I long for a good old fashioned road trip. You know the kind where you have a final destination in mind but have not planned every detail or every moment because you want to really enjoy the trip. My husband remembers taking a few road trips with his mom and some family members from time to time growing up. He retells of seeing a sign for an unusual attraction or roadside diner and pulling off to see what adventure awaits.
I think I tend to want to rush to our destination to get the car ride over but I do long to stop at Historical Markers or see that unusual site to be had. We often get out the door much later then I plan which makes everyone rushed. Hubby and I have talked about pouring tired kids into the car so early in the morning that we have to eat breakfast on the way. This would give us time to stop a few extra times and not be bored at the ride but be excited for the journey.
I have been thinking of ways to make a road trip memorable and since I am a planner I thought of some things that I can look up before we hit the road.
I just recently came across this from another travel blogger. We actually have one within 25 minutes of our house which is pretty exciting. Artesian Wells or natural springs are a unique thing to visit to talk about how hard it used to be to bring water into your house to cook and drink.
If you want to explore an area and love taking the scenic route a barn quilts tour might just be the thing for your family. Our local county has a Barn Quilt Tour that consists of 63 spots. We started visiting a few barns as we passed them by going to other activities. We need to add this to our local tourist list of things to do so we can get out of the house but not spend much money!
My husbands aunt loved Covered Bridges so much that she had her entire kitchen and dining are filled with pictures and small replicas of them. Our children have been to two covered bridges. One we frequent weekly and the other was the bridge restored at Hueston Woods.
Donut & Coffee Shops
If we were to get out the door super early wouldn’t it be nice to stop for breakfast at a small town Donut Shop or Coffee Shop? Hubby and I could enjoy a piping hot cup of coffee and the children could get donuts and milk.
Fairs and Festivals
It seems like each April that there’s a Fair or Festival each weekend through October. Many small town festivals can be found online as well as a list of county fairs that are scheduled each year.
We have only dabbled in geocaching but I know that most rest stops and state parks offer Geocache sites. We discovered that many locally have been lost or damaged so we will need to find new places to discover hidden treasures!
I love learning that little tidbit of history that can be found on each historical marker. If you use the Historical Marker Database then you can print off a map of places to stop and see along the way. If you know of a town midway that’s the place I would choose to find a historical marker to check out.
Little Free Libraries
If you like reading books and you devour too many to pack on a long road trip then stop at a Little Free Library and swap your book for a new one! Children and adults alike can enjoy a from utilizing the Little Free Library program.
Museums and Historical Societies
I was browsing some local visitors guides for counties near me and found that some counties have a small museum in almost every town or township. We live in a very good area where history is rich and plentiful if you know where to look.
Playgrounds and Parks
I did look up McDonald’s Playland when I drove 3 hours away with Eldest and Princess by myself. I knew we would need to stop and go potty so why not make sure they could play and get some energy out as well. I now have an app on my phone that allows me to search by type of park from playground to ball field and everything in between!
Knowing where the bathrooms are is super important when traveling especially with kids. Since Lil’ Red is interested in potty training this will be a priority for us. We may try to keep a small potty in the back of the van or bring a foldable potty seat.
State and National Parks
You can always be sure to find shade, restrooms, and fun at a state or national park. Many are free to enjoy an may include a beach, nature center, hiking trails, archery, and picnic areas. If you stop for a visit during peak season then you may encounter extra free activities or places to grab a bite to eat. Not sure if you will be close to a National Park? Just use their Find a Park search engine to find out!
As you can see there are many ways for us planning types to enjoy a road trip. So look through these ideas and make your next road trip memorable!