long time, but that doesn't mean they have to be boring. Find some cool things to do while traveling with your family. Getting there is half the fun!

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Find the Alphabet

Spot each letter of the alphabet, in order, on any form of text outside the car. Play as a team or individually—the first person to get to "z" wins!

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Photograph Signs

Take a picture of every wacky road sign you pass. Make it a competition to see who can snap shots of the most signs. Give extra points to really weird signs.

Photograph of a no swimming sign in an area with crocodiles.
"I Spy"

Play "I Spy" with physical and cultural characteristics you see as you travel. First, look around and silently pick a characteristic that everyone will be able to see. Say: "I spy with my little eye . . ." Then describe the characteristic and have your family members take turns trying to guess what you see.

Photograph of scenic overlook sign.
Use an Atlas

Plan a vacation for your family. Learn as much as you can about the place or places you will go so you know how best to prepare and pack. Using a road map or atlas, figure out the number of miles or kilometers to your destination. Then, double the number of miles or kilometers to figure out how far it is from your house to the locale, then back to your house.

Photograph of a road in the Mojave Desert.
Mark a Map

Bring a large map on family road trips. Use a highlighter to mark each road you take as you travel.

Photograph of Route 66.

Be the designated navigator or map monitor for your family road trip. Trace your family's progress on a map. Once an hour, report on your current location, direction of travel, the next exit, the nearest town, and the next state.

Photograph of a moose-crossing sign.
Identify Your Climate Zone

Is it tropical, dry, mild, continental, polar, or high elevation? What is the climate zone of the place you are traveling to? Have a discussion. Why are some places popular destinations for summer or winter vacations? Has your family ever made a decision about whether to travel to a location based on its climate?

Photo: A car's dashboard features an electronic map.
GPS Search

Use your car's navigation system (GPS) to search for all the U.S. historic sites tied to presidents.

Photo: Glacier on mountain surrounded by pine trees
Photograph Land Features

Take photos of different types of land features, like mountains, cliffs, and deserts.

View of a Great Dane sticking its head out a window of a parked car.
Make a Movie

Write a script. Cast all the people—and animals!—in the car as characters in the movie. Shoot the movie using the inside of the car as the only setting.

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Play Window Bingo

Print blank bingo cards before you leave. In the car, fill out the squares by writing down things you think you'll see out the window. Mark off each thing you see. The first to get five in a row wins.

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Count Buggies

Count all the Amish buggy-crossing signs you see. Double points for each actual buggy you spot! Amish live in 30 states across the U.S. Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania have the highest Amish populations.

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Play a Geography Name Game

Say the place name of any city, state, country, or continent in the world. The next person has to think of a place that begins with the last letter of the previous place name. For example, person 1 says Texas. Person 2 uses the final "s" and says South Carolina. Person 3 uses the final "a" and says Albany. Keep going until no one can think of any more names. Then use a world map or atlas to keep going! The only rules are to never use the same place twice and to only use real places.

Photograph of side view mirror with mountains in the background.
Explore Public Lands

Plan a vacation for your family to explore one or more public lands. Identify the states where your vacation will take you. Use a road map to highlight the best driving route. Determine the total miles of the trip and calculate how much time it will take. Research each of the places you plan to visit and decide what activities your family can do. Create an itinerary, including popular or scenic hiking trails, special ranger programs, roadside exhibits, visitor centers, lectures, demonstrations, and museums. Keep track of locations, times, reservation numbers, fees, and safety tips.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Jessica Shea, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Christina Riska Simmons
Jessica Shea, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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