21 Fun And Entertaining Things to Do in a Car on Any Journey

Stuck in a car and out of ideas? Say goodbye to boredom with our curated list of 21 things to do in a car. Find the perfect mix of games, crafts, and entertainment that caters to every passenger, making the hours fly by. Whether you’re navigating a solo trip or entertaining a crew, our engaging activities promise to make your car ride unexpectedly enjoyable.

Key Takeaways

Engaging Road Trip Games

Children playing road trip games in the car

The classic road trip conundrum: how do you keep the journey lively and the backseat banter flowing? Games serve as your travel-sized saviors! From the golden oldies to new twists on traditional favorites, road trip games are the perfect antidote to the dreaded “Are we there yet?” symphony.

These games, including mad libs, guarantee so much fun, laughter, and camaraderie as you play games, whether you’re on a family road trip or traveling with friends.

License Plate Bingo

Remember playing the state license plate game as a kid? License Plate Bingo is like the interstate version, with a twist of friendly competition. Prep your bingo cards with a mix of state license plates, and as the landscape whizzes by your car window, keep your eyes peeled for that elusive ‘Alaska’ or ‘Hawaii’ plate to triumphantly cross off your list. It’s a scavenger hunt that turns every passing vehicle into a potential jackpot on your bingo card.

For a creative twist, consider a variation where you play mad libs, or write down a word and cross off letters as you spot them during the journey. It’s the perfect blend of brain teasers and luck.

Alphabet Game

Now, if you’re seeking a challenge that’ll have everyone craning their necks at every road sign, billboard, and license plate, the Alphabet Game is your go-to. The quest is simple: find all 26 letters of the alphabet, in order, as you journey on. It’s a fun way to stay engaged with your surroundings and brings a whole new level of excitement to spotting road signs.

For a more challenging game, exclude commonly found letters like ‘E’ and ‘A’ from certain sources, pushing players to think more creatively.

20 Questions

Let’s not forget the timeless classic, 20 Questions. This game is a mental marathon that promises to test your deduction skills and keep everyone’s brains buzzing for a few hours. One person plays the omniscient being, holding the secret of the chosen object in their mind, while the other passengers morph into detectives, firing off yes or no questions to uncover the mystery.

Requiring minimal setup, this game is ideal for long stretches between rest stops and can be easily adapted for multiple participants. So the next time you’re traversing through all the states, let 20 Questions be the mile marker of fun.

Creative Car Activities

Family drawing on car windows with washable markers

The open road is not just a path to your next destination; it’s a canvas waiting for your creative touch. Long car rides are the ideal backdrop for diving into compact, doable projects that not only pass time but spark imagination. These car activities can transform your journey into fun road trips, whether you’re a passenger gazing out the car window or someone seeking an alternative to the digital screen.

Window Art

Transform the mundane car window into your personal canvas with washable window markers. As the world speeds by, let the scenery inspire temporary masterpieces or play paper-free games like tic-tac-toe. It’s a super cute, mess-free way to draw pictures and express your creativity.

The best aspect? Your artwork isn’t permanent—a quick swipe with a cloth clears the canvas for your next masterpiece. So grab a marker, look out the center console, and let your imagination run wild on the glass.

Postcard Writing

There’s something magical about sending a piece of your journey through the mail. Postcard writing is a first-person tale of your adventures, a tangible memory you can share with loved ones or keep for yourself. Describe your surroundings, the quirky roadside attraction you discovered, or the local delicacy that surprised your taste buds.

Postcard writing offers a delightful opportunity to reflect on your travels and connect with friends and family on a deeper level than a quick text or social media update.

Crafting Projects

Children engaged in crafting activities in the car

Let’s not overlook the joy of crafting. With a bit of preparation, fun activities like knitting, crochet, and embroidery can become your mobile workshops. Simple projects like friendship bracelets or origami can be tackled even in the back seat, turning a long car trip into a productive and enjoyable pastime.

If you’re prone to motion sickness, the steady rhythm of stitching or looping yarn provides a calm, focused activity that can help alleviate queasiness. So pack your craft bag, and let the miles merge with stitches and folds.

Audio Entertainment

Sometimes, the best way to enjoy the journey is to let your ears do the traveling. Audio entertainment offers a world of stories, knowledge, and melodies that can fill your car with wonder and excitement.

