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Family Friendly Roadtrip Car Games

Going on a road trip? Car games will save your sanity on a long car trip with the family.

Classic Road Trip Car Games

Car games have long been cherished as good free entertainment for children on a road trip. Sometimes competitive adults enjoy car games too.

Here are four classic games to pass the time while on your road trip. Free printable links included.

Some of these games can be played without pen and paper but you should always carry along a notebook such as a spiral-bound for road trips.

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Table of Contents

The Alphabet Game

I wonder how many parents always win the Alphabet game? The Alphabet game may be the most popular and oldest of car games.

Rules are subjective to family values. If your family has high regard for competition, make the rules much harder. Although we are not a particularly competitive bunch, we always require the letter being sought could only come from the first letter of the word currently being viewed.

Basic rules for the Alphabet game

  • The object of the game is to locate, verbally, all 26 letters of the alphabet
  • Words must be found outside of the vehicle you are traveling in. For instance; the letter ‘A’ would-be announced first by saying, ‘A’ for Ambulance because you just saw an ambulance.
  • Letters must be found in consecutive order only

Your family can make up their own rules. Maybe you have younger children, just learning their alphabet and you will be much pleased for them to recognize the letter anywhere in a word.

All of the participating passengers may be on different letters at different times. Whoever finds all 26 letters first is the winner.

When we played this game, we continued to play until all participants completed all 26 letters. 

My daughter loved to play this game when she was a little girl. We were once sitting at a drive-through window when she announced, ‘B’ for Beaver Eggs! (beverages)

License Plate Car Game by Explorethesouth.org
Printable License Plate Car Game available at Explorethesouth.org

License Plate Game

A classic road trip car game that has been played since the interstate system made vacation travel popular.

Object of the game

The object of the License plate game is to find license plates from as many different states as possible

This game is really easy and in fact, can be played concurrently with any other game.

  • Pen and paper are needed for this game if you don’t grab the free printable pictures above (grab the free printable game pictured above from our sister site Explore The South)
  • Write down the state name each time you see a different state tag
  • You may want to write them in alphabetical order for easier tracking. A nice twist to this game is to make tic marks by the state names and calculate how many from each state you actually saw once the road trip ends.

Name The Capitals Game

Object of the game

The object of the game is to name as many state capitals as possible.

The State Capitals Game can be a competition or not as the parent determines. Our free printable list of capitals is a cheat sheet for parents. Use it to check the answers when the child(ren) finishes the game.

Free Printable list of All 50 States and their Capitals (Opens in a new window. Print as many copies as you like)

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

Object of the game

The object of the game is to complete as many items as possible from the list of objects pre-determined.

Free Printable Scavenger Hunt Here (Opens in a new window, print as many as you like)

kids in back seat of a car

Enjoy your road trip with the family by playing these family-friendly car games to pass the time quickly. What car games are popular with your family?

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More Family Fun Ideas

Road Trip Car Games with free printables including all 50 states and their capitals and a fun scavenger hunt game. Free printable list of 50 states with capitals. Free printable car trip scavenger hunt for long rides.

Thank you for sharing!

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  1. Too funny about the beaver eggs! I have always loved the alphabet game, but we’ll have to keep the others in mind for our next road trip!

  2. I remember as a child we played games while on road trips. It was fun and kept us busy… till I got car sick and threw up everywhere…. HAHAHAHA. I don’t do road trips anymore unless we have a lot of stops! lol

  3. Road trips are a blast with the family but when boredom comes things change quickly. These are so great games to keep everyone entertained.

  4. These are great suggestions. We do a lot of car trips up north, and it’s over five hours each way. So car games really help pass the time.

  5. We used to travel a lot for my husband’s job and we definitely used these games. Our favorite was the alphabet game.

  6. What a fun, creative list of road trip games to have in the car on a road trip with your family. I bet road trips are super fun with you!

  7. Whenever we’re on the road we tend to play those games, especially the license plate game. We love seeing the different states, but I also make sure that they have their electronics so they can do their own thing as well.

  8. Such fun ideas! I wish we had a car so we could do some fun road trips together! My kids would love it!

  9. These are such fun ideas. We usually play the license plate game and the kids always love it.

  10. I totally needed to see this. We are taking our son to the beach for the first time next week and it is going to be a seven hour drive. I’m pinning this list for easy access when I need a sanity saver. Thanks for sharing at Inspiration Thursday! See you next time!

  11. road games are fun and make the trip go faster. I like the alphabet game. Thanks for sharing with us at #WednesdaysWisdom

  12. How cute, i used to love these games. Another alternative for the alphabet game is to choose a theme and you have say something relevant to that theme from A-Z for example animals or countries, and of course I loved I-spy when I was younger 🙂 x

  13. Because summer is about heading to the beach or other places you prefer, traveling is a huge part of the picture. And what better way to enjoy the travel time than play games as fun as these.

    Thanks for sharing your creativeness at the Summer Family Fun Linky!

    Enjoy the summer and the drive!

  14. This brings back fond memories of road trips with my girls. I would get Mad Libs and Magic Slates but our favorite was the Alphabet game. They loved it because you could just start over when you are done and go through the alphabet all over again. Thanks for the memory.

  15. Oh my goodness. I can’t count the number of times we have played the alphabet game. We have gone many a mile playing it. I think it is good to have some games like these to play when you are on the road with the kiddos. In fact, I think my husband and I have played it several times when it was just the two of us in the car. Makes the miles go faster and involves the brain. Thanks for sharing.

  16. We used to play all of those fun games when the kids were small. Now we get to play them with the grands. What a great idea to have them all together in one place. Great post!!

    1. We have fond memories of playing road trip games as well. A nice spin for grown-ups would be to take cell phone pics while on a road trip for the Scavenger hunt game! Grown ups can have fun too 🙂

We enjoying hearing from you!