15 Fun Road Trip Games Guaranteed to Beat the Boredom
Adapted from Getty Images
Don’t Say It!
Don’t Say It! is a passive game you can play during your entire car trip. You can play it while playing other games, actually. First, pick five words at the start of your journey. Use our word finder for ideas. No one is allowed to say these five words the entire time. If they do, they get a point against them. Once someone messes up and gets enough points, they have to endure whatever funny penalty you impose on them. Maybe they’re not allowed to use their phone (or other devices) until the next rest stop.
Did You Hear?
When your kids want to mess with each other in an absurd way, Did You Hear? gives them that chance. This fun road trip game is about distinguishing between fact and fiction. Each player takes a turn asking a question about someone else, but the question must start with “Did you hear…?” For example, “Did you hear that Bobby hates ice cream?” The other players must then determine whether the person asking the question was telling the truth or not.
Guess the Word
Guess the Word is a simple but fun road trip word game. You also have the option to modify the rules. Its basic premise is that one child writes down a letter (either on a piece of paper, on their palm or anywhere else to hide it), and the other kids need to guess what that word is. The word should also be no more than four letters long. To make the game go more quickly, you can stipulate that the word must relate to something in the car.
I Spy is one of the most common and easy games to play in the car with kids. Everyone takes turns picking an object outside of the car (a tree, another car, a billboard, etc.). Then, everyone else tries to guess what it is. They do this by saying “I spy with my little eye…” followed by a clue about the object. For instance, they might say, “I spy with my little eye something that is red.” The player who correctly guesses the object gets to take their turn next.
License Plate Game
The License Plate Game is perhaps the ultimate game for anyone driving long distances in the United States. The goal of this road trip game is simple: Call out license plates from different states you see on the road. From Alabama to Wyoming, everyone gets a point for each different state they see. You can also award extra points for plates not from the continental United States. Once the road trip is over, everyone adds up their points to figure out who found the most.
This can also be the Movie and TV Game. One person starts by saying a letter. Someone else must then name a movie or show that starts with that letter. The first player to give a valid movie or TV show title keeps the game going by saying the next letter in the alphabet. The goal is to keep going until everyone gives a movie or TV name for every letter in the alphabet.
For yet another incredibly simple but fun game, try the Name Game. One player starts by saying any person’s name that comes to mind. The other players need to think of another name that starts with the letter at the end of the first name. It’s a word chain game, sometimes called an “alpha and omega” word game. So, if the first person said, “Emma,” the next person can say, “Aaron.” There is no real way to win this game; it can keep going until everyone runs out of names.
Scavenger Hunt is similar to I Spy because you play by calling out objects outside of the car. The difference is that for Scavenger Hunt, someone needs to create a list of things to find. The list can include things like an evergreen tree, a gas station, a red truck, and more. The first person to find everything on the list wins. Like other road trip games, you can make this as easy or as challenging as you’d like.
Silence Is Golden
This is the game to play when everyone needs a moment of peace and quiet. So, like, for all parents, all the time. For this game, the name says it all. Challenge the kids to remain completely silent for a determined amount of time. If they all complete the challenge, they earn a prize. This could be something like letting them choose where to eat lunch or what music to play in the car. If they lose, they don’t get anything.
Though not really a “road trip game,” there’s no reason why you can’t hold an impromptu spelling bee in your car. Play this game like it was any normal spelling bee. If someone spells a word correctly, they move on to the next round. If they mess up, they are eliminated from the competition. To make things fair, try not to pick any complex words for them to spell.
Sweet or Sour
Here’s a game that encourages kids to interact with other people on the road. With Sweet or Sour, your kids need to wave at all oncoming and adjacent vehicles. If the people in those vehicles wave back, the kids shout “Sweet!” If they do not, the kids shout “Sour!” The goal is to get as many people as possible to wave back. Keep a tally. The player with the most “Sweet” points wins the game.
This is a good game to play if you have four or more kids in your car. The game starts with one person whispering a short story to another player. The story should only be two or three sentences long. The second player then whispers it to the next player, and so on. Once the final player hears it, that person recites the story out loud to hear how many hilarious, accidental changes had been made to it.
Tunnels or Bridges
Kids love testing their physical abilities, so why not make a road trip game out of it? When playing Tunnels or Bridges, all the kids need to do is hold their breath whenever your car passes over a bridge or through a tunnel. Let the kids compete with each other to see who has the most endurance. Just make sure they don’t overdo it.
What Color Is It?
What Color Is It? is a road trip game you get to take part in. Start by picking a color, but don’t tell anyone what the color is. Once you have your color, list objects, one at a time, that typically have that color. For example, if you say, “Watermelon, emeralds and lizards,” and one of the kids says, “Green,” they win that round.
This game forces everyone to think fast and be creative. To start, you or another adult say a one-syllable word. Then, one of the passengers must say a different word that rhymes with that word. The next player must then say a word that rhymes with the second word. This pattern repeats until someone cannot think of a word within five seconds. Anyone who cannot think of a word is knocked out of the game, and the turn passes to the next player. The game only ends once all but one player fails to think of a rhyming word.
Mobile Games That Are Truly Mobile
Nothing makes a long drive go by quickly quite like fun road trip games. They’re amusing, engaging, and allow your family to bond in a number of silly ways. Of course, they aren’t the only game to play to keep the kids occupied. Mobile games are, naturally, also great for passing the time. While most mobile games need an internet connection to work, there are a number of great mobile games you can play offline too. Do the kids a favor and download a few so they’re ready to go on your next long cruise.
Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.