The end of summer doesn’t mean the end of road trip season. There’s plenty of time for a weekend getaway to the beach or a cozy cabin in the mountains. Just grab some friends or family members and hop in a car with great gas mileage. And, for entertainment along the way, here are 12 games for adults and kids alike that will help keep everyone from asking, “Are we there yet?”
Radio DJ. This game works by flipping through radio stations or setting your mobile device on music shuffle. When a song plays, you have to finish the rest of it, karaoke-style. If no one knows the lyrics, it’s on to the next song. The person who knows the most lyrics wins. Of course, the car is a judgment-free zone. Sing loud and sing proud!
You Snooze, You Lose. There’s always that one person who can’t stay awake during car rides. This is the perfect time to have some fun. When a passenger falls asleep, the rest of the car makes up a story. Each passenger takes a turn to add an element to the tale. When Sleeping Beauty wakes up, everyone takes turns to share the story about what the person missed while they were sleeping. If you start laughing while telling your piece of the story or forget an element, you’re out. If the sleeper is fooled by the story, everyone still in gets a point. But if the sleeper calls your bluff, no one gets a point.
Don’t Say It. This game is a nice way to keep everyone on their toes and watching their mouths. To play, you pick a word that will be off-limits. This is the “forbidden word”—it can be any word you choose. Anyone who forgets and says the word over the course of the trip has to either add a dollar or add their name to the cup. At the end of the trip, the money in the cup or the person with their name added the most often pays for gas or snacks of the passengers’ choosing.
Hot Seat. Is there anything about the person sitting next to you that you’ve always wanted to know? Try this game. To play, one person is in the “hot seat.” Everyone else in the car has the chance to ask him or her a question. The question can be about anything, from what their superpower would be to who was the last person they had a crush on. If the person in the hot seat doesn’t want to answer, they can skip the question. But be careful, the game only allows one “skip,” so choose wisely. The game continues until everyone has had a turn in the hot seat.
Did You Hear? A take on “man on the street” interviews, the way to win is by not believing anything you hear. The game starts by asking someone, “Did you hear (blank) happened?” You fill in the blank with something completely made up. If the person doesn’t believe you, he gets a point. But if the person says, “Yeah, I heard about that,” or “No, tell me more,” you get a point. The person with the most points wins the game.
Scavenger Hunt. This game requires a little bit of pre-planning, but it pays off in the end. To play, draw up a list of items to search for on the road. The list can include things such as a food sign or stick-people decals. Heck, you can even search for CarMax decals on cars’ tailgates! Print out a sheet for each passenger. Keep in mind the scenery on the road trip—there’s no use looking for cornfields while driving through the city! The most important part is not making the game too easy. The first person to cross off everything on the list wins.
Six Degrees of Separation. For those who struggled to leave Netflix behind for the trip, this game is a solid test of their movie knowledge. First, one person names two actors. Everyone else in the car has to guess how they’re related. The first person to connect the dots wins the game.
Padiddle. This game works best when there’s a lot of night driving along the way. All you have to do is look for a car with only one working headlight. Once you see it, tap the roof of the car and yell, “Padiddle!” The person who gets the most cars wins the game. Mistakenly calling “padiddle” on a motorcycle means you lose a point…J
Sweet or Sour. Who says a road trip can only be fun for the people in your own car? This game is a good way to spread some cheer to fellow drivers. To play, all you have to do is wave to strangers driving by in other cars. If the person you wave to waves back, they’re “sweet,” and you get a point. If the stranger ignores you, don’t be offended. They’re just feeling “sour” today. The person who gathers the most “sweets” wins.
The License Plate Game. This game is a classic, and it never gets old. And it can get competitive, too. As you’re passing by another car, keep tabs of the state on its plate. The goal is to find license plates from all 50 states, and Washington, D.C. Two people cannot call the same license plate. The game ends when someone calls all of the states, or spots the most states by the end of the trip.
Mad Libs. Not just for little kids, this game can be adapted so even the driver can play along. To play, one person finds a news story online. As he reads the story aloud, he inserts blanks that the rest of the car has to fill in. For example, “One Florida man was shocked to find (blank) in his toilet.” What he found is up to your imagination. Guess right and win a point.
The Alphabet Game. Which list of road trip games would be complete without the alphabet game? This game is great because it keeps everyone on the hunt for that next letter, and it can last for hours. Players look for words that start with A, B, C, etc. in sequence. The words can be on billboards, businesses, or road signs. License plates don’t count. Once a person calls a word on a sign, no one else can repeat it. The first to get to “Z” wins.
These are just 12 ideas for road trip games. You’re free to make up your own games! Whatever you come up with, you’re having fun together—this is what we mean when we say getting there is half the fun of a road trip!