9 Family Road Trip Games For the Best Car Trip Ever!

Road trip games that can make the time fly by

By Sarah Hauge, Macaroni KID Englewood-Greenwood Village-Centennial Publisher June 3, 2022

Our family takes two big road trips to visit extended relatives each year. And by big, I mean 12- to 14-hour drives. As you can imagine, we've heard our fair share of the dreaded question:

Are we there yet? 

To help pass the time and make our trips more enjoyable, we occupy ourselves with some fun and easy road trip games.

1. I'm Going on a Picnic/Vacation (Ages 4+)

Rules: Player 1 starts the game by saying, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing..." something that begins with the letter A. The second player then says, "I'm going on a picnic and bringing..." something that starts with the letter B and then the item mentioned by player 1. Each player will add on a new item alphabetically while remembering every item mentioned beforehand.

If you mess up, you're out. The last person who can recite all of the items correctly wins.

In the vacation variation, players say, "I'm going on a vacation, and I'm traveling to..." and mention locations (real or imaginary) from A to Z.

2. The Alphabet Game (Ages 3+)

Rules: Players look for words containing each letter of the alphabet, from A to Z, on road signs, billboards, license plates, etc. The first person to successfully find all the letters wins. 

Want to make this game more challenging? Players may only move on to the following letter once they've found words that START with each letter.

3. Fortunately, Unfortunately (Ages 5+)

Rules: Players take turns adding to a story, one sentence at a time. Each participant must begin their sentence with "fortunately" or "unfortunately," alternating between a positive and negative addition to the tale. 

4. The Counting Game (Ages 4+)

Rules: The goal is to count to 20 as a group. One participant randomly starts the game by saying, "one." Another person follows at random with, "two." The random calling of numbers continues until the group reaches 20.

If two people say the same number at the same time, the counting must start over. To make things more challenging, if there is ever a pause in counting that lasts more than 5 seconds, you must also start over.

5. The Movie Game (Ages 8+)

Rules: Player 1 starts the game by announcing an actor's name. Player 2 then names a movie that the mentioned actor was in. Player 3 must say a different actor from the mentioned movie, and Player 4 then announces a film that this actor played in.

The game goes back and forth between actors and movies, forming a chain. The game ends when a player cannot successfully name a movie or actor to continue the actor-movie-actor-movie pattern.

6. Categories (Ages 2+)

Rules: The group decides on a category. One by one, each player names something that belongs in the designated category. A person is out if they accidentally repeat a previously mentioned item or if they cannot come up with a new item. The last person remaining wins the round.

Need some category ideas? Try these: colors, animal sounds, cities with baseball teams, presidents, foods that grow on trees, famous dogs, words that start and end with the same letter, Broadway musicals, fast food chains, car manufacturers, actors in animated films, books set in the USA.

7. Two Truths and a Lie (Ages 4+)

Rules: Each participant comes up with three sentences — two must be true, and one must be a lie. The other players must determine which of the sentences is false. Players that correctly guess the lie on the first try will earn 1 point. If no one guesses correctly, the speaker earns 3 points. The first person to reach 10 points wins.

8. The Name Game (Ages 8+)

Rules: Player 1 says the first and last name of a celebrity. Player 2 must then say the name of a celebrity that begins with the first letter of the previous celebrity's last name. Stumped players are eliminated and the last player remaining wins.

9. I Spy (Ages 2+)

Rules: Player 1 observes an item and describes it to the group by saying, "I spy, with my little eye, something that..." followed by a simple description. All the other players, one by one, must guess or ask a "yes or no" question about the mystery item. If no one can guess after each player has asked their question, Player 1 can share another descriptive attribute. The first person to guess correctly wins the round and gets to spy a new item.

I hope these ideas for road trip games help your family pass the time happily on your next car trip and help keep the "Are we there yet?" question at bay!