Your road trip playlist, featuring the soothing voice of an audiobook narrator, thought-provoking podcast discussions, or melodic tones of a foreign language, can mirror the diversity and richness of the landscape through which you’re driving.


As diverse as the roads you travel, podcasts are an audio treasure trove that caters to every interest. From gripping true crime sagas to knee-slapping comedy sketches, there’s a podcast to fit any mood. It’s a fantastic way to stay entertained, and with the right selection, a long car ride can feel like a series of exciting episodes.

So, plug in, hit play, and let the miles melt away as you listen to tales and talks that captivate and educate.


For those who love to lose themselves in a good book, audiobooks are a road trip’s best friend. They come in all genres—perhaps a historical fiction to transport you back in time, a crime thriller to keep you on the edge of your seat, or a wilderness adventure that mirrors your own. And with options available through your local library or apps like Audible, even a long drive can be an opportunity to catch up on your reading list.

Simply press play, close your eyes (unless you’re behind the wheel!), and immerse yourself in the unfolding story.

Language Learning

Why not make your road trip a journey of the mind as well? Learning a new language can be a fulfilling and practical use of travel time. With audio courses and language learning apps, you can immerse yourself in a new culture without ever leaving your car. It’s a productive pastime that not only enriches your travel experience but can also come in handy during technical or emergency situations on the road.

Tune into a language course, and you might arrive at your destination with a few new phrases under your belt.

Screen Time Ideas

In the digital age, screens can be a source of endless entertainment, and even on a road trip, they can serve as a modern-day treasure chest of fun. While it’s essential to balance screen time with other activities, a well-timed movie or gaming session can be a great idea to keep everyone engaged and happy, especially the younger passengers.


Movies are a staple of entertainment, and there’s no reason they can’t be part of your road trip experience. Family road trip movies like ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and ‘Cars’ can appeal to passengers of all ages, providing shared laughter and memorable quotes. With portable devices like tablets and services such as Amazon Prime, you can stream a variety of films to keep everyone entertained.

Select a movie, distribute the popcorn, and allow the screen to whisk you away to another world as the miles roll by.

Gaming Devices

For the gamers in the car, portable devices like the Nintendo Switch can be a lifesaver. Multiplayer games can turn a long car trip into hours of interactive fun. However, to prevent any “It’s my turn!” disputes, setting time limits ensures that everyone gets a chance to play.

Whether you’re collecting stars in Mario or engaging in a Pokémon battle, gaming devices can inject additional excitement into your journey.

Educational Apps

For the little learners on board, educational apps can be both entertaining and instructive. Devices like the Kindle Fire are treasure troves of kid-friendly content, offering a mix of games, movies, and books that can keep young minds engaged and asking for more. With a variety of apps designed to enhance skills from math to geography, screen time can also be learning time. What’s more, many of these educational apps are freely available through your local library’s digital resources or can function without Wi-Fi once downloaded. Some popular educational apps for kids include:

These apps provide a fun and interactive way to keep kids busy while they learn and explore new concepts.

Rest Stop Activities

Family enjoying a picnic at a rest stop during a road trip

Every road tripper knows the importance of taking regular breaks, and rest stops are the perfect opportunity to:

But why not turn these necessary pauses into fun-filled pit stops? There’s no reason rest stops can’t be one of the highlights of your trip.


There’s something special about dining al fresco, and a rest stop is the ideal setting for a picnic. With a little preparation, you can enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the scenery. Pack a cooler with fresh ingredients and a blanket for seating, and turn a simple meal into a memorable outdoor dining experience.

A picnic serves as an ideal break during car trips, especially on a long car trip, providing quality time with your travel companions.

Sports Gear

Rest stops can also be a chance to get active and have some fun. Pack a frisbee or a ball in your car, and you can turn any stop sign into a starting line for a game. Quick games like tag or catch can get everyone’s blood flowing and spirits lifted.

This simple, yet effective way of reenergizing prepares you for the next segment of your journey.

Roadside Attractions

Exploring unique roadside attractions during a road trip

Don’t underestimate the power of a quirky roadside attraction to spice up your road trip. Whether it’s the world’s largest ball of twine or a local folk art installation, these unique spots can provide a fun break from driving.

Utilize apps like Google Maps to locate intriguing stops along your route, paving the way for spontaneous adventures that will be remembered long after the trip concludes.

