Looking for some fun things to do on a road trip to pass the time? Whether you’re traveling with friends, on a family road trip, or driving solo, we’ve compiled a list of things to do in the car to save you from the dreaded road trip question, “Are we there yet?”
After our own cross-country road trip adventure and our years of living as a full-time travel family, we have come up with an arsenal of things to do on long road trips. Everything we suggest is things we’ve done ourselves and truly find entertaining. So while the license plate game is a classic road trip game…does anyone actually have fun playing it?
Whether you’re looking for unique road trip activities or fun road trip games, you’re sure to find something that will help pass the time. Scroll through our list of the best things to do on long car rides and see what gets you excited.
WANT MORE ROAD TRIP CONTENT? CHECK OUT THESE POSTS:
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The Only Road Trip Packing List You’ll Ever Need
How We Renovated Our 1979 Camper For $650
An Epic Itinerary For A Road Trip Through Utah’s Five National Parks
160 Road Trip Questions To Keep The Conversation Flowing
The Ultimate Road Trip Food List
*This “Things To Do On A Road Trip” post may contain affiliate links, which means we might earn a small commission if you purchase from them. This is at no extra cost to you! We only recommend products and services we genuinely think are helpful.
17 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON A ROAD TRIP
- CONVERSATION STARTER GAMES
Before you dive into the endless scroll on Instagram, how about getting to know your travel mates better? The open road is a great place to put down your phone and have an engaging conversation. Scroll through our list of fun, deep, and silly road trip questions to get the conversation rolling. Perhaps you’ll learn something you never knew before!
- DREAM UP A BUCKET LIST
We’ve been road tripping together for over 15 years now, and one of our favorite things to do on a road trip is to dream up an adventure together. We pull out some pen and paper and write down our top ten places we want to go. On a car ride to Northern California, is where we first started to dream up our grand trip to Croatia. Some advice–dream big and don’t get caught up in the grounded reality of “how” it’s going to happen. Figure that part out later. For now, it’s about dreaming up all the places you would love to visit. You can use an old-fashioned notebook or have a special bucket list journal as we do. You can also check out our bucket list for families post if you need some inspiration.
- ROAD TRIP TRIVIA
I’m a trivia lover. Inside my head is a bunch of totally useless information that is only helpful for when I’m playing a game like trivial pursuit. The best way to pass an hour or two on a long car ride is to test out your own trivia knowledge. You can narrow the topic down to a specific topic like 2000’s trivia and travel trivia or you can go for a general trivia deck. If you don’t want to purchase a trivia deck, you can also check out our post with 41 road trip trivia questions about the USA, travel, and road trips.
- MUSIC GAMES
If you’re more of a music buff, play a fun music trivia game to test your music knowledge. Are you sure you can remember the name of that top 40 hit from the ’90s? Download a music trivia app and play it into your car speakers so everyone can play together.
- AUDIBLE BOOKS
If you’re looking for things to do on a car ride by yourself, then an Audible book is the reigning champion of car activities. Long car rides are a perfect place to learn about a new skill, read a murder mystery, or a frivolous comedy that quickly passes the time away. If you don’t have an audible membership, you can look at doing a free 30-day trial here. Don’t forget to download the books before leaving, so you aren’t using data or relying on a good signal.
Also, if not everyone wants to listen to the Audible together, make sure to bring your headphones (if you’re the passenger), so you can listen to your heart’s content.
For more road trip essentials, check out our complete road trip packing list.
If you’re looking for road trip entertainment, a podcast can offer a more engaging experience since they tend to have interviews and a more traditional talk radio format. The range of topics is immense, from family-friendly storytelling to educational discussions to creepy murder plots, so do a quick search in a subject you might be interested in or look through a list of the most popular podcasts.
- LEARN A LANGUAGE
Now is the time you will FINALLY learn how to speak Cantonese. Live out your dream of fluently speaking a different language and mixing in with the locals by downloading a language learning app and listening to it in your car. Top language learning apps are Rosetta Stone, Babbel, and Duolingo.
- 20 QUESTIONS GAME
Twenty Questions is the quintessential car ride game to pull out when you’re brainstorming things to do on a road trip. If you haven’t played the game, the basic idea is that someone can ask 20 yes or no questions to help them guess what you’re thinking about. You’ll set a topic like “celebrities” and ask away. For example, “Is this person a singer?” or “Are they alive?” and so on until you can guess the person.
