These are recommended road tips and itineraries provided by Family Travel Association members as an annex to an article about family travel and road tripping. For the introductory post associated with this page, go HERE.
Erin Kirkland, Publisher, AKontheGo
1. Alaska-Canada Highway, also known as the “AlCan”
2. Road trips to/through any national park
Sarah Leonard, President and CEO, Alaska Travel Industry Association
Natasha Keller, Community and Communications Manager, Bound Round
1. In Australia, probably the most iconic, bucket list family road trip is the extended, country circumnavigation. Not much compares to packing up the family home and committing to 6 months / 12 months / 18 months exploring this vast country, and completely connecting with your family. With huge environmental diversity (from the Great Barrier Reef to Uluru), unique indigenous cultural experiences, and plenty of amazing adventurous experiences to be found throughout the country, there is plenty to keep all members of the family enthralled and engaged throughout the journey.
2. The Legendary Pacific Coast is a well-known family road trip that is regularly done by both local families and international visitors. Travelling from Sydney to Brisbane, families get to experience the stunning east coast of New South Wales and Queensland. This drive route is particularly popular as it is a relatively short distance (total 10 hours drive time) and one that can be broken into multiple shorter trips with fantastic attractions to stop off at along the way and many small towns that provide excellent facilities for families wanting to stop for a night or two (ranging from budget to high end).
3. One of the most photographed ‘road trip’ destinations in Australia, the Great Ocean Road, is a firm favourite. Driving from Melbourne to Adelaide, families are immersed in the natural beauty of the southern coastline of Australia. This iconic road trip is definitely one for families who are nature lovers, with plenty of amazing national parks to explore and quaint towns to visit.
Sydney to Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, Australia – Up via the Pacific coast, stopping at Terrigal, Nelson Bay and Hat Head; back inland via Waterfall Way through Bellingen, Dorrigo, Armidale and Tamworth.
A representative of the Empire State Development Corporation – I Love NY
Given major New York milestones this year, one road trip I suggest spans a three-day weekend in the Finger Lakes. First, visit the Corning Museum of Glass and take the trail through Watkins Glen to see the many waterfalls or enjoy a brief tubing ride through the canyon. On day 2, visit Auburn (Harriet Tubman National Historic Park and William Seward’s House and Museum) and then drive just half an hour to Seneca Falls, which is commemorating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York. Here you can visit many attractions in the Women’s Rights National Historic Park. Then, on day 3, drive north to Syracuse to enjoy action-packed Destiny USA with thrill rides and games. See the Erie Canal Museum and experience the canal on a boat ride/pedal/horseback ride along a section of the Erie Canal to commemorate its 200th anniversary.
Lissa Poirot, Editor-in-Chief, Family Vacation Critic
Our favorite road trip was hitting the national parks out west for two weeks. We flew into Salt Lake City, rented a comfortable minivan, and hit 11 national parks in Utah, Arizona and Colorado, including Bryce Canyon, Arches, Zion, Mesa Verde and the Grand Canyon. We had a fabulous trip and the kids collected Junior Ranger badges at every park we visited. We nicknamed our trip ‘The Great American Road Trip.’
Julia Slatcher, Owner & Principal, Inspire World Travel
1. Northern Italy, especially Tuscany, which is more difficult to explore without a car. Each “hill town” is unique historically and culturally, and many have festivals that are great fun. There are even wineries that are “kid-friendly” – our boys enjoyed learning about the process of making wine and even came back to our HomeAway accommodation, picked leftover grapes still on the vines and made their own “wine.” Since we were living in Switzerland, we loved driving into Italy over the St. Bernard Pass in the Alps, where the legendary dogs helped find travelers lost in the snow. Gorgeous mountain villages and stunning mountain views.
2. Southern France/Northern Spain. This region is under-explored but boasts such gems as 13,000-year-old cave paintings, uncrowded Cathar castle ruins, Basque culture, picturesque seaside villages and gorgeous views.
