road trip itinerary

How to Plan a Road Trip Itinerary to Keep Kids Moving

In Family, Featured Posts, Travel by Guest WriterLeave a Comment

Road trips can be an amazing way to see the country as a family! However, we all know young bodies need to move. My goal this summer was to keep our road trip itinerary packed with stops that encouraged movement and adventure— all with the hope to minimize agitation and incentivize good behavior.

Start with a road trip itinerary that includes input from the kids

Our family plan was to head out on the road in our ’87 VW camper van for one month, and a whopping 3,000 miles to cover. I felt the need to strategize the most successful path to an epic, and sane family adventure. Thankfully our two boys ages 11 and 13 years made a few requests before our trip commenced. They requested skate parks, mountain biking, and ice cream shops. All of their requests were reasonable and made them feel included while crafting our adventure.

road trip in VW Van

How to get the most out of your road trip

A few easy tips I use when we were on the road. I frequently Google map and/or Yelp the town we are descending upon to accommodate our boys “wish list” items. Often, our best excursions and adventures are tips from locals: best side roads, eats, hikes, excursions, and mountain biking tips. It is also the best way to steer clear of the usual tourist traps and get the local experience, by connecting with people that love to share about their town.


One of our best experiences came from multiple people in the area suggesting to mountain bike Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in the Canadian Rockies. A win, win in our minds. It was on our travel route and our boys were thrilled to get such enthusiastic recommendations from the locals. Our boys had an epic day! Both boys described it as the best mountain biking of their life (and they have experienced a lot of mountains)! This mountain was highly technical and definitely challenged our boys. Kicking Horse Resort offered 3,700 feet of the best jump trails, intuitive designed tracks, perfectly placed variety of jumps, berms, bridges, and turns. Our boys left exhausted, happy, and part of the family travel plan.

road trip itinerary
Effortless ways to keep kids moving

In addition to meeting our boys “wish list,” we always bring a frisbee. This may sound quite simple, but it is worth mentioning because of its benefits. It is an inexpensive and space saving item that can be pulled out at any time. Periodically my husband would need to take a call, I would grab the frisbee and find an open space for a quick game. On another occasion, we had a 2 hour road closure and were able to easily pass the time with a family game of frisbee. The kids love that we play, and our boys get lots of exercise.

road trips with kids

Skateboards and/or scooters are also well worth the space on a trip. A quick stop when entering a town can make the next few hours on the road so much more pleasant. We found so many small towns offer a skate parks and it’s a perfect way for kids to expend 15 minutes of energy. It doesn’t take much to make our kids happy with a short stop that involves moving.

How does your family plan road trips?
DeNai JonesDeNai Jones contributed this post for Savvy Sassy Moms. DeNai is the founder of Petunia Pickle Bottom, where she spent twenty years designing. She is passionately creative with a wanderlust heart. DeNai is married with two boys ages 11 and 13 years. They live in the sleepy coastal town of Ventura, California and love to travel in their VW Van and internationally as much possible. Keep up with DeNai and Petunia Pickle Bottom on Instagram.

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