13 Days, 8 People, 6 Cities, and 1 Car: A Memorable Family Road Trip



  • Little Rock, AR-stayed for the night to break up the trip
  • Memphis, TN-milk shakes on Beale St, pics with guitars around town, Gibson guitar store, Peabody Hotel to watch the ducks march, Memphis Zoo
  • Nashville, TN-Broadway St., Frist Center for Visual Arts, FGL House, The Parthenon, The Grand Ole Opry, state capitol tour
  • Louisville, KY-Louisville Slugger, Churchill Downs
  • Cincinnati, OH-Washington Square, Smale Park, Reds game, city walking, Aquarium
  • Frankford, KY-Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Woodford Reserve
  • St. Louis, MO-trip up the arch, Cardinals game
  • Tulsa, OK-stayed the night to break up the trip


I know what you’re thinking, because I thought the same thing when my MIL started talking about this.  Have you lost your mind, we would kill each other!  Then I started reminding myself that it’s my job as a mom to make sure my kids are actually exposed to the world as much as I can.  The internet has opened up an endless wealth of knowledge about the world out there, but hands-on as a family is way better, in my professional mom opinion.  So obviously, this took some planning, and then lots more planning.  Lots of mom blog research about finding kid friendly places, finding those unusual not as touristy places, finding parks, understanding where we were staying, and figuring things out with my in-laws. Just FYI  City moms blog has sister sites EVERYWHERE.  Please go check out these other mom’s love of their cities!  We came up with a plan, but were flexible as well.  For example, one night while in Nashville, TN we were watching Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightening Thief and it just happens to have the Parthenon from Nashville.  So what did we do, we toured the Parthenon the next day!   

That many cities took A LOT of road time.  My kids didn’t mind gaming their day away, but they had their limits.  I didn’t limit electronic game time too much in the car.  I even turned on the hot spot on my phone some and let the kids connect to the WiFi while driving along.  To help break up the electronics time, I found these 7 printable travel games .  It includes: battleship, tic tac toe, dots,scavenger hunt, license plate game, hangman, and a car search.We printed and laminated them so the kids could use expo markers and get lots of use out of them.  I’ll admit we didn’t do the scavenger hunt or the license plate game.   We figured out it was difficult to see out the windows in the 3rd row.   I also found printable “Would you Rather” cards.  This is a favorite of the kids and we happen to have a couple of gross poop version books at the house.  You can also find TONS of non-poop ideas on Pinterest.  This is a fun was to get everybody talking together.  We got into some heated discussions over would you rather eat ice cream or cake.  We also paused electronic time when we went through big cities to be able to play the ABC game and when we crossed state lines.  

To help out the budget and meltdowns while stopping at a multitude of gas stations, I packed snacks and water bottles.  We went grocery shopping before the trip and each kid got to pick out snacks to share.  My only suggestion is make sure the snack is not too soft.  Somebody picked out fruit newton cookies and they got mushed in the bag.  We packed our nice water bottles that keep your water cold all day.  This kept the kids hydrated and we didn’t have to pack an ice chest we didn’t have room for.  It was also nice having ice cold water waiting for you in the car when you’ve been out on a hot day trip.  Most places we went allowed the water bottles as well, but I would check their website before entering to be sure.  I didn’t make snack stations out of shoe holders, or anything cutiesie or Pinteresty.  I kept it simple with one big bag for snacks and the kids each had their water bottle.   

If you have down days be prepared to house your children somewhere, doing something.   After you have been stuck in a car for hours, being stuck in a hotel room isn’t much better.  Outdoor places were our friends, and our hotel neighbors thanked us for it too.  We stayed downtown close to the things we wanted to see so we were able to walk everywhere.  This also allowed us to climb on every landscaping rock in every city.  We live out in the country so city life is a novelty to my kids.  We were walking around Cincinnati and the kids found a pay phone AND a blue mailbox on the street. It was mind blowing.  I do get my kids out, I promise!!  We also made sure the hotels we stayed in had pools.  Yes, this adds the lovely problem of traveling with wet suits, but the kids loved it.  

We talked at the end of the day about what their favorite things were on that particular day.  Sometimes the kids favorite things were activities I forgot we even did that day. I loved that they each remembered something different.

PLEASE give a long road trip a go!  We had tons of fun together!!