3. American Southwest. Full of stunning national parks and fun Old West history, this region is the most uniquely American, in my opinion. Head to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for a less-visited and amazing part of this well-known national park. Kanab, Utah, makes a fun place to stay, as it was the filming location for countless old Westerns – we stayed in a motel that had free nightly screenings in their barn, complete with complimentary popcorn. In New Mexico, after visiting the surprising and other-worldly White Sands National Monument, head into the cooler mountain air of Cloudcroft for the night. A beautiful hour-and-a-half drive away lies the small Smokey Bear Museum, which is also the final resting place of the real Smokey Bear.
Maria Giannouli, Chief Editor, Kids Love Greece
Greece is the perfect country for a family road trip, as there is so much to see and do. You can combine archaeological sites with beaches, and quiet mountain villages with vibrant cities. There are numerous possibilities, but these two are our favorites:
1. A family mythological road trip. This trip can start and end in Athens, and covers a small loop through parts of the Peloponnese and the north of Athens. Leaving Athens, the route goes first to the picturesque mountain town of Arachova and then on to Delphi, the UNESCO World Heritage Site where the Oracle is said to have given prophecies. It was considered the center of the Ancient Greek world.
From Delphi, the road trip then goes on to Nafpaktos, the scene of a famous naval battle, and then to Olympia, where the ancient Olympic Games were held. From here, the beautiful town of Nafplion can be visited next, then the ancient city of Mycenae, the site of Epidavrus, Ancient Corinth, and then finally back to Athens. All the way around, there are plenty of opportunities to find beaches, swim and enjoy the sun!
2. Another favorite family road trip is on the Greek island of Crete. Crete is a deceptively small island, since it takes at least two weeks to scratch the surface. Many visitors to the island become so enchanted that they plan their return trips straight away! A suggested road trip here would be to start and finish in the capital of Heraklion.
After visiting the famous archaeological site of Knossos (said to be the Labyrinth of Greek mythology), the route follows the coastal road in a clockwise direction. On the way to Ag. Nikolaos there are plenty of opportunities to spend time on the beaches. Some suggested highlights to include on a Crete family road trip include: Plakias, Dikteon Cave and Lasithi plateau, Spinalonga, Gortyna and Phaestos, Matala Caves, Prevali Beach, Hora Sfakion, Chania, Paleochora and Loutro, Elafonisi and Rethymnon.
Shellie Bailey-Shah, Editor, KidTripster
1. Three-week road trip: Salt Lake City (Utah) to Arches National Park to Canyonlands National Park to Natural Bridges National Monument to Bryce National Park to Zion National Park to Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim) to Las Vegas to Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park to Yosemite National Park to Lake Tahoe to Salt Lake City
2. Two-week road trip: Salt Lake City (Utah) to Arches National Park to Canyonlands National Park to Natural Bridges National Monument to Bryce National Park to Zion National Park to Salt Lake City
3. Two-week road trip: Jackson Hole (Wyoming) to Grand Teton Natoinal Park to Yellowstone National Park
Mike Varndell, Managing Founder, Malawian Style
Malawi and Zambia are not only two of the safest countries in Africa, they are good value in allowing families budgets to stretch, and they are diverse with short drive times, which allows families to maximize their limited time. The Malawi and Zambia Family Holiday is a 16-day road journey that can be tackled at different cost levels: on a budget, mid-range, high end and luxury.
Anna O’Donnell, Public Relations & Earned Media Specialist, Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development
Montana is the perfect destination for family road trips, with a number of family friendly activities for those of all ages.
1. In southeast Montana, families can explore the history of the state along I-94. Stop at Makoshika State Park and the Terry Badlands Wilderness Study Area, where kids can dig for dinosaur fossils and explore miles of beautiful ravines and rock formations. Then visit Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, which offers more than 23 full-sized dinosaur and fossil exhibits, including an 18-foot-tall Tyrannosaurus rex.
