Fun Car Games for Road Trips That Will Help Pass the Time in the Car

Looking for some fun car games for the whole family? I’m always keeping my ears and eyes open for ways to pass the time in the car. I remember the days of being young and taking looooong drives to the other side of the country to visit family. We were a family of six in a small sedan, three in front three in back. Without much room to stretch and not much to do, these road trips felt long. Sound familiar to your childhood? They really are fond memories, though it seemed rough at the time.

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One thing I remember is classic rock music playing as we drove, and playing a few games to help pass the time. While music has changed (as well as the ability to cram 6 people in a sedan), the desire to take that family road trip is still strong. The desire to help the time pass in the car stays strong, too. So read on for fun, family car games you can play on your next family road trip, whether it’s a road trip across the country or or even on the way to soccer practice.

Kids will enjoy these games, as will adults. The next road trip can be so memorable. And it’s totally possible even if you are road tripping with a baby!

Car games for road trips pin

The Alphabet Game- Fun Car Game #1

The alphabet game has quickly become one of my kids’ favorites, to the point where they will play it even if we’re just driving to the store. It’s simple to play and, bonus!, it helps practice letters for those young ones.

How to Play: Starting with “A” and continuing through the alphabet, look for a word that begins with the letter. This can be a word on a construction sign, street sign, billboard, store…anywhere! As long as the word begins with A, you can check it off and move on to “B” and so on. You have to stay in alphabetical order!

We do sometimes make a coupe exceptions: with Q and X (and sometimes Z), you just have to find the letter in the word, since choices are really limited with these letters. Although should you pass a Qdoba or Quality Inn, you won’t have to cheat. You can also feel more legit if you pass an Xterra 🙂

The License Plate Game- Fun Car Game #2

This game is pretty simple. Try to find a license plate from every state in the US! (You can of course adjust according to whichever country you live in). You do not have to find the states in any order. Use this free printable to keep track of which states you have found and cross them off as you find them.

Wacky Story Time – Fun Car Game #3

This is another fun game to play in the car that you don’t need anything for! You can play with any amount of people. Decide what order you will go in. Choose someone to go first and they say a word to start your first sentence. The next person says one word to grow the sentence, and you continue through to create a wacky story. You’ll end up with some laughs and random sentences. It kinda reminds me of those prompts on Facebook posts where it says “type [something] in and let predictive text finish the sentence.” Kids love to get silly with this and usually input a monster into the story somewhere…at least in our car.

Yes or No – Fun Car Game #4

This game is similar to 20 questions, except we don’t limit the number of questions. We are on a long road trip, afterall, so we’ve got plenty of time.

For Yes and No, choose a person to be “it.” They think of something…anything! Then everyone else can ask them “yes” or “no” questions to narrow down what they are thinking of. Parents can chime in here to help narrow down. If you have littles like mine, sometimes it goes on all day just guessing random things instead of narrowing down possibilities.

Some question prompts might be

  • Is it an animal?
  • Is it alive?
  • Is it a food?
  • Can you wear it?
  • Is it usually outside?
  • Do you ever see this thing at school?
  • Is it bigger than a pumpkin
  • Can you smell it?

Would You Rather- Fun Car Game #5

This game seems so simple, and yet my kids love playing Would You Rather games. Maybe they love having to pick one slimy alternative to another, or get a little silly thinking of walking around and only being able to sing all day instead of talking. This makes a perfect family road trip game because it sparks conversations, silly conversations, and keeps the kids entertained with minimal supplies. Check out this Would You Rather book that already comes loaded with questions!

You’re Halfway there…More Games to Play on Road Trips Below!

Looking for a fun road trip? Check out our itinieraries!

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Seattle Road Trip Continued: Oregon

Road Trip Through Idaho

Road Trip- What to do in Montana

Colorado Road Trip- Family Style

The Visual Alphabet Game – Fun Car Game #6

This game is similar to the alphabet game, but instead of having to find a printed word that begins with each letter, you just have to find an object that begins with each letter. Printed words can count as well, though. For instance, if you see an Arby’s, that counts for A. You could also see a picture of an Arrow on a billboard and that would count. This seems a bit easier, though with younger kids it might be trickier. It’s an excellent way of practicing letters and sounds. For younger kids, the parent could say “we’re on A, so let’s find something that starts with the sound ‘ah’.”

