Inside: How to Plan a Teen Road Trip + Fun Destinations To Land At Along The Way.
Growing up, my family went on a ton of road trips. I have a ton of fun memories of road tripping as a kid, especially during those fun teen years. So today I’m sharing all kinds of tips for road trips with teens.
I’ve gathered a mix of games and activities to do before the trip and during the trip. I’ve also included tips for things to pack.
Check out our favorite tips, tricks, and destinations for your next road trip.
Teenage Road Trip Destinations
Long Beach, California: Truth be told, there’s very little margin for error when you pick a beach for family vacations with teenagers!
At California’s Long Beach, kids can have personal encounters with sand tiger sharks and catch up-close-and-personal views of sea lions, tropical fish and all the marine fauna at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee: At Gatlinburg, it’s “good vibes only”; the place exudes a warm, friendly, relaxed air that makes it such a great vacation spot for families, with its exciting, lively range of restaurants that can satisfy a wide range of appetites, preferences, and tastes!
Park City, Utah: What makes Park City appealing to teens is the many beautiful cabins available, replete with facilities such as hot tubs, outdoor decks and views that will have the “likes” pouring in on Instagram and Facebook, the latter-most being something any teen of today will find hard to pass up on!
Lake Tahoe: During the summer, Lake Tahoe offers a crystal clear lake for water sports, yoga retreats, and an epic hiking trail, the TRT, the Tahoe Rim Trail. It’s also a fun spot for celebrity-spotting!
Teen Road Trip Tips
Include them in the planning: Invite those fun-loving, curious minds to help with road trip prep. Give them a task to help them feel included, like planning some of the car ride snacks or putting together an activity binder.
Give them their own space: While the kids might get along most of the time, giving your tween a little space in the car to call their own can go a long way to prevent some space conflicts when kids are tired or restless.
Make sure to take breaks and stretch: Stop, get out of the car and move around. These little bodies are active bundles of fun that need to move once in a while. Make it a rest stop challenge or game if you’d like… stop at a rest stop and have a quick race, do jumping jacks or even create a scavenger hunt that includes places you’ll stop.
Provide in-car activities: Nothing worse than getting in the car for a family trip and everyone’s faces are buried in their phones and tablets. Get some old-school activity books, card games, and other fun activities to keep the kids busy and engaged during your trip.
Rotate the fun: I like to provide only some of the goodies I’ve gathered for a trip at a time. If it’s a multi-day trip, pulling out a new game on day 2 makes for more new fun instead of the same old thing mile after mile. The same goes for snacks and video entertainment.
What to Bring on a Road Trip for Teens
Aside from the suitcase, clothes, toiletries, here are a few of our much-have teen road trip essentials to make sure you bring.
Teenage Road Trip Essentials
- external charger
- headphone splitter (to watch movies/vlogs or listen to podcasts with their friends)
- lip balm
- travel pillow
Things To Do on a Car Trip for a Teenager
Listen to Podcasts/ Audio Books: Some podcasts for tweens and teens that also make adults happy are How I Built This, TED Talks, and Family Travel Radio. There are also audiobooks if your family is able to agree. You can always download individual audiobooks to tween/ teen devices and bring some headphones.
Roadside Attractions: Look up quirky roadside attractions along your route. We made a stop at the Idaho Potato Museum for a silly photo before jumping back in the van. I’ve heard good things about the Roadside America App as a way to find random stops.
Create Playlist: Refresh your playlists. Grab favorite soundtracks and create fun playlists to rotate on the drive.
Car Games for Teens
- 20 Questions: When one person in the car think of a person, place, or animal and everyone else can only ask yes or no questions to figure out what they are thinking of. We never actually limit anyone to 20 questions…that should probably depend on the age of your car trippers.
- Categories: You decide on a category, for example, sports or transportation types. Then each person takes a turn naming something in that category until you can’t think of anymore. The last person to name something wins.
- 3 Truths and a Lie: Simply take turns naming 3 truths and a lie. The rest of the players have to figure out which statement is the lie.
- Alphabet Game: Look out the window and find the letter “A” anywhere on a sign. Once you find an “A,” look for a “B” on another sign. To make the game more challenging, tell your child the letter you’re looking for must occur at the beginning of a word.
Road Trip Scavenger Hunt for Teens
Printable Road Trip Scavenger Hunt: See if you can check off all the different road trip items! Keep your eyes open for signs, animals, and rest stops. This is a great game to keep young kids eyes on the road vs. on electronics!
License Plate Finder: Keep your eyes open for all the different State license plates you see while on your long road trip!
Harder Hunt: This printable travel scavenger hunt is the perfect challenge for older kids. Print this out for your tweens or teens on your next road trip. These items are a little harder to find and will keep those teens busy for hours!
More Fun Ideas for Teens
If you like these fun teen road trip ideas, then check out a few more of our favorites.
- Cute Hairstyles for Teens + Fun Accessories – Teen girls are so lucky! Unlike the days when we were growing up, today’s teenagers have access to mounds of tools, products, and tutorials to create the trendiest and cutest hairstyles around! From beachy waves and messy buns to epic braids and super straight sleek hair, there are literally hundreds (and hundreds) of hairstyles to inspire teen girls! So, if your favorite girl is looking for a new hairstyle this season, we’ve gathered the cutest hairstyles around to give her the inspiration she needs!
- Journal Prompts for Teens – Journaling is a positive habit that anyone can benefit from. Journals are like best friends who hold onto your secrets and help you process your experiences. Journaling regularly can lead to a lifelong daily writing habit, but teens may struggle with figuring out how to start. What motivates you the most? If you could travel to any time, past or future, what year would you go to? What or who would you want to see or learn about? What’s your funniest memory from your childhood? These are the kinds of questions that go perfectly in a personal journal.
- Self Care Ideas for Teens – Self-care refers to the deliberate activities we do in order to meet our physical, emotional and mental health needs. When we hear about self-care, it’s usually in reference to adults. However, let’s face it, teens are under a tremendous amount of pressure. They can also benefit from practicing regular self-care! Many teenagers are drowning in school assignments and extracurricular activities. They are preoccupied with getting good grades and joining enough clubs and teams to stand out when it comes time to submit college applications.