2. Or take a road trip through Yellowstone Country this summer. This weekend trip takes families through three state parks and a number of vibrant Montana cities. Stopping off the I-90, visit Madison Buffalo Jump, a valley rich with history and beauty, before heading to Lewis and Clark Caverns, a series of winding caverns lined with impressive limestone formations. Bozeman and Butte are also short drives from these natural wonders.
3. For an exciting and sweeping road trip, families can explore Montana while traveling between Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. There are a number of available routes, each with its own sights and experiences. Traveling through the mountains, families can visit Montana’s numerous ghost towns, including Bannack State Park, Garnet Ghost Town and more. Traveling another road, families can explore a number of charming small towns and experience a variety of summer festivals. Or take The National Park Highway, Route 89, which connects seven of the West’s most iconic national parks and 15 other national monuments and attractions.
Katlyn Richter, Global Media and Public Relations Director, South Dakota Department of Tourism
1. The Great 8: South Dakota’s Great 8 features some of the state’s most iconic destinations, rich with world-famous pioneers and outlaws, prehistoric beasts and Native American culture. Stops include Jewel Cave National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, the Missouri River and Historic Deadwood.
2. I-29 Cultural Corridor: A wide variety of opportunities for historical and cultural engagement can be found while traveling the eastern corridor of the state along Interstate 29. Notable stops for families include the Children’s Museum of South Dakota located in Brookings, Falls Park in Sioux Falls and Terry Redlin Art Center in Watertown.
Kimberly Tate, Owner, Stuffed Suitcase
1. Washington to California (Seattle to Disneyland!) – a beautiful coastal drive with lots of beaches, cute towns and redwoods!
2. Vancouver to Edmonton – the Canadian Rockies, including the Ice Fields Parkway between Banff and Jasper.
Dan Wulfman, President, Tracks & Trails
There are a lot of fantastic road trips to be done out west.
1. We offering an RV trip called California Coast that takes guests along the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco (or in reverse). There are stops along the way in Santa Barbara, San Simeon, Big Sur and Monterey, all of which are fantastic.
2. Rocky Mountain National Park is also great. The colorful foliage is incredible in the fall, when the elk come out to play.
Jara Haas, Tourism Sales Manager, Visit Anchorage
1. Anchorage to Valdez and back (4-5 days): Pick up your motorhome or rental car in Anchorage and drive to Whittier, Alaska. Once there you can put your vehicle on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry to Valdez. Enjoy the many tidewater glaciers of Prince William Sound, as well as an abundance of marine life such as sea otters, porpoises and whales along the way. Spend a few days exploring the town of Valdez before driving north along the Richardson Highway through Wrangell St. Elias National Park, the largest national park in the US. Continue along the Richardson Highway past immense glaciers, through the Matanuska Valley and back to Anchorage.
2. Anchorage to Homer (4-5 days): Have the motorhome company pick your family up from the airport with a completely stocked RV! Head south out of Anchorage on the Seward Highway along the shores of Cook Inlet. Explore the many opportunities for wildlife viewing, hiking and kayaking on the Kenai Peninsula. Make a mandatory stop in Cooper Landing for world-class salmon fishing on the Kenai River. Continue to the end of the highway at the beautiful coastal town of Homer, Alaska. Exploration is key in Homer; from tide pools to art galleries, there is something for everyone.
3. Anchorage to Denali (5-7 days): This is one of the most popular road trips in Alaska. Take the road north (don’t worry, there is only one) through the Matanuska Valley with views of multiple mountain ranges, including the Chugach, Talkeetna and Alaska ranges. Stop off in the historic town of Talkeetna for some amazing adventures, Alaska style! Zip lining, rafting, train tours and more await. Continue north to Denali National Park, home of Denali, the tallest peak in North America. Consider a flight seeing tour, ATV tour, or hike in this amazing national park.
Tamara Gruber, Writer & Podcaster, We3Travel
We take at least one extended road trip a year and our two favorites have been:
1. California coast
2. Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks
This year we are planning a Civil Rights History road trip through the American South.