During a recent 2,000-mile road trip, my kids and I were flying along Interstate 40 in Arizona when we came to the state’s notorious Painted Desert. It was breathtakingly beautiful and everything anyone has ever said it would be. Yet my kids? They were deep in some kind of backseat little brother torture and tuned out all my exclamations of the awesomeness of nature, etc.
That’s the thing about family vacations, especially with kids of such different ages like I have — 10, 6 and 2. What’s interesting for me is often on the dry side for them. What’s fun for the 6-year-old is “babyish” for my oldest. And the 2-year-old? He just wants to snack.
We could go the Disneyland route, but I like seeing stuff. So instead, I’ve started building in little side trips of weird stuff to keep our family vacations memorable. Three hours at an 1,000-year-old pueblo erased eight hours of being restrained in the back seat.
Here are 12 quick stops that are guaranteed to get your kids’ attention and make long road trips less monotonous. These hardly cover all of the U.S. so be sure to add yours in comments.
Image: Lecates via flickr
Get on-the-road entertainment ideas from the pros: Top 25 Travel Blogs for Families!