Road trips with family or friends create memories that last a lifetime. To make the time pass quickly, try one of our fun road trip games. We have games for children of every age, including adult road trip games. Some can be played alone on a long drive, some with one other person, and some of our road trip games provide fun for everyone in the car. No equipment is required for most these fun games to play in the car, but we do have some old favorite paper and pencil games. Stay entertained and help your trip pass quickly with one or more of our road trip games.
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Road Trip Games for Adults
Even adults begin to get tired and bored on a long road trip. The following list of road trip games for adults and couples will keep you awake and entertained. Beware, however. Some are very revealing, showing either your intelligence or some things you may not wish to tell anyone.
Name That Tune
This simple road game works well with a car radio that scans stations with a “seek” button. Alternatively, you can have the front seat passenger change stations every five seconds. The goal is to guess the title of the song. A variation is to take turns singing the next line of the song.
One person begins with an unfortunately statement and the next with a fortunately statement. For example,
- “Unfortunately, there is a monkey in the back seat.”
- “Fortunately, he has his seat belt on.”
- “Unfortunately, I think he needs to use the restroom.”
- “Fortunately, we are stopping soon.”
- “Unfortunately, he is also hungry.”
A road trip game also suitable for older children and teens, the more bizarre the statements, the more fun this game becomes.
Once Upon a Time
A fun game that involves using your imagination, each player takes a turn looking at a car and the occupant(s) and creating a fictional story about them. Begin with the phrase, “Once Upon a Time.” For example, a teenager driving a red sportscar may prompt, “Once upon a time a guy bought a car to impress his girlfriend.” A variation is for each person to take a turn adding one sentence to the fictional story line.
Build words or phrases using the letter sequence in license plates. For example, a license plate with the letters DLF may be “Dogs Lick Faces.” For more of a challenge, include the numbers. M48LY might be “Married for Eight Long Years.” If you are doing words, AFL can be “awful.”
All About Me
If you want to know more about the people you are traveling with, this is a fun game to play. Each person says something the other one does not know , beginning with the phrase, “Do you know that I __________________. Answers can be simple or very revealing!
Never Have I Ever
Another adult road trip game that reveals some things about the players is Never Have I Ever. Each person takes a turn and says the phrase, “Never have I ever ______.” For example, “Never have I ever been in jail.” The next player guesses if the statement is true or false. The person with the most accurate guesses wins this game, or you can just play for fun.
Road Trip Games for Kids
Kids have trouble staying entertained on road trips. Yes, you can use electronics, but to increase the fun of a family road trip, and exercise the mind, road trip games designed for kids provide a perfect solution. Before leaving home, pack a tablet of paper and pencils for some of these games. You might also wish to throw in some books to read and coloring books or pages with crayons for some quiet time on the road.
Pencil and Paper Games
- Connect the Dots. Have the kids take a few minutes to create a page of dot squares in a large box shape. This will provide two or more grids for play. Alternative, you can find free printable connect-the-dots game sheets online to print out before your trip. Each player takes a turn and draws a line between two dots either horizontally or vertically. The goal is to complete as many boxes as possible. Each time a player completes a square, they put their initials inside. At the end of the game when there are no boxes left, the player with the most initialed squares wins.
- Hangman. Players take turns thinking of any word. At the bottom of a sheet of paper, they draw a series of blanks, one for each letter of the word. The other player guesses letters and if they guess a letter correctly, it is written on the correct blank. If the guess is wrong, they begin completing the hangman, head first, then neck, body, two arms, and two legs. Older kids can use longer words and draw more body parts (hands, feet, two-section arms, etc.) If the word is guessed correctly before the body is completed, the guesser wins.
- Tic Tac Toe. I am sure you know how to play Tic Tac Toe, but just in case you have forgotten, you begin with a drawing of two horizontal lines crossed by two vertical lines evenly spaced. The goal is to place either the X or O in a space either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Player take turns attempting to complete a row. The player who does so first wins the game. This is fun for younger kids. Older kids figure out there is a method to make it possible for the first player to win every time and the game loses its appeal.
Also known as “Gossip,” this game works for ages 4 and up: The first child whispers a very short story to the person next to them in the car. The story continues to be whispered from person to person. The last child says tells the story out loud. The fun enters when everyone hears how much the story changed as it was passed from person to person.