Travel Journaling And Documenting

As you navigate the highways and byways, remember that each mile is a story waiting to be told. Journaling and documenting your travels is a way to capture these moments, turning them into cherished memories that you can revisit long after the road trip ends.

Car Ride Journal

A car ride journal is your personal travelogue, a place to record the sights, sounds, and sensations of your journey. Each entry, whether it’s about a majestic mountain pass or a kitschy diner with the best pie, captures a unique moment of your experience.

Collect souvenirs like ticket stubs or postcards, and paste them alongside your stories to bring your adventures to life on the page.

Photography Challenges

Photography offers another avenue for capturing the essence of your road trip. Challenge your travel mates to a photo contest, with themes ranging from the best sunset to the funniest road sign you encounter. This not only encourages everyone to stay engaged with the environment but also results in a collection of images that tell the unique story of your trip.

Social Media Updates

In today’s connected world, social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are perfect for sharing your road trip adventures with a wider audience. Sharing updates, photos, and stories can inspire others, as they follow your journey. Plus, social media can be a valuable tool for discovering new places to explore, as fellow travelers are often eager to share their hidden gems.

Snack Ideas And Taste Tests

No road trip is complete without a stash of snacks to keep hunger at bay and spirits high. But snacking on a journey doesn’t have to be a mundane affair. With a little creativity and planning, you can turn snack time into an exciting activity that everyone in the car can look forward to.

The options, from healthy bites to indulgent treats, are limitless, catering to a diverse range of taste buds and dietary preferences.

Snack Packing Tips

When it comes to road trip snacking, the key is variety and convenience. Think outside the chip bag and pack a mix of:

for a balanced and satisfying nibble. Use compartment containers to keep everything tidy and easily accessible. This not only prevents the car from turning into a snack disaster zone but also allows for easy mix-and-match snacking.

Keep in mind, a well-curated selection of snacks can transform a grumpy passenger into a contented co-pilot.

Taste Test Challenges

To spice things up, why not introduce a taste test challenge? Here’s how:

  1. Have each passenger bring a unique snack to the car.
  2. At different points in the journey, do a blind taste test.
  3. Vote on favorites and enjoy the surprise of new flavors.

Engaging everyone’s sense of taste and adventure can be quite fun and you may even stumble upon your new favorite road trip treat.

Edible Crafts

For those with young kids, or just the young at heart, edible crafts are a super cute way to pass the time. Create snack necklaces with string and treats like cereal with holes or dried fruit. These not only serve as a fun craft activity but also double as a tasty snack. Besides, they serve as excellent conversation starters at rest stops and keep little ones occupied during lengthy stretches on the highway.


From the animated battles of 20 questions to the serene creativity of window art, we’ve journeyed through a plethora of activities that prove road trips can be as enriching as they are exciting. Whether through the laughter of a shared podcast, the serenity found in crafting, or the joy of a well-orchestrated picnic, there are endless ways to elevate the experience of travel. Remember, the road is not just a means to an end but a path filled with potential for joy, learning, and connection. So, on your next journey, embrace these ideas and watch as the miles turn into smiles.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Manage Screen Time for Kids During a Long Car Ride?

Try setting a structured schedule for screen time, such as alternating between an hour of screen time and an hour of other activities. Establish consequences, like losing screen privileges for the next hour, if the kids complain. This can help maintain a balance during long car rides.

What Are Some Healthy Snack Options for Road Trips?

For a healthy road trip, pack a mix of fruits, veggies, nuts, cheese, and whole grain crackers to keep everyone full and energized, and don't forget to bring plenty of water.

Are There Any Games That Are Suitable for Both Kids And Adults?

Yes, there are games like License Plate Bingo and the Alphabet Game that are suitable for both kids and adults. These games encourage observation and interaction with the surroundings, making them enjoyable for all ages.

How Can I Make Rest Stops More Interesting During a Road Trip?

Make rest stops more interesting by packing a frisbee or ball for quick physical activity, planning a mini picnic to enjoy local flavors, or using apps to find unique roadside attractions to explore, turning a simple break into a mini-adventure. Enjoy your road trip!

What's the Best Way to Document a Road Trip?

The best way to document a road trip is by keeping a travel journal, challenging your travel companions to photography competitions, or using social media to share your journey in real-time. Choose the method that best suits your style and enjoy reliving the memories later.