- ABC GAME
This game is so trivial, but gosh darn it, we love playing this game when we need things to do on a long road trip. I honestly think we’ve managed to pass an entire hour away going back and forth with the ABC game. The game goes like this, you set up a general category like “fruit” or “animals,” and then back and forth listing fruit in ABC order. For instance, partner A says “apple,” and partner B says “banana,” and so on.
- CHECK OFF YOUR TO DO LIST
I might be revealing how much of a parent I am right now, but long drives in the car are where I can often get banal stuff done. Something about being strapped into a car with nowhere to run allows me to check things off my list, like planning out our meals for a month or plotting out a content calendar for our blog. If you’re a passenger, grab your calendar and check things off your to-do list you’ve meant to do but never manage to. Maybe that long car ride is when you finally clear out your inbox with 10,000 emails dating back to 2001.
- PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
On the flip side of trying to fill every moment in your life with something to do, you can go the opposite way and meditate, do breathwork, or practice mindfulness in the car. When I used to have a 45-minute commute from work, I would often put on my breathing app and listen to it the entire ride home so I could ground myself before going into the onslaught of mom life. Even if you’re not a parent, our minds chatter away all day, so having a dedicated time to ground and listen to a guided meditation or guided breathwork is a fantastic alternative to getting stressed by traffic and everything that life throws your way. You can choose to do it self-guided or download an app that guides you through the process. I used Headspace, but there are hundreds to choose from. Check out this article for some good recommendations.
Also, if you’re the driver, it’s best to stick to guided breathing rather than a meditation that suggests you close your eyes. Because, you know…road safety.
- HAVE A PINTEREST PICNIC
Road tripping can often mean gas station burritos or fast food burgers that leave you feeling sluggish and guilty. Change it up by having a Pinterest-worthy picnic complete with gourmet charcuterie, pinot noir, and a red checkered picnic blanket. You don’t have to have those specific things, but having a pre-packed picnic with nicer food is a fun change in energy when you’ve been spending a few hours on the road. Instead of packing a cooler or an oversized wooden picnic basket, use a picnic backpack like this that comes with silverware, wine glasses (for the passengers), plates, cutting board, blanket, napkins, and more. Check your google maps for a park that’s right off the highway, or try out a picnic table at a rest stop.
For food suggestions, check out our post on the best road trip foods.
- SCOUT FOR ROADSIDE ODDITIES
While getting from Point A to Point B, take a detour to see some oddball roadside attractions. Oh gosh, there are so many weird things to see in the US. We stopped by Cadillac Ranch, an outdoor art installation featuring 10 Cadillacs buried face down when we were driving through Amarillo, Texas. Visitors are encouraged to grab a can of spray paint and leave their own artistic mark on the retro cars. You can see videos and pictures of it here on our Instagram. Fun, quirky, and totally worth the 30 minute stop! Finding peculiar roadside attractions feels like a must-do when looking for what to do on a road trip. You can use an app like RoadTrippers to discover what’s on your route.
- MAD LIBS
How long has it been since you’ve played mad libs? I think it might be time to bring them out when you’re scheming up things to do on a road trip. There are various mad-lib games available to you so search for the booklet that hits up your demographic whether you’re traveling with kids or going on a road trip with friends. Start here on your search for the most epic game of road trip mad libs.
- YOUR TOP 5 GAME
A great conversation starters game is to have everyone list their “top 5.” Someone comes up with a topic like the top 5 songs of all time or your five favorite meals of all time. If you are playing with kids, you might want to reduce the number to your top 3. You can write it down, but I find it’s more relaxed to talk about your answers as they come. Other fun topics are the five people who would be at your dinner party, your top five movies, your top five celebrity crushes, or your top five travel destinations.
- CROSSWORD PUZZLES + SUDOKU
For those moments when you’re looking for quiet things to do in a car, pull out a booklet of challenging brain puzzles. I’m always a fan of crossword puzzle booklets and sudoku booklets, but you might like a general brain teaser book with an assortment of puzzles and trivia.
- DOCUMENT THE JOURNEY
Document the road trip journey in a creative way. You can make a travel scrapbook where you collect mementos like postcards or kitschy roadside gifts, or you can take photos or videos of the trip. One fun idea is to ditch the iPhone or Go Pro and opt for an updated but old-fashioned Polaroid camera like this one. If you have kids, you can buy a kid-friendly camera like this one. Just be sure they realize that the camera doesn’t have an infinite supply of photos! The road trip is such a classic adventure that going old school with a polaroid feels kind of perfect.
Here’s to hours of fun things to do on a road trip! If you have your own unique things to do on a road trip, let us know in the comments below.
We hope the journey is as fun as the destination.
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