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20 Family Road Trip Ideas for Everyone to Enjoy

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime with these family-friendly routes

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The Pacific Coast Highway, alongside the bright blue sea and tall hills, California, US

What better way to travel than by packing the car and hitting the roads? Offering you complete freedom over your adventure, you can get off the beaten path and take a detour whenever you want, allowing you to see more of the places you're visiting. This makes it perfect for travelling with kids (or fidgety adults) who might need a few more breaks along the way. If you’re wondering ‘what can a family do on a road trip?’, we here at Plum Guide have got all the answers to all your questions (we are the travel experts, after all). Below, we’ve put together a guide to the best family-friendly road trips around the world. From mountains and cities to coastlines and islands, read on for the best places to take the family.

1. North Coast 500, Scottish Highlands

Tall grassy cliffs overhanging the sea at Duncansby Stacks, Scotland

Tall grassy cliffs overhanging the sea at Duncansby Stacks, Scotland

What better way to explore the magnificent Highlands than on one of the world’s most iconic driving routes? The North Coast 500 (better known as the NC500) runs along the north coast of Scotland, taking in historic villages, ancient castles, white sand beaches (yes, even in Scotland), and famous film locations. There are plenty of places for the kids to run around exploring, and we recommend dropping by the Isle of Skye as well.

The Chequered Skipper, Plum Guide home in the Highlands, Scotland, UK

The Chequered Skipper, Plum Guide home in the Highlands, Scotland, UK

2. West Coast & Milford Sound, New Zealand

Tall mountains behind a large lake at Milford Sound, New Zealand

Tall mountains behind a large lake at Milford Sound, New Zealand

While the whole of New Zealand is a road tripper’s dream, the west coast of the south island boasts some particularly breathtaking scenery. The drive between Te Anau and Milford Sound takes you into Fiordland National Park - pass by glaciers, beaches, rain forests, and majestic mountains. Once you get to Milford Sound, take a boat trip for unforgettable views of the fiord and its wildlife, or try your hand at kayaking and snorkelling.

3. Sicily, Italy

A small red house next to the blue sea and large rocks in Sicily, Italy

A small red house next to the blue sea and large rocks in Sicily, Italy

With its mountainous interior and beautiful coastline, Sicily is road trip royalty. The best route for families is West Sicily, starting from the capital of Palermo to the town of Marsala. With the best beaches on the island, stop any time to let the kids splash about. Some must do’s include trying the famous lemon and almond pastries at Erice, and taking a boat tour to the island of Mozia to see some of Europe’s finest Phoenician archaeology.

Olive Oasis, Plum Guide home in Sicily, Italy

Olive Oasis, Plum Guide home in Sicily, Italy

4. Morocco

Camels walking across orange sand in the desert in Morocco

Camels walking across orange sand in the desert in Morocco

The easiest way to travel around Morocco is self-driving, and it isn't even close. For a family-friendly route, we recommend starting in Marrakech and making your way up to Chefchaouen via Rabat, then onto the Sahara Desert before heading back to Marrakech. There are plenty of exciting things to do along the way, including camel riding, sand boarding, splashing about in a river, or hanging out at the beach. Just make sure the air-con in your car is working before you set off.

5. The Golden Circle, Iceland

An aerial view of Godafoss waterfall, Iceland

An aerial view of Godafoss waterfall, Iceland

This is a famous route which takes in some of Iceland’s most incredible landscapes. Starting and ending in Reykjavik, you’ll drive into the southern uplands, visiting Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and the Godafoss waterfall. Of course, you can always take in extra attractions along the way, like a natural hot water spa, or even embark on a snowmobile trip. Why not include a family-friendly ice cave tour for an unforgettable experience?

6. Madeira, Portugal

Tall brown and green mountains above a lake in Madeira, Portugal

Tall brown and green mountains above a lake in Madeira, Portugal

From moon-like landscapes to wide beaches and lush forests, Madeira is the ultimate place for a road trip with kids. You can easily drive around the island in a day, but we recommend taking your time. Start in the capital of Funchal and take a loop around the island, taking in the beaches and hiking through magical forests with waterfalls. There are even dolphin and whale-watching tours, as well as cable-car rides to keep the kids entertained.

