The Best Road Trips to Take With Kids
Road trips are a great way to make everlasting memories as a family. There’s something romantic and nostalgic about loading up the car, planning your route on a map, and marking off the places that everyone wants to see. There’s a few magic ingredients for a successful road trip together. You’ll want manageable travel times between scheduled stops, a plethora of awe-inspiring sights, and engaging activities for the kids. These road trips from around the world have all of this and more, regardless of whether you have a day, a week, or longer amount of time to spend.
Acadia Park Loop, United States
Get up close and personal with the spellbinding landscapes of Maine’s Acadia National Park on this 27-mile loop road. It may be a short trip, but you can stretch it out by pulling over at beaches, lakes, and mountain viewpoints. Have fun spotting some of the park’s most notable natural landmarks such as The Beehive or Otter Cliff. Plan an extended stop at Sand Beach for a picnic overlooking Newport Cove and a walk on sections of the Ocean Path. September and October are great months for the drive when the crowds have dispersed and the New England fall foliage begins to appear.
For more trip inspiration, visit Acadia Park Loop.
Carretera de Sa Calobra, Spain
If you're holidaying on the Balearic Island of Mallorca, Spain, then be sure to rent a car and drive this mountain pass from Escorca to the seaside village of Sa Calobra. Drivers need their wits about them because the road is replete with chicanes, switchbacks, and at least a dozen 180-degree curves. Passengers can also delight in some of the best views of the island’s mountainous landscapes. One of the true highlights of the journey is the Nus de Sa Calobra (Knot of the Tie), which sees the road curve beneath itself at almost 360 degrees. It's an experience everyone will enjoy, but kids especially will love the adventure of this winding road.
For more trip inspiration, visit Carretera de Sa Calobra.
Garden Route, South Africa
There’s so much to see and do on South Africa’s favorite road trip that you could be here for months and still only experience a small portion. This coastal road stretches for almost 200 miles between the Western Cape and Eastern Cape and passes delightful topography and diverse vegetation along the way. Go surfing at Buffels Bay and Victoria Bay. Let your kids spot majestic wildlife at Garden Route National Park, Goukamma Nature Reserve, and Robberg Nature Reserve. Drive across Bloukrans Beach, where the brave face one of the world’s highest bungee jumps — and the timid watch from a safe distance.
For more trip inspiration, visit Garden Route.
Great Ocean Road, Australia
A 150-mile-long stretch of picturesque coastal road connects the cities of Victoria and Allansford in Australia’s southeastern state of Victoria. There’s beaches galore including Apollo Bay, Wye River, and the legendary surf spot, Bell’s Beach. There’s a chance to spot humpback and southern right whales from May to November. You can hike to waterfalls, meet kangaroos and koalas, and walk the world’s tallest treetop walkway. And of course there’s the iconic Twelve Apostles limestone sea stacks. Travel this Australian National Heritage site in style by renting a motorhome and staying overnight at well-equipped campgrounds.
For more trip inspiration, visit Great Ocean Road.
North Coast 500, United Kingdom
Starting in Inverness, this road trip is arguably the best way to explore northern Scotland. It features endless opportunities to visit stunning beaches, castle ruins, and vast lochs set amid the verdant Highlands countryside. Bealach na Bà is a spectacular mountain pass with plenty of curves and hairpin bends for the driver to enjoy. Have fun beachcombing in Ullapool and relish in the solitude of the Durness coastline. Check out the Black Isle region for its gourmet food scene plus superb dolphin spotting, and go treasure hunting for archaeological wonders in Sutherland.
For more trip inspiration, visit North Coast 500.
San Juan Skyway, United States
Colorado’s alpine scenery dominates the 230-mile-long San Juan Skyway. On this three-to-four day adventure, you can visit historic towns nestled in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains. Ouray is often nicknamed "Switzerland of the USA" due to its snowcapped peaks and hot springs. Railroad heritage comes to life in Durango, which is also a gateway to great mountain biking, skiing, and whitewater rafting for more adventurous families. Be sure to also see the Ancestral Puebloan village located inside Mesa Verde National Park. Telluride is hard to beat for an authentic taste of the American West in addition to top-grade skiing.
For more trip inspiration, visit San Juan Skyway.
Southern Scenic Route, New Zealand
Until 1985, this 379-mile route between Queenstown and Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island was only known to the townsfolk of Tuatapere. Fortunately, they decided to share the secret and today it offers visitors a delightful vacation experience. From boating, camping, and caving to fishing, hunting, and wildlife watching, this road trip is a smorgasbord for outdoorsy types. Adrenaline junkies flock to Queenstown, extreme sports capital of the world. Observe penguins at Curio Bay and Roaring Bay. Marvel at the flora, ridges, and valleys of The Caitlins. Lord of the Rings fans can even visit shooting locations in Fiordland National Park.
For more trip inspiration, Southern Scenic Route.
Utah’s Scenic Byway Highway 12, United States
It’s possible to uncover the natural splendor of two national parks in one day on Utah’s aptly nicknamed "A Journey Though Time Scenic Byway." But take it slow and include overnight stops to see the best of Bryce Canyon National Park and Capitol Reef National Park. With a landscape made up of hoodoo spires, huge domes, monolithic spires, and petrified forests, this is prime territory for games of I Spy. An essential stop for hiking and camping is Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. In Bryce Canyon, the Bristlecone Loop, Rim Trail, and Queen’s Garden are ideal hikes for younger kids.
For more trip inspiration, visit Utah’s Scenic Byway Highway 12.
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