Road Trip Games: The Ultimate List of Car Games for Your Next Adventure
If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you know that at some point boredom becomes inevitable. But as you may also know, road trip games offer one of the best ways to entertain kids and preserve your sanity on lengthy car journeys.
So, to help you pass the time during long car rides, we’ve curated a list of some of the best road trip games for kids, adults, and couples.
Ready to give your road trips a boost of entertainment? Keep on reading!
A word of caution: If you’re driving, please keep your eyes on the road and let your passengers engage in gameplay!
Road Trip Games for Kids
Kids are the first to get bored on car journeys, so it seems only fitting to list the best kid-friendly car ride games first.
The Alphabet Game
The Alphabet Game is all about spotting letters of the alphabet from outside the window.
If you’ve never played this favorite road trip game before, you simply need to check out billboards, license plates, and signs to identify the letters you need, starting from A.
You can either play individually to see who spots all 26 letters first or work as a group and time yourselves.
Fortunately and Unfortunately
Fortunately and Unfortunately is all about thinking up fortunate and unfortunate situations.
One of the passengers starts the game by coming up with a sentence. Then, each person will add a sentence to the story when it’s their turn. However, the catch is that they must start that sentence with fortunately or unfortunately, alternating with each person.
Hannah got a new puppy. Unfortunately, the puppy ran away. Fortunately, Hannah’s next-door neighbors found the puppy eating their cat’s food. Unfortunately, the cat wasn’t too happy and chased the puppy down the street.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this game can go on for hours. And with kids’ imaginations thrown into the mix, you’ll end up with some wild and wacky stories that they no doubt will find extremely entertaining.
A great way to truly get to know your family and waste some time on road trips is to ask hypothetical questions.
These questions could be anything that springs to mind, like “What superpowers would you love to have?”. Or, “If you could have any pet, what would it be?”
If you’ve never played I-Spy, you must have been living under a rock. This classic road trip game is all about you finding an item and giving the other passengers the first letter of said item.
Younger children may need some additional clues, such as the object’s size, color, or position.
If you’ve chosen a car as your object, then repeat after me:
I-Spy with my little eye, something beginning with… C
Don’t Say It
If you’re really smart, you can use this game to your advantage. To play Don’t Say It, one parent comes up with 3 – 5 words no one can say in the car. You can make the rule valid for the entire journey, until you reach a certain place, or the next time you stop for gas.
Give the children 10 points each; if they happen to say one of the forbidden words on the trip, deduct a point. The child with the most points at the end is the winner.
Of course, you can extend the rule to the adult passengers, too.
I’m Going on a Picnic
I’m Going on a Picnic can be a hard one to grasp, and although it is classed as a game, it really gets your kid’s brains working.
The story behind the game is that you’re going on a picnic. Now, each person has to add an item to the picnic basket; but each subsequent item must start with the next letter of the alphabet. This may seem easy, but the players also have to remember the letters that came before them.
Person 1: I’m going on a picnic and taking apples.
Person 2: I’m going on a picnic and taking apples and bananas.
Person 3: I’m going on a picnic and taking apples, bananas, and carrots.
Person 4: I’m going on a picnic and taking apples, bananas, carrots, and dates.
And so on. Keep repeating and adding on a letter until someone forgets the sequence.
In My Suitcase
In My Suitcase is another memory game including letters of the alphabet. Instead of listing things they’d take to a picnic, have the kids list things they’d pack in their suitcase.
This game is even more fun when you’re heading on a vacation, so to begin the game, get your children started with the letter “a”:
“I’m going on vacation, and I packed an adapter in my suitcase.”
Let’s Go to the Store
Let’s Go to the Store is fairly similar to I’m Going on a Picnic and In My Suitcase, but if you’ve exhausted the first 2, you could give it a try.
Each person is pretending that they’re going to the store to buy something.
The first player needs to purchase an item beginning with “a” (in most cases, this will be “apples”). The next play will be going to the store to get apples and an item beginning with “b”. Keep playing until someone messes up the sequence.
The License Plate Game
You can play The License Plate Game in a number of ways.
The first way is to go through the alphabet from A-Z and try to spot the chosen letters on license plates. Once you’ve gone through the alphabet, you can reverse the order and go from Z to A.
Older or more advanced players can even try and spell out words from a combination of license plates in their view. And if you’re driving down a particularly isolated stretch and there aren’t any license plates around, you can also play this game with road signs.
The second way to play is to try and spot a license plate from each of the 50 states of America. Once someone has spotted a plate from a state, write it down and see who can tally up the most.
Name That Tune
This game doesn’t require you to be musically gifted, but it does require you to have general knowledge of songs and their artists.
To play, each person can hum 5 to 10 seconds of a song, which the remaining passengers must try to guess. Tally up the points and see who wins!
Now, I’m not sure how many VW Bugs are around these days, but this game is a classic nonetheless.
While driving along, keep an eye out for any VW bugs on the road. If you’re the first to spot one, you get to punch the person next to you. If you don’t have a car full of boisterous daredevil boys, you can switch the punching out for something else.
Along with simply spotting a VW Bug, you can also put some other rules into play. Some ideas could be: If you see a yellow VW Bug, everyone needs to tap their head. If you see a blue VW Bug, everyone needs to clap. If you see a red VW Bug, everyone needs to pull a funny face. The last person to perform the action loses a point.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Rock, Paper, Scissors is an absolute classic both in the car and out.
Pound your first three times before displaying a rock, paper, or scissors with your first. Rock is your fist closed. Paper is your hand flat. And scissors are your index and middle fingers in a sideways peace sign.
Paper beats rock.
Rock beats scissors.
Scissors beat paper.
Next on our road trip car games list is the game Triple Threat. Choose 3 nouns and have the children create a story including all 3 words. Don’t expect these stories to be serious; kids’ imaginations can be wild.
20 Questions is a fun game where one person thinks of an object, place, or person.
Let’s say you’ve chosen an umbrella. The other people in the car can ask up to 20 questions to try and figure out what object you’re thinking about. They could ask questions such as: “Is it an animal?”, “Can you hold it in your hand?”, “Is it small?”, “Is it red?”
You can only answer yes or no, and if they can’t figure out the answer in 20 questions, they lose, and you get the point.
What Color is It?
Choose a color and list items of the said color. For example, green: “Apples, grass, broccoli, leaves…” While you’re saying the words out loud, the kids need to try and guess the color as fast as they can. Whoever guesses right gets a point!
Who Am I?
In a way, Who Am I? is like 20 Questions, but this car game only focuses on people. Think of a person and let the other passengers ask you “yes” or “no” questions about the said person. Remember, your answers can only be “yes” or “no”!
Who Can Name the Most?
Choose a category and go around the car to see how many items you can think of that belong to it. “Characters from Movie X” is a great category for little children, especially if it’s a movie they particularly love.
Let’s take Frozen — which is, by far, a favorite — as an example. The kids could come up with Elsa, Ana, Sven, Olaf, Kristoff, Hans, and well, I feel that list is quite endless.
Some other categories could include colors, fruits, vegetables, clothes, and countries.
Would You Rather
I personally love this game, especially when playing it with children. Kids can let their imagination run wild asking other people in the car if they would rather do action A or action B.
Would you rather go to space or go to the deepest part of the ocean? Would you rather be rich or have superpowers? Would you rather have an elephant or a lion as a pet?
Word Association is another one of our fun road trip games that can go on for hours. To play, the first player thinks of a word. It could be anything, but let’s go with “blue.”
The next person then needs to think of a word that’s associated with “blue,” and so forth: Blue, ocean, fish, swim, pool, water, drink.
You get the idea.
Road Trip Games for Adults
Fun car games aren’t just for kids, and if you’re heading out on a long car ride, try and relieve some boredom with these fun travel games.
Name the Artist
Crank up the radio and see who can guess the artist or group singing the song. The person who accumulates the most points by the time you reach your destination wins.
You could also create a playlist beforehand to make this game even more challenging. Our personal favorite has 2,000+ hits.
Never Have I Ever
If you’re over the legal drinking age, then you’ve most likely heard of this game before. But, as you’ll be driving in a car, it’s best to skip the alcohol and just enjoy finding out embarrassing facts about your friends.
To play, everyone takes it in turns to make statements starting with “never have I ever…”. The other people in the car then need to try and guess if this person is telling the truth or a lie.
Although we’ve put this game into the adult category, you can also play Twenty-One with children who are good with math.
To play, take turns to say numbers up to twenty-one. You can choose to say either 1, 2, or 3 numbers at a time.
The end goal is not to be the person saying 21.
The first person says “1, 2,” the next person says “4, 5, 6,” and the player after that could continue with “7, 8, 9.” Fast forward until one of the players lists “18, 19, 20,” forcing the last person to speak to finally say “21”.
Two Truths and One Lie
Not only is Two Truths and One Lie a great game to play to kill some time, but it also allows you to get to know your fellow passengers.
The rules are fairly simple. One person starts by telling 3 statements. Two of them must be true, while the third one should be false. Everyone else in the car then needs to guess which statement was the lie.
It sounds simple enough. But, the person making the statements can change subtle details to mask their lie or give the true statement a deceitful feel.
While You Were Sleeping
We all have that friend that can fall asleep anytime, anyplace. And if that friend so happens to be in the car with you on your road trip, you can have some fun playing While You Were Sleeping.
Once you know for certain they’ve fallen asleep, make up a story with your fellow passengers. You can all take turns adding parts to the story, but you have to make sure that it’s somewhat believable.
When the person wakes up, you all need to try and convince them that this story actually happened. Come up with a dare for the person who gets caught in a lie.
Road Trip Games for Couples
Some of the games we’ve listed today can be played with only 2 players, but there are a few more we want to throw your way.
Carry On the Song
This game can be played with any number of players, but we find 2 players is the perfect amount.
The rules are straightforward: Player One has to sing the first line of a song of their choice. Player Two then has to sing the next line and so on. The first person to mess up the song loses.
Change the Movie Game
Entertaining and somewhat hilarious is the Change the Movie Game. Think of a movie and remove or change one letter to change the movie’s entire title.
Here are some of our favorites: Harry Otter, Finding Emo, Mortal Wombat, Lady and the Cramp, and Lizard of Oz.
Although it might be slightly morbid, one of our favorite fun games for couples is My Cows. You can only really play this game if you’re driving through areas with livestock because, well, you aren’t going to be sighting any cows in the city center.
To play, you need to keep your eyes peeled for cows. The first person to spot some and shout “MY COWS!” gets a point. Once you passed those cows, another point is up for grabs at the next cow sighting.
Now, what makes this game slightly morbid is the fact that if you drive past a cemetery, and you’re sitting on the side of the car where that cemetery is, you lose all your points.
Once you reach your destination, the person with the most points is the winner.
This word game is fantastic for only 2 people as it really gets your brain going. Start off the game with a 3- or 4-letter word and see how many words you can make out of it. For example, if you choose the starting word “art,” you could then follow it up with any of the following: start, mart, cart, fart, dart, spartan, apartment, and so on.
Take turns to say a word until someone runs out of ideas and loses. This game can also be played with a more players, which, in most cases, adds fire to the contest.
Printable and Paper-Based Road Trip Games
These next few games require some prepping, or the simple tools like a pen and paper. We suggest packing a small pencil case of car-friendly markers and having some paper on hand.
Road Trip Bingo
You’ll need to do some preparation here, but Road Trip Bingo is an excellent way to keep kids entertained and alert throughout your car journey.
To start, print off a bingo sheet and arm your kids with pens. As you drive along, get them to cross out the objects as they see them. The first to get a full row — or the entire card — wins.
Tic Tac Toe
We’ve all played Tic Tac Toe at some point in our lives, and if you’ve got a pen and paper to hand, your kids can easily play it in the back of the car.
Draw out a few 3-by-5 grids, and ask the children to place an “X” or an “O” in whichever box they choose. The first person to get 3 of the same characters in a row wins.
Alternatively, you can buy a Tic Tac Toe game set; this may be a better option if you’d rather not use the pen while the car is in motion.
The Dot Game
Another fun game that requires a pen and paper is The Dot Game.
To prep, draw some dots on a piece of paper. Then, take turns to draw a line connecting 2 dots together. The aim of the game is to use your lines to close a square. Once you’ve closed a square, put your initial inside to claim it.
If you’ve just claimed a square, you get to go again and draw another line. This game starts off easy, but as it progresses, you need to put a strategy in place. Drawing the third line of the soon-to-be square will end up with your opponent drawing the fourth line and claiming the box. So, if you can, try and avoid drawing in that third line.
Once all the boxes are complete, count up the initials and see who won.
Road Trip Games: Our Final Thoughts
After our list of fun road trip games, we hope that your car journeys never have to be boring again.
As we come to a close, we’d love to know your favorite road trip game. Did we miss it on our list? If so, how do you play? Let us know in the comments down below!