Halfway To Paradise, Plum Guide home in Madeira, Portugal

Halfway To Paradise, Plum Guide home in Madeira, Portugal

7. Great Ocean Road, Australia

A bird's eye view of an enclosed section of water along Great Ocean Road, Australia

A bird's eye view of an enclosed section of water along Great Ocean Road, Australia

The most well-known road trip in Australia, if not the world - it was always going to make this list. Starting in Torquay and finishing in Warrnambool, this stretch of coast offers views of mountains, rainforests, and national parks, and there’s an array of activities to get stuck into along the way, too. Take a walk through the rainforest to Erskine Falls, spot koalas in the leaves at Kennett River, or zipline through the trees at Otway Fly. Finish up at the twelve apostles - good luck trying to explain why they’re called ‘the twelve’ when there’s now only eight of them.

8. Campania, Italy

A view of buildings in front of tall green mountains on the Amalfi Coast, Campania, Italy

A view of buildings in front of tall green mountains on the Amalfi Coast, Campania, Italy

Known for its ancient ruins and dramatic coastline, this southwestern region of Italy is home to the famous Amalfi coast. As you drive through the region, explore the colourful seaside towns, sandy beaches, sea caves, coastal walking trails, and the unmissable ghostly ruins of Pompeii. Oh, and did we mention that Campania is home to Naples, the birthplace of pizza? It’s a kid’s (and adult’s) dream come true.

Ariel’s Cove, Plum Guide home in Campania, Italy

Ariel’s Cove, Plum Guide home in Campania, Italy

9. Ho Chi Minh Highway, Vietnam

Skyscrapers and other buildings behind a large body of water in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Skyscrapers and other buildings behind a large body of water in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This route between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi offers excellent scenery and more fun activities than you could ever need. As you pass through sleepy villages, coffee plantations, and forested mountains, be sure to stop at Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park to explore the world’s largest cave - also try your hand at zip lining and kayaking. Vietnam can get pretty hot, so take a detour to My Khe beach to cool down in its crystal clear waters.

10. Crete, Greece

A white boat on clear blue water in front of a large rock in Crete, Greece

A white boat on clear blue water in front of a large rock in Crete, Greece

The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is divided into four main touristic regions: Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion, and Lassithi. It’s possible to drive through all regions if you have at least a week, but if you’re pressed for time we recommend just driving around Lassithi - for the most family-friendly road trip experience. With historical sites, mountains, huge stretches of sandy beaches, and the famous Cave of Zeus, you wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Island Sway, Plum Guide home in Crete, Greece

Island Sway, Plum Guide home in Crete, Greece

11. Sea to Sky Highway, Canada

Cars driving on the Sea to Sky Highway in front of tall trees and distant mountains, Canada

Cars driving on the Sea to Sky Highway in front of tall trees and distant mountains, Canada

Canada is a fantastic place for a road trip with kids, and the Sea to Sky Highway (otherwise known as Highway 99) is one of the world's best. Stretching from Vancouver to Whistler, this drive is packed with awe-inspiring scenery and fun stops. If you can take your eyes off the views, some of the activities on this stretch include riding the Sky Gondola, taking a gold mine tour, ziplining, rafting, mountain biking, and even bungee-jumping (if you're feeling brave).

12. Pacific Coast Highway, California

Cars driving along the Pacific Coast Highway past houses and palm trees, California, US

Cars driving along the Pacific Coast Highway past houses and palm trees, California, US

Running along the California coast, the PCH is one of the most renowned routes in the entire US. You can drive either way, but we recommend starting in San Francisco and heading south to San Diego. There’s swimming, hiking, seaside attractions, and even whale watching tours to enjoy. Depending on how good they’ve been so far, you may want to treat the kids to Disneyland or Universal Studios as you stop by Los Angeles.

Sip and Float, Plum Guide home in California, US

Sip and Float, Plum Guide home in California, US

13. The Garden Route, South Africa

Wooden steps leading down to a sandy beach on a sunny day, The Garden Route, South Africa

Wooden steps leading down to a sandy beach on a sunny day, The Garden Route, South Africa

Stretching 200 kilometres, the Garden Route is a dreamy place for a family road trip, with an abundance of family-friendly beaches, shady forests, and pretty lagoons. The route passes through several nature and marine reserves, so there are many pit stops to take if you fancy swimming, hiking, exploring caves, visiting animal sanctuaries, or even whale watching along the way.

