Planning a Successful Day Trip

This time of year I always get antsy to go somewhere. Not for a big trip as those are usually reserved for summer, but just a trip to see somewhere new. Spring break is a perfect time, but often we just take a Saturday and head off somewhere. We do this fairly regularly and as long as we put a little prep into it we have a great time.

day trip with kids

Choosing a destination
We usually try and pick somewhere between 2 and 3 hours away. We have done four hour trips a few times and although they were fun they felt like a lot of driving and we were pretty worn out by the end.

If we don’t have a place in mind we use google maps to find a place. It’s kind of strange but it works, we put in for directions to a place about two hours away and then we drag the destination around to places that seem to have a similar distance, then we do some research about the possible destinations.

soda springs gyeser

Some destinations will have obvious neat things to do, like the geyser that you can go right up to we saw in Soda Springs, others take a little more looking for something to do. I will often look up the place on trip adviser and if something looks interesting I look it up specifically, often times I will find blog posts about people who did the same thing.

We look up possible places for lunch and also a fun park nearby so that we can get a little energy out before getting back in the car.

Day trips are nice because you don’t need all the things you would for an overnight trip. We usually bring an extra outfit for the little kids but that’s simple compared to what we would be taking for an overnight trip.

We pack snacks, usually some drinks, crackers, and muffins. We love muffins. As well as some things for our daughter to do in the car. Nothing big, usually a coloring book and a search and find book will be enough for her. She also has her own camera and we make sure it has batteries before we go, so she can take awesome pictures like this one of her backpack for a trip.

backpack for day trip

We like to toss a towel in the car in case we get muddy and baby wipes are a must. They are the best thing to have in the car.

Day of
It’s nice to leave early so you can have more time where you are going but if you have to wake your kids up too early it’s sometimes not worth it. We typically leave around 8am because that’s when our daughter usually wakes up. It doesn’t take much to get her in the car after that. Our day usually starts looking like this.

car trip kids

Make sure that everyone is wearing comfortable clothes. My daughter does not like the feel of jeans, car rides are not the day to force her to wear jeans.

Be flexible, you might find some things you planned won’t work out or there is something you just have to see. Do it! Doing new things is part of the reason you are there.

When your kids are worn out head home. We don’t often make it past the middle of the afternoon, 3 or 4 but then we make it home for dinner. Find what works for you, if you don’t make it to everything that’s ok, you can come back again.

Usually the ride home for us, looks like this.

kids in car

But have fun, explore the world.


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