The next two games are perfect for when the adults have almost lost their minds from noisy children in the car.
Guess the Word
One child closes their eyes or looks out the window while the other child writes a word on one hand with a finger. Words should be short – not more than four letters. The words are written one letter at a time. The goal is to guess what the mystery word is. Hopefully, this game is one they will not tire of easily.
Silence Is Golden
Adults decide on a prize, maybe dessert at the next food stop or ice cream for everyone in an hour. The goal is to be completely quiet. Toward the end of the tip, when everyone is tired, this road trip game provides a welcome relief.
Fun Road Trip Games
Some road trip games work for any age or group size and composition. Whether you are a little kid, a teen, or an adult, you will love playing a game from the following selection.
License Plate Games
- State License Plate Game
Probably one of the oldest road trip games, searching for license plates from all of the continental U.S. is a perfect game for a long road trip. Give extra points for any outside the continental U.S. Have the kids write down their finds on a piece of paper. At the end of the trip, see who has the most.
- License Plate Alphabet Game
Use license plates to complete the alphabet from A to Z. This is a great game for young kids who are reinforcing their ability to recite the alphabet. You can also collect double or triple letters from license plates – perfect for older kids.
Road Trip Word Games
- Word Rhyming
One of the adults picks a one-syllable word and everyone else takes a turn saying a rhyming word. For example, an adult says “Pig” and the next player says “Wig, then the third player says “Fig.” A word cannot be repeated and if someone cannot think of a word in five seconds, they are out. The person who wins a round picks the next word.
- Don’t Say It!
All of the passengers in the car think of five words that will avoid saying during the road trip. Saying any of these words earns a point (You do not want points!) or a penalty, such as saying nothing for five minutes or only water to drink at the next snack or meal stop. This game is the most fun when words used frequently on a road trip are chosen, such as “stop,” “eat,” or the driver’s name.
- Picnic Game
This favorite memory builder game for all ages begins with one player saying, “I went on a picnic and I brought _______________.” (a picnic item begins with the letter A, such as apples.) Each player repeats the picnic phrase and the previously mentioned item, and then adds an item that begins with the next letter of the alphabet. The game continues with players being “out” if they forget a previously mentioned picnic item. Play continues until the entire alphabet is used or until only one player remains – the winner.
Alphabet and Number Games
Any child who knows the alphabet and can count is able to play the following games. You may want to stop mid-alphabet for very young children or set the counting goal at 100.
- A Is for Apple. Each person says a letter of the alphabet followed by a word, beginning with “A is for apple.” The winner is the kid who can recite the entire alphabet with the corresponding word.
- Animal Name Game. Similar to A Is for Apple, the kids name animals. The first person names an animal and the second has to name an animal that starts with the last letter of the first animal named. The game continues this way until players tire or want to use another category. Try cities, countries, people’s names, etc.
- Find the Letters. This can be played alone or with others. Players simply attempt to find sequential alphabet letters on store and restaurant signs, billboards, road signs, etc. To make this game a bit more challenging, players on the right can only find letters on the right side of the car and those on the left, must look on the left-hand side.
- Counting Game. Choose a category for counting – blue cars, cows, horses, etc. You can set a goal or simply see how many can be spotted on a portion of or for the entire trip.
A familiar and always favorite game, especially for very young children, the game begins with someone saying “I spy with my little eye something that ____________________. The player can say “begins with the letter ______.” or “is the color _______.” The other player(s) guess what the first player spied. A wrong guess means that player is out.
Similar to I Spy, one player thinks of an animal, vegetable, or mineral. The other players all take turns asking questions. Players have twenty questions they are able to ask. The questions must be able to be answered with either a “yes” or a “no.” For example, “Is it alive?” After the twenty questions, each player makes a guess. The player who guesses correctly gets to think of something for the next round. Read more in our Who am I? article
So, try one of our more than twenty road trip games for your family or when traveling with friends. Most road trip games are not only fun, but also teach new skills or reinforce learning. Kids learn to take turns, lose gracefully, and be good sports. Memory is improved and critical thinking skills are acquired. Our fun road games will keep everyone in the car entertained for hours. Remember them for anytime you load up the car. Even an in-city trip goes faster and without hassles when you play a road game. Keep everyone busy with one of these road trip games!
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.