10 of the Best U.S. Road Trips for Families
Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
A road trip is a classic American vacation, but it takes planning to make it great. We've rounded up some of the best family road trips around the United States, ranging from quick, single-day jaunts to worthwhile journeys that can take over a week. With stops the whole crew will enjoy, these drives are sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Charleston, South Carolina to Savannah, Georgia
Explore two popular southern cities on one trip when you visit Charleston and Savannah, and stop to enjoy a few of the area's outstanding hotels and beaches along the way. Drive an hour south of Charleston to stay at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, or save gas for a beach day at Hilton Head, which is only an hour further. The Cloister at Sea Island, an hour south of Savannah, is another good option for families, with plenty of swimming, fishing, and nature walks.
San Diego to Los Angeles, California
At less than two hours, this drive is easy for parents and just long enough for the kids. Plus, both cities have beaches and fantastic attractions for the whole family, including the San Diego Zoo, Legoland California in nearby Carlsbad, and Disneyland in Anaheim, about an hour from L.A.
New York City or Boston to Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Whether you choose to stay in a shingled cottage or beachfront apartment, your kids will fall hard for the Cape. No trip here is complete without a visit to Mac's on the Pier in Wellfleet, where you can gaze at the water and feast on whole belly clams. Exploring one of the Cape's kettle ponds, which families often have all to themselves, is also a must, as is checking out the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, home to five miles of trails and salt marshes.
Pacific Coast Highway, California
Beginning in Orange County's Dana Point and reaching north to San Francisco, this popular drive can be completed in under eight hours. But why keep it short? With many major stops — from sprawling Los Angeles to Carmel-by-the-Sea — you could make this road trip last for days. Driving from the south to the north, head to the top of the Topanga Lookout in Malibu for incredible views of the San Fernando Valley. Then, a few hours north in Santa Ynez wine country, relax with a glass of vino as you plot your visit to Hearst Castle.
New York City to Philadelphia to the Poconos
At Woodloch Resort in the Pocono Mountains, East Coasters will feel like they're back in summer camp — in a good way. On and off the property, there's plenty to do, including golf, paintball, fishing, and more. There are a variety of accommodation options available, too, perfect for families of any size.
Boston, Massachusetts to Stowe, Vermont
In the summer, Stowe is an off-season ski town that has some of the best beers on tap and plenty of New England charm. Cool off with the kids at the Waterbury Reservoir in Waterbury Center State Park, or enjoy the fresh mountain air with a hiking or biking excursion.
There are few roads as iconic as Route 66, so why not take your kids on this classic American trip? Whether you embark on the full journey from Chicago to Los Angeles or opt for a smaller portion of the road, you're bound to pass kitschy roadside attractions and some great scenery.
Tucson to the Grand Canyon, Arizona
Take in some of the country's best views on a multiday road trip through Arizona. Start in Tucson and visit Saguaro National Park to see the namesake cacti before heading to Scottsdale. Next up, drive to the stunning, red rock-surrounded town of Sedona. Finally, you'll drive to Grand Canyon National Park for a couple of days in the great outdoors, soaking in the massive natural wonder of the world.
Denver to Colorado Springs, Colorado
If you'd like to swap red rocks for snowy mountaintops, set off on a Colorado road trip through some of the state's incredible national parks and charming small towns. Start your journey in Denver and then head to Boulder and Estes Park, a perfect home base for exploring Rocky Mountain National Park. Glenwood Springs, Telluride, Mesa Verde National Park, Durango, and Great Sand Dunes National Park are worth a stop en route to Colorado Springs.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Beautiful year-round, but especially colorful in spring and fall, the Blue Ridge Parkway makes for an excellent family road trip. Connecting Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers scenic views of the surrounding mountains and foliage. Plus, there are plenty of great hikes for all skill levels and places to camp along the parkway if you want to spend a few nights under the stars.