13 Games to Play in the Car on Your Next Family Road Trip

13 Games to Play in the Car on Your Next Family Road Trip

Liz Russell Liz Russell

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Spring break and summer vacation are just around the corner, which means road trips are in the future for many families. Help keep all the passengers entertained with these travel-ready games to play in the car. They're compact, perfect for a range of ages, and they don't have too many pieces to keep track of. Plus, most of these games can get a second use when you arrive at your destination—they're easy for toting around in a bag in case a spur-of-the-moment activity is needed. Happy travels!

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This card game comes complete with a small carrying sack, underscoring its portability. Players use travel time to take on trivia, dares, challenges and more, earning points for all their successes. But there's a twist. Cards like "Whoever asks 'How much longer till we get there?' loses a point. This will keep the game changing! While the box says the game takes 1-2 hours, game play is as long or short as you want it to be. (12+, 1-2 hours)

I Spy Travel Card Game 

Keep little ones occupied and checking out the scenery with this search-and-find card game that's based on the I SPY books. Each card contains an object, color, letter, or number to hunt for. There are 48 cards in the deck, which include I SPYS like the number 5, a house with a chimney, something yellow, and so many more. (4+)

Travel Bingo 

Bingo's mass appeal makes it a winner for every age group, and this four-pack of reusable interstate travel bingo cards is a road trip lifesaver. The cards primarily feature common items travelers pass while driving, such as a barn, a motorhome, power lines, a bus, etc. When a player spots an item, they slide the shutter closed. Be sure to stash a few fun prizes to give out to all the players who get bingo!

There are also dozens of printable travel bingo options (including our own). We recommend searching "printable road trip bingo" and picking your favorites. 

I Should Have Known That! 

Here's an on-the-go trivia game that tests your random knowledge. See who knows the answers to questions like, "Is starboard on the left or right side of a boat?" and "How long did Sleeping Beauty actually sleep?" As players go through the 400+ trivia questions, points are deducted for every incorrect answer. The game suggests players be 14+ for maximum enjoyment, but we think younger travelers will enjoy guessing along with the family. (14+, 2 or more players)

National Parks Trivia 

If you're road tripping to a national park, then this one is perfect. National Parks Trivia comes with little white board where you try to guess the correct answer. For the driver, you can write down their answer. Or just use the cards to spur some interesting "Did You Know?" conversations. With more than 600 questions, this should keep your crew busy for a while. (10+, 2 or more players)

Clue Card Game

Based on the classic board game, the playing card version of Clue is quick and easy to play. Armed with evidence and case file cards, players start investigating to figure out whodunit. All the well-known characters, rooms, and weapons from the board game appear here, too. (8+, 3-4 players)

Magnetic Chess

Now chess fans can play the game on the go without worrying about losing pieces. The board and plastic chess pieces are slightly magnetic, so pieces don't fall off, but can still easily slide across the board. While closed, the board holds all of the pieces inside. Once opened, the board extends to just under 10" x 10". (7+, 2 player)

Classic Wood & Peg Game Puzzles

Bring this bag of wood-and-peg brain teasers along for the ride. While players will have to keep track of pegs and dice, the variety of simple games in this sack makes it worth the effort. With eight different games to pick from, including the classic Triangle Peg Puzzle, there's multiple ways to pass the time.

Knock Knock On-The-Go Game Pad

All that's needed to play these games are a few pencils. Pick from five different games, including Hangman, Tic-Tac-Toe, Dots & Boxes, and more. There are 12 sheets of each game, so they can be played multiple times. Everyone in the car can easily get in on the fun with these universally-appealing games.

Flip to Win Travel Hangman

Melissa & Doug jazzed up the pen-and-paper version of Hangman by creating one with wooden tiles to flip over. No worries about losing any pieces—they're connected to each other and the game board with elastic strings. A dry erase marker makes it easy to play over and over again. (6+, 2 or more players)

Red Light Green Light 

This simple game takes just 10 minutes to play and is easy to learn. Players work to lay down cards following a pattern of red light, green light, 1, 2, 3 with the ultimate goal of discarding all of their cards. This game does require a playing surface, but not a big one, so even the middle seat (if it's not occupied) will work. (5+, 2-6 players)

Rush Hour

As a solo-player game that's pretty self-contained, it's ideal for when kids need an activity in the car that they can do on their own. The object of the game is to slide the red car through to the exit. This is easier said than done since the red car is blocked in by other cars via a Challenge card. Players slide the other cars up and down and left and right to solve the puzzle so the red car can escape. Hopefully it's the only traffic jam you encounter! (8+, single player)

Guess Who 

This classic game is a favorite to play at home, but also works well in the car. With no small parts to manage, this guessing game can easily help keep passengers occupied. Players ask each other yes or no questions to determine which character the other player has selected. When characters are ruled out as an option, they're flipped down until only one remains. (6+, 2 players)

Add to the game-play options with our Printable Road Trip Kit! It includes car bingo, road trip jokes, journal sheets to write about the trip, a license plate search game, and a road sign alphabet race. 

Or get more ideas for travel-ready games by reading this blog post about games to take everywhere you go.

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