Fact: You only get so many vacations with your kids before they leave the nest, so plotting your getaways (and clearing your schedule) is always time well spent. With those free days together being precious and few, you also want the good times to start as soon as your crew leaves the house. One way to do that: Make it a road trip. This time-honored tradition offers the chance to see new sights at your own pace, stretch your budget, and seek out spots that everyone from toddlers to teens will love while making memories all along the way.
Want to really level up your experience? Rent a car. Doing so lets you easily venture out without putting lots of wear and tear on your own car (or racking up the miles, if you lease). Plus, you can shake things up with a model that offers plenty of space and comfort for kids to safely spread out, get comfy, and—fingers crossed!—conk out, without the complaints of who’s touching who. When you rent from Enterprise, with its excellent customer service and thousands of convenient local neighborhood locations to pick up and drop off your rental, you can skip the trip to the airport and hit the road right away—a definite boon for busy parents. The fly-and-drive road trip is another smart approach, enabling your fam to explore parts of the country they might not get to otherwise.
For destination inspiration, here are five road trip ideas that offer something for the whole family—from sports fans to outdoor enthusiasts to gamers:
Soak up History and Mountain Views in D.C. and Virginia
Start in Washington, D.C. for a dose of history and fun. Little ones love animals? Check-in with the giant pandas at the National Zoo. Are your elementary schoolers learning about the founding of the U.S.? Visit The National Archives Museum for a look at the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. And the whole family will love seeing the monuments. (Pro tip: The National Mall offers a chance to check out the greats like the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, with lots of space to get extra energy out before a long ride.) Then, head to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia for some outdoor adventures. While there, put your rental car to good use with a cruise along Skyline Drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Make the Most of Maine
From picturesque beaches to cool cities to stunning nature, a road trip along the coast of Maine offers so much. Start with a visit to the beach town of Ogunquit, where you can spend the day at the shore or amble along Marginal Way, a coastal cliff walk that’s flat enough for even preschoolers to manage on their own. Continue up the coast to Kennebunkport, before checking out the city of Portland. Then, round out your trip by going even further north until you reach Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Grab some blueberry ice cream or a lobster roll in town, book a boat ride to see the area from a different vantage point, and explore Acadia, including a drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain.
Explore Northern California
A drive from the San Francisco area gives families lots of options. Sightsee around the city, which has tons to do for all ages, like Pier 39 and crooked-beyond-compare Lombard Street. (Naturally, a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge is a must!) Then, check out Berkeley and all its quirky, art-inspired culture. Or make a beeline for the coast: Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, see the cute town of Carmel-by-the-Sea and take in the magnificent views and sights, like Bixby Bridge, as you drive along Highway 1 to Big Sur before returning to the Bay Area.
Check Off Your Bucket List at the Grand Canyon
What’s more iconic than a family road trip to the Grand Canyon? This national park is not only jaw-droppingly gorgeous but offers limitless outdoor adventure, with everything from biking to riding mules to river rafting. (Are those phone and tablet screens you don’t see?) But don’t stop there: Take in more of Arizona with a drive to Sedona (those red rocks!), and then on towards Scottsdale and Phoenix. For sports fans, play a round of golf in Scottsdale or time your visit to coincide with spring training and catch a baseball game at Scottsdale Stadium.
See Tennessee and North Carolina
An itinerary that takes your family to Nashville, Chattanooga, TN, and Asheville, NC gives everyone their pick of cultural and creative to-dos. Start in Nashville, where you can snap fun photos of the kids in front of one of the many murals, visit Centennial Park, or take in the musical sounds of the city. From there, it’s on to Chattanooga, where a visit to the kid-centered Creative Discovery Museum is sure to keep little ones engaged. And then, explore all that the city of Asheville has to offer, including introducing your gamers to vintage fun at the Asheville Pinball Museum. Return your car to Enterprise, and hang on to the memories!
This article was created by SheKnows for Enterprise.