Going on a road trip? This definitive list of 15 road trip books for kids guarantees a super fun – and melt-down free – journey to your destination.
A bored kid, plus hours on the road with nothing to do but stare at the passing pavement is a recipe for disaster. While we adore our children to bits, being pestered with are-we-there-yets once every five minutes can send any parent to his wit’s end.
If you’re dealing with a pack of restless youngsters, it may be time to turn to the legendary power of books to keep them occupied!
To help you in your search for literature, we compiled 15 of the best books for kids on a road trip. This definitive selection is a mish-mash of travel-inspired fiction, fun games, and entertaining audiobooks.
Any of these are guaranteed to have your children glued to the page for hours! Keeping your kids occupied is a crucial family travel hack to keep everyone sane while exploring.
Table of Contents
National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas: Maps, Games, Activities, and More for Hours of Backseat Fun
If you’re gearing for a long drive with your family, National Geographic’s Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas is not only a boredom buster but an educational tool as well. This book includes easy to read road maps of each state and a comprehensive map of the United States (most states get a 2-page spread with snippets about cool things to do and popular roadside attractions).
It’s chock-full of fun facts, puzzles, and mazes. The book’s evergreen content makes it not only a traveler’s companion but a great book to read at home.
A comprehensive index of names and places makes it easy for kids to learn about a particular location or historical figure.
What Should Danny Do? (The Power to Choose Series)
It’s time for our kids to experience the fun in “choose your own adventure” books, a genre of literature we’ve grown to love in our younger years. What Should Danny Do, one of the best road trip books for kids, is a fun and interactive book that includes nine adventure-filled stories, all of which allow kids to draw out the character’s path with choices that will shape their lives.
What Should Danny Do follows the day-to-day life of Danny, a young aspiring superhero. At the beginning of the story, we see Danny playing at home on a school day. The book gives the reader a choice: should Danny continue playing or get ready for school?
Depending on your child’s choice, she turns the page to the corresponding story. The book encourages young readers to think about the consequences their choices bring while ultimately making them aware of their own power to control their lives.
The Try Not to Laugh Challenge – Would Your Rather? – EWW Edition
Bust this book out on an extended road trip and watch the hours while away! Try Not to Laugh Challenge – Would You Rather? Eww Edition is a treasure trove of ooey-gooey fun with its compilation of 160+ silly and hilarious thought-provoking questions about everything icky and revolting. It’s a great game that offers hours of backseat fun!
To play the Would You Rather, you take turns reading and answering choice-based questions out loud. You’ll then have to explain why you chose that one. If you get giggles from your listeners, you get a point. Would you rather eat a rotten squid donut with eyeball sprinkles, or snack on dried scabs with a side of rotten toenails? The questions are super silly while still being family-friendly!
The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 fact-filled maps!
Educational and fun to read, The 50 States deserves a spot in our list of best road trip books for kids. This beautifully illustrated travel companion features 50 infographic maps of every state with more than 2,000 facts about nature, people, cities, and historic events.
An expansive guide about US presidents and state flags are also included.
Each wonderful map is filled to the brim with educational snippets and wonderful art including a short introduction to each state, key facts, state icons, inspiring people who are associated with the location, region spotlight bubbles that offer deeper insights about a particular place, and a ‘moments to remember’ box that lists significant dates and events that shaped the state’s history.
Find Momo Coast to Coast: A Photography Book
Find Momo Coast to Coast may only be described as a canine version of Where’s Waldo (if you switch the cartoon art with stunning landscape photography). It’s a mish-mash of different things – part game, part photography book, and part road-trip journal.
Right on its cover, the author offers readers a challenge: “My dog is taking a road trip. Can you find him?”
And find him you will – in front of the White House, lost in Grand Central Station, or wandering the streets of San Francisco.
Each gorgeous page features a hiding border collie that you must locate (and trust me when I say that he’s as elusive as a seasoned burglar).
Difficult Riddles For Smart Kids: 300 Difficult Riddles And Brain Teasers Families Will Love (Books for Smart Kids)
Looking for fun books for kids during a road trip? Difficult Riddles For Smart Kids is exactly that – a compilation of 300 challenging riddles and brain teasers for intelligent children. It’s as educational as it is entertaining making it one of the best road trip books for kids.
This brain-teasing book aims to “test logic, lateral thinking as well as memory and engages the brain in seeing patterns and connections between different things and circumstances.”
Three chapters of ascending difficulty offer hours of fun for kids who like testing their wits. Sample riddles include “The more of me you have, the longer your life. The more of me you have, the less you have left.
