Road Trip Boredom Busters
Road Trip Boredom Busters
Get ideas for fun things to do on road trips.
Pre-K, K, 1 - 12
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Mark a Map
Bring a large map on family road trips. Use a highlighter to mark each road you take as you travel.
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.
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?
Use your car's navigation system (GPS) to search for all the U.S. historic sites tied to presidents.
Photograph Land Features
Take photos of different types of land features, like mountains, cliffs, and deserts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
May 20, 2022
For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact email@example.com for more information and to obtain a license. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. She or he will best know the preferred format. When you reach out to him or her, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource.
If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.
Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.
Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.