14. The Carretera Austral, Chile

A view of the long, winding road in front of distant mountains, Carretera Austral, Chile

A view of the long, winding road in front of distant mountains, Carretera Austral, Chile

Patagonia should be on everybody’s bucket list. Made up of mountains, lakes, forests, and fjords, this eye-catching scenery can be enjoyed on the Carretera Austral down Chile’s Southern Highway. As you drive through cities and remote towns, leave time for activities - be prepared to jump out of the car to swim, hike, or ride as you make the most of the breathtaking views.

15. Lapland, Finland

Snow-covered trees in a field of tall snow at sunset in Lapland, Finland

Snow-covered trees in a field of tall snow at sunset in Lapland, Finland

If you’re looking for unique road trip ideas for kids, why not take a trip through winter wonderland? As well as beautiful views of lakes, snow-capped mountains, pine forests, and colourful wooden cabins, Lapland is also packed with activities for the whole family. Make sure to set aside time for snowshoeing, enjoying a husky safari, meeting the reindeers, and even visiting Santa Claus village - have those lists ready, kids.

Outer Freeze, Plum Guide home in Lapland, Finland

Outer Freeze, Plum Guide home in Lapland, Finland

16. Corsica, France

A bird's eye view of a long road winding past the blue ocean in Corsica, France

A bird's eye view of a long road winding past the blue ocean in Corsica, France

With its idyllic beaches, crystal-clear waters, lush forests, and jagged mountains, Corsica really does have it all. Although there are numerous routes you can take, we recommend driving along the island’s western coast before turning inland, almost to the middle of the island. This way, you and the kids will get to stop at the many beaches while also taking in the mountains and charming villages - the best of both worlds.

Powdery Sands, Plum Guide home in Corsica, France

Powdery Sands, Plum Guide home in Corsica, France

17. North Yorkshire, England

A long country road winding through green fields in Yorkshire, England, UK

A long country road winding through green fields in Yorkshire, England, UK

North Yorkshire is a great place for a family road trip, as it’s absolutely bursting with fun activities. We recommend starting in Pickering and driving through the North York Moors to the seaside town of Whitby. Take a detour to Dalby Forest for some ziplining and paintball, or head straight to Goathland - home of the famous North York Moors Railway (and the station famously featured in the Harry Potter films). Why not pick up tickets for a ride yourself? Once you make it to Whitby, enjoy all the features of a traditional British seaside holiday.

The Chapel of Dunsley, Plum Guide home in Yorkshire, UK

The Chapel of Dunsley, Plum Guide home in Yorkshire, UK

18. The Fairy Tale Route, Germany

A town square with buildings at sunrise in Bremen, Germany

A town square with buildings at sunrise in Bremen, Germany

Following in the footsteps of the Brothers Grimm, this is arguably the best family road trip in the world. From Hanau to Bremen, this route is filled with enchanted villages, fairytale palaces, castles, grottos, and museums. There are festivities all along the way, including open-air plays, puppet theatres, barn festivals, and Medieval gatherings. As you drive through flower-filled countryside and nature parks, the kids have countless opportunities to meet their favourite fairytale characters.

19. The Japanese Alps, Japan

A close up view of the peaks of the mountains in The Japanese Alps, Japan

A close up view of the peaks of the mountains in The Japanese Alps, Japan

While the bullet train may be tempting, we recommend slowing down and driving from Kyoto to Tokyo. Head north up to Kanazawa, before driving east across the Japanese Alps. Make sure to rest your body in the many hot springs here. This route also takes in historic sights like the Samurai city of Matsumoto (the kids can dress up as one, but don’t give them the swords) before arriving at the fun-filled capital of Tokyo.

20. Isle of Anglesey, Wales

A boat sailing on the water under Menai Bridge, Anglesey, Wales, UK

A boat sailing on the water under Menai Bridge, Anglesey, Wales, UK

Road tripping around Anglesey is the best way to take in its 125 miles of dramatic coastline. The charming countryside and picturesque Welsh villages are well-worth visiting, but it’s the beaches that are a standout. Whether you want to try water sports, build sandcastles, or go rock pooling, there is plenty of fun to be had. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Beaumaris Castle, where the kids will love exploring the eerie corridors and the water-filled moat.

To Be Shore, Plum Guide home in Anglesey, Wales, UK

To Be Shore, Plum Guide home in Anglesey, Wales, UK

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