What am I?” (Heartbeat) and “When is 1500 plus 20 and 1600 minus 40 the same thing? (Military time)“
Mad Libs on the Road
Mad Libs, the iconic phrasal template word game, gets a road-trip rehash in this hilarious new edition: Mad Libs On the Road. If you aren’t familiar with this six-decade-old pastime, the rules are simple.
One player asks the other plays to contribute different words for each blank in a given story – it may either be a noun, a verb, or an adjective.
The players don’t know the context for that word. Finally, the story is read aloud with hilarious and silly results. If you’re on a lengthy road trip with kids, this is a great way to make everyone laugh!
The Best Ever Back Seat Games: Fun games to play while you are traveling
When on road trips with the family, it’s easy to run out of things to say or do. Without activities to keep everyone occupied – the journey feels long and tiresome. Enter The Best Ever Backseat Games, one of the best road trip books for kids.
The 2nd Edition of this popular travel book comes with even more boredom-busting games and activities for people of all ages.
It contains more than a hundred varieties of interesting facts and fun games that focus on “community, coziness, and presence”.
A sample chapter is “Car Manual Quiz” where the Game Master flips through the car’s manual to find something interesting that he can turn into a true or false question. He may ask, “The hand break needs to be engaged when you change a flat tire. True or false?”
A player then answers and depending on his answer, gains a point. Samples of other chapters are “Tongue Twister”, “Memory Game”, and “Name the Capital”.
The Ultimate Travel Journal For Kids: Awesome Activities for Your Adventures
While digital devices can keep boredom at bay on an extended trip, too much of something is a bad thing. The Ultimate Travel Journal For Kids makes your kid’s road trip journey a moment to self-reflect without being glued to the screen. This popular book is brimming with activities and journaling prompts for up to four, allowing your child to record and immortalize his travel memories.
Created for 6-9-year-olds, The Ultimate Travel Journal for Kids comes with guided writing prompts to record their hopes for the trip, discoveries, and highlights. The book works very much like a personal diary, allowing young travelers to record what they taste, see, and hear. It also comes with a plethora of games and activities to thwart boredom, including crosswords, scavenger hunts, word finds, and more.
Junior Ranger Activity Book: Puzzles, Games, Facts, and Tons More Fun Inspired by the U.S. National Parks!
Going on a road trip to a national park? Young rangers will absolutely adore the Junior Ranger Activity Book, one of the best road trip books for kids. Whether you’re on the road to the Grand Canyon or journeying towards Yellowstone, this full-filled activity book will keep everyone in the car entertained for hours on end.
Filled to the brim with trivia, jokes, games, silly activities, fun facts, and more, the Junior Ranger Activity Book offers fun and in-depth knowledge about U.S. National Parks. Each beautiful page offers snippets of information about each location with photos of amazing park habitats and animals.
It’s one of the best travel books for kids who love flora and fauna!
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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
Looking to ignite your child’s love for literature? Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a great entry point to fiction and is one of the most popular and successful book series today. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series follows Greg Heffley, a middle-school student, as he attempts to become popular in school. Greg writes a day-to-day account of his life experiences in his journal – the eponymous “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”.
The Long Haul is available as an audiobook and is one of the best kindle books for kids. This title, which is one of the franchise’s latest installments, sees Greg and his family on a road trip. What starts out as a fun escapade takes several wrong (and hilarious) turns.
A great book to read for kids while going on their own road trip!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar may be simple, but it’s brimming with life lessons that young children will surely value. This children’s picture book was first published in 1969 and has since then sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Today, this well-loved story is one of the best audiobooks for kids that you can play while going on road trips.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar follows the story of a lovable larva as it munches its way through a variety of food. Later, the caterpillar makes a cocoon around himself and goes to sleep. He wakes up weeks later and emerges as a beautiful butterfly. The story teaches the value of patience, hope, and hard work.
Gulliver’s Travels: Retold for Younger Listeners
Looking for a kid’s audiobook for road trip? There’s nothing like a good story to keep everyone in a car entertained for extended periods. For most of us who grew up reading classics, Gulliver’s Travels was a true adventure. The story of Lemuel Gulliver and his journey to various unfamiliar lands is both weird and wacky. Everyone is incredibly tiny in Liliput while giants thrive in Brobdingnag. In Houyhnhnms, people are horses while those living in Laputa have mastered magnetic levitation. After all of his travels, Lemuel learns to see humans in a different way, too.
Known globally as one of the most spectacular works of fiction, this modern version sees the classic story simplified and clarified for younger listeners. Though retold, it still retains the humor and satire that we’ve loved!
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