Family Road Trip Games

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Read my full disclosure here.

I love a good road trip.

Seriously, I keep saying that in my next life, I’m coming back as a truck driver.

It’s true. I love the adventure of getting in the car and just going. Freedom.

And a Cracker Barrel along the way.

But even for the most seasoned driver, and road tripping family, there are long stretches of time that need to be occupied in some way. Now of course we live in modern America. The default car ride activity for my children is movies. We have this portable DVD player, which I love! There is one movie and two screens that strap around the front row headrests. It plugs into the cigarette lighter-type outlet in the car.


PRO-TIP: Take out movies from your local library. That way you can have a ton of options on a long trip. Just check the discs before you leave to make sure they are not scratched.


But when the movie runs out, and there are still miles to go, we do have some favorite family road trip games that I am excited to share with you!


Family Road Trip Games

hover over image to pin for your next road trip!

The best road trip games your family will love! No planning or assembly required!

My kids love games. So do I. At home, we are big fans of card games, board games, and video games. But in the car, I like to keep it simple, and all of these games you can play with your just brains and your voices! No assembly required!



This is a great game for anyone who can count. I would place it in the category of a math-oriented game. When teaching, I would play this with fifth or sixth grade students when there was a few minutes left in class, it is a great classroom game as well.

The object of 21 is to NOT be the person to say “21.”

The directions are: one person starts and play continues in a circle. Each person can say the next one, or next two numbers counting up to 21. The person who says 21 is out (if there are three or more players), or loses (if there are two players).

For example, I am playing with little man and baby girl. Baby girl starts by saying, 1, 2. Then little man says 3. I then say 4, 5. Back to baby girl she says 6, and so on until someone says 21 and is out!

This is really fun and you can play again and again. Sometimes we like to do variations where one can say up to three numbers, or you have to be the person to not say a different value such as 29. There are limitless possibilities here. Again, this is a big favorite in my family.

The best road trip games your family will love! No planning or assembly required!
After a 7 hour drive to Maine!

The Letter Game

Any child who has some understanding of basic letter sounds can play this game. My daughter really started to like this game when she was about 4. This is a word game.

When I was a kid we played, “I’m going on a picnic…” where you go through the alphabet and say a picnic item for each successive letter of the alphabet (like apples, bagels, umbrellas, etc).  Somehow my kids have morphed it into what they call the letter game, and there is often a category associated. So what that means, is we go through the alphabet letter by letter and each person has to say a word that begins with that letter. Sometimes we make it general, say anything that starts with that letter or we restrict to a category, such as an animal, a food, or a person’s name, etc. And for what its worth, take note of Quetzal, Quiche and Quinn. That will come in handy!

We don’t play this game to win or lose, just to do it (which is shocking because my kids are so competitive). If someone is stuck on a letter… we all help out. Or skip it.


Similar Words

A few weeks ago we drove to Maine, and back, and this was a new game my son interjected into our lineup. This is another word game that really anyone can play!

This one is pretty simple. The first person says a word, and the next person says another word that is connected to the first. And around you go. The object is to not repeat words, but again this is one we play not necessarily for a winner or loser, but to pass the time. You can also determine how strict you want to be with what is connected to what. We pretty much let anything go!

For example: my son my might start and say “crayons.” Then baby girl will say “colors” then I will say “blue” and hubby will say “sky.” And so it goes. We played this for hours!


License Plate Game

This is another classic game that anyone who knows the alphabet can play. You start with the letter A and point out that letter on whatever road signs or license plates you pass. You can make it competitive where whoever finds it first gets a point, or less so by taking turns (dad finds A, little man finds B, etc.).

Two years ago when driving to North Carolina we played this while rolling through the Richmond, VA area. We got stuck on Q for about an hour. It was becoming comical how we could not find a Q, I think we eventually gave up on the letter!


Geography letters

This is one for an older kid. It’s one I play with little man often. I remember playing this as a kid, but I don’t know if it’s something my dad made up, or one that everyone knows!

To start, the first person names a geographical place. It can be a state, city, town, continent, country, etc. For example, little man might start with Arkansas. Since that ends with S, the next person has to name a place that starts with S. So I would say, South Carolina. Then the next person has to name a place that starts with A and so it goes without repeating.

This is fun, but a heads up you will soon find that many geographical places end in A. So have an arsenal of A places in your head!

Africa, Asia, Antarctica, Australia, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Anaheim, Antigua, Amityville!

The best road trip games your family will love! No planning or assembly required!
Don’t forget every good road trip involves a stop at Cracker Barrel!


If you get bored of word games (and on a long trip, you might) then we also LOVE:


Driving the Road To Hana

Traveling Families Tell: Best Road Trip Adventures 

Car Games, by Minivan Adventures

Driving from New York to Florida

Do you have any upcoming road trips planned? Favorite road trip games? Please share in the comments!


Photo via Visualhunt


To keep up with Momma To Go, follow on Twitter, Facebook and  Pinterest

If you like this post, please share. 

18 Comments to “Family Road Trip Games”

  1. These are great ideas for road trips. I love the similar words game, haven’t tried that one before but it sounds fun, I’m sure the kids would like it. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. I don’t have children myself, but I do sometimes take trips with my little cousins. I will be sure to use some of these games next time! Thank you for sharing some brilliant game ideas.

  3. Great game ideas!!! We are a game-loving family as well! We have tried the geography game before but we do it with first names (Allison, Nellie, Elizabeth, Heather, Robert, etc.). I’ve never played the other games though. We are trying the 21 game and the similar words game on our next big drive for sure! Thanks for sharing these!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *