The U.S. highway system was developed 1950s, and with that came a generation of baby boomers who would grow up fantasizing about cross-country road trips with their families. Back then, the allure of Route 66 was real.
Inspired by a previous generation that took the time to explore the U.S. via roadways, and after experiencing the luxury of the 2017 Audi Q7 (we’re talking Apple CarPlay and WiFi hotspots) first hand, the ladies over here at heymama caught road trip fever. Summer is almost over, but it’s not too late to fit in a family trip! You can totally make a spontaneous vacation happen by packing your bags and piling in the car.
But seriously, why go through the hassle of TSA when you can hop in your car and hit the road with your littles?! Not sure where to go? No worries, heymama has done the work for you! Here’s a rundown of road-trips every family should make on a moment’s notice — as told by traveling mamas on Instagram.
1- Tupper Lake, NY
“The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY is one part walk in the treetops, one part nature museum and a whole lot of parts of Adirondack geared family fun! You can complete the entire Center in a few short hours, or take your time and spend the entire day (or two, because your ticket is actually good for 2 consecutive days!). Be sure to visit Otter Falls during one of the Otter feedings for an adorable and educational show on the centers unofficial mascot or take a walk on the wild side and complete the Wild Walk, complete with suspension bridges, an eagles nest with an amazing view of the High Peaks and a giant spider web suspended in air that the whole family will love to crawl on! The Wild Center is around 5.5 hours from both NYC and Boston, and 2.5hrs from Montreal, so you could always add it as a stop on your way to Canada ;)” – Elisa Rispoli
(Adult tickets $20, Children’s tickets $13, ages 4 & under are free. www.wildcenter.org)
2- La Pine, Oregon
“We spent the day in La Pine, Oregon, a 4hr drive from Portland. We went on a great 30 minute hike around Lava Butte with some stunning views. It was only $2 a person to take a bus to the top, walk the rim of the volcano, enjoy the 360 degree panoramic views and take the bus back. There is a great little museum at the bottom as well. We then took the kids to South Twin Lake in La Pine to kayak. It’s perfect for little ones as the water is calm and not crowded at all. The boys paddled around the lake for several hours. We then headed to Panini’s Pizzeria in the Sunriver Resort area. The kids enjoyed personal kid size pizzas. Outside in the shopping area were large jumpers and a climbing wall along with a small train and miniature golf. It was a great spot to burn off excess energy and run around. Overall, everything was in close enough proximity that day turned out great.” – Erin
3- Vail, Colorado
“Only a 2.5hr drive from Denver, Vail, Colorado is the perfect location for a summer getaway for our family. We love the quaint atmosphere and fresh air that a mountain town has to offer so we try to get to Vail at least once a year. From exciting alpine coasters and slides, bike rides alongside the gorgeous Gore Creek, to the most darling Children’s Fountain and play area in Vail Village (located next to Fuzziwig’s Candy Shop), Vail has something to offer for the entire family. When we aren’t busy exploring the outdoors, we love to eat! Our favorite kid-friendly restaurants include George’s Cafe, Blue Moose Pizza, and Moe’s Original BBQ. Oh and the flowers are seriously swoon worthy! Winter, our eight-month old daughter, certainly loved them!” – Terra Larock
4- The Berkshires, Massachusetts
“It’s been fun to hit the same open roads that my family would road trip every summer as kids through the northeastern US. Now as parents to two little ones, about once a year we forgo the busy airports in favor of the drive to Longmeadow, MA to visit my 96 year old grandmother. On the way we always stop in The Berkshires, which is around a 3hr drive from NYC – one of our favorite little towns is Stockbridge, which features prominently in the paintings of Norman Rockwell – be sure to stop by the beautiful museum featuring a full career of works. Main street still remains unchanged and we always stay at The Red Lion Inn, an elegant Victorian inn full of chintz and charm – very family friendly. They serve some mean blueberry pancakes in the original dining room, china, silver and all. If you go in the summer, be sure to take a dip in some of the many swimming holes in the area and have ice cream at the little general store. By far our favorite thing to do is take in a matinee performance at Tanglewood – a beautiful former estate in the Berkshires that has been the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since the 1930’s. We get lawn tickets and order a gourmet picnic basket. Sometimes the boys fall asleep to the sounds of the orchestral music – it’s quite simply a heavenly way to spend an afternoon outside (arrive a little early to snag a shady spot under a tree). Another fun activity is a visit to the Berkshire Railway museum for a real live Thomas the Tank Engine experience.” – Amanda Blakely
5- Northern Vermont
“We have been on the road for almost 8 months, so I mean it when I say that Vermont is a perfect family road trip destination. Roughly 3.5 hours from Boston and 6 from NYC, northern Vermont has something for everyone, year round. Perhaps Vermont’s greatest asset, aside from her astounding beauty, is the fresh and local culture. Finding restaurants that source locally, farm visits, and pick your own berries are easy finds. Our perfect summer day would start with breakfast at Main Restaurant and Bakery in Jeffersonville, then a dip at Jeff Falls on the Brewster River, followed by some wine/cider tasting at Boyden Valley Winery (while the kids play on the swing set outside) in Cambridge. If we had an early start, we’d then go pick some berries at River Berry Farm (type depends on seasonal timing), then top it all off with dinner at Angelina’s back in Jeffersonville. If you’re wanting more action, Burlington is a short drive away where you can find all the conveniences of city life with the same bucolic charm you’ve grown to love. Start your day at beautiful Shelburne Farms, eating farm fresh everything while the kiddos learn all about sustainable farming and cheese making, then head downtown to stroll Church Street for a local brew. After you can all explore at ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, an interactive science focused kids museum, then finish with dinner at Bluebird BBQ (and if you time it right, kids eat free on Sundays!). And hey!, you’re now only an hour and a half from Montreal, so you may as well pack the passports and road trip north.” – Lauren Davis
6- The Grand Canyon