Hi, My Name is Alice – Fun Car Game #7

This is a classic from my childhood, but still a lot of fun to play with kids. This is another alphabet game, but you don’t have to search for anything. Go alphabetically and use the format “Hi, my name is (Alice) and I like to eat (apples).” Using a name and a food, go through the alphabet, switching people each time a letter is completed. Person 1 does “A”, person 2 does “B”, etc. To make it trickier, add a hobby to the pattern. “Hi, my name is (Bob) and I like to eat (Bananas) and I like to (go Boating).” You can keep adding another element if it is too easy, such as “and I’m from (Alabama).”

Cat’s Cradle – Fun Car Game #8

Did anyone else constantly play with string when they were kids? I use to make all sorts of shapes and figures, and even play interactive string games with friends. Cat’s Cradle makes an easy car game because it’s small and compact…it takes no space! The classic Cat’s Cradle game is available here. This string is sturdy, plus it comes with instructions on how to make the different figures and play Cat’s Cradle with a sibling or friend.

3D Guessing Game – Fun Car Game #9

This is kinda like Pictionary, but instead of drawing, you use 3D shapes to make your object. These Wikki Stix are fun to use and easy to transport. All the kids in the back seat can play and guess each other’s creations. They can think up their own ideas, or you can use a Pictionary card pack to get ideas. And once they are done playing the guessing game, there’s plenty of Wikki Stix to share and just play with.

Travel Size Games for Kids – Fun Car Game #10

This last suggestion has plenty of options no matter what you and the kids are in the mood for. The driver can’t participate, but everyone else can have fun playing against each other in little travel games. There are plenty to pick from, whether you get some paper and play tic-tac-toe or hangman. Or check out some of these travel size games that are perfect for car rides. Help keep the peace with a fun game that kids can play while you enjoy some time on the open road.

That’s the list! Do you have a fun car game that wasn’t on here? Let us know how you pass the time in the comments!

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34 thoughts on “Fun Car Games for Road Trips That Will Help Pass the Time in the Car”

  1. I remember playing many of this as a kid on long car journeys! I’ve never played Hi my name is Alice before, I will have to remember that one for our next road trip.

  2. So many games to keep the kids occupied on those long trips. Certainly better than ‘I Spy’ which gets boring on desert roads.

  3. I still play the alphabet game even though I don’t have kids! I do it by theme like places I’ve been, countries, food, etc. Anything to pass away time on those long road trips!

  4. This is such a fun and useful post, you have gathered an excellent collection of fun car games! I’m pinning it for our next road trip!

  5. I’ve played many of these games myself and there were some good ones I’ve never thought of. The alphabet game was always my favorite.

  6. I lived for the license plate game on road trips as a kid! This is a great list of game ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Great car game list! We have to be careful with road trips–we go so involved we missed our exit once and it was quite some time before we realized it!

  8. Leaving for a road trip tomorrow, so this is exactly what I needed.. will try all of them if possible 🙂 Great work!

  9. Fun games to play in the car. Loved the license plate game when I was a kid, although with us it was different countries from Europe. My sister and I used to count Christmas trees with lights in december to pass the time.

  10. I love the license plate game! I was so jealous of my cousins that had a sticker book version of it- LOL I still watch for fun far away plats 🙂

    • a sticker book would be so fun! My kids always are on the hunt for out-of-state plates, even if we’re just walking around!

  11. Wow, i never knew there were so many fun games to play! We’d just chat about everything and nothing, pass around snacks and sing at the top of our lungs to the songs in the radio during our roadtrips. Thanks for the list! Will try it next time 🙂

  12. I love some good car games during long drives! Another one that my family enjoys is trivia. We bought a pack of trivia cards when we were visiting a bunch of national parks a couple of years ago, and it helped pass the time (though we weren’t very good).

  13. You’re provided a great list of games to pass the time while traveling. however, I would prefer to look out of the car’s and take in views, whether they are of wilderness or of a concrete jungle.

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